The last-place Edmonton Oilers beat the first-place San Jose Sharks behind a historic performance from Ben Scrivens when these Pacific Division foes met last.
Scrivens is the first to admit that a repeat performance won’t be easy to come by when the Sharks – fresh off clinching a playoff berth – return to Edmonton on Tuesday night.
San Jose (46-18-9) had outscored the Oilers 22-12 during a six-game winning streak before falling 3-0 at Rexall Place on Jan. 29. Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall combined for five points while Scrivens turned away all 59 shots, breaking the NHL’s all-time record for most saves in a regular-season shutout.
"I look at it as a bit of an outlier, an anomaly," Scrivens told the team’s official website. "The guys played well but, by no means, is that repeatable. … They’re a good team. I don’t think that they’re going to try any harder to win because of the last game. I think they’re a good team and they try to win every game. We have to come out and try and match that."
The Sharks are officially headed back to the postseason after picking up a point in Monday’s 2-1 shootout loss at Calgary. Their 10 consecutive playoff appearances make up the NHL’s second-longest active streak behind Detroit’s 22-year run.
"It was probably an inevitability but there is satisfaction in clinching," coach Todd McLellan said. "That was one of the goals that we set out to do and they’ve accomplished that. It would’ve been nice to get the two points, obviously we’re in a heck of a race for other things so that’s a little bit disappointing, but we have to move on."
San Jose is now two points ahead of Anaheim in the division and two behind St. Louis for the Western Conference’s top spot.
"We’ve just got to continue to get points. It would’ve been nice to get two but we’ll take the one," captain Joe Thornton said.
The Oilers (25-38-9) had an especially rough time against the Flames in Saturday’s 8-1 defeat. Edmonton took an early 1-0 lead on Jeff Petry’s power-play goal but was utterly embarrassed the rest of the way.
"It just went deeper and deeper," coach Dallas Eakins said. "I apologize to the fans that were here tonight that had to watch that. It was painful on the bench and I’m sure it was painful in the stands."
The Oilers, who were showered with boos, dropped to 0-16-2 at home when scoring two goals or fewer. One fan threw his jersey on the ice only to have Scrivens fling it back.
"I always feel like as a fan, you pay your money and you get to do whatever you want," Scrivens said. "If you want to boo me, jeer me, call me every name, you are entitled to that.
"But when I see a jersey thrown on the ice, I’m from here. … All of the great guys who have pulled this sweater over their heads – Gretzky, Messier – they all took great pride wearing that jersey. That logo is a sacred thing for us. It is disheartening for me to see our fans treat it that way."
Scrivens stopped 12 of 15 shots after replacing Viktor Fasth, who allowed five goals on 16 shots. Scrivens is 1-3-0 with a 3.80 goals-against average over his last five games.
Fasth suffered a possible sprained neck after colliding with Anton Lander during Monday’s practice, leaving his status for this game unclear. Laurent Brossoit was recalled from Oklahoma City on an emergency basis.
San Jose’s Antti Niemi is 7-1-1 with a 2.27 GAA against the Oilers. Thornton has notched 28 points during an 18-game stretch in the series.