Sharks

NHL Gameday: Sharks wrap up road trip, looking to snap skid

NHL Gameday: Sharks wrap up road trip, looking to snap skid

Programming note – Sharks-Devils coverage starts today at 9:00 a.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 33-18-5, 71 points, 1st Pacific Division
Devils: 23-21-10, 56 points, 7th Metropolitan Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***The Sharks conclude their four-game road trip today, and enter with a season-long four-game losing streak (0-1-3). This is San Jose’s final Eastern Conference road game. Logan Couture (upper body) will be a game-time decision, according to coach Pete DeBoer.

***New Jersey is 3-0-1 in its last four, and 11-9-4 at home. The Devils are coming off of their bye week, and haven’t played since beating Buffalo on Feb. 6. 

***Patrick Marleau, who had the Sharks’ only goal on Saturday, has a nine-game point streak with eight goals and five assists over that span.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Kevin Labanc. The Sharks rookie didn’t know he was playing in Philadelphia until warmups on Saturday when Logan Couture was a late scratch, but set up Patrick Marleau’s power play goal and registered a team-high five shots. Labanc is looking to end a 17-game goal drought.

Devils: Taylor Hall. The Sharks didn’t have to face Hall the first time they saw the Devils in November when he was out with a knee injury. Despite missing 10 games, the former Edmonton Oilers left wing leads the Devils with 35 points (13g, 22a).

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Melker Karlsson – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Patrick Marleau – Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier – Tomas Hertl – Joel Ward
Marcus Sorensen – Chris Tierney – Micheal Haley

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones (starter)
Aaron Dell

Devils
Taylor Hall – Travis Zajac – Kyle Palmieri
Miles Wood – Adam Henruqie – Mike Cammalleri
Pavel Zacha – Jacob Josefson – Stefan Noesen
PA Parenteau – Sergey Kalinin – Joseph Blandisi

Andy Greene – Ben Lovejoy
John Moore – Steven Santini
Seth Helgeson – Damon Severson

Cory Schneider (starter)
Keith Kinkaid

INJURIES

Sharks: Logan Couture (upper body) is questionable. Joonas Donskoi (upper body) and Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) are out.

Devils: Beau Bennett (lower body), Jon Merrill (upper body) and Kyle Quincey (upper body) are out.

QUOTEABLE

"That actual little bit of working out and stuff just makes your legs that much stronger and I felt great today. I’ve just got to try and somehow maintain that throughout the season. It’s a tough schedule in the NHL, but you’ve got to find ways.” – Kevin Labanc, after Saturday's game

Sharks avoid arbitration, re-sign Chris Tierney to two-year deal

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Sharks avoid arbitration, re-sign Chris Tierney to two-year deal

Just two days before one was scheduled, the Sharks avoided an arbitration hearing with center Chris Tierney, and re-signed the restricted free agent to a two-year deal on Wednesday, the team announced. The deal is reportedly worth just shy of $2.94 million annually, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman

"Chris had his best season as a professional last year and stepped up his level of play in multiple areas," San Jose general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "We've always known he was a responsible, defensive-minded player, but he took his offensive game to the next tier and showed that he can be a productive player in all three zones. We look forward to watching him continue his evolution in 2018-19." 

Last season, the 24-year-old Tierney set career-highs in goals (17), assists (23), points (40), shots on goal (118), and ice time (16:00). Tierney also generated expected goals at the highest rate of his career (0.62 per hour), according to Corsica Hockey. 

A 2012 second-round pick, Tierney entered last season in an uncertain place. He signed his one-year, $735,000 qualifying offer last summer, and head coach Peter DeBoer challenged him to improve. 

“I came into the year wanting to prove a point. I believe in myself. I think I’m a good hockey player,” Tierney told the San Jose Mercury News in December. “I wanted to come in and show people that I could play an offensive role on the team.”  

DeBoer used Tierney slightly differently this season, as the forward started a career-high percentage of five-on-five shifts in the offensive zone (31.12 percent) and a career-low percentage of defensive zone starts (29.68 percent), per Corsica Hockey. Tierney responded in kind with his aforementioned career-best offensive numbers, and seized the third-line center role after versatile forward Tomas Hertl stayed on the wing.  

With Tierney back in the fold, the Sharks now have just under $4.4 million in salary cap space, according to CapFriendly. That’s for a roster carrying 14 forwards, seven defenseman, and two goaltenders, and San Jose’s actual cap space may change depending on the outcome of various positional battles in training camp. 

This summer, Tierney became the fourth Sharks player since 2008 to file for arbitration. In every case, including with Tierney on Wednesday, a settlement was reached prior to a hearing. 

The Sharks also signed a pair of prospects to entry-level contracts on Wednesday. Defenseman Ryan Merkley, San Jose’s first-round pick this June, and 21-year-old forward Alexander True, who scored 28 points in 68 games with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda last season, both inked deals with the organization.

Martin Jones' new goalie mask will have Sharks fans seeing double

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USATSI

Martin Jones' new goalie mask will have Sharks fans seeing double

Sharks goaltender Martin Jones won't just enter the season with a different paycheck, the result of entering the first year of a five-year, $34.5 million contract extension that he signed last July. He'll also have a new mask.

Toronto-based artist Steve Nash unveiled a look at Jones' mask design for the upcoming season Monday morning on Twitter. The design again features San Jose's secondary logo but with some subtle differences.

Eagle-eyed mask afficionados will notice a couple of tweaks. First, there now are two sharks on the side, compared to only one last season. Those sharks boast orange eyes seen on the back of his mask last season

For comparison, here's a look at Jones' mask from last year.

The 28-year-old netminder is entering his fourth season in San Jose's crease. Jones posted a .915 save percentage in 60 regular-season starts and followed that with a .928 in 10 postseason starts as the Sharks advanced to the second round. 

We'll get our best look at Jones' new mask in action when training camp opens in mid-September, and, assuming he plays, in a game as soon as the Sept. 18 preseason opener against the Ducks.