Sharks

Sharks morning skate: Torres to make debut; Donskoi on top line

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Sharks morning skate: Torres to make debut; Donskoi on top line

SAN JOSE – For the first time in nearly 17 months, Sharks forward Raffi Torres will be back on the ice in a competitive game situation when he suits up for San Jose in its preseason home opener vs. Arizona.

Torres, who has endured a horrendous two years ever since he was hurt in a preseason game on Sep. 20, 2013, is ready to move on with his career after multiple surgeries and infections in his right knee.

“I’ve tried to put all that stuff behind me. I feel good right now,” said the 33-year-old, who played in 12 games in 2013-14, and missed all of last season. “It is what it is, but it’s nice to be back in the locker room with the guys. … It’s just a fun day. Looking forward to it, it’s exciting.”

Torres’ teammates seem pretty enthusiastic, too. At one point in the pregame skate, the winger went top shelf over Alex Stalock, eliciting a cheer and some stick banging on the boards.

Torres will likely start on a line with minor leaguer Bryan Lerg and right wing Mike Brown.

Joe Pavelski said: “You know when he’s in the room it definitely adds some energy, and we like seeing him. For him to get back out on the ice now is another step in the whole process and we’re excited for him.”

Torres said he’ll try to keep his shifts short, and won’t be “going out and trying to get 10-15 hits tonight. It’s just about finding the game, the speed of the game, being in the right spots, be good defensively. Hopefully everything else will take care of itself.”

Pete DeBoer said: “I just want to see him get through a game and start to get his timing back. He hasn’t played in a while. He’s worked awfully hard off the ice in order to give himself a chance to get to this point again, and it’ll be a work in progress.”

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Joonas Donskoi, who has burst onto the scene as the most likely prospect to make the opening night roster, will get a chance to skate on the Pavelski-Joe Thornton line in Friday’s game.

Despite spending most of camp as a right wing, he’ll line up on the left side with the two Sharks stars.

“I said I’m sure you’ll make an exception playing with those two guys. He said, ‘Yeah, I think I can do that,’” DeBoer said with a grin. “I think it’s a great opportunity for him.” 

The 23-year-old Finland native was asked if he views it as an indication that the coaching staff has liked what it’s seen so far from him.

“I don’t know, I don’t think about that too much. I just try to play and give my best every day,” Donskoi said. “It’s a great opportunity to play with those guys.”

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Stalock will start in net, and will be backed up by Troy Grosenick. On Thursday, DeBoer said that Stalock would “probably” play the entire game.

The Sharks have yet to allow a regulation goal through two preseason games, including starter Martin Jones’ 30-save shutout in Vancouver on Tuesday. Are the goalies pushing one another?

“I think like everything the perfect situation for a coaching staff is competition at every position,” DeBoer said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt what you’re seeing, and that is everybody that’s getting an opportunity is knowing they have to step in and play a good game, because the guy before them did the same thing.”

* * *

Here’s a complete look at the likely forward lines to start the game:

Joonas Donskoi – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Matt Nieto – Chris Tierney – Tommy Wingels
Raffi Torres – Bryan Lerg – Mike Brown
Nikolay Goldobin – Ben Smith – Timo Meier

Along with Thornton and Pavelski, defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic will likely make his preseason debut, paired with Justin Braun. Mirco Mueller, Dylan DeMelo, Brenden Dillon, Matt Tennyson and Gus Young are the other defensemen listed on the roster, with one of them likely to be scratched.

Arizona, by the way, left former Sharks forward John Scott home for this one.

Sharks lose in Vancouver for first time since 2012

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USATSI

Sharks lose in Vancouver for first time since 2012

BOX SCORE

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Sam Gagner scored at 4:34 of overtime and the Vancouver Canucks snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Friday night.

Gagner beat Martin Jones with a nice backhand move on a breakaway for his fourth of the season after a feed from Alexander Edler. It was Gagner's first goal in nine games.

Markus Granlund scored twice and Brock Boeser also had a goal in regulation for Vancouver (15-14-4). Henrik Sedin and brother Daniel Sedin each added three assists. Jacob Markstrom made 34 saves.

Brent Burns scored two goals and Marcus Sorenson had one for San Jose (17-10-4). Martin Jones stopped 36 shots for the Sharks, who were playing their second game in two nights after Thursday's 3-2 road victory over the Calgary Flames.

San Jose had won 11 straight at Rogers Arena dating back to the Canucks' last victory on home ice over their Pacific Division rivals all the way back on Jan. 21, 2012. Vancouver was 0-9-2 over that stretch while getting outscored 41-14.

Leading 3-2 through 40 minutes, the Canucks nearly restored their two-goal lead four minutes into the third, but Jones stretched to make a great pad save on Thomas Vanek.

The Sharks mustered only one shot through the first 13 minutes of the final period, but got the equalizer with 5:49 left in regulation when Burns' point shot went off the skate of Canucks defenseman Alex Biega in front and beat Markstrom for his second of the night, sixth of the season and fifth in five games.

Coming off Wednesday's embarrassing 7-1 loss at home to Nashville, the Canucks stormed out of the gate against the Sharks and led 2-1 after the first period before Boeser stretched the lead to two.

The NHL's rookie scoring leader ripped a shot over Jones' shoulder on the power play at 11:56 of the second for his 17th, moments after slicing through the Sharks' defense and ringing a shot off the post.

San Jose got that one back with 1:44 left in the period when former Canucks forward Jannik Hansen started a sequence that ended with Sorenson netting his first past Markstrom.

Already minus five regulars, including two-thirds of their top line with Bo Horvat (broken foot) and Sven Baertschi (broken jaw) out long-term, the Canucks announced Friday morning that shutdown defenseman Christopher Tanev will miss two to three weeks with a groin strain.

Granlund, who came in with one goal in his last 12 games, opened the scoring 44 seconds in on the power play. Daniel Sedin redirected a slap pass in the slot from Henrik Sedin right to Granlund at the side of the net, and he beat Jones between the legs for his fifth.

Vancouver could have easily been up by two or three moments later as the Canucks led 10-0 in shots after just five minutes.

San Jose, which came in 7 for 21 on the power play over its last four games to climb from tied for 24th overall to tied for 11th, tested Markstrom five times on its first man-advantage opportunity before finally breaking through after Vancouver took another penalty.

The Sharks won an offensive-zone faceoff back to Burns, who snapped his fifth past Markstrom at 10:45.

Markstrom stopped San Jose's Chris Tierney on a short-handed breakaway later in the period before Granlund scored his second of the night seconds after the penalty expired. Daniel Sedin's initial shot fell at the top of the crease to Henrik Sedin, who tapped it over for Granlund to put into a wide-open net at 14:27.

NOTES: Canucks center Brandon Sutter and defenseman Erik Gudbranson remain sidelined with upper-body injuries. Vancouver is also without wing Derek Dorsett, who ended his playing career late last month due to spinal problems. ... San Jose forward Joel Ward got an assist on Burns' second goal of the night for his 300th career point in his 700th NHL game.

UP NEXT

Sharks: Monday night at Edmonton.

Canucks: Sunday at home against Calgary.

Check out this hilarious Sharks Christmas music video

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Check out this hilarious Sharks Christmas music video

Everyone knows the classic Christmas songs. Your family probably plays the same tunes year in and year out. 

It's time for the something fresh. 

The San Jose Sharks are here to bring some new flavor to Christmas spirit. On Friday, the team re-released the music video you all need to see, with their song "Holiday Sweater." Turn the volume up for this one.

Merry Christmas and good luck getting that jingle out of your head.