Theremind me a lot of the 2009-2010 , a team that rode goaltending to a postseason berth and gave the the scare of a lifetime during their first round matchup. Both Niklas Backstrom and backup have been ungodly this season, posting .929 and .934 SV%'s respectively, and have managed to sustain that performance for the season thus far. They're both in the top 15 of SV% at even strength and overall, which is a big reason why a team that sits 20th in shots against per game is the top team in the NHL.
Harding will get the start tonight due to a lower-body injury Backstrom suffered in the first period on December 2nd against the. This will be the first time San Jose has played Harding this season, as Backstrom started in the previous meeting that the Sharks won 3-1.
Niemi will be in net for the Sharks, and expect the recently recalledto get the start on the blueline in favor of who is out with injury. McLellan has decided to split up his pairings considering their less than acceptable performance against Florida on Saturday, so expect a little mish mash to occur throughout the game. The steady hand of will likely start with , which is nothing but a positive considering Vlasic's heroics and Boyle's flatulence throughout the season.
Some assorted links to keep you occupied until game time:
- Kevin Kurz of CSN's Sharks Talk reports that the Sharks players are happy with being able to play each team in the NHL twice a season under the new realignment plan.
- Mark Emmons of Working The Corners catches up with Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi before their last trip to HP Pavilion this regular season.
- Bryan Reynolds of Hockey Wilderness previews tonight's game.
- NASA has located a planet that has similar qualities to Earth and is considered humanity's best chance of discovering life on another planet. Expansion possibilities anyone?
Puck drops at 7:37 PM.