Sharks

NHL Gameday: First place Sharks resume schedule in Anaheim

NHL Gameday: First place Sharks resume schedule in Anaheim

Programming note – Sharks-Ducks coverage starts today at 6:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 21-12-1, 43 points, 1st Pacific Division
Ducks: 17-12-6, 40 points, 3rd Pacific Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***The Sharks and Ducks will be meeting for the fourth time this season. San Jose won in overtime at home on Oct. 25, 2-1, but Anaheim has captured the previous two, each by a 3-2 score in regulation.

Due to the mandatory days off for Christmas, the Sharks were not permitted the regular routine of traveling to southern California last night. They held their Tuesday morning skate in San Jose a little earlier than normal before boarding the team charter.

“It’s always tricky getting back into it, flying the same day and playing a game,” Paul Martin said. “I think we know how important these points are, so I’m sure we’ll be focused and ready to go.”

Pete DeBoer believes the key after three days off will be to keep it simple. “The team that makes the fewest mental mistakes usually wins these games,” he said. “I think that the trap is to try and do too much and get a little bit fancy. We’re going to concentrate on that, just trying not to beat ourselves.”

Anaheim is 5-0-1 in the last six head-to-head meetings against San Jose, but 2-3-1 in its last six games overall.

***The Sharks will ice the same lineup they used against the Oilers on Friday, meaning Tommy Wingels and David Schlemko will remain healthy scratches.

San Jose has won six of its last seven, including a 3-2 overtime win against Edmonton in its most recent game in which it had a 31-18 advantage in shots.

“We played I thought one of our better games of the year. We didn’t give up much,” DeBoer said. “No need to change [the lineup].”

***After finishing a run of nine games in 17 days before Christmas, the Sharks will play their only game in a six-day stretch on Tuesday night. They host the Flyers on Friday.

How can one of the older teams in the league utilize that time?

“I’m looking forward to some good practices,” DeBoer said. “We haven’t had much of that.”

Patrick Marleau said: “When you rest up here, you refill the tanks, get some energy back, and now it’s time to go use it to our advantage.”

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Micheal Haley. Now centering the fourth line, Haley will be suiting up for the 15th time in the last 18 games. His role of playing a hard, physical style and dropping the gloves when necessary tends to become more important in certain Pacific Division games, including the Oilers on Friday and, of course, Anaheim, as there is no love lost between the intra-state rivals.

Ducks: Rickard Rakell. The 23-year-old has scored in each of his two games against the Sharks, and leads the Ducks with 14 in just 24 games. The former first rounder from the 2011 draft recently had a career-best six-game point streak from Dec. 3-17. 

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi
Melker Karlsson – Micheal Haley – Joel Ward

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – Dylan DeMelo

Martin Jones (starter)
Aaron Dell

Ducks
Rickard Rakell – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano – Ryan Kesler – Jakob Silfverberg
Nick Ritchie – Antoine Vermette – Ondrej Kase
Joseph Cramarossa – Logan Shaw – Jared Boll

Cam Fowler – Sami Vatanen
Hampus Lindholm – Josh Manson
Korbinian Holzer – Kevin Bieksa

John Gibson
Jonathan Bernier

INJURIES

Sharks: Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) is out.

Ducks: Nic Kerdiles (concussion), Nate Thompson (Achilles surgery), Simon Despres (concussion) and Clayton Stoner (lower body) are out.

QUOTEABLE

“They’re always tough games, playing your division rivals. We expect the same tonight. It’s going to be probably a good game to have right after the holiday, you get everybody right back into it. Big points.” – Patrick Marleau

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

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

SAN JOSE – The Sharks have been rolling since the start of 2019. They will face another tough challenge in their last home game before the All-Star break when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.

San Jose was busy last week, playing five games in an eight-day span. But, they won each of them. After a slow start on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators, the Sharks cruised to a 4-1 victory and extended their winning streak to six games.

