SAN JOSE – The San Jose Sharks gear up for the ultimate challenge as they host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.
San Jose goes into Saturday’s game on a high note, coming off a 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. But they also enter with a banged-up blue line, with Justin Braun being placed on IR and Radim Simek and Marc-Edouard Vlasic sidelined with injuries. Joakim Ryan and Tim Heed skated together when the team took line rushes at Saturday’s morning skate, while the team also recalled Jacob Middleton from the AHL Barracuda. Middleton took rushes alongside Brent Burns on Saturday.
The visiting Lightning enter Saturday’s game having won seven straight games, going 9-0-1 over their last 10. Winger extraordinaire Nikita Kucherov registered a goal and three assists in Tampa Bay’s most recent victory – a 6-2 win of the LA Kings on Thursday evening.
This is the first of two meetings between the Sharks and Lightning this season. In 40 total franchise meetings, San Jose is 19-17-2-2 against Tampa Bay. The Bolts won both games in the teams’ 2017-18 season series.
Sharks projected lines and pairs:
Lukas Radil – Logan Couture – Timo Meier
Marcus Sorensen – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Evander Kane – Tomas Hertl – Joonas Donskoi
Kevin Labanc – Barclay Goodrow – Melker Karlsson
Brenden Dillon – Erik Karlsson
Jacob Middleton – Brent Burns
Joakim Ryan – Tim Heed
Martin Jones – projected starter
Lighting projected lines and pairs:
Ondrej Palat – Steven Stamkos – Alex Killorn
Tyler Johnson – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov
Adam Erne – Anthony Cirelli – Yanni Gourde
Mathieu Joseph – Cedric Paquette – Ryan Callahan
Victory Hedman – Anton Stralman
Ryan McDonagh – Erik Cernak
Braydon Coburn- Mikhail Sergachev
Andrei Vasilevskiy – projected starter