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San Jose Sharks host Pacific Division rival Edmonton Oilers

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The San Jose Sharks have put an up-and-down (even for them) 2013 behind them that saw 10 streaks of at least four games won or lost. They can take their first step toward finally being consistent when they host the Pacific Division rival Edmonton Oilers Tuesday, January 2.

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Poor effort and execution have played major roles in each of San Jose's losing streaks of 2013. Playing hard and smart on every shift has to be the New Year's resolution of this team.

The Sharks hold advantages in most of the pictured personnel and other comparisons examined for this game. That is no surprise since the Oilers have the worst record in the Western Conference and are looking at missing the Stanley Cup playoffs for the eighth straight season.

Teams like that can place higher importance on beating a true title contender. They also have the speed needed to take advantage of teams that take them for granted.

San Jose played terribly for 39 minutes in Tuesday night's visit to the Anaheim Ducks. That loss widened the gap between in the teams in the Pacific Division standings to over three games and kept the Los Angeles Kings within a game of second place.

As well as they play at home, the Sharks would benefit most from home-ice advantage in any rounds of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs. However, it appears the three best teams in the Pacific Division play in California and travel might not even be an issue until the Western Conference finals.

Nevertheless, every point matters for the division, conference and thus ultimately the chance to win the Stanley Cup. The sooner San Jose learns this, the sooner the franchise-drought of 22 years without a title can end.


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