Sharks

Sharks notes: DeBoer sees depth starting to show its full potential

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USATSI

Sharks notes: DeBoer sees depth starting to show its full potential

SAN JOSE -- Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said Saturday night he believed his team really displayed its roster depth in a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders.

"I thought the story of the game was contributions from all 20 guys," he said. "I thought we got a great team effort from everybody."

There was so much talk at the start of the season about how much depth the Sharks had on paper -- and then more talk about how that depth wasn't showing right off the bat. But as this team works its way through the first month of the season and builds chemistry, that depth is starting to show.

"I think every game you start to move around the ice a little more seamlessly without thinking as much," DeBoer said. "I think every game you get a little more comfortable."

Timo Meier agreed with that assessment, saying he felt that kind of line depth even came into play in the previous game -- a win over the Buffalo Sabres.

"Every time we get a win, it's because we have a lot of guys chipping in," the winger said. "And that's how it needs to be. I think the depth of our team is our strength."

Will that strength play a role in the upcoming road trip? DeBoer expressed earlier in the week he felt the Sharks weren't rewarded for the chances they created on the previous roadie.

Meier said the team would just have to keep grinding.

"Sometimes there are tough buildings and tough circumstances," Meier said. "We've just just gotta stick with it."

Joe Thornton is expected to accompany the Sharks on their upcoming three-game road trip this week, although there's no word as to whether or not the center will play. 

Thornton has practiced with the rest of the Sharks all week since they've been at home facing the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders, but he has yet to be in a game lineup. 

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On the same morning that news of Thornton's plans to go on the road trip came to light, rookie forward Dylan Gambrell was reassigned to the San Jose Barracuda.

Gambrell is expected to suit up for the AHL club on Sunday night when they host the Stockton Heat. 

Gambrell was recalled by the Sharks when Thornton left the previous road trip, but he was reassigned as soon as the team returned home so he could participate in the Baracuda's game Monday night. He has played in two games for the Baracuda so far this season, contributing on the score sheet every time.

Gambrell did not join them in their Saturday night game in Stockton, and instead was a healthy scratch for the NHL club.

DeBoer hinted earlier in the week that Gambrell might play in his first NHL game of the season fairly soon. When NBC Sports California caught up with Gambrell on Tuesday about working with both teams, the 22-year-old said he's embracing the workload that comes with it and that he'll be happy with wherever he's slotted.

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

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

The Sharks played one of the best games of their season when the Lightning visited SAP Center earlier this month, defeating the NHL’s leading team 5-2.

In that game, Evander Kane found the back of the net twice while Brent Burns contributed as a helper on three goals. San Jose’s collective team defense also kept elite scorer Nikita Kucherov off the scoresheet.

[RELATED: Why Sharks' play against playoff teams is encouraging down the stretch]

The Sharks would like to put on a similar performance against the Lightning on Saturday evening. Especially since they are coming off a disappointing effort in Arizona where they fell 6-3 to the Coyotes and had their winning streak snapped at seven games. 

Tampa Bay is also looking for a rebound victory on Saturday after being defeated by the Maple Leafs 4-2 on Thursday. They’re still the best team in the Atlantic though – and in the league, for that matter – with a whopping 74 points. Despite Thursday’s loss to Toronto, they’re still 7-3-0 in their last 10 contests.

[RELATED: Sharks' Marc-Edouard Vlasic practices in Tampa, moves closer to return]

In 41 total franchise meetings, the Sharks have a 20-17-2-2 record against the Bolts.

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

Lightning projected lines and pairs

Ondrej Palat – Steven Stamkos – Yanni Gourde
Alex Killorn – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov
Mathieu Joseph – Anthony Cirelli – J.T. Miller
Adam Erne – Cedric Paquette – Ryan Callahan
Victor Hedman – Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh – Erik Cernak
Braydon Coburn – Anton Stralman
Andrei Vasilevskiy – projected starter
Louis Domingue

Sharks' Marc-Edouard Vlasic practices in Tampa, moves closer to return

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Sharks' Marc-Edouard Vlasic practices in Tampa, moves closer to return

After injuries broke up the Sharks’ defensive corps at the start of the new year, it looks like San Jose’s blue line is inching closer to getting the band back together.

Injured defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic isn’t likely to see game action, although coach Peter DeBoer called him a game-time decision against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. The news was reported by Paul Gackle of the San Jose Mercury News.

“We’ll see how he feels," DeBoer told the media after Friday’s practice. "I think he’s getting closer.”

Vlasic has been sidelined since the beginning of the month when he sustained an upper-body injury against the Colorado Avalanche. He participated in the Sharks’ practice in Tampa Bay on Friday ahead of the game against the Lightning – the first time he has been a full participant in team practice since sustaining the injury. 

While it’s a positive sign Vlasic has rejoined his teammates, DeBoer remains cautious about putting him back in the lineup too soon.

“We’re not going to put him out there and get him reinjured,” the Sharks’ bench boss said. “Especially with the 10-day break on the horizon. But if he can help us and get in there then he will.”

Vlasic has registered 11 points (one goal, 10 assists) in 42 games played so far this season for Team Teal.

Sticking with the theme of blueliners: Erik Karlsson was absent from morning skate on Friday with an undisclosed ailment. DeBoer told the media he was taking another maintenance day and is expected to be in the lineup Saturday in Tampa Bay.