Well, what’s the encore for the San Jose Sharks’ 7-0 drubbing of up and coming Toronto? Hopefully, it is continuing the massive road success on a quick, two game road trip beginning tonight in Calgary. The Sharks visited Southern Alberta and got embarrassed 4-2 in December, but that was after a 5-2 win on home ice at the Shark Tank on November 28th.
The best road team… umm… second best road… ahem… the team tied with Los Angeles for the second best road team in the league. Yes, that’s how long it’s been since the Sharks have been on the road. 13-6-2 in the road white sweaters helps offset the rough home woes. And while the team is 26th in the league, the 40 points has San Jose only two points out of a playoff spot.
That’s where this game becomes such a big deal. Calgary and San Jose are tied in points. The potential four point swing is big.
Right now, the Sharks need 100% effort from everyone. They showed that on Saturday. Tommy Wingels assisting on Matt Nieto’s shorthanded goal. Peter DeBoer’s line shuffling putting Tomas Hertl on the offensively creative top line paid massive dividends as he scored twice, and got a helper. Hertl, who had been centering the third or fourth line for a good chunk of the year. If he can get going with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, while the team can roll four lines, watch out.
With the line juggling last game, our best guess would be this lineup:
Hertl – Thornton – Pavelski
Nieto – Marleau – Ward
Wingels – Couture – Donskoi
Karlsson – Tierney – Brown
Vlasic – Braun
Martin – Burns
Dillon – DeMelo
We expect Jones to play tonight vs. Calgary, while Alex Stalock gets some NHL ice time against Winnipeg on Tuesday.
Calgary comes in winning four of it’s last seven matches, despite losing to Arizona last Thursday in their last game. Tied in points in San Jose, Calgary who struggled out of the gate, allowing more goals than Greg Goldberg for District Five in the first “Mighty Ducks” movie, has come on strong.
Karri Ramo, who was placed on waivers and sent to the Stockton Heat in the AHL early in the season, is expected to start his 15th of Calgary’s 17 games since December 1st. However, he took a puck to the head at practice on Sunday, but Flames officials are giving him the OK. Ramo has a .930 save percentage and is part of the reason Calgary went from last to fighting to stay in the playoff race.
With games in hand and on the road, this is a great chance to get back into the playoff run. We will have Pucknology After Dark following the game, so have your comments and questions ready. To subscribe, go to http://www.youtube.com/PucknologyAfterDark1