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The San Jose Sharks were the league's best road team in 2007-08. So far this season, they've been unbeatable at home.
Looking for their eighth consecutive win in San Jose in 2008-09, the Sharks on Thursday night will try to continue their dominance over the St. Louis Blues, who could be without leading scorer Paul Kariya.
Last season, San Jose recorded 27 of its 49 victories on the road en route to a franchise-record 108 points, and its first Pacific Division title since 2004. In the playoffs, though, the Sharks dropped four of six away from home, and were ousted in the Western Conference semifinals for the third straight season.
The led to the firing of coach Ron Wilson - now with Toronto - and hiring of former Red Wings assistant Todd McLellan to his first NHL head coaching job.
With a new voice and philosophy behind the bench, San Jose (11-2-0) enters this contest with the league's best record.
"No one is trying to take on too much themselves," forward Mike Grier told the Sharks' official Web site. "That's gotten us into trouble in the past when guys tried to do too much."
Dating back to last season, San Jose has won 12 in a row at the Shark Tank. With a triumph in this contest, the Sharks will match the franchise record for longest home winning streak in one season, set from Jan. 24-March 3, 2004.
San Jose also has won five straight, and is 12-1-1 against St. Louis since Jan. 3, 2004.
Nabokov is 9-2-2 with a 2.62 goals-against average this season, and has been key to San Jose's success against the Blues. In his last seven starts, Nabokov has allowed 10 goals - six in one game - while posting a 5-1-1 record with two shutouts.
Joe Thornton has been the driving force on offense during the Sharks' dominance, tallying 16 assists and 17 points in the last 11 meetings with St. Louis (5-6-0), which lost Kariya to a lower-body injury in a 5-2 loss to Anaheim on Wednesday.
Kariya has team highs with 13 assists and 15 points, and his status for this game is not immediately known.
"We don't really know yet," Blues coach Andy Murray said. "I don't know what the extent of the injury is, but he couldn't finish the game."
If he's unable to go, Kariya becomes the latest high-profile player to join St. Louis' injury list. Budding star defenseman Erik Johnson is out for the season with torn knee ligaments, starting goaltender Manny Legace is working his way back from a hip flexor, and highly touted rookie center T.J. Oshie has a high ankle sprain.
Keith Tkachuk and Brad Boyes have combined to score 15 of the Blues' 32 goals this season, but neither has recorded a point in the last three games. Tkachuk has failed to notch a point in his last five games against San Jose, while Boyes has one goal in five career games.
Before leaving Wednesday's game, Kariya assisted on Andy McDonald's first goal against his former team. Patrik Berglund also scored, and Chris Mason stopped 22 shots, but failed again to record his first win in a St. Louis uniform.
Mason has surrendered 10 goals while losing all three of his starts after coming back late last month from an emergency appendectomy. He's also never beaten San Jose, going 0-5-1 with a 3.36 GAA in six career starts - all with Nashville.
St. Louis has dropped five of six after a surprising 4-1-0 start.