The Sharks' (28-17-8, 2nd Pacific) tangent dashes across the radius of the very funny and not at all lame Vegas Golden Knights (35-14-4, 1st Pacific) sphere of dominance tonight (nothing drives traffic like geometry jokes!) in a return home to San Jose for the first time in two weeks. The Knights, likely the best story in professional sports this year barring the signing of a peace treaty between Koreas, have taken the league by storm, already breaking the NHL's record for wins by an expansion franchise, leading the Pacific division by a probably insurmountable ten points, leading the Western Conference, and currently sitting one measly point behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for the top spot in the entire league.
This ragtag group of cast outs comes to town at an interesting time for the Sharks. They've treaded water since losing Joe Thornton to injury, and just finished up a road trip with a shrug-inducing 2-2-1 record. Their vaunted penalty kill seems to have re-established itself, though, as the Sharks killed all ten penalties they were assessed over those five games.
San Jose is hanging on to second place in the division but, as has been mentioned before in this space, are only two points out of fifth place and the prospect of playoff golf. It's maybe not the ideal time for the first ever Knights visit to the bay (there was some preseason action, but that doesn't count), but a convincing win could go a long way to boosting our confidence, if not their own.
These teams have met once before this season, culminating in a ... let's call it "controversial" 5-4 overtime loss for the Sharks. A series of challenges and calls conspired in the last twenty minutes or so to doom the Sharks to a single, solitary loser point that night, and hopefully they can come out on the right side of the ledger at home. They'll have to show up on time for that, though.
The Knights are riding some truly dominant play from their poster boy, starting goaltender, and by all accounts very nice man Marc-Andre Fleury, who holds a record of 12-4-1 over his last 17 starts, with a goals against average of 1.88 and a save percentage of .937. Fleury followed an unforgettable tribute in his return to Pittsburgh Tuesday night with a pretty forgettable performance, allowing five Penguin goals on 38 shots in the loss. As crass as it sounds, hopefully the Sharks can capitalize on Fleury's lost mojo early en route to a clean win.
Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Kevin Labanc
Timo Meier -- Joe Pavelski -- Joonas Donskoi
Mikkel Boedker -- Chris Tierney -- Melker Karlsson
Barclay Goodrow -- Daniel O'Regan -- Joel Ward
Joakim Ryan -- Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon -- Dylan DeMelo
Scratched: Jannik Hansen
Injured: Joe Thornton (knee (no, the other one))
The Sharks sent Tim Heed and Marcus Sorensen down to the AHL earlier today, because they hate fun.
Golden Knights Lines
Reilly Smith -- William Karlsson -- Jonathan Marchessault
David Perron -- Erik Haula -- James Neal
Ryan Carpenter -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Alex Tuch
Oscar Lindberg -- Cody Eakin -- Brendan Leipsic
Brayden McNabb -- Nate Schmidt
Deryk Engelland -- Shea Theodore
Colin Miller -- Brad Hunt
Scratched: Jason Garrison
Injured: Tomas Nosek (upper body), Luca Sbisa (hand), William Carrier (undisclosed)
Where to watch
Broadcast: NBCSCA, ATTSN-RM
Stream: NHL.tv / NHL App
Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App