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Sharks at Golden Knights Game One: Lines, gamethread, and where to watch

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It’s about time.

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Vegas Golden Knights
Mar 31, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) is checked by Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson (71) and right wing Alex Tuch (89) during the third period at T-Mobile Arena.
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Whoa, hey, remember hockey?

Let’s hope the Sharks (45-27-10, 3rd Pacific) do, since they’re likely to have their hands full tonight starting their second round series visiting the (Las) Vegas Golden Knights (51-24-7, 1st Pacific). The only two teams to sweep their opponents in round one, the Sharks and Knights obliterated the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings, to the joy and celebration of literally everyone everywhere.

It’s been eight days since the Sharks last played, and nine for the Knights, so if rust were ever a factor in the Stanley Cup playoffs, it should affect both teams equally. If the season series is to be any guide, the Sharks are in tough, as they went a pedestrian 1-2-1 against Vegas, with the lone win coming in over time. The addition of Evander Kane to the teal roster, however, makes that record a little academic.

There’s no doubt that goaltending will be a story line in this series, as the Knights’ Marc-Andre Fleury and the Sharks’ Martin Jones rank first and second, respectively, in playoff save percentage (.977 to .970) and in goals against average (0.65 to 1.00). Stellar goaltending couldn’t save the Kings, Jonathan Quick posted a .974 save percentage in their series, fat lot of good it did him.

If there’s some silver lining to cling to heading into game one, it’s the Sharks’ offense. For a deep dive, check out Erik’s deep dive on match ups from Tuesday but, scratching the surface, Vegas scored seven goals on the lower seeded Kings, and the Sharks scored 16 on the third place Ducks. If the standings are any indication, the Knights struggled more with a worse team than the Sharks did in round one, therefore the Sharks are guaranteed to win the series.

By similar logic, no other team swept the first round, so the Sharks are guaranteed to win the Stanley Cup. If A, then B. If B, then C. A, therefore C.

Sharks Lines

Evander Kane -- Joe Pavelski -- Joonas Donskoi

Tomas Hertl -- Logan Couture -- Mikkel Boedker

Timo Meier -- Chris Tierney -- Kevin Labanc

Marcus Sorensen -- Eric Fehr -- Melker Karlsson

Paul Martin -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon -- Dylan DeMelo

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Joakim Ryan, Joel Ward, Jannik Hansen, Dylan Gambrell, Barclay Goodrow, Antoine Bibeau

Injured: Joe Thornton (knee)

Head coach Peter DeBoer takes an “ain’t broke, don’t fix” approach to the line up, as he is wont to do, and while Thornton is a long shot to play in the series at all, he is especially a long shot tonight. Like, the longest.

Knights Lines

Jonathan Marchessault -- William Karlsson -- Reilly Smith

David Perron -- Erik Haula -- James Neal

Alex Tuch -- Cody Eakin -- Ryan Carpenter

William Carrier -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Tomas Nosek

Brayden McNabb -- Nate Schmidt

Shea Theodore -- Deryk Engelland

Jon Merrill -- Colin Miller

Marc-Andre Fleury

Malcolm Subban

Scratched: Tomas Tatar, Ryan Reaves, Oscar Lindberg, Luca Sbisa, Brad Hunt

The Knights seem primed to load up their top six a little more than they did against LA, Perron skated with Haula and Neal this morning, not with Eakin and Carpenter as he had done in the first round. However, gamesmanship takes center stage in the post season, so we’ll have to wait until game time to be sure.

Sbisa is reportedly healthy enough to play after missing the first round series with injury, but will watch from the box tonight.

Where to watch

Broadcast: NBCSN, SN, TVAS, CBC

Stream: NHL.tv / NHL App

Radio: 98.5 KFOX / NHL App / Sharks App