The Edmonton Oilers, winners of six in a row, are off to their best start in a quarter-decade. They'll be the visitors tonight at Jobing.com Arena as they face off against the Phoenix Coyotes, who after a five-game unbeaten streak fell victim to Pekka Rinne's 23rd shutout on Thursday.
The Coyotes, who were 3-1 against the Oilers last season, sent Andy Miele back to the AHL's Portland Pirates yesterday, as Cal O'Reilly is expected to start tonight. Mike Smith will likely be the starting goaltender, and Martin Hanzal's status is still questionable. Out for the Oilers are Cam Barker, Ales Hemsky, Ryan Whitney and Darcy Hordichuk.
...Too bad the sharks aren't playing any today. We still have to wait until Friday to watch another Shark's game. But maybe, just maybe, what seems like a punishment might actually be a blessing in disguise.
You see, a myriad of Sharks are out right now with various injuries and would not have been ready to go on an earlier date. Havlat is still recuperating from a shoulder injury. Niemi is recovering from minor surgery that removed a cyst from his knee. And Marleau has missed every practice this week with the flu.
Two of these three players, sans Marleau, also missed the opening game of the season. Which is a real testament to how stacked this Sharks team is with depth at all position...