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Struggling Sharks set to host Oilers

by Brian Compton
OILERS (25-33-6) at SHARKS (33-24-7)


Last 10: Edmonton 4-5-1; San Jose 2-7-1.

Season Series: This is the third of four meetings between the teams. The clubs have split the first two contests, with Edmonton evening things up with a 2-1 shootout victory on Jan. 23 at Rexall Place.

Big Story: It's a pivotal game for San Jose, which enters Tuesday's action in eighth place, just one point ahead of both Los Angeles and Colorado. The Sharks are also two points behind both Dallas and Phoenix in the Pacific Division race.

Team Scope:

Oilers: Tuesday concludes the end of Edmonton's brief road trip, which began unsuccessfully with a 4-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center on Monday night. Shawn Horcoff had a goal and an assist and Nikolai Khabibulin made 26 saves, but it wasn't enough for the Oilers to prevent them from suffering their 34th regulation loss of the season.

"It's a tough game to play," coach Tom Renney said. "You have to have courage to play this game. You have to have courage to take responsibility of the puck. You have to have courage to give it up in order to get it back the hard way. You have to have the courage to lose a little bit of your identity to fall into the team game and lots of people do that.

"On the nights where we have one guy at the wrong time that does that, it's a problem for us. We don't deal with it very well. You can say we're growing up, but sooner or later, you have to arrive."

Sharks: It's the last of a four-game homestand for San Jose, which suffered its second straight loss in a 3-1 decision against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night. The Sharks have mustered only two goals in the first three games at HP Pavilion, which included a 1-0 win against Philadelphia last Tuesday.

"We're in a funk and we need to get out of it and get it going," defenseman Douglas Murray said. "It's easy to talk. We have to get it done on the ice, get some wins, get the confidence level up as a team. We're too good a team to let this go on any longer."

Who's Hot: Oilers forward Jordan Eberle scored his team-leading 29th goal of the season Monday night. He has two tallies in his last five games.

Injury Report: Sharks forward Martin Havlat (hamstring) has resumed skating, but is not ready to return just yet.

Stat Pack: Horcoff ended a six-game scoring drought Monday night. … Saturday's game marked San Jose's 100th consecutive sellout.

Puck Drop: "There's times I feel really good, and then a lot of motion and movement makes it hard for one to focus a little bit, but I am getting better every day." -- Sharks coach Todd McLellan, who has missed three straight games with concussion symptoms 
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