The San Jose Sharks seek their third win in four nights as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes.
The San Jose Sharks continue to be a well-oiled machine on the road this year as they kept plugging along with their 20th road victory of the season in a 2-1 shootout victory over the Florida Panthers last night. San Jose will look to secure a winning road trip and extend their win streak to four consecutive games as they get set for a matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Sharks continue their best stretch of hockey in quite some time as they find themselves trailing the division-leading Los Angeles Kings by just three points in the Pacific Division. It’s been a drastic turn around for team teal who fell apart at this time last year with only three victories during the month of February. Currently, San Jose is 5-2-1 this month and are surging at just the right time.
Meanwhile, Carolina is a team hanging on the fringe of the playoff discussion in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes rank sixth in the Metropolitan Division and are four points out of a wild card spot with 62 points after 58 games. This is a critical matchup, but more so for Carolina, as they look to sneak their way back into the conversation in a jumbled up Eastern Conference.
Both teams played last night so jumping out to an early lead will be a focus point in this one. San Jose was able to take the first meeting this year with a 5-2 victory at SAP Center way back on Oct. 24.
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Sharks: Brent Burns. Burns remains a favorite of head coach Peter DeBoer as he logged almost 33 minutes of ice time against the Panthers last night. It will be interesting to see how Burns fares on the second half of the back-to-back, but he is someone who is used to heavy minutes. Burns continues to be one of the best offensive blue liners in the NHL as he leads all defensemen with 18 goals, is tied for second with 48 points, and is second in the entire league with 244 shots on goal.
Hurricanes: Jordan Staal. When it comes to Carolina, much of the focus is on Jordan’s older brother Eric. However, it’s been Jordan who has had the more consistent season for the Hurricanes. Jordan leads the Carolina attack with 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) and a plus-seven rating. The Staal brothers will be a focus of the the San Jose defensive game plan in this one.
Keys to the Game
1. Manage the Game
Coming off their game in Florida last night, it will be interesting to see how San Jose comes out in this one. The Sharks will need to manage the game in the early going and make sure they get their legs moving. They haven’t been sharp in either first period on this road trip and surely the coaching staff wants a better start from their group. Bot
2. Rediscover Power Play Mojo
Last night was an aberration for the fourth-ranked power play unit in the league as the Sharks went 0-for-4, including failing to convert during the overtime session. The more concerning aspect was that San Jose gave up more shorthanded opportunities against than they generated with a couple of breakaway opportunities for the Panthers. Carolina sports a respectable penalty kill as they rank 11th in the league at just over 82 percent so it will be a nice test for the Sharks.
3. Continue The Chase
San Jose has been great going 13-2-3 over their last 18 games as they’ve narrowed their sights on their two Southern California rivals. The Kings have been really struggling while the Ducks have been on fire. With both teams idle, the Sharks have a great opportunity to maintain their pursuit, leapfrog Anaheim and pull to within one point of first place Los Angeles. That would be huge for this San Jose team.
TV: CSN-California (4:00 P.M. PST)
Radio: 98.5 KFOX