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Martin Jones' biggest strength lately? Stopping the Wild's

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USATSI

Martin Jones' biggest strength lately? Stopping the Wild's

When Sharks goaltender Martin Jones takes the net against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday, he’ll face a team with a strength that runs counter to one of his own.

Jones, who’s posted a .934 five-on-five save percentage since the All-Star break according to Natural Stat Trick, has been one of the league’s better goaltenders in the face of high-danger shots and chances at even strength, which the Sharks allow at the league’s seventh-highest rate (11.75 per 60 five-on-five minutes).

Minnesota, on the other hand, makes opponents pay on the most dangerous opportunities. The Wild have scored goals on five-on-five high-danger chances at the ninth-highest rate in the league (1.45 goals per 60 minutes), with the 11th-highest high-danger shooting percentage (13.02 percent).

That’s not good for San Jose, as it’s coming off a loss in which it allowed a lot of those kinds of chances. The Sharks actually allowed more five-on-five high-danger chances in Friday night’s narrow defeat to the Blackhawks (14) than in Thursday’s lopsided loss against the Predators (11).

The difference, as it has since the break, came down to who was in net.

On Friday, a now-healthy Jones allowed one five-on-five goal off of a high-danger chance. On Thursday, Aaron Dell allowed five.

Their respective performances in net were indicative of a trend that’s become especially prevalent since the All-Star break, as the netminders’ individual form has flipped: Jones is standing tall in the face of dangerous chances, while Dell is not.

On a per-60 minute basis, Dell’s only seen 0.04 more high-danger chances in five-on-five situations than Jones. Yet, despite making eight fewer starts, Dell’s only allowed four fewer goals on said chances chances (nine) than Jones (13).

Three starts is a small sample size, but when taking each goaltender’s full season into account, the difference against high-danger opportunities is still stark: Jones has an .822 five-on-five save percentage against high-danger shots, while Dell is at 0.746, according to Corsica Hockey. They ranked 13th and 57th, respectively, out of 62 goalies that have played at least 500 five-on-five minutes as of Saturday.

With Jones in net, that difference will be especially important on Sunday, since Minnesota’s so good at converting on dangerous opportunities, especially lately. The Wild have scored eight goals off of high-danger opportunities during their three-game winning streak, which is their longest in over two months.

The Sharks are on a streak of their own, having lost two in a row. Whether it extends to three, or Minnesota’s to four, will depend on which strength proves stronger: Jones’, or the Wild’s.

NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California reveal brand-new studio

NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California reveal brand-new studio

NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California are about to get a whole new look. 

The home of Authentic Bay Area Sports will unveil its new state-of-the-art studio Saturday at 6:30 p.m. with "Sharks Pregame Live."

The sleek 2,270 square-foot studio boasts an interactive demo area and multiple anchor and reporter positions designed for movement and flexibility. 

“Our new studios will provide our anchors, analysts and insiders the ability to provide the region’s most comprehensive, informative and entertaining sports coverage across multiple platforms,” NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California Senior Vice President and General Manager Matt Murphy said in a statement. "We’ve created a world-class facility that is designed for innovation and the creation of compelling content for local sports fans.”

Every part of the studio can be used as a broadcast location, thanks to the litany of large displays integrated into its architecture, and a sleek LED display running the length of the studio forms the backdrop for the main anchor area. Located at the network's headquarters at 360 3rd Street in San Francisco, the studio includes 120 LED tiles in all: 75 are in the walls, and 45 are on the demo area's floor.

The studio, which was designed as part of a partnership between NBC Sports and the design group at Jack Morton Worldwide, primarily will serve as the main set for Warriors, Giants and 49ers pregame and postgame shows, as well as news updates, press conferences, breaking news and magazine shows.

A secondary studio will debut with "Sharks Pregame Live" on Oct. 16 at 7 p.m., and it primarily will host NBC Sports California's pre- and postgame shows, news updates, press conferences and breaking news. 

How to watch UFC Fight Night Sacramento: Live stream, start time, TV info

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USATSI

How to watch UFC Fight Night Sacramento: Live stream, start time, TV info

A pair of hometown heroes headline UFC Fight Night Sacramento on Saturday at Golden 1 Center. 

Urijah Faber (34-10-0) will fight for the first time since Dec. 17, 2016, coming out of retirement to fight Ricky Simon (15-1-0) about 15 miles from Faber's collegiate alma mater of University of California, Davis. Faber isn't lacking motivation coming out of retirement, and can give the crowd in Sacramento something to cheer about.

So, too, can Folsom native Aspen Ladd (8-0-0). She is undefeated in her pro career, but will face a more difficult opponent in Germaine de Randaime than at any point so far in her career. 

Here's the full card, which gets underway at 5 p.m. PT:

Undercard: Marvin Vettori (12-4-1) vs. Cezar Ferreira (13-7-0) [men's middleweight]
Undercard: Karl Roberson (7-2-0) vs. Wellington Turman (15-2-0) [men's middleweight]
Undercard: Josh Emmett (14-2-0) vs. Mirsad Bektić (13-1-0) [men's featherweight]
Co-main: Urijah Faber (34-10-0) vs. Ricky Simon (15-1-0) [men's bantamweight]
Main event: Germaine de Randamie (8-3-0) vs. Aspen Ladd (8-0-0) [women's bantamweight]

Here are the preliminary bouts, which begin at 2 p.m. PT:

Mike Rodriguez (9-3-0) vs. John Allan (13-5-0) [men's light heavyweight]
Andre Fili (19-6-0) vs. Sheymon Moraes (11-3-0) [men's featherweight]
Julianna Peña (8-3-0) vs. Nicco Montaño (4-2-0) [women's bantamweight]
Darren Elkins (24-7-0) vs. Ryan Hall (7-1-0) [men's featherweight]
Pingyuan Liu (13-5-0) vs. Jonathan Martinez (10-2-0) [men's bantamweight]
Lívia Renata Souza (13-1-0) vs. Brianna van Buren (8-2-0) [women's strawweight]
Benito Lopez (9-1-0) vs. Vince Morales (9-3-0) [men's bantamweight]

[RELATED: Predictions for UFC Fight Night Sacramento]

Here's how you can watch UFC Fight Night Sacramento on TV and online. 

Date: Saturday, July 13 at 2 p.m. PT (prelims) and 5 p.m. PT (main event)
TV: ESPN (prelims)
Live Stream: ESPN+ (main event)