OILERS vs. SHARKS:
AT THE MORNING SKATE
Follow an impressive effort but disappointing result vs. Minnesota, the Oilers were back on the ice to fine-tune their skills and strategies heading into tonight's game vs. San Jose.
Edmonton is expected to keep the lines consistent, with one notable exception: on the blue line, Jason Strudwick moves in to replace Theo Peckham. Tonight's game will be Strudwick's first of the season.
"It's a great sport and I love to play, otherwise I would be doing something else," the veteran defenceman said. "The Sharks are a good squad, so obviously we'll have to be jumping. I'm going to play with Jim (Vandermeer) and we know each other pretty well. We played together before, so it's kind of a nice fit for my first game."
HALL FOR ONE
Although the Oilers came out on the losing end of Thursday's game vs. the Wild, the club's youngest player, Taylor Hall, greatly contributed to the team's dynamic play.
The first-overall pick, who is still looking for his first NHL goal, credited chemistry with linemates Andrew Cogliano and Gilbert Brule as well as quality offensive opportunities for his stand-out performance.
"We were really clicking," he said. "I think we just kind of dedicated ourselves to working hard and battling for the puck and just having a high compete level. We did that, and throughout the game we had a lot of time in the offensive zone and we didn't spend a whole lot of time in our own end, that's always good for a line.
"Hopefully we can keep that going tonight and also chip in for a win."
Associate Coach Ralph Krueger said Hall is a work in progress.
"We know it's coming piece by piece," the coach said. "He's taking care of a lot of things at the same time, not only off-ice and his defensive game, so we have to respect that he's putting his pro package together. But that was a great step in the right direction."
Hall and all his teammates will need to come together to pull off a win tonight. The Sharks are a talented group, but Oilers coaches and players are prepared for the attack.
"The keys are definitely going to be that we continue with the pressure that we exerted in the last two periods of the Minnesota game," Krueger explained. "We want to be in their face, we want to get our forecheck alive and go in for that, we need to be smart in the neutral zone with the puck, we want to continue to improve defensively. I thought we didn't give up a lot in the last 55 minutes of the game, and we've got to keep up that stance."
"We're excited to go at them," he added. "It's a big challenge for us, we'll get to know our strengths tonight."
SHARKS 6 - OILERS 1
The Oilers struck early with a shorthanded goal from Jordan Eberle but it was all Sharks after that as San Jose cruised to a 6-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night on the strength of three power play goals.
Author: Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com, with files from Bob Stauffer