NHL Gameday: Marleau stays on top line as Sharks host Devils

NHL Gameday: Marleau stays on top line as Sharks host Devils

Programming note – Sharks-Devils coverage starts today at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California


Sharks: 9-8-1, 19 points, 4th Pacific Division
Devils: 9-5-3, 21 points, 5th Metropolitan Division


***The Sharks wrapped up their longest road trip of the year in Arizona on Saturday, falling 3-2 in overtime. It was their third straight defeat (0-2-1). San Jose has played just six games in its own building, but will play the next five and eight of the next 10 at SAP Center.

“We’re excited to be home now and start a little homestand,” Joe Pavelski said.

The Sharks will ice yet another new look to their lines as they search for more consistent offense. Patrick Marleau will skate on the top line with Pavelski and Joe Thornton, after he helped get that line going in the third period of the Arizona game.

“He did a tremendous job, just working,” Pavelski said. “We turned over a lot of pucks, had some chances, had some looks. That’s how we have to play.”

***Neither team has had much success on the power play lately. The Devils are 0-for-25 over their last eight games, while the Sharks are 1-for-21 in their last seven.

Pete DeBoer said: “Our power play has to get us one. We’ve always been a good power play team, and that’s usually been good for almost a goal a night for us over the course of a season. That’s a critical part of our game, too.

***The Devils will start Keith Kinkaid, who will be making just his fourth start in net as the backup to Cory Schneider. Kinkaid, who is 2-0-1 with a 1.66 GAA and .944 SP this season, shut out the Sharks at SAP Center last season with 30 saves in a 3-0 Devils win on March 10.

“He’s a real capable backup,” said DeBoer, who is familiar with Kinkaid from his time in New Jersey. “He has the ability to come in and steal games. Obviously he played well in here last time in, and we’ve been making goalies look good lately. We have to make sure we get to him and get the appropriate amount of pressure and get inside. He’s a big guy. If he sees it, he’ll stop it.”

Martin Jones starts for the Sharks.


Sharks: Danny O’Regan. A fifth round pick of the Sharks in 2012, O’Regan will make his NHL debut as the fourth line center. The Boston University product is tied for the team lead in scoring on the Barracuda with five goals and 11 points in 11 games. Fellow rookie Kevin Labanc will sit after playing the past six games.

Devils: Damon Severson. The 22-year-old is tied for the Devils team lead with 12 points (3g, 9a), ranking him 10th in the NHL among defensemen. The former second round pick in 2012 has four multi-point games. New Jersey’s blueliners have scored seven of the team’s 12 goals over the past four games, and 11 of 41 overall.


Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Joonas Donskoi – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Mikkel Boedker – Chris Tierney – Matt Nieto
Micheal Haley – Danny O’Regan – Tommy Wingels

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones (starter)
Aaron Dell

Beau Bennett – Travis Zajac – P.A. Parenteau
Reid Boucher – Adam Henrique – Nick Lappin
Jacob Josefson – Pavel Zacha – Devante Smith-Pelly
Sergey Kalinin – Vern Fiddler – Blake Pietila

Andy Greene – Damon Severson
Jon Merrill – Ben Lovejoy
John Moore – Kyle Quincey

Keith Kinkaid (starter)
Cory Schneider


Sharks: Melker Karlsson (left foot/ankle area) and Tomas Hertl (lower body) are out.

Devils: Kyle Palmieri (upper body), Taylor Hall (left knee) and Mike Cammalleri (personal) are out.


“First game, don’t be too nervous. Just play your game. Just pretty much do the things that got me here.” – Danny O’Regan, on the message from Pete DeBoer headed into his first NHL game.

Paul Martin rewarding Peter DeBoer's faith in NHL return


Paul Martin rewarding Peter DeBoer's faith in NHL return

When Sharks defenseman Paul Martin confirmed reports in January that he was willing to go elsewhere for more playing time, his head coach was insistent that the team would need the veteran blueliner. 

"I really believe we need eight NHL defenseman here," DeBoer told reporters in January (via The Mercury News). "If it happens that he isn't here, then that'll be disappointing for us. I'm not hoping that's where this goes. I'm hoping this goes to a place where he can maybe go down, play some games and keep himself ready, because I know we're going to need eight defensemen."

That's pretty much exactly what's happened.

After clearing waivers in January and playing with the AHL's San Jose Barracuda, Martin was called up ahead of the Sharks' four-game road trip at the end of February. He did not play until last Saturday in Vancouver, when an upper-body injury to rookie defenseman Joakim Ryan, whose play pushed Martin down the depth chart in the first place, created an opening alongside Brent Burns. 

