Sharks-Wild: What to watch for


Sharks-Wild: What to watch for

SAN JOSE Coming off of one of their worst defensive efforts of the season, the Sharks will be without Douglas Murray when they host the NHL-leading Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night. Murray has a right hand injury likely occurred while blocking a shot in the 5-3 loss to Florida on Saturday.

In, it appears, is Justin Braun, who was reassigned to Worcester just a week ago. Based on the morning skate, the struggling Colin White will be scratched.

Todd McLellan was tinkering with his defense pairings even before Murrays injury, and will have no choice to ice some new combinations tonight.

Well start a certain way, and if we like what we see, we wont tinker with it, said the coach. If we dont like what we see of if there isnt chemistry, well look at moving things around fairly quickly.

In practice on Monday, Dan Boyle and Marc-Edouard Vlasic were paired together. Braun and Brent Burns have played opposite of one another at times this season, while Jim Vandermeer and Jason Demers have also skated entire games as a pair.

As for Braun, McLellan had nothing but complimentary things to say when he was reassigned to Worcester last Tuesday. The bottom line, though, was that Braun needed to play. Thats just what he did in Worcester, playing three games with the Sharks AHL affiliate.

It was nice to play a lot and get a lot of minutes. You just wait for that call to come back up and hope that it pays off, he said.

As for the trips back and forth across the country, Braun said: You cant get too up or too down. Thats the nature of the game.

Reunion night, Part 2: It certainly doesnt carry the same emotions as the first time they were in the building on November 10, but former Sharks Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley will play in just their second game at HP Pavilion since the offseason trades between the Sharks and Wild.

Off the ice, that pair remains good friends with some old teammates. On the ice it's a different story, and Ryane Clowe had some reporters laughing this morning with his blunt honestly.

I got to say hello to them last night, but Ill say hello to them again and Ill certainly say hello to them again on the ice when I try to run them over, he said, smiling.

Its a tough part of the business to see those guys go, they are great guys and great teammates. You ask anyone in here, you all miss them, but weve got Mr. Personality over there who could make up for 10 guys in Brent Burns.

Setoguchi is also ready to move on.

Now that the first game is out of the way, this is just another road game, he said. Its always fun coming back, and hopefully this time we can get a couple points outta here.

The Sharks won the first meeting, 3-1, behind a pair of power play goals from Patrick Marleau.
Defense first for Wild: Minnesota enters the game fourth in the NHL in goals against with just 2.18. Thats a credit to their goaltenders, Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding, but also to their team game.

The Wild do a good job clogging up the neutral zone and not allowing any easy entries into their defensive zone.

They have a great goalie but their general style is defense first, said Torrey Mitchell. Having Setoguchi and Heatley, they have some offensive power. They play well as a team.

Setoguchi and Heatley are two of five Minnesota players with eight goals apiece, as the Wild dont have a single player in the Top 40 in scoring in the NHL (nor do the Sharks). Thornton and Mikko Koivu are the respective team leaders with 21 points apiece.

Tops in the league: Minnesotas 37 points (17-7-3) place them in first place overall in the NHL. They have won four in a row, while the Sharks have dropped three of their last four games in regulation.

We better be ready and better than we have been lately, said McLellan. Weve got to get a little more tempo into our game. The back end has to be much more polished, obviously, than it was against Florida. So, it sounds like a complete game to me, the way I just described it.

Theyre just really, really hard to score on, said Mitchell. They seem to get a one or two goal advantage and shut it down, and dont give up much. It will be important to score first and try to build off of that.

The Sharks managed to score first for just the eighth time all year on Saturday against Florida. They had been a perfect 7-0 before the loss to the Panthers.

Minnesota, meanwhile, has erased 2-0 deficits in each of their last three road games to win.

Hopefully we can get up by two, and well take our chances, said Joe Thornton.
Odds and ends: Antti Niemi will oppose Josh Harding in net. ... In four career starts against the Wild, Niemi is 4-0-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average, .939 save percentage and one shutout. Minnesotas roster features Bay Area native Casey Wellman, who was recently recalled. Wellman is a former San Jose Junior Shark. Logan Couture has three goals and an assist in his last two games. Jamie McGinn has scored in consecutive games.

NHL Gameday: Sharks to ice new lines against Ducks

NHL Gameday: Sharks to ice new lines against Ducks

Programming note – Sharks-Ducks coverage starts tonight at 7:00 p.m. on NBCSN.


Sharks: 3-3-0, 6 points, 3rd Pacific Division
Ducks: 2-3-1, 5 points, 4th Pacific Division


***The Sharks will be playing just their second home game. They beat the Kings at SAP Center on Oct. 12, 2-1, and promptly went on a five-game road trip through the Eastern Conference, going 2-3-0. Tuesday’s game against Anaheim is the first of a three-game homestand, and the Sharks have five of their next six at home overall.

San Jose notoriously struggled in its first home game after a multiple-game road trip last season, going 1-8-1. Their lone win was in a shootout over Edmonton.

The coach welcomes a heated rivalry game.

“I’m actually excited and glad we’re having this type of game coming off the way we played last game,” Pete DeBoer said. “There are no speeches that need to be made, you have to be emotionally invested here tonight in order to win. I think we will be.”

Under new/old head coach Randy Carlyle, Anaheim dropped its first four games (0-3-1, all on the road), but brings a two-game winning streak into tonight. Carlyle led the Ducks to the Stanley Cup in 2006-07, and replaces Bruce Boudreau, who was fired after last season.