The Pens are 8-2-0 in their last 10 contests. Pittsburgh has caught fire after a slow start to the season – including a five-game losing skid in November – and has been playing some of their best hockey of the season. They are 7-2-1 against Pacific Division teams this season.

This is the first of two games the Sharks and Penguins will play against each other this season. In 39 total franchise meetings, San Jose is 19-15-3-2 against Pittsburgh.

Sharks projected lines and pairs

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

Radim Simek – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Erik Karlsson
Tim Heed – Justin Braun

Martin Jones – projected starter
Aaron Dell

[RELATED: Thornton to notch 'great accomplishment' vs. Penguins]

Penguins projected lines and pairs

Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Bryan Rust
Tanner Pearson – Evgeni Malkin – Dominik Simon
Riley Sheahan – Derick Brassard – Phil Kessel
Derek Grant – Matt Cullen – Garrett Wilson

Brian Dumoulin – Kris Letang
Olli Maatta – Jamie Oleksiak
Marcus Pettersson – Jack Johnson

Matt Murray – projected starter
Casey DeSmith

Sharks practice notes: Joe Thornton to hit milestone vs. Penguins

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USATSI

Sharks practice notes: Joe Thornton to hit milestone vs. Penguins

SAN JOSE – The Sharks only play the Penguins twice a season. But they are well aware of how tough the Eastern Conference contingent can be.

“We’ve played a lot of good teams lately, and these guys coming into town, they’re playing as good as anyone right now,” Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said after Tuesday’s morning skate ahead of Team Teal’s first contest of the season against Pittsburgh.

Much like the Sharks, the Pens had an uneven start to their 2018-19 campaign, winding their way through a couple losing skids and only tallying four wins in the month of November. They’ve since turned things around, however, and had an eight-game winning streak going before they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks on January 6. 

“I think when you’ve had the deep runs they’ve had, I think it’s natural that you have some lulls in the regular season," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "But you can see they’re starting to pick it up and find another level." 

The Pens enter Tuesday’s contest with a 7-2-1 record against Pacific Division teams this season, using depth scoring and elite special teams play to find success. San Jose is going to have to play a disciplined game if they want to keep Pittsburgh from running away with the game, Pavelski said.

“When they’re playing well, they can beat you in a lot of different ways,” the captain summarized. “It’s a game we’ve got to be ready for. We’ve had a couple days off so (we’ll) get back out there early and re-establish what we were doing.”

“They’re starting to put it together and it’s a great test for us,” DeBoer said.

Big night for Jumbo

Speaking of Joe Pavelski, his linemate Joe Thornton will be skating in his 1,000th game as a member of the Sharks on Tuesday night. 

“I’m sure he’ll say it’s another game,” Pavelski said with a smile. “But obviously it’s a great accomplishment.”

A great accomplishment indeed, given the ups and downs Thornton has had health-wise over the last couple of seasons. The magnitude of his accomplishments isn’t lost on the rest of the team.

“It’s amazing, his career,” DeBoer reflected. “First ballot Hall of Famer. Still playing at a really high level. His greatness is in what he does for other players, how good he makes other people around him. That’s a rare thing.”

One of those special players is 26-year-old Marcus Sorensen, who has spent a good chunk of his breakout 2018-19 season on Thornton’s wing. Sorensen, who just signed a two-year contract extension with San Jose, expressed how happy he was to get to play on a line with the seasoned veteran.

“I play with one of the best players in the world,” Sorensen said. “I’m honored to play with him and Pavs right now. Love playing with those guys. It’s so easy to play with them.”

Tuesday’s game is just one of Thornton’s milestones Sorensen has been part of. The Swedish winger also set Thornton up for his 400th career goal earlier this season.

“It’s special,” Sorensen said. “I was here when he played his 1,500th (NHL) game. I was able to pass (to) him for his 400th goal. I’m going to keep those memories for my whole life.”