Stamkos talks Sharks, Lightning trap


Stamkos talks Sharks, Lightning trap

SAN JOSE Steven Stamkos will make just the third appearance of his young career tonight at HP Pavilion when the Sharks host the Lightning.

Stamkos, the NHLs leading goal scorer with 20, was asked his thoughts of the Sharks after the morning skate.

Obviously, San Jose is arguably one of the best teams in the NHL for the past five or 10 years, it seems, said Stamkos, who has a goal in each of his first two games in San Jose. Theyre always up at the top of the Western Conference standings and they have some really talented players on the front end and the back end.

Its a game where the defensive game is going to have to be almost perfect in order to give ourselves a chance to win. We need to stay out of the penalty box. Theyve got great offensive weapons, and its attention to detail like in playoff hockey that is going to be important for us tonight.
KURZ: Sharks-Lightning, what to watch

Lightning head coach Guy Boucher has been shuffling his lines frequently lately, trying to spark the 13th place team in the Eastern Conference. With winger Martin St. Louis likely unavailable due to injury, Boucher has generally kept Stamkos and Vinny Lecavalier on separate lines to balance out his attack.

Against the Blue Jackets on Saturday, though, Boucher ended up putting Stamkos and Lecavalier on the same line with winger Dana Tyrell. They generated a second period goal from Stamkos that ended up being the game-winner in a 3-2 victory over the Blue Jackets.

Dont be surprised to see Stamkos and Lecavalier together on the ice if things arent going the Lightnings way early.

Weve got three guys that are scorers. The other guys, you know, are secondary scorers. When youre missing one of them, there are only two left, so obviously if you feel like the lines are not producing I have a tendency to not wait too long and try to get something going, said Boucher. Last game, thats what we did. Stamkos and Vinnie looked good together, and thats something to keep in the back of my mind.

The Lightning have come under fire a bit this season for their 1-3-1 defensive system, most notably when the Philadelphia Flyers exposed a non-existent forecheck during a nationally televised game in October. Click here if you need a refresher on what happened in that game, courtesy of our friends at NBC.

Stamkos said on Wednesday morning that the Lightnings sometimes sleep-inducing style of play has been unfairly criticized.

I think a lot of it got blown out of proportion a little bit with that Philly game that was on Versus. If no one had brought that up, no one would be talking about our system as much, he said.

A lot of teams play that trap style in the neutral zone when they cant get a forecheck. For us, we have a very quick team and we like to utilize our speed. When we cant get in on the forecheck and create pressure, then you drop back. Weve done that now for a year and a half and its proved that it works, in the playoffs last year, especially. We had a pretty good run.

Sharks head coach Todd McLellan will approach the Lightning the same way he does every other team.

I think they get a knock sometimes. Theyre an aggressive team; theyll come after you. There are other times where theyll sit back. Were not going to change the way we play, he said.

NHL Gameday: Sharks conclude season series with biggest rival

NHL Gameday: Sharks conclude season series with biggest rival

Programming note – Sharks-Kings coverage starts today at 7:30 on NBCSN


Sharks: 26-16-2, 54 points, 3rd Pacific Division
Kings: 22-18-4, 48 points, 5th Pacific Division


***Logan Couture won’t play due to illness, so the Sharks will have three different lines for tonight (see below), leaving only the effective third line intact from Monday’s win over the Jets. 

Ryan Carpenter will center the fourth line, playing in his first NHL game since he scored his first NHL goal on Nov. 30 in Los Angeles, a 4-1 Sharks win.

“Last NHL game I played, [left with] good feelings, and stuff,” said Carpenter, who was promptly reassigned to the Barracuda afterwards. “It’s nice to be back here, hopefully have the same outcome tonight and come away with a win.”

***It was just one week ago when the Sharks were tied with Anaheim atop the Pacific Division in points, with two games in hand on the Ducks. But after dropping consecutive games in regulation against the Flames and Blues, San Jose now finds itself five points behind Anaheim (with three games in hand) and one point behind the Oilers (with two games in hand) despite Monday’s win over the Jets.

They still have a decent cushion on the Kings, up by six points after 44 games apiece, but they’d like nothing more than to put some distance between themselves and a division rival. They failed to do that in Calgary last Wednesday.

“These are all critical games now, we’re at that time of the season,” DeBoer said. “You look at the standings, and we’ve lived it here a little bit the last couple weeks. You start to feel a little comfortable where you’re at, you lose a couple games, and all of a sudden you’re back in the pack. It’s going to be like that from now until the end.”

San Jose is 8-6-2 against the Pacific this season.

***This is the fifth and final game of the season series between the Sharks and Kings, who have split the first four. The Kings have won the previous two meetings, including Jan. 3 at SAP Center, 2-1 in overtime.

This will be the Sharks’ final trip of the regular season to Southern California, as they have just one games left with the Ducks at SAP Center.


Sharks: Chris Tierney. The Sharks’ third line center posted his first multiple-point game of the season on Monday against Winnipeg, with a goal and an assist. That ended a stretch of just one assist in 13 games for Tierney. The Sharks have surely been looking for a bit more production from the 22-year-old, now in his third season, so perhaps be can build off of his most recent performance.

Kings: Tanner Pearson. The winger has at least one point in eight of his last 12 games, and scored the overtime winner against the Sharks on Jan. 3 at SAP Center. His 13 goals on the season is second on the team only to Jeff Carter’s 23, while his plus-nine rating leads the Kings.


Melker Karlsson – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Patrick Marleau – Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Micheal Haley – Ryan Carpenter – Tommy Wingels

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

Martin Jones (starter)
Aaron Dell

Marian Gaborik – Anze Kopitar – Trevor Lewis
Tanner Pearson – Jeff Carter – Dustin Brown
Dwight King – Nic Dowd – Devin Setoguchi
Kyle Clifford – Nick Shore – Jordan Nolan

Derek Forbort – Drew Doughty
Jake Muzzin – Alec Martinez
Kevin Gravel – Matt Greene

Peter Budaj
Jeff Zatkoff


Sharks: Logan Couture (illness), Joonas Donskoi (upper body), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) and Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) are out.

Kings: Jonathan Quick (groin) and Tyler Toffoli (lower body) are out.


“I’m trying not to try too much. Just do the little things, keep working hard, have fun out there, and enjoy the process.” – Timo Meier

Logan Couture to miss Sharks-Kings game

Logan Couture to miss Sharks-Kings game

LOS ANGELES – The Sharks will be without second line center Logan Couture when they play the Kings at Staples Center on Wednesday night.

Couture battled through an illness on Monday against the Jets, according to coach Pete DeBoer, but did not make the trip to Southern California.

“Just came down with a little bit of a bug. Played through it last game,” DeBoer said. “Just didn’t feel like, one, he’d be able to play, and two, that we’d travel and expose him to the rest of the group. So he’s at home, and we’ve called up [Ryan] Carpenter and he’ll play.”

When asked if Couture could potentially play against Tampa Bay on Thursday, DeBoer said: “Yeah, I think so. It’s nothing, from my understanding, more than a bug.”

Couture missed the last nine minutes of Monday’s 5-2 win over Winnipeg after blocking a Toby Enstrom shot with his right hand, but DeBoer said his absence was not related to that incident.

In 44 games, Couture has 27 points (14g, 13a). He has not missed a game yet this season.

In his absence, Patrick Marleau centered the second line with wingers Mikkel Boedker and Kevin Labanc at the morning skate, while Melker Karlsson replaced Marleau on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. Carpenter will play his first game with the Sharks since Nov. 30, when he scored his first career goal at Staples Center.