SAN JOSE — Sharks defenseman Dylan DeMelo will play in his third game of the season tonight against the Ottawa Senators, as defenseman David Schlemko is “day-to-day” with an injury he sustained against the Montreal Canadiens, Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer said.
In his time out of the lineup, DeMelo’s game day routine has not changed, as he always tries to get a nap and a good meal, he said. That is all just a part of the job, according to DeMelo.
“It comes with the territory. I really think it does,” DeMelo said. “The coaching staff has been really good with me and reminding me about that, and the guys have been really good, too.”
Examining how the team has played from a view in the press box has “paid dividends,” DeMelo said, and he’ll have a chance tonight to put his observations into action. The defenseman will “hopefully” play on the second unit power play tonight in Schlemko’s absence, he said.
In his time out of the lineup, DeMelo’s sat in on power play meetings and worked individually with assistant coaches Bob Boughner and Steve Spott on moving the puck quickly. Last season, he averaged 1:06 in power play ice time. As a result, it won’t be much of an adjustment, according to DeMelo.
“For me, it might be a little weird getting back on the power play,” DeMelo said. “But once I get out there, I think I’ll just fit right in.”
Couture in, Jones starts
Logan Couture will play tonight and goaltender Martin Jones will make his ninth start in 10 games, DeBoer said.
Couture skated this morning after he missed the last two days of practice following minor surgery to remove a screw from his ankle over the weekend. He told reporters yesterday that his ankle started bothering him in the Sharks’ November 12th game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Jones, meanwhile, has posted a .939 SV% in his last eight starts, and raised his mark on the season to .924, which is tied for 14th among the 48 goaltenders that have played in at least eight games.
“I think he’s gone to another level,” DeBoer said. “I think like everybody, we were spinning our tires a little bit for the first dozen games. Our commitment around him is better, but he’s gone to another level, too.”
With Couture back in and Jones starting, tonight the Sharks will use the same line combinations up front that finished the game against Montreal on Friday. With DeMelo in for Schlemko, as well as Matt Nieto and recently recalled Mirco Mueller scratched, the Sharks’ lineup will look like this:
Patrick Marleau-Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski
Melker Karlsson-Logan Couture-Joel Ward
Mikkel Boedker-Chris Tierney-Joonas Donskoi
Micheal Haley-Tommy Wingels-Kevin Labanc
Paul Martin-Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon-Dylan DeMelo
Quote of the Day
Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer was asked about the Senators’ unique travel schedule, as they will play tonight in San Jose just two days after playing in Pittsburgh. He answered with his usual wit:
I find it sometimes a little comical when I hear Eastern teams complaining about travel on road trips. I read something that they were unhappy with their schedule, give me a break! But, it’s what we deal with, and you do the best you can. One thing about our group is they don’t make excuses and they get on the plane, or get off the plane and show up to work and get ready to get the job done.