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San Jose Sharks visit the New York Islanders

SAN JOSE, CA - DECEMBER 10: Tomas Hertl #48 of the San Jose Sharks skates for the puck against Travis Hamonic #3 of the New York Islanders during an NHL game on December 10, 2013 at SAP Center in San Jose, California. (Photo by Don Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Update: Jaroslav Halak has been confirmed to make his season debut tonight against the San Jose Sharks.

After a sub par outing against the New Jersey Devils the San Jose Sharks hope to return to playing their “A” game against a much better New York Islanders squad in their second game in as many nights.

Breaking Down The New York Islanders

The New York Islanders (2-1-1) are always an interesting team to me for many reasons.  One of those reasons is that general manager Garth Snow went from being the punch line to many jokes to one of the better GM’s in the game. It has taken a while to the Islanders to get back to respectability and while they may not be a true cup contender yet they are most certainly a playoff team.  The team is lead by captain John Tavares (3 goals, 3 assists, +1) who in my opinion may be still be somewhat underrated among his peers consisting of the truly elite talent in the NHL.  The Islanders have gotten off to an OK start considering the upper body injury that has kept starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak out of action.  In his place journeyman back up and former Sharks goaltender Thomas Griess (2 wins, 2.64 GAA, .925 SV%) has played in his place.  Halak has been announced to make his debut tonight. Their special teams have been formidable thus far with a power play that has seen a 16.1% efficiency and a penalty kill that has been a success 80% of the time. The Islanders will also get reinforcements with the return of defenceman Thomas Hickey.

Projected Islanders Lineup

A. Lee – J. Tavares – R. Strome
J. Bailey – F. Nielsen – K. Okposo
N. Kulemin – M. Grabovski – B. Nelson
M. Martin – C. Cizikas – C. Clutterbuck

N. Leddy – J. Boychuk
T. Hickey – T. Hamonic
C. de Haan – M. Zidlicky

J. Halak
T. Griess

Breaking Down The San Jose Sharks

The San Jose Sharks (4-0-0) who are playing their second game in as many nights will need to refocus their game as the Islanders should give them much stiffer competition than the Devils had the prior evening.  After looking nearly unstoppable though three games they looked very human last night.  While its true that with the loss of Couture they will need to find new chemistry with different line mates the Sharks just looked incredibly flat last night taking a mix of marginal and stupid penalties.  Starting in goal tonight is expected to be Alex Stalock who will be making his first start of the season.  While Martin Jones may be the hot hand, it is important to remember that he has yet to play a full season of games as a starter, rest now will help him stay fresh for when we really need him down the road.  There have definitely been some great bounce back performances this year for the Sharks that have contributed to their good start, on the score sheet it’s hard to overlook the return to form for Patrick Marleau (3 goals, 1 assist, +3) who currently leads the team in goal scoring.  The one bright spot for the Sharks yesterday was special teams especially their penalty kill that has thus far had an astonishing success rate of 94.1% while the power play has been successful 20% of the time.

Sharks Projected Lineup

N. Goldobin – J. Thornton – J. Pavelski
P. Marleau – T. Hertl – J. Ward
M. Nieto – C. Tierney – T. Wingels
B. Goodrow – B. Smith – M. Brown

M. Vlasic – J. Braun
P. Martin – B. Burns
B. Dillon – M. Tennyson

A. Stalock
M. Jones

About Ian Reid

Ian is the Director of Content for Pucknology. He is a lifelong Sharks fan based in Canada. In three short years Ian has come a long way starting from his own blogspot and going on to write for RSENReport.com, Last Word on Hockey before settling in at Pucknology. You can also find Ian's work as a contributor at FearTheFin.com. On the podcast side of things he was a co-host of the now defunct Teal Tinted Glasses podcast as well as a regular on Pucknology After Dark and host of the Pucknology Writers Room.

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