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Sharks vs. Rangers preview: Thornton back in lineup as Dan Boyle returns to the Tank

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The best defenseman in franchise history will play his first game in San Jose since signing with New York last summer.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

On the night the greatest defenseman in Sharks franchise history makes his return to the Bay Area, the best forward in franchise history will likely draw into the lineup for San Jose as well. Joe Thornton is expected to center Patrick Marleau and Matt Nieto tonight as the Sharks host Dan Boyle and defending Eastern Conference champions the New York Rangers in the first game of what will be an eight-of-nine-games stretch at home.

Tale Of The Tape
New York Rangers

@

San Jose Sharks
23-11-4, 50 points
Record 22-15-5, 49 points
3rd in Metropolitan Rank 3rd in Pacific
50.9%
Score-Adj. Fenwick 50.6%
101.8
PDO 98.7
21.2
PP% 20.4
82.8
PK% 80.2

7PM PST | SAP Center | San Jose, California
TV: CSNCA-HD | Radio: SJSharks.com, 98.5 KFOX
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Projected Sharks Lineup

Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Matt Nieto
Logan Couture - Joe Pavelski - Melker Karlsson
Tomas Hertl - James Sheppard - Tommy Wingels
Tye McGinn - Andrew Desjardins - Barclay Goodrow

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon - Justin Braun
Scott Hannan - Matt Tennyson

Antti Niemi
Alex Stalock

Projected Rangers Lineup

Rick Nash - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello
Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Martin St. Louis
Carl Hagelin - Kevin Hayes - Jesper Fast
J.T. Miller - Dominic Moore - Lee Stempniak

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Dan Boyle
John Moore - Kevin Klein

Henrik Lundqvist
Cam Talbot

Last Meeting

In the penultimate game of their season-opening east coast road trip the Sharks laid an egg in Manhattan on the second half of a back-to-back. Kevin Hayes scored his first NHL goal and Rick Nash, Martin St. Louis and Carl Hagelin added tallies as the Rangers shut out San Jose 4-0 at the Garden.

Storylines
  • This will be the Rangers' first game in San Jose since Tomas Hertl's iconic four-goal game in a 9-2 Sharks rout of New York on October 8th, 2013.
  • The Rangers are on quite a run, winners of 12 of their last 13 games, but Boyle is red-hot himself coming into his first game back in San Jose. The veteran defenseman has seven points (two goals and five assists) in his last seven games.
  • Melker Karlsson has a chance tonight to tie Jeff Friesen's franchise-record five-game goal-scoring streak.
  • It's a 7PM start tonight so don't forget to get to the Tank (or your couch) half an hour early.