The Sharks (36-23-9, 2nd Pacific) will have to end this season long six game home stand on a high note: a loss to the visiting Detroit Red Wings (26-31-11, 5th Atlantic) would cede important opportunities to divisional opponents the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, and Calgary Flames, who enter tonight's action one, two, and three points behind the Sharks in the standings, and all of whom play before the Sharks' next game. A regulation loss by San Jose tonight, paired with wins from Anaheim and LA, would see the Sharks drop from second place in the Pacific to the second wild card spot in the West.
The Red Wings have no such concerns. Comfortably out of the playoffs, Detroit sits 14 points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets' berth in the second Eastern wild card position. Playing for pride tonight, the Wings have lost their last six (0-5-1), most recently a 3-2 loss to those very same Blue Jackets on 9 March, and are one loss away from tying their longest such stretch, a seven game streak (0-3-4) from 19 November to 2 December last year.
The Sharks are 3-2-0 on this home stand so far, most recently coming out on both sides of 2-0 shut outs. Two days after stymieing the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night, the Sharks couldn't get a puck past Philipp Grubauer and the Washington Capitals on Saturday, squandering a golden opportunity to make space for themselves in the division. Still, today is a new day and, with four games against teams outside of the playoff picture (tonight's Red Wings, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver on the road) on tap, the Sharks have found themselves in prime position to make hay for that sweet, fresh extra hour of sunshine.
Despite chatter of a career resurgence earlier this season, Red Wings starting goaltender Jimmy Howard has struggled lately: his last five starts have seen a record of 0-4-1, an .897 save percentage, and 16 goals allowed. In stark contrast, Sharks netminder Martin Jones has been a large part of any recent successes: he boasts a 7-4-1 record in his last 12 starts, with a .937 save percentage and one shut out. If those trends continue to any degree, the Sharks should be able to bank some valuable points over the course of this week, starting tonight.
Evander Kane -- Joe Pavelski -- Joonas Donskoi
Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier -- Chris Tierney -- Kevin Labanc
Barclay Goodrow -- Eric Fehr -- Marcus Sorensen
Joakim Ryan -- Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon -- Dylan DeMelo
Scratched: Tim Heed, Paul Martin, Jannik Hansen
Injured: Joe Thornton (knee), Joel Ward (shoulder), Melker Karlsson (lower body)
Karlsson is expected to miss his third straight game tonight, and Ward his 15th, though the latter is skating and progress is therefore ostensibly still being made.
Red Wings Lines
Tyler Bertuzzi -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Gustav Nyquist
Martin Frk -- Dylan Larkin -- Anthony Mantha
Justin Abdelkader -- Evgeny Svechnikov -- Andreas Athanasiou
Darren Helm -- Luke Glendening -- Luke Witkowski
Danny DeKeyser -- Nick Jensen
Jonathan Ericsson -- Trevor Daley
Niklas Kronwall -- Mike Green
Scratched: Xavier Ouellet, David Booth
Injured: Frans Nielsen (upper body)
Nielsen skated this morning, but will likely miss his third straight game after being injured in a game against the Boston Bruins on 6 March.
Where to watch
Broadcast: NBCSCA, FS-D
Stream: NHL.tv / NHL App
Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App