Though the San Jose Sharks boast an impressive winning streak, they aren't taking any opponent for granted - especially not the next one.
The league-leading Sharks aim for a 10th consecutive victory - and fifth straight at home - on Saturday night, when they match up against an Edmonton Oilers team that spoiled last season's franchise-record run.
Since an overtime loss to visiting Nashville on Nov. 11, San Jose (22-3-1) has reeled off nine straight victories with five in a row at HP Pavilion, including a 3-2 win against Columbus on Thursday night.
After being held off the scoresheet for the first 34:56 of the game, the Sharks recovered behind goals from captain Patrick Marleau, Jeremy Roenick and Joe Thornton to back a 29-save performance from Evgeni Nabokov, who has compiled a 2.08 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage while winning a career high-tying 10 straight outings.
But despite San Jose's success, Nabokov expects that his teammates won't become complacent as they continue their surge.
"We have to understand every game is going to get tougher," said Nabokov, who has started five consecutive contests following a seven-game absence due to injury. "It's getting closer to the middle point (of the season), and teams are going to find a way to play tougher against us."
The Sharks own their longest winning streak since the franchise-record 11-game run from Feb. 21-March 14. But they're probably wary of the Oilers, who thwarted last season's milestone stretch with a 2-1 shootout win at HP Pavilion on March 16.
Edmonton (12-11-2) has also won nine of the last 13 matchups, taking three of four in 2007-08 as Nabokov compiled a 1.45 GAA in those contests.
San Jose, though, hopes it can rely on its current success at HP Pavilion, where it is a league-best 14-0-1 and has collected at least a point in 24 consecutive games (22-0-2) since a 3-2 loss to Edmonton on Feb. 14. The Sharks are the only NHL team to have avoided a regulation defeat at home this season.
The Oilers, meanwhile, recovered after blowing a three-goal first-period lead, converting two of three attempts in the shootout for a 5-4 victory at Los Angeles on Friday.
Andrew Cogliano contributed a goal and an assist, while Denis Grebeshkov and Rob Schremp each provided two assists and Mathieu Garon won his 11th consecutive shootout to win back-to-back contests for the first time since a three-game run Oct. 12-18.
"When you're up by three goals, you're supposed to win those games," Garon said. "(Friday night) we made it harder on ourselves and put ourselves in trouble. But we bounced back, and now we know that these kind of things can happen."
Ales Hemsky, who has three goals and seven assists during a seven-game point streak, has registered 21 of his team-leading 27 points over his last 17 contests. He has five goals and seven assists in 18 career games versus San Jose.