The San Jose Sharks will take on the Carolina Hurricanes today for the first time in almost two months. The Sharks took the last game in a crazy 5-4 overtime thriller, thanks to the likes of a three-point game from Jumbo Joe Thornton and a game-winning goal from Brent Burns.
The Sharks enter today sitting second place in the Pacific Division with a record of 27-16-8 whereas the Hurricanes are currently sitting seventh in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 24-20-8.
San Jose is coming off a crucial 3-1 win against Columbus Blue Jackets Friday night, ending their four-game losing streak. The Sharks power-play was the difference in the game, scoring two power play goals and going 2/3 on the night.
The Sharks have hit a rough patch since Jumbo Joe went down with a knee injury, going 1-2-1 in the four games and giving up 14 goals within that time.
The Hurricanes on the other hand are coming off a tough 4-1 loss against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night. Carolina has won three out of their last four games, scoring 11 goals within that time. 23-year-old Teuvo Teravainen has been a stud recently for the Hurricanes, recording two goals and three assists in his last five games.
Can the Sharks build off the momentum and start a run?
The Sharks are in need of a crazy run, as they are a struggling team playing in a tight division race. Three losses in four games can make a huge difference in the standings and the Sharks are lucky the rest of the division hasn’t caught up. This bottom-tier Hurricanes team has started to pick up the pace as of late, so it won’t necessarily be easy.
Can the big guns stay hot and lead this Sharks team to victory?
Since Thornton went down with an injury a couple weeks ago, big names such as Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, and Brent Burns have all stepped up and done their part for the Sharks. Couture has recorded six points in his last five games, Pavelski has recorded four points in his last five games, and Burns has also recorded four points in his last five games. The big boys will have to lead the offense against a struggling defensive team in the Carolina Hurricanes.
Will the power-play stay hot?
If there has been one positive in the Sharks recent struggles, it has been their power-play units. San Jose is currently 7-19 in their last six games and have moved all the way up to fourth in the NHL in that category. The Sharks currently hold a 23.7 percent conversion rate on the man-advantage and will go up against the 25th ranked Hurricanes penalty kill. Kevin Labanc and Logan Couture will look to stay hot on the PP and will hopefully dismantle the terrible Hurricanes kill.
Bold Prediction: The Sharks will come out strong again tonight and win the game with a final score of 4-2. Couture and Pavelski will each have two point games and record power-play markers and Martin Jones will have a stellar game stopping 28 of 30 shots.
Check out the gamethread for lines and an open game discussion.