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Oilers try to build on big win as Sharks come to town

by John Kreiser

SHARKS (10-7-4) at OILERS (6-11-4)

TV -- CBC (HD); CSN-California

Last 10 -- San Jose 5-2-3; Edmonton 3-5-2

Season series -- It's the second meeting of the season. The Sharks came to Rexall Place on Oct. 23 and had no trouble beating Edmonton 6-1. San Jose has won seven of the last eight meetings.

Big story -- The Oilers will try to do Saturday what the Sharks couldn't do Friday -- build on an emotional victory. San Jose was routed 6-1 at Vancouver, two days after a 5-2 home victory against Chicago, the team that eliminated the Sharks from the playoffs last spring. The Oilers enter this game on a high after Taylor Hall's goal with 28.1 seconds remaining gave them a 3-2 win against Colorado on Thursday.

Team Scope:

Sharks -- Antti Niemi, had just coughed up six goals in his team's worst loss to Vancouver in 10 years, but Sharks coach Todd McLellan chose to blame the players in front of his goaltender after a turnover-filled evening.

"You can t pin it on (Niemi) by any means. You've got to look at the other 19 guys in front of him," McLellan said. "We were stubborn. We didn't want to stay to our game plan and get pucks behind them so we turned it over a lot."

Oilers -- Coach Tom Renney lit into his team after Tuesday's poor effort in a 5-0 loss at Phoenix. He was a lot happier on Friday after the Oilers led 2-0 less than five minutes into the game, saw Colorado tie the score but won it on Hall's goal.

"I'm happy for our guys," he told the Oilers' website. "They care, they want to do well, they want to play instinctive and spontaneous and high-paced hockey and do all the right things. You might get a taste of that a little bit when you're in our room, seeing what kind of a group they are, but on a daily basis as a coaching staff we sure do."

Who's hot -- San Jose's Dany Heatley has goals in the Sharks' last two games. Center Joe Thornton has 3 assists in those two games. … Martin Gerber, recalled by the Oilers for Thursday's game, may have earned more playing time with a solid 35-save performance.

Injury report -- San Jose center Scott Nichol took a puck in the eye during Friday's morning skate and didn't play. He's questionable for this game. Forward Devin Setoguchi left after the first period against the Canucks with an undisclosed injury and is also questionable. Defenseman Jason Demers missed Thursday's game with an upper-body injury. … Edmonton forward Ales Hemsky and goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin will miss the game with groin injuries.

Stat pack -- San Jose is winless in its last six road games (0-4-2), but the Sharks have won five of their last six visits to Rexall Place.

Puck drop -- This figures to be a big test for the Sharks, who are playing their third game in four nights against a team that's not as good as they are but is better-rested and coming off an emotional victory. The Sharks have yet to show the consistency that has been their hallmark while winning the West in each of the last two seasons.

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