Sharks hold on to edge Oilers

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Evgeni Nabokov and the NHL-leading San
Jose Sharks moved a step closer to their first Presidents’
Trophy as the regular-season points champion.

Nabokov made 25 saves for his 40th victory of the season, and
Jonathan Cheechoo and Dan Boyle scored in San Jose’s 2-1 victory
over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.

At 51-15-11, San Jose matched the franchise victory record set
in 2006-07. Nabokov improved to 40-9-8 and helped the Sharks
push their points total to 113 — three more than Eastern
Conference leader Boston and six ahead of Detroit.

“We do care about the points, but we care more about the way we
play,” Nabokov said. “With a lot of guys out of the lineup we
have to tidy it up a little bit. We have to be disciplined and
that’s what we are right now.”

Sam Gagner scored for Edmonton, tied for 10th in the Western
Conference. The Oilers have lost three straight and six of their
last seven.

“It’s disappointing,” Gagner said. “The battle level and the
intensity were there. The guys were working hard and creating a
lot of chances. Obviously at this time it comes down to results
though. We aren’t out of anything yet and we have to pick
ourselves up for the next game.”

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Cheechoo opened the scoring at 52 seconds of the first period,
ducking behind Joe Thornton and using him as a screen on goalie
Dwayne Roloson.

Boyle made it 2-0 on a power-play rebound at 8:16 of the second.

“It was a simple road win,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “I
don’t know that we were at our best. I thought Edmonton threw
everything they had at us. They came very hard. We had to be
very prepared.”

Gagner scored on a power play with 1:42 left in the second.

Notes: Defenseman Rob Blake and forward Marcel Goc both returned
to San Jose’s lineup. In their last outing against Calgary, the
Sharks were missing nine players due to injury. Among those
still on the mend for San Jose are forwards Patrick Marleau and
Ryane Clowe. … Roloson made his 34th consecutive start. …
Sharks center Joe Pavelski extended his scoring streak to seven
games with a second-period assist.