Programming note: Sharks-Senators coverage gets underway Sunday at 1:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
OTTAWA – Alex Stalock will make his first ever NHL start in Ottawa on Sunday, head coach Todd McLellan confirmed shortly before the game.
Dan Boyle remains out, but McLellan is targeting Wednesday’s game in Los Angeles for the defenseman.
“We hope that Wednesday is the day for him, but he needs to get his feet underneath him a little bit more and a full practice again with the team,” McLellan said. “He’s feeling remarkably good for what he went through, just not quite there yet.”
As for Stalock, he is the only backup goalie in the NHL to not see a single minute of playing time yet, as Antti Niemi has gone the distance in all 11 games. McLellan suggested that his team, playing a second game in less than 24 hours, could get some extra energy from Stalock’s appearance.
Stalock’s good friend Logan Couture hopes that’s the case.
“I know I’m pretty excited to be playing for him,” said Couture, who scored both goals in a 2-0 Sharks win on Saturday in Montreal. “Al is one of my better friends from this game, so I’m excited for him to make his first ever NHL start, and I hope a lot of guys are as well.”
The Sharks are playing their first of 10 back-to-backs this season.
“I think we’re probably going to see a more simple game from our team; smarter plays, knowing that we’re going to be fatigued,” Couture said. “If we get a power play, we’ve got to score tonight.”
Mike Brown will return to the lineup, although McLellan did not reveal who would come out.
Marty Havlat, who has yet to play this season, is also getting closer, according to the coach.
“I hope within the next week, he’s back in our lineup,” McLellan said.