Oilers ready for Sharks challenge as they return to playoffs


2:25 a.m. ET April 11, 2017

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The Edmonton Oilers return to the NHL playoffs Wednesday against the Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks in a series expected to turn on experience — and injuries.

Centers Joe Thornton and Logan Couture are day to day with injuries for the Sharks, who ended the last three weeks of the regular season in a freefall.

“They’re missing a couple of key guys and they make a world of difference,” said center Connor McDavid after Edmonton finished the regular season second in the Pacific Division.

Couture has been skating but is still in pain after being drilled in the face by a redirected Brent Burns slap shot March 25. Thornton injured his left knee in a collision a week ago against the Vancouver Canucks.

Couture is a critical piece as he would be tasked with shadowing and shutting down McDavid, the NHL’s fleet-footed scoring champion.

McDavid will lead…

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