Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
 
SHARE
At the Rink blog

Sharks expect Oilers will be looking for payback

Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 4:50 PM

By Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent / 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Share with your Friends


2012-2013 At the Rink blog
Sharks expect Oilers will be looking for payback

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- It was just nine days ago that the San Jose Sharks exploded for six goals in the first period and defeated Edmonton 6-3, spoiling the Oilers' home opener.

They meet again Thursday night, and the Sharks expect to face a motivated team looking for payback.

"Obviously, Edmonton's going to play hard," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. "We kind of embarrassed them in their building. They're coming off a big win last night, so they'll want to kind of get revenge for their loss."

The Oilers beat the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday night 2-1 in overtime as they kicked off a three-game road swing. Edmonton improved to 4-2-0 but will face the NHL's last undefeated team. San Jose improved to 6-0-0 with a 3-2 shootout win Tuesday night against Anaheim.

The Sharks beat Anaheim despite being outshot 30-18 and playing what they said was their worst game of the season.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan said he doesn't expect a first-period replay of San Jose's first game against Edmonton.

"I don't think we're going to see the same start from Edmonton," McLellan said. "They were a young team that was real excited at home in front of their crowd. They made some mistakes. I haven't seen them make those mistakes since that first period. The second and third was a pretty evenly-played match. I think you'll see more of that tonight.

"Our game against Anaheim was not to our standards in a lot of different areas, so we have to get better. That will be our goal, to improve and clean a few things up. It will be more of a speed game, I believe, than it was against Anaheim. That's just how Edmonton is built. They can fly. We'll have to be well aware of that."

McLellan shuffled his bottom three lines in the third period and overtime against Anaheim, and, based on Wednesday's practice, he'll likely open with that new look. The biggest change is Scott Gomez moving to the second line as a wing alongside center Logan Couture with Martin Havlat dropping to the third line.

"He's a good player, sees the ice well, good passer, speed," Couture said of Gomez. "It's going to be fun playing with him and (Ryane Clowe) tonight."

McLellan said he shuffled his lines Tuesday because "a couple lines were very unproductive last game, not even creating anything toward the net, just minute eaters. We need more production from different people, so we moved things around. We'll take a look at how they're going to start, who will be in their lineup, and make decisions from there."

The Sharks' roster will definitely have a different look tonight. They lost forward Frazer McLaren off waivers to Toronto, and that open roster spot will likely go to defenseman Jason Demers, McLellan said. Demers has been recovering from a fractured wrist he suffered while playing in Europe during the lockout.

"Not everybody can stay on a roster," McLellan said. "Unfortunately you're only given 23 spots. Organizations have to make decisions. We had to make a tough one yesterday in putting (McLaren) on waivers. Doesn't surprise me that he was picked up. He's a quality individual, fulfills a role in the League right now and on many teams, and fulfills that role well. He'll do well in Toronto, and we wish him all the best. We're proud he was a Shark at one point."

McLaren, a seventh-round pick by San Jose in the 2007 NHL Draft, racked up 490 penalty minutes for Worcester of the American Hockey League, a franchise record. He appeared in 40 career games for the Sharks, including one this season, compiling 85 penalty minutes, one goal and five assists.

McLellan said there's a chance Demers could be in the lineup tonight. But there's also a good chance that defenseman Dan Boyle will return to the lineup after missing Tuesday night's game with the flu.

Boyle, who missed practice Wednesday, took part in an optional morning skate and said he would play tonight.

Boyle said he felt "better, or I wouldn't be here. Whatever I had kicked my [rear]."

Boyle also missed the entire third period of Sunday's game against Vancouver because of a nosebleed that trainers had trouble stopping. Boyle said he got hit in the nose in the second period but "was fine" when he came off the ice at the end of that period.

"They started playing around up in there and then waterworks came out," Boyle said. "It was nonstop. I've never experienced a nosebleed like that in my life. … I don't know if there's an artery up there, but something. We hit something. It was disgusting is what it was."

Boyle said he's glad to be back on the ice and part of the NHL's last undefeated team -- Chicago fell to 6-0-1 with a 3-2 shootout loss Wednesday to the Minnesota Wild.

"I like being a part of that," Boyle said. "Obviously we're probably going to lose at some point, but it's fun. It's fun to have something like that going for us. See how far we can take this."

Quote of the Day

I didn't even know how to celebrate. I threw my hands up, they gave me a hug, so I guess that's all I needed.

— Sabres forward Tim Schaller on scoring his first NHL goal Sunday against the Bruins