Sharks Gameday: Some Obscure Song Reference
|1-0-0, 2 points||1-1-0, 2 points |
|T-11th in Western Conference||T-11th in Western Conference|
NHL Network, CSN-CA (HD)
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Battle of California
Man. Hard to get into a posting rhythm when the Sharks have been off for six days. It feels like cranking up NHL 12 Dynasty Mode to Hardcore Superstar mode, advancing to the second round against the Canucks, and then not playing videogames for a week. When you come back it's a nightmare. Outlet passes skipping off the boards, manual line changes destroying your will to live, the Sedins putting more work into the cycle than a college kid's parents during Thanksgiving Break*. Rough times.
*Yup, that's a laundry joke.
The Sharks are the only team in the NHL to have played one game this season. Pretty sure Lemony Snicket wrote a series of books about that.
First things second-- according to David Pollak of Working The Corners, Martin Havlat will not be in the lineup tonight. He is still waiting to get clearance from his surgeon in Cleveland as to when he will be able to play. That process doesn't need to be done in person however. Although he traveled to Cleveland earlier this month to meet with the surgeon, he can receive clearance over the phone. With three games in four days upcoming for the Sharks there's no official word on whether or not Havlat will play. That sentence was sort of useless, but I wanted to include the fact that San Jose will be playing three games in four days somewhere in the post and that seemed like a good place to put it. If I could do it all over again I would probably use it somewhere else. Like in the fourth paragraph or something.
The Sharks will have three games in the next four days. Antti Niemi will be travelling with the team to Anaheim, but San Jose is carrying three goalies on the roster at this point in order to allow Niemi to fully recover from a surgical procedure that removed a cyst from his knee. McLellan told DP the decision would likely be made by the end of the team's plane trip yesterday, so look for official word on tonight's starter to come later in the day. With a back to back on hand for San Jose, I expect Niemi to see a maximum of one start this weekend if he plays at all. There's no need to push him this early in the season coming off surgery, and especially with Thomas Greiss playing so well.
The penalty kill will get a chance to get back on track tonight against a Ducks team that has historically been downright deadly with the man advantage-- the Sharks and the Ducks are the only teams who have finished in the top 5 in power play efficiency over the last three seasons. With players like Lubomir Visnovsky, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, and Teemu Selanne running wild in the offensive zone, tonight will be a good test for a Sharks unit that gave up three power play tallies against Phoenix roughly 7,941 minutes ago.
In other news, I was pleasantly surprised to see NHL.com has included a 5v5 goals for/against ratio on their team statistics page. It's way too early to start using this of course, but by game 20 or so it will become a useful tool to employ when analyzing how well a team is performing.
Prediction: Sharks win 3-2. Goals by Pavelski, Mitchell, and Couture. Douglas Murray should grow a mustache.