Tonight, the San Jose Sharks (16-20-3, 8th Pacific) and the Philadelphia Flyers (21-11-5, 4th Metropolitan) will play one another for the first time this season. It’s certainly a tale of two different teams.
After last night's overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings, the Sharks are the Pacific Division basement dwellers. Meanwhile, the Flyers are sitting in the first wildcard spot in the East. If the season ended today, the Sharks would be a lottery team without a first round draft pick and the Flyers would be lacing up their skates for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Flyers are riding a four-game winning streak, most recently a 5-1 win over the New York Rangers on Monday night. The Sharks are riding a four-game losing streak and are 1-7-2 in their last 10 games.
Travis Konecny leads the visiting team with 33 points (11 goals, 22 assists). Meanwhile, James van Riemsdyk leads the team with 12 goals this season.
And then there’s the return of Justin Braun, who is making his first return to San Jose since the off-season trade.
Justin Braun will play the Sharks for the first time as a member of the Flyers on Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCA, NBCSP+, https://t.co/yFcpGmtzR4). The defenseman, who was traded to Philadelphia on June 19, spent his first nine seasons with the Sharks.https://t.co/jjBj7YPHSm— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) December 28, 2019
In net for the Flyers, Carter Hart is the team’s leading goaltender. He’s 13-7-3 for the season with a .916 save percentage. Backup Brian Elliott is just as capable 8-4-2 with a .903 save percentage.
The Flyers' lineup is expected to be the same as it was against the Rangers, but there may be a small change game time. Forward Scott Laughton has reportedly been activated off of injured reserve after working through a pulled groin. It sounds like young Andre Andreoff is being sent down to the minors making room for Laughton.
Head Coach Bob Boughner was not pleased with how the Sharks played last night against the Kings. In particular, he was displeased with the play of Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc. Both were benched for more than half of the third period and Boughner hinted at some changes tonight.
Sharks’ Boughner sounds off, hints at benching notable forwards https://t.co/YJUWuZMSMl— Bay Area Sports HQ (@BayAreaSportsHQ) December 28, 2019
The lineup won’t be in until just before game time, but since there were no call ups from the Barracuda it’s hard to imagine both will be benched. Here’s what NHL.com is predicting, we’ll see if that’s what happens.
Since there was no morning skate, I’m going to use the lineup from last night’s game with the caveat that something could change at gametime.
Evander Kane — Logan Couture — Barclay Goodrow
Timo Meier — Tomas Hertl — Kevin Labanc
Marcus Sorensen — Joe Thornton — Patrick Marleau
Melker Karlsson — Joel Kellman — Stefan Noesen
Brenden Dillon — Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic — Erik Karlsson
Radim Simek — Mario Ferraro
The lines below are courtesy of our friends at Broad Street Hockey. The Laughton is questionable, but everything else looks right.
Claude Giroux — Sean Couturier — Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk — Kevin Hayes — Joel Farabee
Scott Laughton — Morgan Frost — Jakub Voracek
Nicolas Aube-Kubel — Mikhail Vorobyev — Tyler Pitlick
Ivan Provorov — Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim — Justin Braun
Shayne Gostisbehere — Philippe Myers
Where to watch
Puck drop from SAP Center will be at 7:30 PT/10:30 ET. Tonight’s broadcast will be available on NBC Sports California in the Bay Area and on NBC Sports Philadelphia for the visitors’ market. Streaming will be available on NHLtv. The radio call will be on 98.5 KFOX or available to stream through the Sharks + SAP Center app.