The first and only visit of Bobby Boughner's Florida Panthers (6-9-2, 7th Atlantic) to San Jose looms large Thursday night as the Sharks (10-6-0, 3rd Pacific) start another home stand after a brief jaunt southward. The Sharks will look to continue a two game winning streak, and try for their seventh win in eight games tonight while simultaneously rooting for the Vancouver Canucks to help them leapfrog the Vegas Golden Knights and their horrifying goalie carousel for second place in the division.
Tonight marks the first visit of Cats head coach Bob Boughner, who spent 2015-17 behind the Sharks' bench assisting head coach Pete Deboer. He brings with him former Sharks Jamie McGinn and Michael Haley, both of whom are expected to draw into the lineup tonight. Haley, a frequent target for criticism from stats nerds (yours truly), recorded 187 penalty minutes and 24 fights in 78 games with the Sharks from 2014-17, and currently leads the league with six fights this season. When asked who he wanted to fight on the Sharks roster, Haley replied jokingly, "I'll be going after Jumbo, for sure." I've changed my mind, I like him now. He seems fun.
The Sharks come into the evening off of a long rest after a third period comeback win over the Los Angeles Kings Sunday night. The Sharks rode a shot differential of 29-19 over the second and third periods and final frame goals from Melker Karlsson and Joel Ward to the W in LA.
The Panthers also come in hot, after a 4-3 shoot out win over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. Aleksander Barkov tied the game early in the third period, and in the shoot out before Vincent Trocheck ended the evening's festivities. Barkov is on a bit of a hot streak, good enough for nine points (three goals, six assists) in his last seven games.
Brent Burns leads the Sharks in shots on goal with 65, at some point one of those has to go in by sheer chance, right? Tonight marks the beginning of what should be five pretty winnable games against the Panthers (L10: 3-5-2), the struggling Boston Bruins (L10: 3-4-3), the centerless Anaheim Ducks (L10: 4-4-2), who are so injury-riddled they played Korbinian Holzer at right wing last night, the record-settingly-winless-in-regulation Arizona Coyotes (2-15-3), and the plummeting-back-down-to-Earth-on-the-shoulders-of-their-fifth-string-goalie-they-had-to-pull-out-of-junior Vegas Knights (L10: 4-5-1).
How many points should we expect out of that murderer's row? Knowing our Sharks, let's set the over-under at four. JUST KIDDING HAVE FUN!
Joonas Donskoi -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski
Melker Karlsson -- Logan Couture -- Tomas Hertl
Kevin Labanc -- Chris Tierney -- Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier -- Barclay Goodrow -- Joel Ward
Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun
Joakim Ryan -- Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon -- Tim Heed
Scratched: Ryan Carpenter, Dylan DeMelo, Jannik Hansen
Injured: Paul Martin (ankle)
No lineup changes tonight, as Joe Thornton is set to play after missing two days of practice with an injury to "NOT HIS KNEE I SUPER PROMISE," said Pete Deboer, winking melodramatically. Thornton is just one point shy of matching Joe Sakic for 12th all time. Eventually he'll have to get it, so I can stop saying this, right?
Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Evgenii Dadonov
Dryden Hunt -- Vincent Trocheck -- Radim Vrbata
Jamie McGinn -- Nick Bjugstad -- Colton Sceviour
Micheal Haley -- Chase Balisy -- Connor Brickley
Keith Yandle -- Aaron Ekblad
Mike Matheson -- Mark Pysyk
Ian McCoshen -- MacKenzie Weegar
Scratched: Alex Petrovic, Curtis Valk
Injured: Jared McCann (lower body), Derek MacKenzie (lower body)
Huberdeau missed today's morning skate, but is set to draw into the lineup in his normal position regardless. We expect Weegar to play on Florida's third line in place of Alex Petrovic, but the jury is still kind of out on that one, and we'll know closer to game time.
Where to watch
Broadcast: NBCSCA, FS-F
Stream: NHL.tv/subscribe.nhl.com/us / NHL App
Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App