Here goes the road-ice advantage thing again.
Two games in to their first road trip of the season, and one that spans over 6,000 miles, the Sharks will head to the Barclays Center to take on the New York Islanders, with the puck dropping at 10:00 AM Pacific time — wait, what?
Apparently that’s no error, it will be a 1:00 eastern puck drop time, something that I’ve been trying to make sense of. It would make sense on a weekend, but a Monday game is quite interesting scheduling.
Maybe it’s because New York still recognizes the holiday named for a guy who couldn’t even find the right continent to land on.
It’s weird, but we’ll roll with it.
The Sharks got off the schneid on Friday night, committing their first act of regicide against the Kings with a Kevin Labanc overtime goal and a 3-2 final score.
The Islanders enter this season unsure about their fate. They’ve had one hell of a front office turnover, a new coach in Barry Trotz and trying to deal with the loss of John Tavares. That spells trouble, but that doesn’t mean this will be easy.
Life without Jumbo, again
Just after another lengthy recovery rehabbing his second knee injury in as many years, Joe Thornton has once again ended up on the injured reserve. It doesn’t seem to be long-term, but it does affect his repaired right knee, as there’s been some swelling in it. In response, Dylan Gambrell got the call-up, fresh off a two-goal AHL debut. We’ll see if Gambrell slots into the line up tonight or if Rourke Chartier will get a look, presumably on the fourth line.
Can the power play come back to life?
After the blessed day in which Erik Karlsson’s trade to San Jose was officially confirmed, it was a talking point that the Sharks would have the best power-play in the league.
Two games in, however, the Sharks sit with a big 0.0 in power play percentage, facing an Islanders team that has been perfect in their penalty-kill situations so far. Yes, it’s still early, but sooner or later this loaded power play unit needs to get back into from. Hopefully Monday morning will see the first man-advantage goal this season (and maybe in the form of another first from the stick of said Karlsson).
The Barry Trotz Chapter
After a disappointing first season in charge of the Islanders, Doug Weight was dismissed, and was replaced by Barry Trotz, who had just resigned as coach of the Stanley Cup-winning Washington Capitals. Trotz will be tasked with leading an Islanders team that still has talent, but has found itself on the outside looking in each of the last two seasons. With Mat Barzal, new captain Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle and more, the Sharks will go toe-to-toe with an Islanders squad hoping to prove they don’t need John Tavares.
Bold Prediction: Antti Suomela will score his first NHL goal. The power play will finally see life with a Logan Couture goal and Brent Burns will also net his first of the year, all too much for the Islanders to handle.