In the Crease: Sharks vs. Jets

Thornton: We gotta be better in the first two periods

In the Crease: Sharks vs. Jets
November 10, 2013, 8:00 am
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Patrick Marleau hasn't tallied a point in three games, but Tyler Kennedy could join his line, providing a boost for the center. (USATSI)

Programming note 
Sharks-Jets coverage gets underway today at 4:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet California

Where they stand
Sharks: 10-2-4, 24 points, 3rd Pacific Division, 6th Western Conference
Jets: 7-9-2, 16 points, 7th Central Division, 12th Western Conference

[RELATED: Hedi's Hat Trick: Does Havlat fit the Sharks' MO?]

Vitals

Sharks
Goals per game: 3.62 (1st)
Goals-against per game: 2.06 (4th)
Power play: 19.4 percent (13th)
Penalty kill: 86.0 percent (6th)

Jets
Goals per game: 2.39 (22nd)
Goals-against per game: 2.78 (20th)
Power play: 9.1 percent (29th)
Penalty kill: 85.7 percent (7th)

Probable lines

Sharks
Patrick Marleau– Logan Couture – Tyler Kennedy
Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Tommy Wingels
Matt Nieto – Joe Pavelski – Marty Havlat
James Sheppard – Andrew Desjardins – Mike Brown

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

Antti Niemi (confirmed starter)
Alex Stalock

Jets
Andrew Ladd – Bryan Little – Blake Wheeler
Evander Kane – Olli Jokinen – Devin Setoguchi
Matt Halischuk – Mark Scheifele – Michael Frolik
Eric Tangradi – James Wright – Chris Thorburn

Dustin Byfuglien – Grant Clitsome
Zach Bogosian – Tobias Enstrom
Keaton Ellerby – Adam Pardy

Ondrej Pavalec (confirmed starter)
Al Montoya

Last game

Sharks: Chris Higgins had a goal and an assist, including the game-winner late in the first period off of a Jason Demers turnover, and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Sharks at SAP Center on Thursday night, 4-2. Mike Brown and Joe Thornton scored in the loss, and Antti Niemi was pulled after allowing four goals on 13 shots. Alex Stalock stopped all 21 shots he faced in relief.

[RELATED: Sharks' Niemi 'not tired,' says McLellan]

Jets: Winnipeg scored four times in the first period on Friday night in a 5-0 win over Nashville at MTS Centre, matching their season high for goals in a game. Bryan Little had two goals, and Olli Jokinen added a goal and an assist. Ondrej Pavalec made 41 saves for his first shutout.

Keep an eye on…

Sharks: Patrick Marleau. The Sharks forward is scoreless in his last three games, the first time that’s happened all season. Indications are that Tyler Kennedy will return to the Marleau-Logan Couture line in place of Marty Havlat, potentially jumpstarting that trio again after it was so good early on. Marleau has 18 points in 14 career games against the Jets/Atlanta Thrashers (9g, 9a).

Jets: Devin Setoguchi. The former Shark brings a three-game point streak into tonight, including a goal in each of his last two games. Eight of Setoguchi’s nine points on the season have come at home, after an offseason trade with Minnesota landed him in Winnipeg. He’s scoreless in six career games against the Sharks, though.

Injuries/Scratches

Sharks: Raffi Torres (right ACL surgery), Adam Burish (back surgery), and Brent Burns (face) are out.

Jets: Jim Slater (sports hernia), Paul Postma (blood clot in leg), Jacob Trouba (upper body) and Mark Stuart (hip) are out.

Season/All-Time series

This is the Sharks’ only trip to MTS Centre this season. In their first-ever visit here on Jan. 12, 2012, the Sharks won 2-0. The Jets visit SAP Center on Jan. 23 and March 27.

All-time, the Sharks are 10-1-2-1 against the Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise, outscoring them 46-26 over those 13 games. Their .821 percentage is the best against any single NHL franchise.

Quoteable

“If the leadership in here is as good as I think it is, we’ll respond. You go through stretches in a season where you’re not as good as you want to be, but you don’t make excuses. The guys in this room have to make sure we don’t let it go on.” – Brad Stuart, on the Sharks’ four-game losing streak

Burning question

Should the Sharks make any lineup changes - goalie or otherwise - for tonight’s game in Winnipeg? Leave your answer in the comments section below.