The Sharks continue their east coast road trip with a visit to Brooklyn and Barclays Center where they'll play the Islanders. New York is 3-3-1 and just beat their cross-borough rivals The Rangers in a shootout on Thursday night. The Sharks (3-3-0) just cooled off the flaming hot New Jersey Devils last night, albeit against a Devils team on the second half of their own back-to-back. Statistics-based models seem to view the game this afternoon as a tossup, but Vegas's implied odds have the Islanders at about 57 percent to win — pretty heavy favorites.
Despite a rocky start, San Jose now claims the league's 3rd-best expected goals for percentage at 5v5 (adjusted for a number of conditions, like home/road and score). The Islanders rank 8th in that department, so they haven't been too shabby themselves in the season's first month.
The Islanders will start ex-Shark Thomas Greiss in net tonight. Greiss has stopped 92.2% of all shots he's faced this season, and paces all goalies who have played at least 100 minutes of 5v5 hockey this year with a .951 sv%. Greiss also leads all goalies in 5v5 save percentage above expected.
The Sharks will start the world's okayest goalie in Aaron Dell tonight. Dell has started one game for the Sharks this year and has played in relief of Martin Jones once, posting .935 save percentage in the process. Dell has been slightly below average during 5v5 play this season and is in for a tougher start, as home teams typically generate more shots than away clubs.
The sharks 1st, 2nd, and 4th lines have been successful, while the Meier - Tierney - Boedker line has been bad since its formation. Luckily, the Sharks new defense pairs have been lighting up the ice, helping mask some of the forward lines' struggles.
The Islanders are opting for an 11F, 7D approach as they scratch one intriguing rookie (Josh Ho-Sang) to allow Anthony Beauvillier to skate. Another exciting rookie, Ryan Pulock will serve as the team's 7th defender. Per the Islanders official site, the projected lines look something like this:
Anders Lee - John Tavares - Jordan Eberle
Andrew Ladd - Matthew Barzal - Josh Bailey
Anthony Beauvillier - Brock Nelson
Jason Chimera - Cody Czikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Nick Leddy - Johnny Boychuck
Calvin de Haan - Adam Pelech
Thomas Hickey - Dennis Seidenberg
The Islanders' top d-pair has been pretty average this season but have been helped by spending lots of time with Tavares and Eberle. In New Jersey, the Devils opted to match their top line up with the Meier - Tierney - Boedker line. If the Islanders go with the same tact, it could be a long night for the Sharks.
Where to Watch
Stream: NHL.tv / NHL App
Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App