Despite the Sharks' thoroughly mediocre start to the season, the biggest reason for hope remains the fact that an unprecedented 16 of their first 21 games were on the road. They'll return to the Tank tonight for a six-game homestand that, combined with the five-game homestand set to follow after a brief trip to Alberta, should balance things out and provide us with a better overall picture of where San Jose stands by mid-December.
Tale Of The Tape
|6-5-5, 17 points
||Record||10-9-2, 22 points|
|7th in Atlantic||Rank||5th in Pacific
Projected Sharks Lineup
Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Patrick Marleau
Matt Nieto - Logan Couture - Joe Pavelski
Barclay Goodrow - James Sheppard - Tommy Wingels
Tye McGinn - Andrew Desjardins - Tyler Kennedy
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Mirco Mueller - Brent Burns
Scott Hannan - Jason Demers
Projected Panthers Lineup
Tomas Fleischmann - Aleksander Barkov - Rocco Grimaldi
Jonathan Huberdeau - Nick Bjugstad - Brad Boyes
Jussi Jokinen - Vincent Trocheck - Jimmy Hayes
Tomas Kopecky - Derek MacKenzie - Shawn Thornton
Brian Campbell - Colby Robak
Willie Mitchell - Aaron Ekblad
Dylan Olsen - Erik Gudbranson
Last Tuesday in Sunrise, the Panthers outshot the Sharks 10-6 and outscored them 2-0 en route to a 4-1 victory that stands out as one of the Sharks' weakest performance of their just-completed seven-game road trip. Joe Thornton scored San Jose's lone goal while rookie defenseman Aaron Ekblad potted two assists for Florida.
- This game begins a stretch where the Sharks will play 11 of their next 13 games on home ice. They've already completed 39% of their road schedule, a league record for this point in the season.
- Line blender time! Patrick Marleau, who Todd McLellan not-so-subtly called out for his lack of recent even-strength scoring following the Buffalo loss, moves up to the top line alongside Thornton and Hertl while Pavelski will skate with Couture and Nieto. James Sheppard will center Barclay Goodrow and Tommy Wingels on the third line.
- After ceding the net to Troy Grosenick for the past two games, Antti Niemi will get the start tonight.
- So far the Panthers are 1-1 on their California road trip, routing the Ducks by a 6-2 margin on Sunday before falling 5-2 to the Kings on Tuesday.