Sharks

Sharks morning skate: Martin still out as Kings invade San Jose

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Sharks morning skate: Martin still out as Kings invade San Jose

Programming note: Kings-Sharks coverage starts tonight at 7pm with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California.

Where they stand
Sharks: 4-2-0, 8 points, 1st Pacific Division
Kings: 2-3-0, 4 points, 5th Pacific Division

The latest

Sharks: The Sharks wrapped up a four-game road trip with their worst performance of the season in New York on Monday, losing 4-0 to the Rangers. They concluded the trip with a 2-2-0 mark. San Jose has played five of its first six on the road, but a three-game homestand begins tonight and continues with Carolina and Nashville.

[KURZ: Top 5 takeaways from Sharks' 2-2-0 road trip]

Kings: The Kings won their second straight at home on Sunday, beating Colorado, 2-1. Tyler Toffoli scored for the second straight game, and is the only Kings player with multiple goals (3). Tonight is Los Angeles’ first road game of the season.

Probable lines

Sharks
Matt Nieto – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Tomas Hertl – Joel Ward
Barclay Goodrow – Chris Tierney – Tommy Wingels
Micheal Haley – Bryan Lerg – Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – Brent Burns
Mirco Mueller – Matt Tennyson

Martin Jones (confirmed starter)
Alex Stalock

Kings
Marian Gaborik – Anze Kopitar – Dustin Brown
Milan Lucic – Jeff Carter – Tyler Toffoli
Tanner Pearson – Nick Shore – Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford – Andy Andreoff – Jordan Nolan

Brayden McNabb – Drew Doughty
Derek Forbort – Christian Ehrhoff
Jake Muzzin – Alec Martinez

Jhonas Enroth
Jonathan Quick (likely starter)

Keep an eye on…

Sharks: Matt Nieto. After the Rangers game Nieto was labeled as the team’s best forward that night by coach Pete DeBoer, who shifted the 22-year-old up to the Joe Thornton line in the second period. That’s where Nieto, who has one goal and two assists, will start tonight’s game.

[RELATED: Nieto likely to remain on Sharks' top line for now]

Kings: Milan Lucic. The summer acquisition hasn’t impressed with his new club at all, with just one assist through five games. Lucic went after Logan Couture late in the season opener after getting upended with a neutral zone check, and could be a target tonight.

Injuries/Scratches

Sharks: Joonas Donskoi (lower body), Paul Martin (lower body), Ben Smith (facial cuts), Paul Martin and Logan Couture (fractured right fibula) are out.

Kings: Matt Greene (upper body) and Dwight King (broken foot) are out.

Vitals

Sharks
Goals per game: 2.67 (14th)

Goals-against per game: 2.00 (T - 4th)

Power play: 15.8 percent (20th)

Penalty kill: 85.7 percent (11th)

Kings

Goals per game: 1.20 (29th)

Goals-against per game: 2.80 (23rd)

Power play: 4.8 percent (29th) 

Penalty kill: 84.6 percent (14th)

Season series

The Sharks outclassed the Kings on opening night at Staples Center on Oct. 7, 5-1. Joe Pavelski had a game high three points (1g, 2a).

The Sharks return to Staples Center on Dec. 22, while the Kings visit SAP Center on Jan. 24 and March 28.

Odds and ends

*Bryan Lerg was recalled from the Barracuda on Thursday morning, one day after getting reassigned. Mirco Mueller and Micheal Haley were recalled from the Barracuda on Wednesday. Nikolay Goldobin and Dylan DeMelo were reassigned.

*The Kings made just one appearance at SAP Center last season. Their second visit to San Jose was at Levi’s Stadium.

*The Sharks will honor forward Scott Thornton before tonight’s game as part of their 25h anniversary alumni appreciation.

Erik Karlsson, wife Melinda bring home daughter after two-week hospital stay

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USATSI

Erik Karlsson, wife Melinda bring home daughter after two-week hospital stay

Last Thursday was a day Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda never will forget.

