The Sharks (14-9-2, 3rd Pacific) end their second East coast swing of the season with their first game of the season against the Washington Capitals (15-11-1, 5th Metropolitan). The Capitals are a shell of their former selves, slipping down the standings due to a combination of cap management moves and the emergence of teams like Columbus and the New York Islanders. Still, Washington is a good team, and the Metro is close: sitting fifth, the Caps are only four points away from the Jackets for the division lead.
The Caps beat those very same Blue Jackets in their last game Saturday, riding strong showings from high profile stars Braden Holtby, Alex Ovechkin, and Evgeny Kuznetzov. Kuznetsov has become a legitimate NHL star, leading his team in points (29) and assists (20). Ovechkin leads Washington in goals (I'm surprised too, friends) with 19, and is one goal shy of 578 for his career, which would move him out of a tie with Mark Recchi for sole position of 20th all time. He knows it, apparently, as he has six goals in his last five games.
San Jose's last contest was a sadder story, as they were walloped once again by the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday evening. Justin Braun and Barclay Goodrow scored their first goals of the season, but it wasn't enough as the Bolts laid a five spot on the Sharks for the second time this season. The Sharks are nursing more injuries than usual tonight, and that makes room for Marcus Sorensen's season debut. The Swede has five goals and 14 points in 17 games with the AHL's Barracuda, and will probably get a chance to make some noise on my best friend Chris Tierney's wing.
Tierney is making the most of the "show me" contract he signed this off-season, and sits tied for second place on the team in goals with seven. Joe Thornton is just two points away from tying Dale Hawerchuk for 19th all time at 1411. A bright spot all season has been San Jose's penalty kill, and it isn't showing any signs of slowing down, sitting second in the league behind the Los Angeles Kings at an 87.6% efficiency rate.
The Sharks have historically had the Caps' number, with an all time record of 27-9-1-2. Let's hope two teams trending away from relevance can keep at least this trend going tonight.
Timo Meier -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski
Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Kevin Labanc
Marcus Sorensen -- Chris Tierney -- Joel Ward
Barclay Goodrow -- Daniel O'Regan -- Jannik Hansen
Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon -- Brent Burns
Joakim Ryan -- Dylan DeMelo
Scratched: Melker Karlsson, Ryan Carpenter
Injured: Joonas Donskoi (lower body), Tim Heed (upper body), Paul Martin (ankle), Mikkel Boedker (undisclosed)
The Sharks' injury list is getting longer, but it looks like Martin could be ready to draw back into the lineup as early as Thursday when the Carolina Hurricanes come to town.
Alex Ovechkin -- Nicklas Backstrom -- Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana -- Evgeny Kuznetsov -- T.J. Oshie
Travis Boyd -- Lars Eller - Brett Connolly
Devante Smith-Pelly -- Jay Beagle -- Alex Chiasson
Dmitry Orlov -- Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik -- John Carlson
Christian Djoos -- Madison Bowey
Scratched: Tyler Graovac , Taylor Chorney
Injured: Andre Burakovsky (fractured left thumb), Chandler Stephenson (upper body)
Boyd draws into the line up to replace the injured Stephenson, he has three goals and 20 points in 23 AHL games this season.
Where to watch
Broadcast: NHL-US, NBCSWA, NBCSCA
Stream: NHL.tv / NHL App
Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App