The San Jose Sharks are still figuring out their fourth line. Tonight, Fredrik Handemark will make his NHL debut, taking over 4C duties. The 26-year-old signed a one-year contract with the Sharks in May after ranking 10th in Sweden’s top men’s league in points last season.
It’s not much of a surprise that the Sharks would bring in Handemark ahead of this particular series. Among his talents, the 6-foot-4 forward is a physical player, something the St. Louis Blues have never had in short supply.
Radim Simek will also make his season debut on the blueline, after lingering issues with his surgically repaired knee kept him out of the series against the Arizona Coyotes. The Sharks’ defensive depth is weak, and Simek is unlikely to be the solution — though he’s probably still ant improvement over Jacob Middleton.
Devan Dubnyk will start in net for the Sharks. He stepped in during the third period of Saturday’s showing against the Coyotes.
The Blues are coming off a series against the Colorado Avalanche. The Blues took the opening game 4-1, thanks to a two-goal and two-point night (respectively) from Oscar Sundqvist and Robert Thomas. The Avalanche responded with an 8-0 shutout, featuring a power play goal from former Sharks forward Joonas Donskoi.
The Blues will also be without forward Sammy Blais, who is serving a two-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Devon Toews.
SAN JOSE SHARKS
Timo Meier — Logan Couture — Kevin Labanc
John Leonard — Tomas Hertl — Evander Kane
Ryan Donato — Noah Gregor — Matt Nieto
Patrick Marleau — Fredrik Handemark — Marcus Sorensen
Marc-Edouard Vlasic — Erik Karlsson
Mario Ferraro — Brent Burns
Nikolai Knyzhov — Radim Simek
Expected Scratches: Dylan Gambrell, Stefan Noesen
Injured Reserve: None
ST. LOUIS BLUES
Zach Sanford — Ryan O’Reilly — David Perron
Jaden Schwartz — Brayden Schenn — Jordan Kyrou
Mike Hoffman — Robert Thomas — Tyler Bozak
Kyle Clifford — Ivan Barbashev — Oskar Sundqvist
Torey Krug — Colton Parayko
Marco Scandella — Justin Faulk
Vince Dunn — Carl Gunnarsson
Expected Scratches: Niko Mikkola, Jake Walman
Injured Reserve: Vladimir Tarasenko (shoulder), Robert Bortuzzo (upper body)
Suspended: Sammy Blais
How to Watch
Puck drop is at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET at Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Tonight’s game will be broadcast regionally on Fox Sports Midwest and NBC Sports Bay Area and is available to stream through NHL.tv.
Follow along in the comments for live updates and reactions throughout the game!