Is Mikkel Boedker about to turn his season around?


Is Mikkel Boedker about to turn his season around?

Mikkel Boedker’s assist in Tuesday night’s win over the Montreal Canadiens was an example of why the San Jose Sharks signed him last summer.

He used his speed in transition against a reeling Habs defense to create a quality look off of an odd-man rush, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic was able to bury the ensuing rebound. The problem is that those moments are becoming increasingly rare.

Boedker’s only shot on goal and only shot attempt on Tuesday night came in the aforementioned Vlasic goal. That’s become all too common for the Danish forward this season.

He’s attempting shot attempts during five-on-five play at the second-lowest rate of his career, according to Corsica Hockey, and is generating about one-and-a-half fewer shots every 60 minutes at even strength. Combine that with a career-low five-on-five shooting percentage (3.23 percent), and Boedker’s on pace for one of the worst offensive seasons of his career.

As disappointing as Boedker was last season, he only scored two fewer goals at even strength than he did the season before hit free agency, and one fewer point playing five aside. His five-on-five shot attempt rate was the highest of his career, and his shot rate was the second-highest.

Of course, he was also healthy. Boedker played in all but one game last season, but has missed seven already this season with a lower body injury.

It appears that he’s just starting to get over what ailed him. After going shotless, pointless, and playing fewer than nine minutes a night in his first two games back from injury, Boedker generated seven total shots, two assists, and played more than 10 minutes in his last four.  

Only once before this season has Boedker shot at least once in four (or more) consecutive games, and that was about a month before he went on injured reserve. The Sharks are tremendously tight-lipped when it comes to disclosing injuries, so it’s fair to wonder how long he was playing hurt.

So even as Boedker hasn’t bounced back in the way he or San Jose wanted, his recent play is fairly encouraging, as the Sharks desperately need him. He may not be used in a top-nine role, but with Barclay Goodrow injured, Jannik Hansen struggling, and Danny O’Regan not quite ready for a roster spot, the Sharks don’t have any viable alternatives for Boedker’s spot in the lineup.

With two years and a $4 million cap hit remaining on his deal, Boedker won’t net much on the trade market, either. So, the Sharks have little choice but to rely on him to contribute.

If plays like his assist against Montreal become more frequent, San Jose won't mind having to do so.

Sharks vs. Wild live stream: How to watch NHL game online on MyTeams

NBC Sports California

Sharks vs. Wild live stream: How to watch NHL game online on MyTeams

As the Sharks head to Minnesota to take on the Wild on Tuesday, a player who once called the Xcel Energy Center home is heating up.

Brent Burns has five points (all assists) in his last three games, while San Jose carries a four-game winning streak into Tuesday night's matchup. Fellow Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson is also heating up, as the Sharks' blue line-led offense is starting to materialize. 

Minnesota, meanwhile, has won two of its last three after a 7-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Dec. 7. The Wild narrowly lost to the Calgary Flames on Saturday, and will wrap up their four-game homestand Tuesday night. 

Here's how you can watch Sharks-Wild live online in the new MyTeams by NBC Sports app.

When: 5:00 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Dec. 18 (pregame show starts at 4:30 p.m.)
TV Channel: NBC Sports California
Live Stream: MyTeams by NBC Sports app

To watch the game on your desktop computer, click here.

Sharks vs. Wild watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs


Sharks vs. Wild watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs

The San Jose Sharks will look to make it five in a row as they close out their two-game road trip with a visit to Minnesota to take on the Wild.

Team Teal is coming off of a come-from-behind victory over the Blackhawks in Chicago last Sunday. After Chicago roared out to an early 2-0 lead, San Jose rallied to a 7-3 victory with all but five skaters tallied points in the contest. The Sharks now sit in third place in the Pacific Division, two points behind the Anaheim Ducks and five points behind the Calgary Flames.

Those same Flames beat the Wild 2-1 on Saturday in a fight-heavy contest. Top-scoring Wild defenseman Matt Dumba exchanged punches with Calgary bruiser Matthew Tkachuk just 40 seconds into the game, then didn’t play in the second or third period because he sustained an upper-body injury. It’s a big blow to Minnesota’s depth, which will be tested by a Sharks team coming in with four straight wins.

This is the second time this season the Sharks and the Wild will meet. In their previous meeting in San Jose, the Sharks won 4-3.

Sharks projected lines and pairs:

Evander Kane – Joe Pavelski – Joonas Donskoi
Tomas Hertl – Logan Couture – Timo Meier
Marcus Sorensen – Joe Thornton – Kevin Labanc
Melker Karlsson – Barclay Goodrow – Lukas Radil

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Radim Simek – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Erik Karlsson

Martin Jones – projected starter
Aaron Dell

Wild projected lines and pairs:

Jordan Greenway – Eric Staal – Mikael Granlund
Zach Parise – Charlie Coyle – Nino Niederreiter
Jason Zucker – Mikko Koivu – Luke Kunin
Marcus Foligno – Joel Eriksson Ek – Erik Fehr

Ryan Suter – Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin – Greg Pateryn
Nick Seeler – Nate Prosser

Devan Dubnyk – projected starter
Alex Stalock