In the Crease: Clowe faces former team as Sharks visit NJ

Kurz: Don't be surprised if Sharks are quiet at trade deadline

In the Crease: Clowe faces former team as Sharks visit NJ
March 2, 2014, 8:30 am
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Ryane Clowe was traded April 2, 2013 to the Rangers for second and third round draft picks in 2013 and a 2014 fifth round pick. (AP)

Programming note 
Sharks-Devils coverage gets underway at 11:30 a.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California

Where they stand
Sharks: 38-17-6, 82 points, 2nd Pacific Division, 4th Western Conference
Devils: 26-22-13, 65 points, 6th Metropolitan Division, 11th Eastern Conference

The latest

Sharks: The Sharks wrap up a three-game road trip coming out of the Olympic break this afternoon in New Jersey. San Jose flattened the Flyers on Thursday, 7-3, but then dropped a 4-2 decision to last place Buffalo on Friday. James Sheppard and Patrick Marleau scored in the loss, as the Sabres scored three third in the third period to break a 1-1 tie. Of the final 20 Sharks games after today, 12 are at home.

Devils: New Jersey is playing the second of a back-to-back today, after a decisive 6-1 win over the Islanders on Saturday in which six different players scored, including Jaromir Jagr who recorded his 700th career goal. The Devils, who also beat Columbus on Feb. 27, have 11 goals in their last two games including six on the power play.

Keep an eye on…

Sharks: Patrick Marleau. The Sharks winger struggled going into the break, but after a very successful Olympics for Team Canada, has one goal and two assists in the last two games. He remains second on the team in goals (24) and third in points (53). In 19 games against New Jersey in his career, Marleau has 14 points (7g, 7a).

Devils: Ryane Clowe. This is the first time that Clowe will face his former team, as he missed the first game between the teams on Nov. 23 with a concussion. Since returning in late December, Clowe has been a mainstay in the lineup, and enters today with goals in back-to-back games. Overall, he has 16 points (5g, 11a) in 29 games.

Vitals

Sharks
Goals per game: 2.87 (8th)
Goals-against per game: 2.36 (T - 6th)
Power play: 17.1 percent (19th)
Penalty kill: 83.8 percent (8th)

Devils
Goals per game: 2.39 (24th)
Goals-against per game: 2.31 (4th)
Power play: 21.1 percent (6th)
Penalty kill: 87.8 percent (1st)

Probable lines

Sharks
Joe Pavelski – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Marty Havlat
Tommy Wingels – Adam Burish – Tyler Kennedy

Raffi Torres – Andrew Desjardins – Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Dan Boyle
Matt Irwin – Justin Braun
Scott Hannan – Jason Demers

Antti Niemi

Alex Stalock

Devils
Dainius Zubrus – Travis Zajac – Jaromir Jagr
Adam Henrique – Patrik Elias – Steve Bernier
Ryane Clowe – Andrei Loktionov – Michael Ryder
Ryan Carter – Stephen Gionta – Jacob Josefson

Andy Greene – Mark Fayne
Anton Volchenkov – Marek Zidlicky
Jon Merrill – Eric Gelinas

Cory Schneider
Martin Brodeur

Injuries/Scratches

Sharks: Tomas Hertl (right knee surgery) and Brad Stuart (upper body) are out. Raffi Torres (knee surgery) is probable.

Devils: Adam Larsson (lower body) is out. Damien Brunner (charley horse) and Bryce Salvador (bruised collarbone) are questionable.

Season/All-Time series

The Sharks won the first meeting between the teams at SAP Center on Nov. 23, 2-1, on rare goals from Scott Hannan and Tyler Kennedy. The Devils had just 19 shots on goal.

Patrick Elias has nine goals in the last 13 games against the Sharks, while Joe Thornton has 43 points (18g, 25a) in 35 career games vs. the Devils.

All-time, the Sharks are 11-15-2 with two ties against New Jersey.

Quoteable

“We had our chances to score early, we didn’t, fell behind and just didn’t turn the corner like we needed to.” – Joe Pavelski, on the 4-2 loss in Buffalo on Friday

Burning question

Should the Sharks have more afternoon home games? Leave your answer in the comments section below.