The San Jose Sharks closed out the first half of the season on a hot streak and hope to carry that momentum to the second half when they visit the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.
Despite a 1-0 loss to St. Louis in their final game before the All-Star break, the Sharks (32-16-0) won seven of eight before that to get to 64 points, just four behind Anaheim in the Pacific Division.
"We have a lot of games left with Dallas and Anaheim," Sharks forward Mike Grier said. "It's going down to the wire. Many teams are good enough to earn the No. 1 seed (in the Western Conference)."
Besides the defeat to the Blues, the only other loss for San Jose since the calendar flipped to 2007 was a 3-2 setback to Edmonton (23-21-4) at home on Jan. 10. The Sharks have scored 37 goals in their last nine games, and have won three straight and seven of their last nine away from home.
"We're in a position to battle and now we have to play harder," San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov said. "It's going to be really tight with four teams and anybody could be first in the conference. It's important to come back even more fired up and to understand what we need to do."
The Sharks, who also visit Vancouver on Sunday, have 15 road wins, the second-best total in the West. Nashville, which leads the NHL with 71 points, has 16 victories away from home.
San Jose is 0-2-0 against the Oilers this season, losing both home and away. Edmonton beat the Sharks in six games in the second round of the playoffs last season, and including the postseason, has won six straight and 10 of the last 13 meetings.
After advancing to the Stanley Cup finals last season, Edmonton is last in the Northwest Division with 50 points, but trails co-leaders Calgary and Vancouver by only six points.
The Oilers lost three of their last five entering the break, including a 4-0 defeat to the Flames last Saturday. Edmonton has been held to two goals or less in six of its last eight games.
"We made too many mistakes and they capitalized," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "They were more capitalistic. If you are not going to play a hard game, you had better do something offensively. We had a lot of guys who were right in between tonight. It's a bad recipe.
"We've scored two five-on-five goals in six games against (the Flames)," he said. "You're not going to win a lot of games that way. We are lucky to have two wins right now in the six games we've played them with stats like that."
The Oilers finished the first half with two games at Rexall Place and now play their next three contests there. Edmonton has lost six of its last eight at home.