After a two-week stay in the hospital, Erik and Melinda finally got to bring their daughter, Harlow Rain, home. It's been a big help to the Sharks defenseman, especially his sleep schedule.

"My wife's good with that. She's doing the heavy lifting," Karlsson said about his wife getting up to be with the Harlow, via Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News. "I can get my sleep and be able to do what I need to do for my profession. It's nice to have the family home."

Harlow was born a five weeks earlier than expected, with Karlsson having to fly home before the Sharks' season-opener against the Vegas Golden Knights to be with Melinda as she prepared to give birth to their daughter at the 35-week mark of the pregnancy. 

Harlow spent two weeks in the hospital, so doctors could monitor her, but she finally got to come home Thursday. Bringing their little girl home without complications was a weight off both Erik and Melinda's shoulders. The Karlssons suffered a horrible tragedy in 2018, when Erik revealed the couple had lost their son, Axel, a month before he was supposed to be born.

Thankfully, all is well with the newest member of the Karlsson family.

“When something good happens, you want to be able to bring her home right away,” Karlsson said, via The Mercury News. “We wanted to make sure she was OK. We were fine with that. It’s not the most fun to be at the hospital all day long, but when I was home, I was there.

“But my wife was there way more than I was, obviously. It just takes a toll. Just nice that we can be at home now and we can figure our own stuff out.”

[RELATED: Simek improving but still a ways off]

Karlsson and the Sharks haven't gotten off to the best start on the ice, amassing a 3-5-0 record through the first eight games.

They'll look to right the ship starting Tuesday when they open a five-game East Coast road trip against the Buffalo Sabres. 

With Harlow and Melinda back at home, Karlsson feels better about focusing on the ice and is excited about the prospect of parenthood.

“It’s great, Anybody with kids knows it’s a lot of work, a lot of it obviously falls on my wife and she’s doing a great job with it,” Karlsson said. “We’re new parents, so we’re going to have to figure things out.

“We’ve getting lots of help from people around here that have that experience, people at home. But at the end of the day, we’re going to figure out our own things and what works for us. We’re excited about that.”

Sharks' Radim Simek improving, but not expected to play on road trip

Sharks' Radim Simek improving, but not expected to play on road trip

The Sharks made good use of their three-game homestand, earning four of six possible points against high-quality competition to get back on track after a miserable start to the season. San Jose's improved play has coincided with Patrick Marleau's arrival and Evander Kane's return to the lineup, and the Sharks will attempt to build off their recent momentum as they head off on a five-game road trip.

Unfortunately for San Jose, it doesn't sound as if the team will get back further reinforcements for the games in Buffalo, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Boston. The Athletic's Kevin Kurz reported that defenseman Radim Simek participated in some practice drills Wednesday, but is unlikely to play on the upcoming road trip, according to head coach Peter DeBoer.

Simek underwent knee surgery in March and has been rehabbing ever since. He's been somewhat of a secret weapon for San Jose, as the Sharks went 29-9-3 with him in the lineup last season, and allowed lower rates of shot attempts, shots and chances with him on the ice in 5-on-5 situations than when he wasn't. San Jose has proceeded cautiously with Simek and won't rush him back, but the fact that he was participating in more physical drills Wednesday bodes well for a return in the relatively near future.

Speaking of physicality, that's an area DeBoer believes the Sharks have been lacking in recently, and one that both Simek and another on-the-mend defenseman can help out in. Dalton Prout has been out of the lineup since the first game of the season, but that's bound to change soon, according to the Mercury News' Curtis Pashelka.

With both Prout and Simek expected to rejoin the team soon, it begs the question as to who they'll replace. Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brenden Dillon aren't going anywhere, and rookie Mario Ferraro has played well beyond his years. Tim Heed has been in and out of the dog house, and the most likely scenario is that Prout and/or Simek takes his spot on the third pair.

[RELATED: Exclusive: Marleau reflects on Sharks return in ride to SAP]

The Sharks have done a good job to get their feet back under them. They won't be at full strength for the upcoming road trip, but clearly, they're getting closer.