Sharks look to stay unbeaten against youthful Oilers

Sharks look to stay unbeaten against youthful Oilers
January 22, 2013, 7:45 am
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These two clubs split four games last season with San Jose winning both of its games in regulation, and Edmonton winning both of its in shootouts. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

INSIDE THE MATCHUP

Where to watch
7 p.m. PST, CSN California (pregame beginning at 6:30 p.m.)

Where they stand
Sharks: 1-0-0, 2 pts, 2nd Pacific Division, T-6th Western Conference
Oilers: 1-0-0, 2 pts., 2nd Northwest Division, T-6th Western Conference

Probable lines
San Jose
Marleau – Thornton – Pavelski
Havlat – Couture – Clowe
Wingels – Handzus – Galiardi
McLaren – Desjardins – Burish

Vlasic – Stuart
Irwin – Boyle
Murray – Braun

Niemi
Greiss

Edmonton
Hall – Nugent-Hopkins – Eberle
Yakupov – Gagner – Hemsky
Smyth – Horcoff – Hartikainen
Eager – Belanger – Petrell

N. Schultz – J. Schultz
Smid — Petry
Whitney – Potter

Dubnyk
Khabibulin

Programming note: Sharks-Oilers coverage begins on Comcast SportsNet California with Sharks Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. Stick around after the final horn for Sharks Postgame Live!

EDMONTON -- The Sharks and Oilers are set to drop the puck in the second contest of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, tonight on Comcast SportsNet California.

Keep an eye on…

San Jose: Marty Havlat. The Sharks winger scored the game-winning goal against the Flames on Sunday, burying a rebound. Havlat had the benefit of a full (although brief) training camp after numerous injuries last season, and if he can stay healthy, could add some scoring punch to the second line. The Sharks were 25-11-1 with Havlat in the lineup last season and just 18-18-7 without him.

Edmonton: Justin Schultz. The young free agent defenseman was pursued by a number of NHL teams in the offseason before joining Edmonton’s young core. He suited up for Oklahoma City (AHL) during the lockout, and all he did there was score 48 points (18g, 30a) in 34 games. Schultz is among the front-runners for this season’s Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year.

Last game

San Jose: Patrick Marleau scored twice and Marty Havlat and Dan Boyle each added a goal as the Sharks won their season opener against Calgary, 4-1. Antti Niemi kept the Sharks in the game early, stopping 15 of 16 first-period shots, before San Jose took control in the second period. The Sharks were 2-for-5 on the power play.

Edmonton: The Oilers erased a 2-0 deficit in Vancouver to come from behind and beat the Canucks in a shootout, 3-2. Jordan Eberle scored on Roberto Luongo late in the second period to make it 2-1, while Ales Hemsky’s power play goal tied it in the third. Devan Dubnyk stopped 27 shots in regulation and both of Vancouver’s shootout attempts in net.

Season series

The Sharks and Oilers will meet twice more, on Jan. 31 at HP Pavilion and March 20 back here at Rexall Place. The Sharks were 2-0-2 against the Oilers last season, with both losses coming in a shootout.

Quoteable

“For a guy that hasn’t played during the lockout, I thought he looked very strong skating, very powerful, didn’t fatigue very much, skated to holes and to open ice. He’s just that good a skater that he can do that.” – Todd McLellan on Patrick Marleau

Sound off

Does a shortened season benefit a veteran team like the Sharks? Leave your answer in the comments section below.

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