Sharks

Sharks

Programming note: Penguins-Sharks coverage starts tonight at 7:30pm on NBC Sports Network.

Where they stand
Sharks: 14-9-0, 28 points, 2nd Pacific Division
Penguins: 13-8-2, 28 points, 4th Metropolitan Division

The latest

Sharks: The Sharks won for the seventh time in their last eight by easily handling the Calgary Flames on Saturday at home, 5-2. Tommy Wingels, Tomas Hertl and Marc-Edouard Vlasic all had one goal and one assist, while Joel Ward and Patrick Marleau each had a power play goal. San Jose has split the first two games of a three-game homestand.

Penguins: Edmonton claimed a 3-2 shootout win in Pittsburgh on Saturday, after the Penguins erased a 2-0 hole. Pittsburgh, beginning a four-game road trip tonight, is 1-1-2 in its last four including a home loss to the Sharks on Nov. 21.

Keep an eye on…

Sharks: Joel Ward. The Sharks forward has added some punch to the top power play unit, and has one goal and four assists in his last five games. Tied for second on the Sharks in scoring with 19 points, Ward continues to exceed expectations since signing a three-year contract in the offseason.

Penguins: Chris Kunitz. The Penguins forward has just three goals and no assists in 23 games, but will be reunited with Sidney Crosby, where he found success earlier in his career. The 36-year-old former Duck has 10 goals in 34 career games against the Sharks.

 

Probable lines

Sharks
Melker Karlsson – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Joonas Donskoi – Patrick Marleau – Joel Ward
Matt Nieto – Tomas Hertl – Tommy Wingels
Dainius Zubrus – Chris Tierney – Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Brenden Dillon
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Mirco Mueller – Matt Tennyson

Martin Jones (confirmed starter)
Alex Stalock

Penguins
Pascal Dupuis – Sidney Crosby – Chris Kunitz
David Perron – Evgeni Malkin – Phil Kessel
Patric Hornqvist – Nick Bonino – Beau Bennett
Sergei Plotnikov – Matt Cullen – Eric Fehr

Rob Scuderi – Kris Letang
Brian Dumoulin – Ben Lovejoy
Ian Cole – Adam Clendening

Marc-Andre Fleury (confirmed starter)
Jeff Zatkoff

Vitals

Sharks
Goals per game: 2.83 (10th)
Goals-against per game: 2.52 (11th)
Power play: 16.4 percent (24th)
Penalty kill: 80.8 percent (14th)

Penguins
Goals per game: 2.22 (26th)
Goals-against per game: 2.30 (6th)
Power play: 16.5 percent (23rd)
Penalty kill: 84.0 percent (7th)

Injuries/Scratches

Sharks: Justin Braun (infection in elbow) is doubtful. Ben Smith (concussion) and Logan Couture (fractured right fibula) are out.

Penguins: Olli Maatta (upper body) is out.

Season series

The Sharks skated to a 3-1 win at Consol Energy Center just 10 days ago, behind two goals from Brent Burns and 38 saves by Martin Jones.

San Jose is 17-2-3 in its last 22 games against the Penguins.

Odds and ends

*Patrick Marleau, Joel Ward and Brent Burns all bring four-game point streaks into tonight’s game, while Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby is on a five-game streak.

*Marleau will be honored in a pregame ceremony for scoring his 1000th NHL point in Pittsburgh on Nov. 21.

*Tonight will be the second of five games that the Sharks will wear their throwback Heritage jerseys. They lost the first on Nov. 3 vs. Columbus, 5-2.

*Evgeni Malkin has one goal in each of the last three games, and leads the Penguins in scoring (22 points).

*The Sharks finished November with a 9-4-0 record. Last season, December was their best month (9-3-1).