Sharks

Sharks vs. Sabres lineups: Projected lines, pairings in San Jose

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USATSI

Sharks vs. Sabres lineups: Projected lines, pairings in San Jose

After starting the bulk of the early season on the road, the San Jose Sharks will finally play their second home game of the season. They start a two-game stint at the Tank hosting the Buffalo Sabres Thursday evening.

San Jose was without Tomas Hertl at Morning Skate Thursday morning. However, coach Peter DeBoer told the media the 24-year-old winger will be ready to play Thursday night against the Sabres. Dylan Gambrell filed into Hertl's spot on Logan Couture's wing during the session.

This is the first contest of a two-game season series between San Jose and Buffalo. The last time they met, the Sharks defeated the Sabres 3-2 in Buffalo. The Sabres are 7-7-5 on the road against the Sharks all time.

The Sabres are at the start of a swing through the west coast, coming off a rough 4-1 loss to the Las Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday evening. 

Sharks projected lines and pairs

Evander Kane -- Joe Pavelski -- Kevin Labanc
Tomas Hertl-- Logan Couture -- TImo Meier
Joonas Donskoi -- Antti Suomela -- Marcus Sorensen
Barclay Goodrow -- Rourke Chartier -- Melker Karlsson

Marc-Edouard Vlasic --Erik Karlsson
Joakim Ryan -- Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon -- Justin Braun

Martin Jones -- projected starter
Aaron Dell

Sabres projected lines and pairs

Conor Sheary -- Jack Eichel -- Sam Reinhart
Jeff Skinner -- Casey Mittelstadt -- Kyle Okposo
Remi Eli -- Vladimir Sobotka --Tage Thompson
Zemgus Girgensons --Evan Rodrigues --Jason Pominville

Marco Scandella --Rasmus Ristolainen
Jake McCabe -- Rasmus Dahlin
Zach Bogosian -- Nathan Beaulieu

Carter Hutton -- projected starter
Linus Ullmark

Joe Pavelski proves hard work pays off with hot start to Sharks season

Joe Pavelski proves hard work pays off with hot start to Sharks season

SAN JOSE – Sharks fans were undoubtedly happy when they woke up on Monday morning and saw that Joe Pavelski was named one of the NHL’s Stars of the Week.

He deserved it, too. The captain has lit up the scoresheet all throughout San Jose's season-long six-game homestand, tallying a multi-point effort in four consecutive games dating back to a three-point effort against the Calgary Flames last Sunday. He registered nine points over those four games after tallying just seven points up to that point on the early season.

This isn’t to say Pavelski wasn’t getting good looks in the earlier part of the 2019 campaign – quite the opposite, actually. The difference through this homestand is that those looks are finding the back of the net. 

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer told the media after Monday’s practice that Pavelski’s point streak is no surprise given how he “stuck with it” despite not depositing as many goals right at the start of the season.

“I think like all scorers, just reminding himself that he was getting looks, he was getting chances, that they were going to eventually go in,” the coach explained.

And go in they have. While continuing to grind and get good chances – leading all Sharks skaters with a 21.3 shooting percentage, mind you -- Pavelski now has a team-leading 13 goals with four markers coming on the power play. 

His second period goal against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday evening was indicative of the work he’s put into getting that goal streak going. With just a little over six minutes gone in the frame, Pavelski set up linemate Timo Meier for a shot right in front of the net. Meier’s shot bounced off netminder Chad Johnson’s skate and ended up on Pavelski’s stick. No. 8 was falling over, but stayed committed to the play as he flipped the puck into the back of the net. 

[RELATED: Sharks’ win over Blues has them 'back in the right place']

It was like many of the goals that have become staples in Pavelski’s repertoire. It perfectly encompassed how hard work leads to production.

“That’s the big thing with scoring,” DeBoer said. “As long as the foundation is there, you can’t overreact to the fact that maybe the puck isn’t going in for you that week or that month. Keep reminding yourself to stick with it, that you will come out the other end of it.”

The Sharks would certainly love it if their captain’s hot streak continues as the homestand wraps up. San Jose hosts two division rivals in the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks this week – two teams giving up more goals than almost everyone else in the league. Pavelski keeping that hot streak alive could help the Sharks not just win games, but create some space between them and their opponents in the Pacific Division. 

[RELATED: Sharks hopeful Hertl can return to lineup Tuesday vs. Oilers]

“We know that a lot of these teams are going to get their footing and be hanging around in the second half,” DeBoer said. “You want to give yourself as much cushion as possible.”

Sharks hopeful Tomas Hertl can return to lineup Tuesday vs. Oilers

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USATSI

Sharks hopeful Tomas Hertl can return to lineup Tuesday vs. Oilers

SAN JOSE – After missing the last two games with a lower-body injury, Tomas Hertl may be ready to return to the San Jose Sharks lineup.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer told the media after Monday’s practice he hopes the 25-year-old winger will be ready to see game action when San Jose hosts the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.

“We’ll see how he feels after his first full practice,” DeBoer told the media. 

Hertl had participated in team practice since being injured in Team Teal’s game a week ago against the Predators but hadn’t taken line rushes until Monday. DeBoer reunited Hertl on a line with Logan Couture and Timo Meier, with whom he has found a lot of success through the start of the season.

Prior to being injured, Hertl registered 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists) through 16 games.

Hertl’s return means the Sharks' other forward lines could look a little different from how they lined up in Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Blues. Joe Pavelski skated with Evander Kane and Joonas Donskoi, while the Joe Thornton-led line with Marcus Sorensen and Kevin Labanc. Barclay Goodrow, Antti Suomela, Melker Karlsson, and Dylan Gambrell comprised the fourth line.

If Hertl is ready to play in Tuesday’s game, it’s likely Gambrell, who was recalled from the San Jose Barracuda over the weekend, will be scratched from the lineup.