For the first time in nearly a month, it's a hockey night in San Jose as the Sharks play their first home game since before the Olympic break, hosting the Carolina Hurricanes for the start of a four-game homestand exclusively featuring Eastern Conference opponents. Alex Stalock, coming off a very solid win over the Devils on Sunday, will get the start once again, marking the first time this season Todd McLellan and his coaching staff have opted to start their backup in consecutive games.
It could be an indication that they're justifiably unhappy with Antti Niemi's recent play, justifiably pleased with how Stalock has acquitted himself over his last several starts, or it could just be that the team is trying to get Stalock to 26 career games by the end of this season to ensure he retains RFA status. Regardless, it's an interesting turn in what's been somewhat of a roller coaster ride in the Sharks' net this season. Shooting on Stalock will be a Hurricanes team currently buried near the bottom of the Metropolitan Division and seven points back of the final wild card playoff berth. A dreadful power play combined with mediocre territorial hockey has led to what's likely shaping up to be a fifth straight spring without playoff hockey in Raleigh but there are still exciting pieces on the team to watch for, like Jeff Skinner who's scoring at a 37-goal pace and old friend Manny Malhotra, who makes his long-awaited return to the Tank tonight.
|26-26-9, 61 points
||39-17-6, 84 points|
|7th in Metropolitan
||2nd in Pacific