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Sharks vs. Maple Leafs preview: Seven-game homestand begins with a visit from Toronto

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Leafs try to score a goal in California.

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

A seven-game homestand that should go a long way towards determining where the Sharks finish in the standings this season begins tonight at the Tank and opens against an opponent that tends to attract one of the more rabid followings in the NHL. Especially given that they just fired their reviled head coach less than two weeks ago, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been followed by drama and controversy throughout their California road trip which so far has seen them score exactly zero goals. They'll try to get on the scoreboard tonight while the Sharks will attempt to gain some separation from the Kings and Canucks in the division standings.

Tale Of The Tape
Toronto Maple Leafs

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San Jose Sharks
22-19-3, 47 points
Record 23-16-5, 51 points
6th in Atlantic Rank 2nd in Pacific
44.7%
Score-Adj. Fenwick 50.4%
101.0
PDO 98.6
19.9
PP% 21.1
81.8
PK% 81.2

7:30PM PST | SAP Center | San Jose, California
TV: CSNCA-HD | Radio: SJSharks.com, 98.5 KFOX
Know Your Enemy: Pension Plan Puppets, Leafs Nation

Projected Sharks Lineup

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

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

Antti Niemi
Alex Stalock

Projected Maple Leafs Lineup

Daniel Winnik - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
James van Riemsdyk - Nazem Kadri - Mike Santorelli
Richard Panik - Trevor Smith - David Clarkson
Matt Frattin - Sam Carrick - Troy Bodie

Dion Phaneuf - Cody Franson
Morgan Rielly - Roman Polak
Jake Gardiner - Stephane Robidas

Jonathan Bernier
James Reimer

Last Meeting

Joe Pavelski scored twice as the Sharks torched the Toronto Maple Leafs at home last March to the tune of a 6-2 rout. Also Tommy Wingels had a Gordie Howe Hat Trick after fighting Joffrey Lupul in the third period.

Storylines

  • Tomas Hertl will get another crack at playing center between Tye McGinn and Tyler Kennedy with Andrew Desjardins scratched.
  • Antti Niemi will start in goal for the Sharks. Alex Stalock has had just one start so far in 2015.
  • One of the worst possession teams in the league under Carlyle, the Leafs have posted a 50.9% score-adjusted Corsi percentage thus far under Peter Horachek.