Sharks

Why Sharks' lines could look much different in Game 3 against Blues

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USATSI

Why Sharks' lines could look much different in Game 3 against Blues

From the look of morning skate at Enterprise Center on Wednesday, the Sharks could potentially roll out different bottom six lines for Game 3 against the St. Louis Blues after falling 4-2 in Game 2.

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer wouldn’t confirm whether those changes would stick come game time. He did say, however, that he was looking for a spark from his depth players.

“The playoffs are all about depth,” he told the media after Wednesday’s morning skate. “On the runs we’ve had and where we’ve had success here, it’s been about contributions throughout your lineup. From all four lines.”

From the look of Wednesday’s practice, San Jose’s top two lines manned by Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl will stay intact. In practice, Melker Karlsson moved up to Joe Thornton’s wing opposite Kevin Labanc, in place of Marcus Sorensen. Micheal Haley took rushes with Barclay Goodrow and Joonas Donskoi on the fourth line.

When pressed by the media as to why Sorensen may be out of the lineup for Game 3, DeBoer commented only on the status of his depth scorers as a whole and the fact he wants to see them play a more energetic game on Wednesday night.

“I think Marcus is like our whole group of forwards,” he said. “I think we have a good group that’s built for this time of year. They play an honest game, they play inside, they play with energy. So we’re looking for all of those things.”

While the changes at morning skate may have some fans scratching their heads, the new-look fourth line of Donskoi-Goodrow-Haley previously played together 7:37 minutes during the regular season according to Natural Stat Trick. Given that Donskoi has played well on that fourth line since returning to the lineup from an injury in the second round, it isn’t too surprising he will be kept on that line with Goodrow – particularly since the two generated four five-on-five goals together in the regular season.

[RELATED: Five observations from Sharks' 4-2 loss]

Melker Karlsson is also a player DeBoer has traditionally moved throughout the lineup when he’s trying to get the offense going, hence the reason he could start the game on Thornton’s wing. Thornton and Karlsson logged a little over 60 minutes in ice time together during the regular season, while Karlsson and Labanc combined for six goals in five-on-five play, according to Natural Stat Trick.

Sharks' Logan Couture returns to lineup vs. Flyers after long absence

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USATSI

Sharks' Logan Couture returns to lineup vs. Flyers after long absence

Ladies and gentlemen, he's back.

After 17 games out of the lineup, Sharks captain Logan Couture is returning to the San Jose lineup ahead of Tuesday night's game in Philadelphia against the Flyers.

Couture suffered a fractured ankle back on Jan. 7 in St. Louis, and the Sharks have been 7-10-0 in his absence. San Jose activated Couture from injured reserve Tuesday.

[RELATED: Thornton frustrated Sharks didn't trade him to contender]

The center had 36 points in 45 appearances this season, and looks to help the Sharks snap a four-game losing streak.

Sharks' Joe Thornton frustrated he wasn't traded to contender at deadline

Sharks' Joe Thornton frustrated he wasn't traded to contender at deadline

Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have one thing missing from their Hall of Fame résumés: A Stanley Cup championship. 

Marleau now has the chance to become a champion after the Sharks traded the franchise icon Monday to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Another legend was left behind, though. The Sharks held on to Thornton, and he doesn't seem too happy about that decision. 

Thornton, 40, will have to wait yet again to become a champion. The Sharks (26-32-4) are well out of playoff contention as they enter Tuesday with the third-worst record in the Western Conference. The four-time All-Star admitted to The Athletic's Kevin Kurz on Saturday that he was enticed by the idea of joining a contender at the deadline. 

“Yeah, obviously I was willing to go somewhere, and try to win my first Stanley Cup,” Thornton added on Tuesday. “I’ve been dreaming about that ever since I can remember and it just didn’t come to fruition, for whatever reason. I wanted to get something back for the Sharks obviously to help them continue this process with young guys. It just didn’t work out.”

Thornton scored two goals Saturday night in a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers. While trade rumors swirled, Jumbo Joe was busy doubling his goal total for the season, further proving he could help a team that's out to win a Cup. 

[RELATED: Why Sharks GM Wilson a big winner at NHL trade deadline]

The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun, however, reported Tuesday that the NHL's elite likely weren't inquiring about a Thornton trade. 

While his wish didn't come to fruition, Thornton made it clear Tuesday he's still happy to be a Shark. He also believes this isn't his last season in the NHL.

One thing is for certain: Thornton knows he still has more left in the tank, but he will have to continue waiting for the title he so badly covets.