The red hot San Jose Sharks visit Edmonton on a franchise-best three-game winning streak to start the season and are coming into town after two days of rest and relaxation in Banff following a 4-1 drubbing of the Calgary Flames Monday.
The Oilers last game was also against the Flames – a 2-1 defeat on Saturday night. The team skated Sunday afternoon and had Monday off before beginning to prepare for tonights encounter.
Both teams will be bringing their A-game tonight as it is a rematch of last springs 2006 Western Conference Semi-Final series. In that series, San Jose raced out to a 2-0 lead before the Oilers stormed back to win the next four games and take the series in six.
OILERS TO WATCH: So far this season, the new players have done all the scoring for Edmonton. Petr Sykora has a pair of goals and Daniel Tjarnqvist and Joffrey Lupul have one each Raffi Torres is due for a goal after numerous chances in his first two games. He currently leads the Oilers with six shots on goal Second on the team in shots are Lupul and Ethan Moreau with five apiece.
SHARKS TO WATCH: Head coach Ron Wilson has stated that he will be rotating goaltenders to start the season which means that tonight is Evgeni Nabokovs turn to mind the pipes. In his only other start this year, Nabokov looked solid while turning away all 26 shots he faced in a 2-0 shutout win over the New York Islanders Say what you will about 2005-06 leading point-getter Joe Thornton and leading goal-scorer Jonathan Cheechoo, Steve Bernier and Patrick Marleau have been the offensive juggernauts for the Sharks so far in 2006-07. Bernier and Marleau each have five points in three games while Thornton and Cheechoo both remain without a goal.
ROSTER UPDATES: Edmonton – Daniel Tjarnqvist (hip) is questionable. Fernando Pisani (leg) is probable... San Jose – Mark Bell (groin) is out.
FAST FACTS: The Sharks previously started a season 3-0-0 in 1999. Their third win was a 3-2 overtime victory over Edmonton. They then lost their next two games, against Dallas and Anaheim Shawn Horcoff
is the first Oiler to go on a scoring streak this season with an assist in his first two games.
QUOTABLE: "He's got natural technique and strength. He's got quick hands and he's tremendously strong on the puck. We think with some direction and some practice he can really help us there - especially on the power play." - Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish on forward Raffi Torres, who is spending more time in the faceoff dot this season.
"I didn't even know the rules. It's a lot tougher than it looks. But it was a good experience. It was fun." - Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, whose team spent the past few days in Banff and went curling on Tuesday as a team-building exercise.
UP NEXT: The Oilers hit the road for a pair of games, visiting Colorado Saturday night followed by a meeting with Vancouver on Monday. Edmonton then returns home to face those same Canucks Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m.