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Sharks continue trip vs. struggling Oilers

by John Kreiser

SHARKS (12-2-5) at OILERS (4-14-2)


Last 10: San Jose 4-2-4; Edmonton 1-8-1

Season series: The Pacific Division rivals play the first of five games this season. The San Jose Sharks swept three games against the Edmonton Oilers in 2012-13 and have won their past three visits to Rexall Place.

Big story: The Sharks have won back-to-back games in Western Canada after a five-game losing streak. The Oilers are just trying to figure out how to put the puck in the net; they've been blanked in three consecutive home games, including a 3-0 loss to the Dallas Stars on Wednesday.

Team Scope:

Sharks: San Jose went from no points to two points in a big hurry on Thursday. They trailed the Vancouver Canucks 1-0 with time running out before rookie Thomas Hertl scored the tying goal with 1:05 to play. Hertl's goal came after defenseman Dan Boyle's misfire came right to him. Boyle made no mistake in overtime, blasting a perfect power-play shot past Roberto Luongo for the winner.

"That one I put it where I wanted it," Boyle said of a shot that bounced off the back post and out so quickly it took a review to confirm a goal. "The power play needed to come through. We actually struggled quite a bit against Vancouver through three games but got a huge one."

Oilers: With four wins in 20 games and no goals in his team's past three home games, general manager faced the media in a "State of the Franchise" session Thursday. MacTavish has traded away veteran defenseman Ladislav Smid and signed goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, but he said there could be more changes coming. Those changes, he said, aren't likely to include the team's youthful core but could include a high draft pick.

"I don't view another first-round draft choice to be what we need going into the latter part of this year or next year," he said.

One area where MacTavish said there won't be a change is behind the bench, where new coach Dallas Eakins got a vote of confidence.

"It's easy to say I have the upmost confidence in the coaching staff," he said. "It's harder for you guys to believe that because of the situation we're in. What this team needs is the continuity in coaching and they're going to get it. I'm completely supportive on how [Eakins has] handled the players, the team and the direction of the team."

Who's hot: Hertl's goal was his 11th of the season, tops among all rookies. … Jordan Eberle has five points in the Oilers' past five games.

Injury report: San Jose is missing Brent Burns (undisclosed), who's day-to-day. Adam Burish (back surgery) and Raffi Torres (knee) are a long way from returning. … Edmonton is without forward Tyler Pitlick (knee), goaltender Richard Bachman (groin) and defenseman Justin Schultz (groin).

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