Sharks-Oilers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 11, 2012
It has been a disastrous last month for the San Jose Sharks, who are tumbling down the Western Conference standings. The lowly Edmonton Oilers have already contributed to their woes. The Sharks, the NHL's only winless team in March, again try to break out of their funk and avenge last week's home loss to the Oilers on Monday night at Rexall Place. San Jose (33-25-9) has lost five straight since a 1-0 win over Philadelphia on Feb. 28 and is 2-8-3 since Feb. 16, when it owned a four-point lead atop the Pacific Division. The Sharks are now six points behind division-leading Dallas and one back of eighth place in the West. A sputtering offense has been the biggest reason for the struggles. San Jose has scored three goals or fewer in 12 straight games and no more than two in nine of them. It has also failed to score on all 13 power-play chances during its March skid. The team's leading scorers, Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau (27 goals apiece), have been slumping. Couture has gone a season-worst seven games without a score, while Marleau has one goal in his last seven. The Sharks failed to light the lamp for the second time in five games Saturday at Phoenix, losing 3-0 to drop to 1-6-2 on the road since Feb. 16. Antti Niemi fell to 0-3-2 this month despite a 2.34 goals-against average that's slightly lower than it was through February. "We didn't score and did not give our pitcher any runs," coach Todd McLellan said. "Not getting any goals is a slide, and not winning is a slide.'' The Sharks once again had plenty of opportunities, outshooting the Coyotes 42-29. They fired 48 shots on goal in Thursday's 4-3 shootout loss to Dallas and lead the league in shots with 34.5 per game. "It seems to be a similar pattern here,'' Dan Boyle said. "We had several grade-A chances, but didn't put the puck away.'' In Tuesday's home game against Edmonton (26-35-7), it was the Oilers who took advantage of an early scoring opportunity off a misplay by Boyle. The defenseman couldn't control Ryan Whitney's dump-in in front of the net and Jordan Eberle batted the puck out of the air for a goal 10 seconds into the game - the fastest score ever allowed by San Jose. Edmonton went on to win 3-2 in a shootout, its only victory in the last six games. Ryan Smyth also scored in regulation and Sam Gagner recorded the only goal in the shootout to help the Oilers earn their second straight shootout victory over San Jose. The Sharks, who have 16 more points than Edmonton, were 10-2-0 in the previous 12 meetings. Devan Dubnyk made 28 saves while allowing goals to Jim Vandermeer and Ryane Clowe, but he has given way to Nikolai Khabibulin in Edmonton's two games since. Khabibulin stopped 26 of 30 shots in a loss to Montreal on Thursday and 30 in Saturday's 3-2 shootout loss at Colorado. He is 0-3-2 with a 3.33 GAA in six games since Feb. 15 and has a 3.72 GAA in losing his last three starts to the Sharks. Dubnyk has posted a 1.58 GAA in winning his last three games versus San Jose.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Lincecum has been throwing in secret location

RG3 passes exit physical, clears way for release

Bryce Harper has great response to $400 million contract question

Cavs discussed three-team deal that would net them Melo

Celtics reportedly discussing Kevin Love trade

New York Giants to pursue Matt Forte?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Joe Mauer to try wearing sunglasses to improve pitch tracking

Charles Woodson joining ESPN's 'Sunday NFL Countdown' team

A’s land Khris Davis from Brewers for prospects

Family of deceased Kyle Field construction worker awarded $53 million by jury

Chris Bosh to miss All-Star Game with calf injury, Al Horford to replace

NBA commissioner Adam Silver supports bringing sports betting in to the light

Why the Virginia Cavaliers are a National Championship contender

Cardiff City owner tells team to shoot more, because ugly men can marry beautiful women

Report: American Pharoah will make $35 million as stud in 2016

City hosts Tottenham in Valentine’s Day clash

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Is there a place for Aaron Hill with the Brewers?

The market for forwards may shape the NHL trade deadline

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

The most intriguing NBA story lines for the rest of the season

Report: Timberwolves ‘lament’ Andrew Wiggins missing weight-lifting sessions

Kevin Durant to the Warriors makes little sense

City of Atlanta, Braves fighting over iconic Hank Aaron statue

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker