Oilers play host to disappointing Sharks

(SportsNetwork.com) – The Edmonton Oilers put a major dent in the defending
Stanley Cup champions’ playoff hopes the last time out, but there is nothing
to spoil in Thursday’s home test against the San Jose Sharks.

Several days after getting embarrassed 8-2 by Los Angeles, the Oilers exacted
revenge on the Kings with Tuesday’s 4-2 victory at Rexall Place. Combined with
other developments in the Western Conference playoff race, the loss put L.A.’s
postseason chances in serious doubt.

The Sharks were clinging to slim playoff odds a few days ago, but those dreams
ended after Monday’s 5-1 loss to the Dallas Stars. San Jose had a 10-season
playoff streak ended and will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

The Oilers lost by six goals in Los Angeles last Thursday, but got payback for
that lopsided setback in Tuesday’s home game. Edmonton, the last-place club in
the conference, had gone 14 straight meetings without a regulation win over
L.A. before recording the shocking victory.

Richard Bachman made 25 saves, Matt Fraser scored twice, and Benoit Pouliot
and Tyler Pitlick also lit the lamp to help the Oilers snap a three-game skid.

“We wanted a little redemption from last week,” Fraser said. “It felt good to
play the spoiler.”

Drew Doughty scored on a seemingly innocuous shot from center ice with 10:22
remaining to pull the Kings within 3-2, but they never found the equalizer.
Fraser then potted an empty-netter to seal L.A.’s fate just before the final

Tonight marks the home finale for the Oilers, who will end their season
Saturday in Vancouver. Edmonton is 15-22-3 as the host this season.

San Jose has lost two straight and yielded five goals in both setbacks. After
dropping Saturday’s 5-3 decision in Arizona, the Sharks fell behind three
goals against the Stars on Monday before getting on the board.

Joe Thornton supplied San Jose’s lone goal, while Alex Stalock stopped 20
shots in the setback. The loss came in the home finale at the SAP Center and
dropped the Sharks to 19-17-5 as the host.

“We weren’t good enough at home and that’s probably what ended up costing us,”
Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said.

Even a victory on Monday wouldn’t have kept San Jose alive in the playoff
race, as both Dallas and the Sharks were eliminated from contention in the
West following Winnipeg’s victory over Minnesota earlier on Monday.

The Sharks will close the season Saturday in Los Angeles. They own a 20-15-4
road mark.

Edmonton and San Jose each have two wins against each other in the season
series and the Oilers posted a 5-4 shootout victory when the clubs last met on
Feb. 2 at the Shark Tank. The Oilers have claimed two of the last three home

Antti Niemi will start in net for the Sharks and boasts a 10-1 in this series,
going 10-1-2 record and a 2.55 goals against average in his career against

The Oilers loaned Bachman to Oklahoma City of the AHL on Wednesday and will
go with Laurent Brossoit as the starter tonight. Brossoit is set to make his
NHL debut and will be backed up by Curtis Hamilton, who also was recalled from
Oklahoma City. Like Brossoit, Hamilton has never seen action in an NHL game.