Coyotes captain and unrestricted free agent Shane Doan on Saturday told Canadian network TSN that his preference is still to work out a resolution with Phoenix. The power forward remains the top free agent still available, and a source told CSNCalifornia.com earlier this week that the Sharks are still in play for his services.The ownership situation in Phoenix, led by former Sharks executive Greg Jamison, is still unresolved."Right now I'm doing everything I can to stay there and that's kind of my goal," Doan said in an interview with TSN, via NHL.com. "At the same time, I'm having to do some due diligence, now in the fact that the longer it takes the more likely and the harder it seems to be to get a deal done in Phoenix."Reports have suggested that Doan is seeking a four-year deal worth 30 million, for an annual cap hit of 7.5 million.An NHL source has informed CSNCalifornia.com that if those demands are true, the Sharks will not be among his suitors, and that San Jose will not offer more than a three-year deal for approximately 4.5 million a season.Still, if Doan wants to remain close to Phoenix without actually playing there, his options could be limited. San Jose and Vancouver are the only Western Conference teams said to be pursuing Doan, along with Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York and Buffalo in the East.
Programming note – Sharks-Canadiens coverage starts today at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 14-9-1, 29 points, 1st Pacific Division
Canadiens: 16-5-2, 34 points, 1st Atlantic Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***It’s a battle of first place teams at SAP Center, as the Sharks lead the Pacific Division and the Canadiens are atop the overall league standings. The Sharks are in the midst of playing eight of 10 at home, and bring a 5-1-0 mark in their last six games into tonight.
The Sharks will wrap up a stretch of 10 games in 18 days before they get a chance to rest before Wednesday’s home game with Ottawa.
“It’s been a lot of hockey. It will be nice to get a couple days after this to relax and recover a little bit,” Joe Thornton said. “We know we don’t play for another five days, so to get this win would be huge for us.”
Montreal is playing the third of a five-game road trip. It began with a 2-1 overtime win in Detroit last Saturday, and was followed by a 2-1 loss in Anaheim on Tuesday.
***The undisputed best goalie in the world will be in net for Montreal, as Carey Price (13-2-1, 1.68 GAA, .947 SP) will face the Sharks for the first time since March 21, 2015. He’s 2-4-1 in his career against San Jose, with a 2.70 GAA and .924 SP.
Goals figure to be hard to come by. The Sharks lead the league with just 2.08 goals allowed per game, while Montreal is third (2.13).
“We have to be prepared to win 2-1 here tonight,” Pete DeBoer said. “That has to be the mindset. If we can get more than that, we’ll take it.”
Martin Jones will go for the Sharks. In his last 10 games, he’s 7-2-1 with a 1.50 GAA and .942 SP with a pair of shutouts.
***Tommy Wingels, who has missed the last three games with a lower body injury, will be a game-time decision. If he doesn’t play, expect Micheal Haley to remain in on the fourth line.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Logan Couture. The Sharks’ center is heating up, and has at least one point in six of the Sharks’ last eight games (6g, 2a). He’s tied with Brent Burns for the team lead in goals with nine, and led the way in San Jose’s 4-1 win on Wednesday night in Los Angeles with two goals and one assist.
Canadiens: Shea Weber. The defenseman has had an immediate impact in his first season in Montreal, with 18 points (8g, 10a) and an NHL-best plus-18 rating. Arguably the frontrunner for the Norris Trophy, Weber will be seeing the Sharks for the first time since his miserable performance in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals with Nashville.
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Mikkel Boedker – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi
Melker Karlsson – Ryan Carpenter – Tommy Wingels
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Martin Jones (starter)
Paul Byron – Alex Galchenyuk – Alex Radulov
Max Pacioretty – Tomas Plekanec – Brendan Gallagher
Artturi Lehkonen – David Desharnais – Andrew Shaw
Torrey Mitchell – Phillip Danault – Brian Flynn
Alexei Emelin – Shea Weber
Andrei Markov – Jeff Petry
Mark Barberio – Greg Pateryn
Carey Price (starter)
Sharks: Tommy Wingels (lower body) is questionable. Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) is out.
Canadiens: Nathan Beaulieu (neck) and Charles Hudon (fractured sternum) are out.
“I’m biased but I think [our defense corps] is one of the top back ends in the league. They do a great job moving the puck, play well defensively, and I’m sure it’s tough for other teams to score on us.” – Logan Couture
LOS ANGELES – The Sharks jumped out to a first period lead and were never in any real danger after that in a 4-1 win at Staples Center on Wednesday. Three takeaways from the victory over their biggest rival…
1 – Having the Kings’ number
The circumstances were all in the Kings’ favor – they were more rested, one of the best NHL teams at home this season, and entered on a five-game winning streak – but the Sharks managed to beat them fairly handily, even if the game was probably a little closer than the 4-1 final would indicate.
Including the 2016 playoffs, the Sharks have won their last six games at Staples Center. What’s the secret to that success?
“I don’t know if there’s a secret,” Pete DeBoer said. “The one thing about any time we play L.A. is there is no speeches needed. We know it’s going to be a hard game, we know it’s going to be a hard-fought game. Our guys have been responding to that challenge. [Martin Jones] has been excellent, too. That’s a big part of it.”
2 – Jones no worse for wear
The Sharks goalie was starting on back-to-back days for the first time this season, and continued his recent run of success. He’ll likely play on Friday against the Canadiens before he and his Sharks teammates get a rare weekend off with no games or practices scheduled.
“I felt fine,” Jones said after the game. “I thought the guys did a really good job keeping it simple tonight. We got pucks deep, and we worked them low.”
Jones and the Sharks’ defenders have been outstanding during their 5-1-0 stretch, allowing just eight goals in their last six games. The Sharks goalie got a major assist in the second period from Brent Burns, who dove into the goal crease to keep Trevor Lewis from cutting the lead to 3-2 when Lewis had Jones beat.
“It was a great play by Lewis and a great play by Burnzie to keep it out there,” Jones said.
DeBoer said: “Burnzie has been playing great. I thought he was very good tonight. … I thought [Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun] shutting down [Jeff] Carter, and Burnzie and [Paul Martin] – I thought our whole defense corps really played well.”
3 – Carpenter showing he belongs
It was another strong outing from 25-year-old Ryan Carpenter, who scored his first NHL goal, had two shots, three hits, and was 5-for-12 in the faceoff circle in 11:38 of ice time.
DeBoer said the Sharks’ fourth line, primarily with Carpenter centering Micheal Haley and either Melker Karlsson or Kevin Labanc, “might have been our best line tonight. They were excellent.”
Carpenter is making the most if his chance to show he’s a full time NHL player.
“Try to take just a simple approach, one day at a time,” he said. “The Sharks are so deep, they’ve got so many established, proven forwards, that any chance you’re in the lineup you’ve got to take advantage of it. Trying to do that. Any time Pete puts me in, I’m going to go all out.”