Peter DeBoer will coach his first game against the New Jersey Devils since the Devils fired him last season, as the Sharks play their first game without injured center Logan Couture. The Sharks could also be without Joonas Donskoi, who missed the team's morning skate, according to Kevin Kurz. Nikolay Goldobin and Ben Smith are expected to fill in for the injured Couture, as the former was recalled from the Barracuda this morning.
The Sharks are looking to continue their torrid start to the season, and can ensure their third 4-0-0 start in the last four seasons with a win in New Jersey. But, that becomes a much more difficult challenge with Couture out of the lineup. Couture's line with Ward and Marleau has arguably been the Sharks' best this season, and Tomas Hertl and Chris Tierney will need to pick up the slack as they likely move up to center the second and third lines, respectively.
New Jersey has struggled this season, as their winless record would indicate. But, the Devils are tied for third in the league in power play efficiency, converting on three of nine opportunities with the extra man this season. Plus, regardless of who's in front of him, playing against goaltender Cory Schneider is always a tough test. Schneider ranks fifth in save percentage among goalies who have played 2000 minutes since 2010, and the New Jersey netminder stopped 60 of 65 shots he faced against the Sharks last season.
Tale Of The Tape
|2nd in Pacific||Rank||7th in Metropolitan
Projected Sharks Lineup
Projected Devils Lineup
The Devils embarrassed the Sharks at home, 5-2, as former Sharks Scott Gomez and Steve Bernier picked up a goal and an assist in the win, as Cory Schneider made 34 saves.
- With Couture out of the lineup, it will be interesting to see what effect that has on special teams. Couture's a major contributor on both the power play and the penalty kill, and the Sharks will have to fill in accordingly. I'd bet Goldobin sees significant time on one of the two power play units.
- Speaking of Goldobin, it's exciting to see him make his NHL debut, even considering the circumstances. While Goldobin has a lot to work on in the defensive end, he's one of the Sharks' most exciting offensive prospects in years, and seeing him play with the Joes in his NHL debut is a tantalizing proposition.
- You have to wonder what kind of perception Peter DeBoer will receive returning to New Jersey for the first time as an opposing head coach. The Devils, like DeBoer's first NHL team in Florida, experienced the "DeBoer bump" in their first season, before falling to the Kings in the Stanley Cup finals. But, they failed to make the playoffs in the next two seasons after losing offensive stars Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk in back-to-back offseasons.