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San Jose Sharks vs. Edmonton Oilers @NHL
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GAME: San Jose Sharks (8-8-3) at Edmonton Oilers (11-10-1).

TIME: Monday, 9 p.m. EST.

It's been almost a decade since the San Jose Sharks have experienced a losing skid like this.

The Sharks look avoid their sixth straight defeat when they meet the Edmonton Oilers in the start of a three-game Western Canadian trip.

San Jose has not dropped six in a row since a seven-game slide from Dec. 26, 1995-Jan. 10, 1996.

The Sharks' current skid reached five games with a 4-3 shootout loss Saturday to the Phoenix Coyotes. Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov was beaten in the fourth round of the shootout by the Coyotes' Geoff Sanderson.

Nabokov missed eight games with a shoulder injury before returning to the team Nov. 12. In three games since, he is 0-3 with a 2.55 goals-against average and .880 save percentage.

For the Sharks to post their first win in nearly three weeks, they must learn to start quickly. But Coach Ron Wilson said he plans to stop preaching the importance of quick starts despite San Jose being outscored 24-13 in the first period this season.

"It seems that we come out tight thinking about that. There's some kind of mental block right now," Wilson said. "The worm's to turn here, and it's probably going to turn on this road trip. I can feel it coming."

San Jose has not scored more than three goals in a game since a 5-4 win Oct. 28 against the Los Angeles Kings.

Edmonton saw its two-game winning streak end with a 4-3 loss Saturday to the Chicago Blackhawks. Ales Hemsky, Jarrett Stoll an Marty Reasoner scored for the Oilers.

Both Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff are riding three-game points streaks. Hemsky has two goals and five assists and Horcoff has seven assists during the stretch.

Backup goaltender Mike Morrison replaced Jussi Markkanen in the third period and stopped all four shots he faced. If Morrison gets the nod against San Jose, it will be just his second career start and fourth appearance overall.

In his only other start, Morrison stopped 31 of 33 shots in a 5-2 win Nov. 14 against the Colorado Avalanche.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 20): Sharks - 19 points, 4th place, 10 PB, Pacific Division. Oilers - 23 points, 4th place, 5 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Sharks - Patrick Marleau, 8 goals, 10 assists and 18 points; Mark Smith, 34 PIM. Oilers - Ryan Smyth, 11 goals; Horcoff, 19 assists and 23 points; Ethan Moreau, 43 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 19): Sharks - Power play: 13.0 percent (17 for 130), 26th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.2 percent (77 for 96), 23rd. Oilers - Power play: 18.4 percent (115 for 141), 16th. Penalty killing: 81.4 percent (110 for 135), 17th.

GOALTENDERS: Sharks - Nabokov (3-3-3, 0 SO, 3.22 GAA); Nolan Schaefer (5-1-0, 1, 1.94). Oilers - Markkanen (9-9-1, 0, 3.00); Morrison (1-0-0, 0, 1.29).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Oilers, 2-1-1.

LAST MEETING: March 21, 2004, Oilers, 5-2. At San Jose, Calif., Eric Brewer and Marc-Andre Bergeron scored third-period goals for Edmonton.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Sharks - 4-6-1 on the road; Oilers - 4-3-1 at home.

Associated Press
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