Programming note – Sharks-Blues coverage starts today at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 25-15-2, 52 points, 2nd Pacific Division
Blues: 21-16-5, 47 points, 3rd Central Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***The Sharks will get David Schlemko back and probably Paul Martin, too. Schlemko has missed the last five games with a nagging upper body injury, while Martin didn’t play on Wednesday in Calgary after getting hurt the night before in Edmonton.
Martin was called a game-time decision by coach Pete DeBoer, but the veteran defenseman said after the morning skate that he’ll “most likely be in tonight.”
It would mark the first time the Sharks had a healthy top six on their blue line since Dec. 30 against Philadelphia, when Marc-Edouard Vlasic got dinged.
“It will be nice,” Martin said. “We’ll get six D back that are fairly comfortable with each other. We have a good crew.”
Joonas Donskoi will miss the game with an upper body injury, so Tommy Wingels will return after sitting out the previous two. Ryan Carpenter was recalled, but only as a spare forward, according to DeBoer.
***The Blues will be making their first appearance at SAP Center since San Jose clinched the Western Conference Final on May 25. St. Louis won the first meeting on home ice on Nov. 17, 3-2, and returns to San Jose on March 16 to close out the season series.
St. Louis has lost its last two games to Boston and Los Angeles, giving up five goals in each, and falling behind 4-0 in each. They’re struggled mightily on the penalty kill lately, too, giving up 10 goals on 36 chances over their past nine games.
***After four games on the top line, Timo Meier was bumped to the third line for Friday’s practice. Indications are that’s where he’ll play against the Blues.
Patrick Marleau goes back up to the Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski line.
“It’s a long season and sometimes you need to just change things around for a week or two to freshen things up. That’s a unit that has had success this year and we’re comfortable with,” DeBoer said.
***San Jose is 10-9-2 against Western Conference teams this season, at 14-5-1 at home. The Blues are 5-11-1 on the road.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Brent Burns. The Sharks defenseman has four consecutive multi-point games, with nine points (2g, 7a) over that span. Burns, who scored a goal in each of the two Sharks games in Alberta this week, has 17 on the season – seven more than any other NHL defender. He still leads the league with 166 shots, one more than Washington’s Alex Ovechkin.
Blues: Jaden Schwartz. The Blues winger had two goals in St. Louis’ win over the Sharks on Nov. 17 at Scottrade Center, and his 12 goals this season is second on the team behind Vladimir Tarasenko’s 20. Schwartz has four career multi-point games against San Jose in his career, with a total of four goals and seven assists in 10 games.
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Micheal Haley – Tommy Wingels – Melker Karlsson
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Martin Jones (starter)
Jaden Schwartz – Paul Stastny – Alex Steen
Nail Yakupov – Jori Lehtera – Vladimir Tarasenko
Robby Fabbri – Patrik Berglund – David Perron
Dmitrij Jaskin – Kyle Brodziak – Ryan Reaves
Alex Pietrangelo – Colton Parayko
Jay Bouwmeester – Kevin Shattenkirk
Joel Edmundson – Robert Bortuzzo
Carter Hutton (starter)
Sharks: Paul Martin (lower body) is probable. Joonas Donskoi (upper body), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) and Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) are out.
Blues: Carl Gunnarsson (lower body) is out.
“St. Louis is very good. We played them in the playoffs last year, and a team that we battled right to the end into the Conference Final. They’re big, they’re strong, very well coached, good goaltending. It’s another good test. There’s no easy nights, but it’s a real good test for us.” – Pete DeBoer