Both the Sharks and Ducks have scored exactly 14 goals through their first six games, and both are just 3-for-20 on the power play.

***The Sharks are last in the NHL in faceoff percentage (42.9 percent). That’s not typical, as San Jose finished seventh last season, which was actually its lowest overall finish in the Joe Thornton era.

Tomas Hertl (47.6 percent) will replace Chris Tierney (31.9 percent) as the third line center, while Tierney gets bumped to the fourth line.

“Hopefully I’ll be strong and win a lot of faceoffs for guys, and everybody will be better,” Hertl said. “If you’re losing it’s hard, because you’re chasing the puck all game.”

DeBoer pointed out that faceoffs are harder to win on the road, where the Sharks have played five of their first six games, but “it’s definitely a concern.”

“It mimics our five-on-five game a little bit,” DeBoer said. “It’s a compete area for me, and we’ve got to get better at it.”

***Micheal Haley will return to the Sharks’ lineup in place of Matt Nieto on the fourth line. In the final preseason game on Oct. 9, the Sharks and Ducks combined for 86 penalty minutes, including four fights – two involving Haley. 

“They obviously have a few guys that can play a physical style, so we'll be ready,” Haley said. “I don't think it will be like that game (preseason) necessarily, but we're a heavy team, too, so we'll match them.”


Sharks: Mikkel Boedker. The offseason addition is off to a slow start with just one goal, no assists and four shots through six games, but will get a look on the Sharks’ top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. San Jose will go with four all new lines after getting shut out in Detroit on Saturday, 3-0.

Ducks: Nick Ritchie. The 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft, Ritchie scored the game-winning goal on Sunday in a 4-2 Ducks win over Vancouver at home. He’s playing on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, and has two points (1g, 1a) through the first six games.


Mikkel Boedker – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Joonas Donskoi – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Patrick Marleau – Tomas Hertl – Melker Karlsson
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Tommy Wingels

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones (confirmed starter)
Aaron Dell

Nick Ritchie – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano – Ryan Kesler – Jakob Silfverberg
Ryan Garbutt – Antoine Vermette – Chris Wagner
Joe Cramarossa – Michael Sgarbossa – Jared Boll

Cam Fowler – Josh Manson
Clayton Stoner – Sami Vatanen
Shea Theodore – Kevin Bieksa

John Gibson
Jonathan Bernier


Sharks: None.

Ducks: Nate Thompson (Achilles surgery) and Simon Despres (concussion) are out.


“I don’t know if speed is the biggest thing we’re missing right now. With us it’s compete and battle and playing the right way that we need to worry about. We didn’t play well in Detroit, there’s no way around that. … We just didn’t compete. That’s a frustrating thing, but it’s an easy thing to fix.” – Logan Couture

Notes: DeMelo will play for Sharks soon; Couture battling illness

Notes: DeMelo will play for Sharks soon; Couture battling illness

SAN JOSE – Dylan DeMelo may finally be coming to a San Jose Sharks game near you.

The 23-year-old defenseman, who has yet to play in any of the first six games, will likely make his season debut shortly, coach Pete DeBoer indicated on Monday.

“That’s something we discuss every day,” DeBoer said. “We like him, we’re very comfortable with him. We’d have no problem putting him in. I know Bob [Boughner] has no problem playing him, and not worrying about playing him against anybody out there. It’s a nice luxury to have. 

“We can get to the point where it’s too many games where he’s sitting out. We’re getting close to that. We’re going to have to get him in soon here.”

DeMelo has not played for the Sharks since the final game of the 2015-16 regular season on April 9. He served as the seventh defenseman in the playoffs, but the Sharks dressed the same six blueliners throughout their run to the Stanley Cup Final.

In the preseason, DeMelo – who would have to clear waivers in order to be reassigned to the Barracuda – beat out Mirco Mueller for the seventh job on the Sharks. He signed a two-year contract extension in the offseason.

A former sixth round pick of the club in 2011, DeMelo had a breakthrough season in 2015-16, playing in 45 games and establishing himself as an NHL defenseman. He finished the season with two goals and two assists for four points and an even rating.

* * *

While the Sharks shook up their forward lines at Monday’s skate, the top power play unit remained the same. Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are still together and will try to work out the kinks to their game.

The Sharks are 3-for-20 on the power play, with just one of those coming on a five-on-four.

“We’re not shooting the puck enough, that’s the big thing,” Couture said. “We’ve got to shoot the puck, get traffic. We always have a guy in front of the net and we’ve been getting away from that.”

* * *

Couture has managed five points (2g, 3a) through the first six games, all while battling a persistent cold that he just can’t shake. It’s obvious he’s dealing with some sort of sinus issue when hearing him speak the past few days.

“It’s like a month, it won’t go away,” Couture said. “It’s crazy.”

* * *

Breaking with standard practice, the Sharks opted to stay in Detroit the night after Saturday’s game, rather than immediately flying home on the team charter.

The Sharks were a miserable 1-8-1 in their first home game after a multiple-game road trip last regular season, with their lone win coming against Edmonton in a shootout, so DeBoer figured he would try something different this year.

“When we sat down in the summer and looked at areas to improve, our record coming back from road trips was not good last year,” he said. “We looked at opponents when we came back, our travel schedule. We’re just looking for answers to fix some of the areas that maybe we weren’t real good at last year.”