Programming note – Sharks-Canadiens coverage starts today at 4:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 18-11-1, 37 points, 1st Pacific Division
Canadiens: 19-6-4, 42 points, 1st Atlantic Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***Timo Meier will make his NHL debut, skating on the third line with Chris Tierney and Joonas Donskoi, after he was recalled on Thursday. He arrived in the Montreal area at approximately 5 p.m. yesterday evening.
“First game, obviously real special,” Meier said. “Something that you’ve been working on your whole life. Once the moment is here, obviously you’re real excited. I’m just looking forward to tonight, and I want to take it shift by shift and just go out there and have fun.”
Pete DeBoer said: “Just want him to get through the first game without feeling too nervous, and jump in with both feet and go to work. He’s a good player, he belongs up here.”
Meier will be the third Sharks player to make his NHL debut this season. The first two, Danny O’Regan and Kevin Labanc, were forced to take solo laps around the rink in warmups. Does Meier expect the same treatment?
“Yeah, I think I’m a little prepared for that,” he said. “It’s a fun moment.”
***Logan Couture is fine to play after he left Wednesday’s game in Ottawa in the third period after getting cross-checked in the back of the head by the Sens’ Mike Hoffman. Couture gave his perspective of the play, and what happened next after he had to be helped off of the ice.
“I never said a word to that guy (Hoffman) in my life," Couture said. "I didn’t hit him at all during the game. I shoved him on the entry there, and I was going to the net to look for someone to pick up, and the next thing I know I’m getting hit in the back of the head.
“When it first happened, I didn’t know what hit me, if the puck had possibly hit me or accidentally one of our guys. Until I saw the replay and saw the guy skates around the zone and cross-checks me in the back of the head – I was stunned.
“Then, afterwards, just have to go through all the concussion protocol and everything. I spent time with their doctor, and thankfully I was lucky.”
Hoffman had a hearing with the league on Friday morning to determine whether there will be any supplemental discipline. DeBoer believes a suspension is warranted.
“I don’t have an opinion on what number of games, but it’s definitely a suspendable offense,” said the coach. “There’s no doubt about that.”
***Donskoi will also return to the Sharks lineup, after it was confirmed by DeBoer that he was a healthy scratch against Ottawa. Joel Ward will be a healthy scratch for the first time this season against Montreal. Both players have just two goals.
***Montreal is without two of its centers. Top liner Alex Galchenyuk, who was having a breakout season with 23 points in 25 games, and David Desharnais will each miss the next five-to-seven weeks with knee injuries.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Timo Meier. The ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft – and the best Sharks prospect in a long time – is set to make his NHL debut tonight. Meier has nine goals, 15 points and a plus-eight rating in 17 games with the AHL Barracuda, and brings a big body (six-foot-three, 210 pounds) along with tremendous offensive skill.
Canadiens: Torrey Mitchell. The popular former Sharks forward has found a home in Montreal, and is currently skating as the Canadiens’ third line center. In his last three games, Mitchell has four points (2g, 2a). In 11 career games against the Sharks, the 31-year-old has one goal.
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi
Micheal Haley – Tommy Wingels – Melker Karlsson
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Martin Jones (starter)
Max Pacioretty – Tomas Plekanec – Alexander Radulov
Artturi Lehkonen – Phillip Danault – Andrew Shaw
Paul Byron – Torrey Mitchell – Brendan Gallagher
Daniel Carr – Brian Flynn – Michael McCarron
Alexei Emelin – Shea Weber
Andrei Markov – Jeff Petry
Nathan Beaulieu – Zach Redmond
Carey Price (starter)
Sharks: Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) is out.
Canadiens: Alex Galchenyuk (knee), David Desharnais (knee) and Greg Pateryn (fractured ankle) are out.
“I want to bring my game, my strengths. I want to play with a lot of energy, and do the little details right. Just play the game the right way.” – Timo Meier