The San Jose Sharks head back home to the ‘Tank tonight after a very successful road trip to take on the fledgling (tanking?) New York Rangers.
The San Jose Sharks are coming off a very successful short road trip which we saw them get five points in three games, including a win and a shootout loss in Nashville and Carolina, respectively.
The Sharks will get some home cooking for a while as they begin a four game home-stand tonight against the Blueshirts of Broadway. Which seems odd as the San Jose Sharks have only played three home games this season, so this will be a much need break from travel.
This home-stand will also mark the return of Jumbo Joe Thornton. As he will come back from a knee infection tonight against the Rangers. He’ll plug right in to the first line along side Joe Pavelski, and its looking like its going to be Timo Meier moving up to the first line, with Thornton and the Captain.
It will be interesting to see how Peter DeBoer and company utilize Thornton, as the San Jose Sharks have been playing a faster, possession driven game. While Thronton doesn’t diminish possession by any means, he certainly slows the game down for some. Having Pavelski and Meier on his line do give the Sharks a more traditional power line, as Meier and Pavelski’s games are adept in high danger zones. They park themselves right in front of the opposing goaltender and wait for a tip in or rebound.
But as we’ve seen. Meier’s game is much more than just that. He’s been on fire of late, scoring 5 goals in his last four games, and 8 points total in 8 games since October 9th. Meier has also had all those five goals since coming on KNBR Tonight, which I am the producer, so, I’m going to take a little bit of credit for that.
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Meiers knack for finding the back of the net could really be a boon for the Thornton/Pavelski line as he’d provide Joe Thornton with a true goal scoring threat. His power game suits what the San Jose Sharks want to do in terms of generating high danger scoring threats, getting rebounds, and redirects into the net. He’d essentially take over Pavelski’s former role in those situations, only add a bit more skill to that position.
This will also only add another wrinkle to the San Jose Sharks power play. The special teams has just started to get going, and with Thornton back it only adds to its potency, OR, much like we saw in the beginning of the season, it could muck everything up again. As Thornton is another anchor on the Power Play, and we could see some confusion over his role in his return.
If it is the case that Thornton comes back, which it certainly seems to be barring any game time decisions, Kevin Labanc will get a shot on the Hertl-Couture line, and that means Evander Kane will move back to the third line with Suomela and Donskoi.
Kane seems to have a very nice chemistry with Donskoi on the ice, and this gives the possession machine, Annti Suomela another weapon to play with, as Kane is an upgrade over Marcus Sorensen, who’s played very well on the third line with his fellow Scandinavians.
There will be no changes to the new, controversial defensive pairings. You’ll see Ryan-Burns, Dillon-Karlsson, and Vlasic-Braun will stay together, at least to begin the game. You’ve all heard my opinion, and I’m not going to wade into the muck that is this fight on Sharks Twitter, you guys can have at it. I don’t have that in me today.
Martin Jones will be getting the start in net today for the San Jose Sharks.
But most importantly, you boy (me), will be at this game tonight! So hit me up on twitter @bladesofteal or @sfish415, and if you’re there, come say whats up!