Game 38: San Jose Sharks (23-13-1) vs. Los Angeles Kings (18-15-4)
Gametime: 7:00pm PST / 10:00pm EST
Radio: 98.5 KFOX
It will be a New Year’s Eve rematch (#GetNewYearsEven) at SAP Center tonight as the San Jose Sharks host the Los Angeles Kings following a 3-2 loss to their Southern California rivals over the weekend.
The Sharks will still be missing two vital parts of their defensive core in David Schlemko and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who was placed on the IR earlier this week after taking a slapshot to the face against Philadelphia last Friday and turning into a slightly better-looking Dustin Brown:
Happy New Year! Thank you for all the kind messages. Doing well, I've got these 4 girls taking care of me. pic.twitter.com/nEcWIWvI68
— Marc-Édouard Vlasic (@Vlasic44) January 2, 2017
As the Sharks 3-2 loss to LA on Saturday (and the 2014 playoffs) taught us, missing Vlasic makes a glaring difference in the Sharks defensive game. Losing both Vlasic and Schlemko at the same time is a big hurdle the Sharks will need to overcome tonight if they want a chance to get two points. Both Dylan DeMelo and the much-debated Mirco Mueller will slot in on the Sharks defense tonight after being called up from the Barracuda. Mueller’s play has considerably improved in the minors since his forgetful 2014-15 debut, but his lack of experience playing under Pete DeBoer’s system might make for some difficulties on the blue line tonight.
Micheal Haley is set to yet again center the never-ending carousel that is the Sharks fourth line. CSN’s Kevin Kurz recently noted the importance of Haley in games vs Pacific Division teams:
While the narrative of Haley dropping the gloves to give the Sharks energy in rivalry games is fun to write about, San Jose is actually 3-4 in games that Haley’s had fights in this year:
Get better soon, Tomas Hertl.
On the plus side, Kevin LaBanc, our new Lord of the Sixth Round, has four points in his last five games and 10 points in 24 overall games. I noted at the beginning of the season I didn’t think he was going to work out in the Sharks’ system given his size/lack of skating ability. I can only pray our Lord LaBanc may forgive my lack of faith.
As Kevin Kurz noted earlier today, 14 of the next 16 Sharks games will be against teams in the Western Conference jockeying for playoff spots. Simply put, the Sharks cannot afford another slow start like they had on Saturday night. They’ll need to come out the gate quick tonight and get to the Kings early if they want to win with this lineup.
Los Angeles Kings Projected Lines
Marian Gaborik – Anze Kopitar – Dustin Brown
Tanner Pearson – Jeff Carter – Devin Setoguchi
Kyle Clifford – Nic Dowd – Trevor Lewis
Dwight King – Nick Shore – Jordan Nolan
Derek Forbort – Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin – Alec Martinez
Brayden McNabb – Kevin Gravel
San Jose Sharks Projected Lineups
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin LaBanc – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi
Melker Karlsson – Micheal Haley – Joel Ward
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Justin Braun
Mirco Mueller – Dylan DeMelo
|1st, Pacific||Div. Standing||5th, Pacific|
|8-2-0||Last 10 Games||4-4-2||Sharks|
|17.2 (17th)||Power Play||15.6 (23rd)||Sharks|
|83.8 (9th)||Penalty Kill||83.2 (11th)||Sharks|
|92 (22nd)||Goals For||91 (24th)||Sharks|
|80 (4th)||Goals Against||88 (6th)||Sharks|