NHL Gameday: Sharks' Dell gets start against former college coach

NHL Gameday: Sharks' Dell gets start against former college coach

Programming note – Sharks-Flyers coverage starts tonight at 6:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California


Sharks: 22-12-1, 45 points, 1st Pacific Division
Flyers: 20-13-4, 44 points, 5th Metropolitan Division


***The Sharks have won three in a row – the last two of which have come in overtime – and seven of their last eight games headed into tonight’s matchup. Brent Burns’ OT goal in Anaheim on Tuesday pushed San Jose to a 3-2 victory in its first game after Christmas.

San Jose had two days to practice after the Anaheim game, which wasn’t their best effort despite the win. Prior to that, the team had just one standard off-day practice in the previous 16 days.

“I’ll be interested to see how our legs and stuff are tonight. I would hope they’re good,” Pete DeBoer said. “We had the break, and we went really hard two days ago. Yesterday we backed off a little bit, but it was nice getting some practice in and actually getting some work done for the first time in awhile.”

Philadelphia is 1-3-1 in its last five, but won 10 straight before that. The Flyers have lost their last two in regulation, including a 6-3 defeat in St. Louis on Wednesday that kicked off a three-game road trip. 

***Aaron Dell will making his fifth start of the season against his former college coach at the University of North Dakota, Dave Hakstol. The Sharks backup is 3-1-0 with a 2.16 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in his first NHL season.

From 2009-12 at North Dakota, Dell was 49-20-5 with a 2.15 GAA and .912 SP, including a school record 30 wins in 2010-11.

“A little extra motivation,” Dell said of facing Hakstol. “He recruited me to UND, and it would be a little sweet to beat him after that.”

David Schlemko will also get back in the lineup on the blue line, in place of Dylan DeMelo. The defenseman came out under curious circumstances three games ago, while DeMelo played well in his place in three straight wins.

“We were winning, and that’s just how it works – you get out of the lineup for a night and someone comes in and does the job, you’ve got to wait until another opportunity arises,” DeBoer said. “We felt that it was important to get him back in tonight.”

Schlemko is a little more familiar with Philadelphia than most of his teammates, after spending last season in New Jersey.

“They definitely play an Eastern-style game. They’re not afraid to cheat a little bit and go for the offense, but they still play hard and they’ve got a lot of talent,” he said.

***The Sharks won both meetings last season, including one year ago to the day at SAP Center, 4-2. The Flyers have beaten the Sharks just once in the last 19 head-to-head meetings, and San Jose brings a five-game winning streak against Philadelphia into the first of two games between the clubs. They meet against at Wells Fargo Center on Feb. 11.


Sharks: Paul Martin. After a slow start in which Martin was starting to look, well, old, the 35-year-old has three goals in his last eight games, and has been a minus player just once in his last 13. The former Devils and Penguins defenseman has plenty of experience against the Flyers, with 23 points (3g, 20a) in 60 career games.

Flyers: Wayne Simmonds. The big winger leads the Flyers with 17 goals, and is tied for second in scoring with 31 points. Simmonds is especially effective on the power play where he has eight goals, tied for second in the NHL, on Philadelphia’s eighth-ranked unit.


Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi
Melker Karlsson – Micheal Haley – Joel Ward

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

Aaron Dell (starter)
Martin Jones

Michael Raffl – Claude Giroux – Jakub Voracek
Taylor Leier – Brayden Schenn – Wayne Simmonds
Nick Cousins – Sean Couturier – Dale Weise
Chris VandeVelde – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Boyd Gordon

Ivan Provorov – Andrew MacDonald
Brandon Manning – Shayne Gostisbehere
Michael Del Zotto – Nick Schultz

Steve Mason (starter)
Anthony Stolarz


Sharks: Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) is out.

Flyers: Radko Gudas (lower body), Michael Neuvirth (sprained knee), Matt Read (oblique) and Mark Streit (shoulder) are out.


“He gave me a chance there, and he let me kind of grow as a player and as a person. I think that opportunity was huge in my career. I got to balance school and hockey and everything with the travel and whatnot. I think that helped me a lot to be ready to play pro.” – Aaron Dell, on Flyers coach Dave Hakstol, who had Dell at the University of North Dakota

Sharks blow out Devils for season-high fifth straight win

Sharks blow out Devils for season-high fifth straight win


SAN JOSE -- Jannik Hansen scored his first goal of the season and fellow fourth-liners Eric Fehr and Barclay Goodrow also scored to help the San Jose Sharks win their season-high fifth straight game, 6-2 over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.

Logan Couture added his 30th goal of the season, and Joe Pavelski and Mikkel Boedker also scored to give the Sharks a four-point lead over third-place Los Angeles in the Pacific Division with one game in hand.

Brent Burns added three assists and Martin Jones made 26 saves.

The scoring barrage by San Jose spoiled Cory Schneider's return to net for the Devils. Schneider allowed four goals on 14 shots before getting pulled midway through the second period of his first start since March 8. Schneider has lost 11 starts in a row since his last win for the Devils on Dec. 27.

Taylor Hall scored his 32nd goal of the season and Blake Coleman also scored for the Devils, who lead Florida by just one point in the race for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers have two games in hand.

