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Sharks down Oilers 4-1 for 8th consecutive win

by John Kreiser

The San Jose Sharks have been beating everyone in sight over the last couple of weeks. The struggling Edmonton Oilers had no chance on Saturday night.

San Jose made it eight wins in a row and sent the Oilers to their ninth loss in 10 games with a 4-1 victory over Edmonton at the Shark Tank. Patrick Marleau and Douglas Murray each had a goal and an assist as the Sharks regained the lead in the overall standings with 61 points, two ahead of Chicago and New Jersey, both of which won earlier in the night.

It wasn't the most artistic victory, but Sharks coach Todd McLellan wasn't about to throw it back.

"The way the night went, it probably wasn't much fun to watch. I don't think we were real sharp," he said. "We've played better games.

"It was a strange game. There wasn't a lot of emotion in it. We haven't played many games like that. It was odd for us."

Oilers coach Pat Quinn wasn't displeased with his last-place team's effort.

"What I can say is, we battled hard. We lost another, but hopefully we can continue to try to take some little steps. We can't let fear take us too far down the road where we become those deer-in-the-headlights. At least we're giving effort, we've got try. I still believe we can get this turned around."

Evgeni Nabokov made 22 saves, losing his shutout bid on Robert Nilsson's goal early in the second period. He outplayed Jeff Deslauriers, who wasn't as sharp as he'd been earlier in the week.

"We can't be good. We have to be great," said Deslauriers, who faulted himself on the Sharks' first three goals. "When the goalie isn't good, you can't win the game.

"I think on the first three goals, and maybe on the fourth one, I had a chance to do something."

Quinn wasn't as hard on his goalie as Deslauriers was on himself.

"One of the things we don't ever want to do is throw blame here and there," he said. "I'm sure he'd like a couple back.

"We forechecked well, we fought hard all night. I can never question the try of the guys. They got themselves some good chances, but we're also not putting the puck in the net."

The Sharks are primed to keep rolling -- they play 11 of their next 14 games at home, where they've lost just twice in regulation this season. The eight wins are the third-longest streak in franchise history.

Not that McLellan is taking anything for granted.

"It only takes one game to start a streak going the other way," he said. "I think we are humble enough and respectful enough of all our opponents to take it in stride and not get overconfident. That's the one thing we can't be at any point during the season."

San Jose went ahead 13:10 into the game when Jamie McGinn tipped Kent Huskins' shot through Jeff Deslauriers' legs to open the scoring. Douglas Murray's slap shot beat the rookie goaltender at 17:18 to give San Jose a 2-0 lead after one period.

"We definitely got the sense they were struggling," he said. "We had to make sure we played good hockey."

It became 3-0 just 43 seconds into the second period when Dany Heatley circled the net and wrapped the puck between Deslauriers' skate and the post for his 24th goal of the season. The goal came seven seconds after a high-sticking penalty to Edmonton's Dustin Penner expired.

"He must have lost track of it," Heatley said, "and I jammed it in."

The Oilers got on the board at 4:06 when Nilsson fired shot that Evgeni Nabokov stopped but couldn't control. Nilsson got to the rebound and wristed it home for his sixth of the season.

But Marleau restored the Sharks' three-goal lead at 13:32 when he took Joe Thornton's pass and beat Deslauriers past the catching glove from the left circle.

McLellan said he's expecting a more intense game when the division rival Los Angeles Kings come to the Tank on Monday.

"We have to keep our intensity up," he said, "and I think the game against Los Angeles will be a little different."

Material from team media was used in this report

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