It’s a brand new season of hockey, and the Sharks open it by hosting the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at 7:30 p.m. in SAP Center. The 2017-2018 season will be the first in 19 years that the Sharks will be without Patrick Marleau. This game will mark the regular-season debut of Philadelphia Flyer and second-overall pick Nolan Patrick. The Sharks will also be facing a Claude Giroux at left wing for the first time ever.
San Jose is coming off a winning preseason, their final record sitting at 4-2. San Jose, though eliminated in the first round of the playoffs last season, has its solid veteran core of Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Despite being older, the Sharks have the type of experience Philadelphia’s roster simply lacks.
The Flyers’ preseason record, on the other hand, was a sad, sad 3-4. This makes sense, considering that the Flyers missed the playoffs entirely last season, and that their roster, while young, is ultimately inexperienced. Claude Giroux at left wing has proven effective for the Flyers, but they may be out a defenseman in Shayne Gostisbehere, who suffered an upper-body injury in the Flyers’ final preseason game against the New York Islanders. Regardless, this match-up comes down to experience vs. youth, and, on paper, the Sharks are the all-around better team.
Regular season hockey is back. Let’s see where 2017-2018 takes us!