The Sharks begin their six-game, season-ending swing through the Pacific Division tonight with a stop in Edmonton to take on Hart Trophy candidate Connor McDavid and the Oilers.
The first overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft has made “the leap” this season, leading the NHL with 89 points as a 20-year-old. In fact, only 15 players in modern NHL history scored more points in their age-20 season than McDavid has this year, and he still has six games to go.
McDavid will be a nightmare for the Sharks to face off against in the postseason, but as Sportsnet’s Dimitri Filipovic pointed out in a piece on McDavid and the MVP race yesterday, McDavid has factored into 40% of the Oilers’ goals. The Sharks’ depth bounced back last game against the Rangers, and will have an opportunity to continue that form against an Oilers team that relies so heavily on its transcendent talent at the top of the lineup.
Where to watch / listen in San Jose
CSN California / KFOX 98.5
Logan Couture is out for at least the next three games, but Micheal Haley’s one-game suspension is over, and it looks like Haley will return to the lineup tonight, according to CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz and the Mercury News’ Curtis Pashelka.
Kevin Labanc, along with Marcus Sorensen and Dylan DeMelo, stayed on the ice for extra work, although head coach Peter DeBoer told reporters that the lineup will be determined closer to puck drop.
In just under 13 minutes at even strength alongside Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski on Tuesday, Labanc posted a 58.33 CF%, but has not scored a goal in his last 26 games with the Sharks.
Projected Sharks Lines
Timo Meier - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Melker Karlsson - Patrick Marleau - Joel Ward
Mikkel Boedker - Tomas Hertl - Jannik Hansen
Micheal Haley - Chris Tierney - Joonas Donskoi
Paul Martin - Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon - David Schlemko
Projected Oilers Lines (h/t Paul Gazzola)
Patrick Maroon - Connor McDavid - Leon Draisaitl
Milan Lucic - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
Benoit Pouliot - David Desharnais - Zack Kassian
Drake Caggiula - Mark Letestu - Anton Slepyshev
Oscar Klefbom - Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera - Kris Russell
Darnell Nurse - Matt Benning