San Jose Sharks Shuffling Lines In Search Of Spark

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As many of you know, the San Jose Sharks are stuck in a rut as they have dropped six of their past seven games, including a goose egg in the win column during the month of December. In trying to break his team out of their current funk, head coach Peter DeBoer has decided to shake up his lineup ahead of their matchup tonight against the visiting Minnesota Wild.

For the first time since last February, Joe Thornton will have someone other than Joe Pavelski on his wing (via Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area).

According to Kurz, here is the way the Sharks lines are going to look when they take the SAP Center ice against the Wild:

  • Patrick Marleau-Tomas Hertl-Joe Pavelski
  • Melker Karlsson-Joe Thornton-Tommy Wingels
  • Joonas Donskoi-Chris Tierney-Joel Ward
  • Dainius Zubrus-Ryan Carpenter-Mike Brown

It’s an interesting approach by DeBoer as he’s looking for some kind of spark within his group. The Sharks have been struggling of late, and shaking up the lineup could serve as a wake-up call for everyone.

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Now part of the reason for the change as well is Logan Couture is out again after suffering another injury, but it’s a good move to try and shift things around as the Sharks are basically a .500 team through the first 28 games of the season.

The surprising choice by DeBoer was the decision to put three centers together on the de-facto top line with Hertl, Marleau and Pavelski all together, including keeping Hertl in the middle. It appears the organization is committed to developing Hertl at center as it could have been tempting to reunite him on Thornton’s wing.

Speaking of Thornton, he now gets two aggressive wingers to get in on the forecheck as he will be flanked by Karlsson and Wingels for this one. Thornton needs to pick things up in the scoring department as he has just two points in last 10 games for San Jose.

The line to keep an eye on tonight is the newly constructed third line with Donskoi, Tierney and Ward. Donskoi has been one of the surprises for the Sharks this year and has been perhaps their best forward in recent games. Tierney thrived in the third-line center role at the end of last year, and placing a veteran like Ward with the two youngsters should make for a good, solid line.

Next: Sharks Seek Answers As The Wild Come To Town

All-in-all, San Jose needs to roll their lines consistently throughout the game and keep it simple. With the new configurations, don’t try and do too much.

The Sharks are looking for any sort of way to snap their five-game losing streak, and we will all find out if the new line configurations work out at 7:30 tonight.