After Hansen and Fehr scored in the first period, Goodrow chipped one in midway through the second period on a surprising night of scoring from the fourth line when he beat Schneider on a 2-on-1.

Couture then scored 40 seconds later on San Jose's first shot against Keith Kinkaid for his third career 30-goal season. Boedker added San Jose's second power-play goal of the night late in the second and the rout was on.

The Sharks got off to a fast start in their first game back from a 3-0 Canadian road trip, scoring three goals in the first period and killing 1:20 of a two-man advantage for New Jersey.

The teams traded goals to start with Fehr beating Schneider over the shoulder from a bad angle and Hall answering when he stole a bouncing puck from Justin Braunand beat Jones with a quick shot.

San Jose then scored twice in a span of less than three minutes to take the lead. Pavelski tipped in a shot from Kevin Labanc on the power play to give the Sharks the lead.

Then after Jones denied Damon Severson from in close at one end, Dylan DeMelo sent a long pass that Hansen chased down and then beat Schneider on a breakaway for his first goal since March 30, 2017.

NOTES: DeMelo has 10 assists this month. ... San Jose D Brenden Dillon has a five-game point streak. ... Devils F Miles Wood (upper body) was scratched and Jesper Bratt played in his place.


Devils: Visit Pittsburgh on Friday.

Sharks: Host Vegas on Thursday.

With Devils in town, Sharks will get firsthand look at top contender for MVP


With Devils in town, Sharks will get firsthand look at top contender for MVP

As the season winds down, whispers surrounding players’ awards candidacies are turning into full-blown conversations. None are more interesting than those surrounding the Hart Trophy, awarded to “the player judged to be the most valuable to his team,” according to the NHL’s criteria.

The Sharks have already seen their fair share of MVP candidates since the trade deadline, and will encounter yet another one on Tuesday when Taylor Hall and the New Jersey Devils stop by SAP Center. They’ll see a couple more beyond Hall over the next three weeks, too.

Who do we think has the best case? With no disrespect meant to Nikita Kucherov or Anze Kopitar, Hart Trophy candidates that the Sharks won’t play before the playoffs, we’ll look at the ones the Sharks have played since the deadline or will play before the end of the regular season.

The Dark Horses
Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals: The demise of the ‘Great Eight’ was greatly exaggerated. In his 13th NHL season, the 32-year-old is tied for the league lead in goals (43), 11th in points (78), and has led a depleted Capitals roster to the precipice of a third-straight division title. That probably won’t be enough to earn his fourth Hart Trophy, but this is undoubtedly one of Ovi’s best seasons.

Eric Staal, Minnesota Wild: Staal was a pleasant surprise when he scored 65 points last year, but has been even better this season. He’s tied for fourth in the in goals (39), tied for fifth in even strength goals (26), tied for 19th in points (71), and leading his team in each category as a 33-year-old. The Wild are a near-lock for the postseason at this point, and a resurgent Staal deserves much of the credit.

The Frontrunners
Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers: McDavid’s candidacy comes down to where you fall on the “non-playoff players winning MVP” debate, but his value to the lottery-bound Oilers cannot be denied. Edmonton is 28-19-3 when he’s scored a point, and 3-17-2 when he hasn’t.

The former is about a 97-point pace in the standings over an 82-game season, while the latter is about a 30-point pace. In other words, the Oilers are basically a playoff team when McDavid scores, and historically bad when he doesn’t.

We’re sympathetic to questions about how valuable a player can be when his team will finish so far out of the postseason. However, imagining how much worse the poorly-constructed Oilers would be without him makes him a worthy candidate alone.

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche: The Colorado Avalanche were 31 points worse than the league’s second-worst team last season, and finished 46 points out of the postseason. A full offseason with second-year coach Jared Bednar, as well as some under-the-radar acquisitions have helped the Avalanche’s remarkable turnaround into a Wild Card team, but Nathan MacKinnon is undoubtedly the catalyst.

The former No. 1 pick has put it all together this season, and is tied-for-second in points (89) with McDavid, despite playing eight fewer games. His 1.39 points per game are the most in the league, as are his 3.49 points per 60 minutes of five-on-five play, according to Natural Stat Trick (minimum 500 minutes played).

The Avalanche is the league’s fifth-worst five-on-five puck possession team overall (47.42 percent corsi-for), but are right around league-average with MacKinnon on the ice (50.96 percent). He’d be a very worthy Hart Trophy winner, and likely would be the clear-cut frontrunner if not for the man leading the Devils into SAP Center on Tuesday.

The Favorite
Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils: McDavid is not the only No. 1 pick the Oilers drafted that’s in the MVP conversation, but he’s the only one still on their roster. The other is Taylor Hall, who has the best Hart Trophy case in our eyes.

Hall strikes the sweet spot between McDavid’s case, as a superstar with little support around him, and MacKinnon’s, as an emergent force leading a resurgence, and he has a 26-game point streak to his name. He sits outside the top 10 in points (77), goals (31), and assists (46), but has scored points at a higher rate per game (1.15) than all but six qualifying players.

He also doesn’t have Mikko Rantanen or Leon Draisaitl skating alongside him as MacKinnon and McDavid do, nor does he have a supporting cast like Kucherov and Kopitar. Of all the players the Sharks have and will face down the stretch, Hall’s been the player most valuable to his team this season.