In the Crease: Sharks welcome streaking Devils

Highlights: Sharks return home, cruise past Tampa Bay

In the Crease: Sharks welcome streaking Devils
November 23, 2013, 9:45 am
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Future Hall of Fame forward Jaromir Jagr leads the Devils with 18 points (9g, 9a) and is 10 goals shy of reaching 700 for his career. (USATSI)

Programming note: Sharks-Devils coverage gets underway today at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet California

Where they stand
Sharks: 14-3-5, 33 points, 2nd Pacific Division, 4th Western Conference
Devils: 9-8-5, 23 points, 3rd Metropolitan Division, 8th Eastern Conference

Vitals

Sharks
Goals per game: 3.46 (2nd)
Goals-against per game: 2.14 (4th)
Power play: 20.2 percent (13th)
Penalty kill: 83.6 percent (10th)

Devils
Goals per game: 2.18 (25th)
Goals-against per game: 2.23 (8th)
Power play: 17.6 percent (19th)
Penalty kill: 85.7 percent (6th)

Probable lines

Sharks
Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Patrick Marleau– Logan Couture – Tommy Wingels
Marty Havlat – Joe Pavelski – Tyler Kennedy
James Sheppard - John McCarthy - Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Dan Boyle
Brad Stuart – Justin Braun
Scott Hannan – Jason Demers

Antti Niemi (confirmed starter)
Alex Stalock

Devils
Dainius Zubrus – Travis Zajac – Jaromir Jagr
Danien Brunner - Patrik Elias - Steve Bernier
Jacob Josefson - Adam Henique - Michael Ryder
Ryan Carter – Stephen Gionta – Cam Janssen

Andy Greene – Marek Zidlicky
Adam Larsson – Eric Gelinas
Peter Harrold – Mark Fayne

Martin Brodeur (confirmed starter)
Cory Schneider

Last game

Sharks: Tommy Wingels scored twice, and linemates Patrick Marleau (1g, 2a) and Logan Couture (3a) also had big nights in San Jose’s 5-1 win over Tampa Bay. Brent Burns returned from a 13-game absence and scored a goal, and Brad Stuart’s late first period marker proved to be the game-winner. Antti Niemi made 36 saves for his 11th win. The Sharks opened a five-game homestand.

Devils: New Jersey picked up its third straight win with a 2-1 overtime victory in Los Angeles on Thursday. Jaromir Jagr scored the game-winner, the 121st of his career, tying him with Gordie Howe for the most all-time. Ryan Carter also tallied for New Jersey, and Cory Schneider made 34 saves, a season high. The Devils have points in seven of their last eight games (6-1-1).

Keep an eye on…

Sharks: Brent Burns. The big forward recorded a goal in his return to the lineup on Thursday, but admitted it will take some time to get the chemistry back with his linemates Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl, as well as his “legs and lungs.” Still, the Sharks improved to 8-0-1 this season with Burns in the lineup. Burns has faced the Devils just four times in his career, with one goal and one assist.

Devils: Jaromir Jagr. The future Hall of Fame forward leads the Devils in scoring with 18 points (9g, 9a), and is 10 goals shy of reaching 700 for his career. Jagr, 41, is more than twice the age of Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl, who idolized him as a kid. In 26 career games against San Jose, Jagr has 32 points (12g, 20a).

Injuries/Scratches

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

Devils: Ryane Clowe (head), Bryce Salvador (fractured foot) and Anton Volchenkov (leg) are out.

Season/All-Time series

The Sharks and Devils are meeting for the first time in more than two years. San Jose is 10-15-2-2 all-time against New Jersey.

The Sharks visit the Prudential Center on March 2.

Quoteable

“It’s actually great to see a player that has been around that long still has a passion for the game that he does. And he’s got the body and the mentality to maintain it. It’s a great story for a lot of the players that are beginning their young careers.” – Todd McLellan, on the Devils’ Jaromir Jagr

Burning question

Of the four remaining games on the homestand (Devils, Kings, Blues and Ducks), which game are you most looking forward to, and why?

Leave your answer in the comments section below.