The good news has finally started coming in. The sharks look a lot better in the last 2 games than they did for the rest of the losing streak. Mclellan has said that Vlasic is finally feeling good enough to be considered a game time decision. And last but not least: Ortmeyer is about ready to come back.
With all this happening, it really begs the question, What will the playoff lineup look like?
Here is what i think:
Heatley - Thornton - Marleau
McLellan has gone back to this line in the past 2 games, and this time i think he is going to leave it together.
Setoguchi - Pavelski - Clowe
Hard to say what this line is going to look like, but considering the recent play of this line, it seems that it would be better to keep it together. I, personally, love this line because they have the ability to grind it out and spend a lot of time in the offensive zone. Also, Pavelski may be the most underrated 2 way center in the league right now.
Mitchell - Malhotra - Couture
I am just loving the way that Couture is playing these days, and it was nice to see him get ice time near the end of the game and have the primary assist on Boyle's goal. If Couture can play like he did last night consistently, then i think this line might be a very good shut down line going into the playoffs. Malhotra is one of the best face off men in the league, and Michell and Couture provide speed on this line so they can track down anyone.
McGinn - Nichol - Ortmeyer
Sorry to Brad Staubitz, but i think its time to show him to the bench. He did his job in the regular season, but going into the playoffs, i feel that this line will provide a lot of energy, and will be void of those untimely and dumb penalties that Staubitz has become prone to taking. This line will effectively be the secondary shut down line. Nichol and Ortmeyer both provide some much needed grit, and both of them can kill penalties too. This line also will get more ice time that we think, allowing us to keep our top forwards fresh and ready when they just on the ice.
Boyle - Murray
Same old. Same old. This D- pairing seems to be working great, so lets not mess with it.
Blake - Vlasic
With Vlasic back in the lineup, he will be partnered with Blake again. Maybe not right away, but going into the playoffs, this will be the pairing. Good pair with Blake's ability to contribute to the offense and Vlasic's ability to shut down some forwards, this line will face a lot of time against the top two lines of the other team.
Wallin - Huskins
This may be the hardest decision to make. Do the coach's end up picking Leach or Huskins to play with Wallin. Personally, I think they are both playing better than we expected from them, but i feel as though the coached love the way Huskins is playing and will pick him to be paired with Wallin. Expect this pairing to play significant time so as to keep the top two pairings a bit fresher. This line is big, too, so they will face time against the other team's bigger 3rd lines. Having Leach as our 7th defensemen is nothing to overlook either. If, god forbid, anyone goes out with an injury, we have someone who has spent a good chunk of the season playing hockey with the club, so i think it will work.
Thats my lineup for the sharks.
Hopefully whatever the coaches decide works out anyway.
All the way Baby(knock on wood)