San Jose looks to end its four-game road trip with a win against the New Jersey Devils in the second of a back-to-back at 9:30 a.m. PT. The Sharks are winless in their last four but have points in eight of their last 10 contests. It probably doesn’t feel that way because San Jose has lost games to Buffalo, Arizona and Philadelphia in that span, loser points be damned.
This road trip was always going to be tougher than many expected. Boston is a good hockey team, their tenuous playoff positioning be damned, and playing back-to-back matinee games, quality of opponent be damned, is brutal. If San Jose can get a win today and escape this four-game road trip with four points, I’ll call it a success. You can call it whatever you want, it’s your life.
The New Jersey Devils are a truly terrible hockey team. You may have thought you heard me say, “the New Jersey Devils are of similar quality to other hockey teams the San Jose Sharks faced on this road trip,” but what I said was, “the New Jersey Devils are a truly terrible hockey team.” Check the receipts.
You’re right, the Sharks have certainly lost to their fair share of bad teams. You might even argue more than their fair share. I like San Jose’s chances as long as the team isn’t lulled to sleep by what remains one of the most boring teams in the NHL. Only one team has attempted fewer shots than the Devils this season and only 10 have allowed more. One of those is almost a compliment.
New Jersey enters this game after taking its CBA-mandated bye week. I don’t know if that helps or hurts the Devils, but I assure you we will craft a suitable narrative depending on what happens on Sunday morning. We’ve got your back.
Expect Martin Jones to start for San Jose after Aaron Dell performed beautifully for the Sharks on Saturday. Jones was pulled after a stinker of a period against the Boston Bruins on Thursday.
Injury Report: Logan Couture is day to day and was a last-minute scratch against the Flyers. Kevin Labanc drew into the lineup in his stead. Joonas Donskoi is still out and did not travel with the team.
Returning Home: San Jose next plays at home against the Florida Panthers on Wednesday.
Stat Delay: The infographic below has not been updated with the Sharks’ latest fenwick, save, shot and power play stats. I’m sorry. Blame the schedule.