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San Jose Sharks vs Ottawa Senators pregame skate

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks shut out the Montreal Canadiens last night, and are right back at it this evening as they take on the Ottawa Senators. The performance against the Habs wasn’t electric by any means, but Logan Couture‘s pair of goals were more than enough to win the contest.

Antti Niemi was strong last night and earned the shutout, but Alex Stalock will finally get into a game against the Senators. Up through last night, Niemi had been the only goalie in the NHL that had played every minute of every game for his team.

Game Number: 12

Opponent: Ottawa Senators

Opponent Record (Last 10): 4-4-2 (One game losing streak)

Offense: Mediocre (Eight goals in last three games, but six came against the Detroit Red Wings)

Defense: Mediocre (Given up six goals in last three games)

Power Play: Mediocre (19.4% conversion rate—17th in the NHL)

Penalty Kill: Hot (84.6%—sixth in the NHL)


Players to Watch

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Last night the Sharks managed to shut down P.K. Subban, who is one of the most outstanding offensive-defensemen in the league. One night later, they’ll see another player from that same mold in Erik Karlsson. Even after his nasty injury last season, the  man can still skate like the wind and has one of the most effortless strides in the NHL.

His vision is also top notch, and few blueliners are capable of jumping up in the play like Karlsson can. If you lose track of him for an instant, he can hurt you.

Up front, Jason Spezza and Bobby Ryan are the big names to watch, sure. Keep an eye on Mika Zibanejad though. He’s been outstanding since getting the call from the AHL a few games ago and is one of the better young, two-way players around.


Goaltending Matchup

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Prior to his injury last season, Craig Anderson was probably the best goalie in the league. While he isn’t racking up the shutouts and keeping the GAA under 2.00 this season, he’s still pretty darn good. When he’s on, he can be very difficult to bear. Traffic is important, but the Sharks like to play the buzz-around-the-net style that can throw goalies off of their games a bit.

In other news, Niemi won’t be starting tonight. In his place will be Stalock, who is just now making his regular-season debut this year for the Sharks.


Predictions (for fun)

  • Freddie Hamilton will be the best player on the ice for the Sharks tonight
  • Jason Demers will have more points in the game than Karlsson
  • Stalock only allows two goals in his debut, making more than 25 saves in the process
  • Chris Neil will do something stupid…probably take a run at Tomas Hertl

Tags: NHL San Jose Sharks Sharks Senators

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