New 'lively' boards at HP to benefit Sharks?

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New 'lively' boards at HP to benefit Sharks?

Ever since the Sharks moved to HP Pavilion in 1993, there have been constant improvements to the building. New scoreboard, new video screens, and a new sound system... all to enhance the experience of the fan. However, this summer the biggest upgrade might go to the players, with the first brand-new installation of hockey boards and glass since the arena opened 18 years ago. And with change... well... comes change.
"They are more lively," Sharks captain Joe Thornton told me. "It will be a nice home ice advantage, you know we'll get used to those boards. It's going to be good for us.Good for the Sharks, as soon as they can get accustomed to longer rebounds, and play them to an advantage."The boards are a little bit faster," said Joe Pavelski. "It's fun when the puck comes off faster and ends up in the middle of the rink quicker, that's where a lot of the goals are scored from. Things just happen faster."Another benefit of the new system is the glass; which actually has built-in flex and improved 'give' in its connection to the walls... giving players a little more cushion when dishing and receiving body checks. Pavelski went on to call the new glass "friendly."Friendly, is also what the new glass will be for fans, for several reasons. First, the stanchions between panes are now clear instead of metal, causing less of an obstruction. Secondly, the panes are much bigger in proportion, generating less of those obstructions. And lastly, the clarity of the glass is noticeably good with its young age. All of this comes in the same Summer that many other rinks around the NHL with 'seamless' glass systems have been removed. Their construction required too much rigidity with almost no 'give' or flexibility, and although fans preferred them, they were not safe enough for the Players Association. From what I heard, players were never fond of them.Head Coach Todd McLellan says even after just one scrimmage on the new system, he's got reaction from his players, mixed in with his own impressions."You could see the boards are a lot more lively. Coming off the end wall, I think our goaltenders and our defensemen have to experience that a little bit and get used to it," said McLellan. In order to grow more familiar, the Sharks will do something a little unconventional before their home opener on October 8th.According to the Head Coach: "We'll look at practicing in this building a few times before we play some home games. It's our home rink, our home ice surface. We should know it better than anybody."

Marleau's first four-goal game powers Sharks past Avs

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AP

Marleau's first four-goal game powers Sharks past Avs

BOX SCORE

As he closes in 500 career goals, Patrick Marleau netted 494, 495, 496 and 497 in the Sharks' win over the Avalanche on Monday night.

NHL Gameday: Sharks go for fifth straight win in only visit to Colorado

NHL Gameday: Sharks go for fifth straight win in only visit to Colorado

Programming note – Sharks-Avalanche coverage starts today at 6:00 p.m. on NBCSN

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 29-16-2, 60 points, 2nd Pacific Division
Avalanche: 13-29-2, 28 points, 7th Central Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***Tonight’s game is the second of a home-and-home for the Sharks and Avalanche, after San Jose’s 3-2 win in overtime at SAP Center on Saturday, and the final game of the season series. David Schlemko got the deciding score 1:18 into the extra frame, as the Sharks improved to 6-1-1 in their last eight against Colorado.

The Sharks have won four straight, while Colorado, just 2-14-1 in its last 17, has lost five in a row. The Avs have not won in regulation since Dec. 11 at Toronto.

***Colorado will reportedly give rookie Spencer Martin his second straight start after he made 27 saves in his NHL debut against the Sharks on Saturday. 

Martin Jones is tied for third in the NHL with 24 wins, and is 5-1-0 in his last six starts.

***Four of the Sharks’ last six games have been decided by one goal, including three in a row. San Jose is 16-10-2 in one-goal games – the second most one-goal wins in the league, and the most one-goal losses in regulation.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Kevin Labanc. The Sharks rookie has hit a bit of a wall since bursting onto the scene, going without a goal for the last 10 games. Coach Pete DeBoer said recently that he had a talk with the rookie about maintaining a high level of play, and Labanc has been more noticeable in his last two games, recording an assist in each. The 21-year-old has 14 points (7g, 7a) in 34 games this season.

Avalanche: Nathan MacKinnon. No forward was more effective for Colorado on Saturday against the Sharks than MacKinnon, their lone All-Star, who recorded a game-high seven shots and set up the tying goal in the third period. The first pick in the 2013 draft has 10 points (7g, 3a) in 10 career games when opposing San Jose, and is Colorado’s leading scorer with 32 points (11g, 21a).

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Joonas Donskoi – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Kevin Labanc – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Timo Meier – Tommy Wingels – Melker Karlsson

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

Martin Jones 
Aaron Dell

Avalanche
Mikko Rantanen – Nathan Mackinnon – Mikhail Grigorenko
Gabriel Landeskog – Matt Duchene – Matt Nieto
Blake Comeau – Carl Soderberg – Jarome Iginla
Andreas Martinsen – John Mitchell – Joe Colborne

Francois Beauchemin – Cody Goloubef
Fedor Tyutin – Nikita Zadorov
Patrick Wiercioch – Eric Gelinas

Spencer Martin (starter)
Calvin Pickard

INJURIES

Sharks: Micheal Haley (lower body), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) and Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) are out.

Avalanche: Tyson Barrie (lower body) and Rene Bourque (lower body) are day-to-day. Semyon Varlamov (groin) and Erik Johnson (broken fibula) are out.

QUOTEABLE

“I felt we did a pretty good job in our end, [but] we probably played there a little too much. We didn’t execute as well as we wanted to coming out of our end or through the neutral zone. There’s going to be games like that and it’s good to find a way to win.” – David Schlemko, after Saturday’s win