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Sharks vs. Maple Leafs preview: Playing out the string

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Canadian portion of road trip continues with stop in Toronto.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

With little left to play for in a competitive sense, as the Sharks' playoff odds took a near-fatal hit on Tuesday and now hover around 7%, it's time to shift to more development-oriented objectives as San Jose plays out the string on their disappointing 2014-15 season. To that end, Todd McLellan has finally assembled some sensible line combinations (about two months too late), giving Chris Tierney and Tomas Hertl a chance to get Patrick Marleau going while Logan Couture will center Matt Nieto and Tommy Wingels on what should be an excellent "third" line. Rookies Mirco Mueller and Daniil Tarasov also draw into the lineup, which hopefully indicates what we'll see the rest of the way here with fewer replacement-level veterans and bigger opportunities for the kids to sink or swim.

Tale Of The Tape
San Jose Sharks

@

Toronto Maple Leafs
34-28-8, 76 points
Record 27-38-6, 60 points
5th in Pacific Rank 7th in Atlantic
50.5%
Score-Adj. Fenwick 45.2%
99.3
PDO 99.4
21.7
PP% 17.2
78.8
PK% 80.9

4:30PM PDT | Air Canada Centre | Toronto, Ontario
TV: CSNCA-HD | Radio: SJSharks.com, 98.5 KFOX
Know Your Enemy: Pension Plan PuppetsLeafs Nation

Projected Sharks Lineup

Joe Pavelski - Joe Thornton - Melker Karlsson
Patrick Marleau - Chris Tierney - Tomas Hertl
Matt Nieto - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels
Daniil Tarasov - Ben Smith - Barclay Goodrow

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

Antti Niemi
Alex Stalock

Projected Maple Leafs Lineup

Richard Panik - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
James van Riemsdyk - Trevor Smith - David Booth
Joffrey Lupul - Leo Komarov - Brandon Kozun
Zach Sill - Sam Carrick - Joakim Lindstrom

Jake Gardiner - Dion Phaneuf
Eric Brewer - Morgan Rielly
T.J. Brennan - Andrew MacWilliam

Jonathan Bernier
James Reimer

Last Meeting

Patrick Marleau snapped a lengthy goal-less streak and Tyler Kennedy and Tommy Wingels also scored as the Sharks defeated the Leafs 3-1 on home ice in mid-January.

Storylines

  • Top Leafs center Nazem Kadri will serve the first game of his four-game suspension for a hit on Matt Fraser tonight.
  • Get a good look at Jonathan Bernier, confirmed to be the Leafs' starter in net, as common sense as well as a slew of rumors indicate the Sharks will make a play for him this summer.