for this game

Sliding Sharks aim to get back on track in Edmonton

Mar 12, 2012 - 2:45 PM (Sports Network) - Thanks to their longest losing streak of the season, the San Jose Sharks have lost their grip on a playoff spot.

The Sharks do have some games in hand and they'll go for a much-needed victory this evening against the Edmonton Oilers.

San Jose has begun March with an 0-3-2 skid, dropping them into the 11th spot in the Western Conference. That is one point back of a trio of teams for the final playoff berth: Calgary, Los Angeles and Colorado. The Sharks do have three games in hand over the Avalanche and two on the Coyotes and Flames. Colorado is also in action tonight.

The Sharks have been outscored 14-6 over their losing streak and were shut out by the Coyotes 3-0 on Saturday. Antti Niemi made 26 saves, but could not prevent San Jose from posting its longest skid since a six-game losing streak from Jan. 1-13 of last season.

"We have to score some goals to win. We can talk about goaltending all we want. Theirs was very good," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan, who then used a metaphor to describe the game his own goaltender, Niemi, had.

"We didn't give our pitcher any runs to play with," said McLellan.

San Jose's winless March includes setbacks in the first two of a four-game road trip that ends in Calgary tomorrow night. The Sharks have lost eight of their past nine on the road overall.

San Jose opened up its four-game series against Edmonton with a 3-2 home win on Dec. 17, but has dropped consecutive shootout decisions to the Oilers. The Sharks have still won 10 of the past 14 encounters overall and six of their past eight trips to Edmonton.

The Oilers have lost five of their past six and sit 14th in the West with 59 points. They were last in action on Saturday when they dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the Avalanche. Nikolai Khabibulin made 30 saves, but was scored on by both Colorado skaters in the shootout.

Ryan Smyth scored a first-period goal and Ales Hemsky had a potential game- tying tally wiped out due to interference by Sam Gagner.

"The explanation was that I was in the crease," Gagner lamented. "It's frustrating, but there's nothing I can do."

However, Taylor Hall was able to force overtime on his 25th goal of the season with 4:43 left in the third period.

Edmonton begins a four-game homestand this evening and has dropped its last four as the host.