SAN JOSE — Following a 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames last night, Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer gave the team day off of on-ice work this morning. The team still watched film and worked out off of the ice.
“We’re always monitoring the ‘work (to) rest ratio’ thing and what gets us best prepared to make sure we’ve got a lot of energy tomorrow night against a real good opponent,” DeBoer said.
Tomorrow night, San Jose hosts the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second and final Stanley Cup rematch of the season. In their last meeting, the Sharks let slip a two goal, third period lead in an eventual 3-2 loss in Pittsburgh.
The Penguins were missing quite a bit of firepower in that game, as center Sidney Crosby, defenseman Kris Letang, and winger Conor Sheary all missed the game with injuries. Going into tomorrow, Sharks center Logan Couture said that there’s only so much that the team could take away from that game.
“You remember a little bit of it, but we’re focused on ourselves right now,” Couture said. “We’ve got to play better. That’s what we’re focused on going into tomorrow.”
The Sharks have now lost two games in a row, and trailed by two goals entering the third period of both contests. They’re 6-5 through 11 games, and have yet to find consistency, according to Couture.
“We haven’t really played our best so far,” Couture said. “It’s somewhat frustrating and disappointing. We’ve had periods of good spurts, but we haven’t really put a full game together yet. Hopefully this brings out the best in us.”
Dell, DeMelo skate, but lineup remains unclear
Goaltender Aaron Dell and defenseman Dylan DeMelo did skate in drills under the supervision of goaltending coach Johan Hedberg, but they were the only two players to skate today. Goaltender Martin Jones has started each of the last seven games for the Sharks, while Dell has not played in just over two weeks. DeBoer said it’s too early to be concerned about Jones’ workload.
“We’re only 11 games into the season, so it’s not an awful lot of work, and the way the schedule’s laid out, he hasn’t played a back-to-back yet,” DeBoer said. “I don’t think that fatigue or too many games at the 11-game mark is even a conversation point.
“As far as keeping Aaron Dell fresh, that is something that we have to talk about. Like a lot of backups in this league, if you’re playing behind Carey Price or [Henrik] Lundqvist or one of those guys, you’ve got to keep yourself ready when you get the opportunity to play.”
Matt Nieto, who’s been scratched in San Jose’s last five games, did not skate with DeMelo and Dell. Nor did Micheal Haley, who’s played in the last five games with Nieto out of the lineup.
With no practice, it was unclear what, if any, alterations to tomorrow night’s lineup that DeBoer will make. DeBoer played his cards close to the vest, and said that any lineup decisions will be made tomorrow morning.
DeBoer mixed up his lines quite a bit in last night’s loss to the Flames. Mikkel Boedker and Melker Karlsson switched spots, as Boedker skated with Patrick Marleau and Tomas Hertl in the third line beginning in the second period. Karlsson skated with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski.
In the third period, the lines changed even further, as DeBoer shortened his bench. Hertl moved back to the top line with Pavelski and Thornton, while Chris Tierney centered Marleau and Karlsson on the third line. Boedker and Ward both skated shifts on the second line alongside Couture and Joonas Donskoi.
It’s not clear which, if any, of those line combinations will stick tomorrow night against Pittsburgh. San Jose’s morning skate was optional on Thursday, and we may not know who plays with who until puck drop if that remains the case.