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Sharks vs. Islanders preview: Hertl dropped to fourth line for rare home game

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Due to his early season struggles, Tomas Hertl will start on the fourth line tonight as the Sharks return home to face the Islanders.

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

After playing nine of their first twelve games on the road, the Sharks have made a brief return home prior to another lengthy trip. They'll face a new-look Islanders team that handed them their first loss of the year two weeks ago on Long Island for the second and final time this season. If that game is any indication, we're in for a fun one at the Tank.

Tale Of The Tape
New York Islanders

@

San Jose Sharks
6-4-2, 14 points
Record 6-4-0, 12 points
2nd in Metropolitan Rank 5th in Pacific
53.8%
Score-Adj. Fenwick 49.6%
99.0 PDO 101.6
22.0
PP% 23.3
66.7 PK% 81.1

7:30PM PST | SAP Center | San Jose, California
TV: CSNCA-HD, NBCSN | Radio: SJSharks.com, 98.5 KFOX
Know Your Enemy: Lighthouse Hockey

Projected Sharks Lineup

Matt Nieto - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels
Barclay Goodrow - Chris Tierney - James Sheppard
Tomas Hertl - Andrew Desjardins - Adam Burish

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Mirco Mueller - Brent Burns
Scott Hannan - Jason Demers

Antti Niemi
Alex Stalock

Projected Islanders Lineup

Brock Nelson - John Tavares - Kyle Okposo
Mikhail Grabovski - Frans Nielsen - Nikolai Kulemin
Matt Martin - Ryan Strome - Anders Lee
Cory Conacher - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck

Nick Leddy - Johnny Boychuk
Lubomir Visnovsky - Thomas Hickey
Calvin de Haan - Travis Hamonic

Jaroslav Halak
Chad Johnson

Last Meeting

Alex Stalock made 42 saves and Tomas Hertl scored late in the third period to tie the game but it wasn't enough as the Sharks fell in a shootout to the Islanders in Uniondale a little over two weeks ago. This was a more lopsided game than the scoreboard indicated as a rebuilt Islanders team dominated the Sharks for extended stretches of regulation prior to a thrilling, back-and-forth overtime period.

Storylines
  • It's no secret Tomas Hertl has struggled with just 13 shots on goal through 12 games. He skated with Andrew Desjardins and Adam Burish at the morning skate and will likely begin tonight's game on that fourth line.
  • Sporting a .947 save percentage over his last three games, Antti Niemi will make his fourth consecutive start for the Sharks tonight.
  • John Scott's suspension is over but he'll be a healthy scratch tonight. Scott clocked Mikhail Grabovski with a clean but brutal hit the last time these teams met. Grabovski missed three games with a concussion but will be in the lineup tonight for New York.
  • The Isles made a variety of changes to their forward lines after suffering a blowout 5-0 loss at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.