Sharks hold on to edge Oilers

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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."

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.


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