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Oilers after three-game win streak as they host Sharks

by Brian Hunter

SHARKS (34-13-6) at OILERS (17-32-6)


Last 10: San Jose 7-3-0; Edmonton 3-6-1

Season series: This is the third of five games between the San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers. Joe Thornton has set up four of the Sharks' eight goals as they've taken the first two games. Antti Niemi and Alex Stalock each hs a win in goal.

Big story: Winning streaks haven't been easy to come by for the Oilers, but they can tie a season high of three in a row if they can beat the Sharks in their final home game prior to the Olympic break.

Team Scope:

Sharks: This is the start of a quick Alberta road trip for San Jose, which faces the Calgary Flames on Thursday before heading back to California. It's certainly possible whichever goalie faces the Oilers gets the following night off, because they've both been getting the job done.

Niemi has won his past four starts and his 27 wins rank second in the NHL behind only Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins. But there will be no reason for coach Todd McLellan to overuse him down the stretch, because Stalock broke the franchise record Monday with a scoreless streak of 178 minutes, 55 seconds, even though the Sharks went on to lose 1-0 to the Los Angeles Kings.

"Alex was real good," McLellan said. "Excellent experience for him tonight playing against that team, to fight through their size and their strength around the net, their deflections. It was very solid and we're very happy with him."

Oilers: There will be plenty of opportunity down the stretch for Edmonton to play the spoiler's role, and the Vancouver Canucks found out Monday the damage the Oilers are capable of doing.

The offseason acquisition of forward David Perron from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for forward Magnus Paajarvi continued to pay dividends as Perron completed his second career hat trick with an empty-net goal in a 4-2 win. The empty-netter was also Perron's 22nd goal of the season, a new career high with 27 games still remaining.

"It's good to get some sunlight into the cave once in a while," forward Jesse Joensuu, who also scored, said in the Edmonton Sun. "I think the last game obviously helped. I think overall our look was better than what it has been this season. I thought we deserved to win against these guys."

Who's hot: Sharks forward Joe Pavelski was limited to two shots and held off the board with the rest of his teammates Monday, ending a five-game point streak that featured seven goals and three assists. … Perron has five goals in as many games for the Oilers. Forward Taylor Hall hasn't scored in seven games, but he's assisted on eight goals during that span.

Injury report: San Jose defenseman Scott Hannan (upper body) and forwards Logan Couture (hand), Marty Havlat (lower body), Tomas Hertl (knee), Adam Burish (lower body) and Raffi Torres (knee) remain on injured reserve. Couture centered Burish and Torres on an extra line during practice Tuesday. … Edmonton defenseman Andrew Ference (head) has missed the past two games. Forward Ales Hemsky (foot) has missed six straight. Defenseman Philip Larsen (illness) hasn't played since mid-December.

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