Martin's now played three straight games with Burns, his defensive partner for the vast majority of the previous two seasons. It's the first time Martin's played in three consecutive NHL games all season, and although he hasn't played much (11:53 in average time-on-ice), he's acquitted himself nicely in a sheltered role.

His five-on-five possession numbers (52.78 percent corsi-for; 53.33 percent fenwick-for) are the second-best marks among Sharks defensemen over the last three games. Burns, too, has posted better possession numbers with Martin (47.62 percent corsi-for; 50 percent fenwick-for) during the last three contests than without his longtime partner (43.40 percent corsi-for; 41.67 percent fenwick-for). 

The Sharks have also outscored (3-0) and outchanced (17-16) opponents with Martin on the ice, neither of which was the case in Martin's first three appearances earlier this season. The former is owed to a decent amount of puck luck, as the Sharks have converted on 17.65 percent of their shots with him on the ice, but the latter is an extension of his solid underlying numbers. 

Martin's played the least amount of total minutes among Sharks defensemen since coming back, even as Marc-Edouard Vlasic missed time in two of the last three games, and has barely been used in special teams. His days of averaging 20-or-more minutes a night are likely behind him, but the 37-year-old has played well in a limited role. 

Considering Martin's NHL days appeared to be behind him as recently as last month, his play has been a pleasant surprise. With the exception of his head coach, that is. 

Couture scores in OT, helps Sharks make up ground on Golden Knights

Couture scores in OT, helps Sharks make up ground on Golden Knights


SAN JOSE -- Seconds after almost costing the San Jose Sharks a game with a turnover, Logan Couture ended it with his backhand.

Couture scored 39 seconds into overtime after getting bailed out by goalie Martin Jones and the San Jose Sharks won their season-high sixth straight game, 2-1 over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night.

"I was able to make a move on their guy," Couture said. "(Marc-Edouard Vlasic) did a good job of driving their backchecker back and I was able to go far side."

Couture's goal came at the end of an opening shift of the overtime that started with him losing the puck in his own zone, giving Jonathan Marchessault a chance alone in front. Jones got enough of the shot to stop it, and then Vlasic sent the puck ahead to Couture for the winning goal that moved San Jose within seven points of first-place Vegas with eight games remaining in the regular season.

Brent Burns also scored and Jones made 24 saves to help the Sharks open a four-point lead over third-place Los Angeles in the Pacific Division with a game in hand as the Sharks close in on home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

"For us to get a win tonight was important," captain Joe Pavelski said. "Plus, just plant that seed. If we stay hot, you never know, we might be able to catch them and get home ice. We took care of business tonight and we'll try to keep playing well."

Tomas Tatar scored the lone goal for the Golden Knights, who were kept in the game by a sterling performance by goalie Malcolm Subban. He stopped 42 shots but it wasn't enough for Vegas to come up with the win, although he helped earn a point that gave the expansion team 100 this season.

"It's impressive," forward James Neal said. "It's a great season for our guys. Guys came together real quick. A great job so far but we're not done yet."

The Golden Knights struck first on a pretty passing play early in the first period that ended when Marchessault found Tatar cutting through the slot ahead of Justin Braun. Tatar skated past Jones and backhanded the puck into the open net.

Vegas has been dominant when getting off to a lead, posting an NHL-best 31-5-1 record when scoring first heading into this game. But the Sharks carried the play in the second period, outshooting the Golden Knights 18-4 and getting the equalizer on a blast by Burns from the point after another strong shift by San Jose's fourth line.

"We want to be playing really good hockey this time of year and heading into the playoffs. I think that's the goal," coach Peter DeBoer said. "Whether we would have won tonight or lost, I like how we played for most of the game, so that's what I'm concentrating on."

Vegas managed to keep it tied despite the lopsided shot totals, killing off a four-minute penalty to Colin Miller and another late power play that started late in the second.

That penalty carried over until the third period and the Sharks got 25 seconds of a two-man advantage after Brayden McNabb was called for throwing his stick but still couldn't get anything past Subban.

The Golden Knights squandered a power-play chance later in the period when Miller was called for cross checking with the man advantage. That nearly led to a power-play goal for San Jose but Subban appeared to get a piece of a shot from in close to Joe Pavelski to keep the game tied at 1.

"He's the main reason we got the point," coach Gerard Gallant said. "He looked comfortable."

NOTES: Vegas G Marc-Andre Fleury didn't make the trip to San Jose with an undisclosed injury but is expected to join the team for Saturday's game in Colorado. ... Burns became the 15th player to play 500 career games with the Sharks.

Golden Knights: Visit Colorado on Saturday.

Sharks: Host Calgary on Saturday.