The San Jose Sharks will be without another key cog tonight versus the Vegas Golden Knights. Team Teal needs their depth to come through in a big way in Game 4 at T-Mobile Arena.
Joe Thornton was suspended for Game 4 by the Department of Player Safety for a check he threw on Tomas Nosek during the second frame of game 3. The San Jose Sharks are one of the deepest teams in the playoffs and that depth will be tested without one of their most effective skaters.
Jumbo’s presence will be sorely missed but his absence opens up the opportunity for some of the younger San Jose Sharks to fill the void left by the future Hall of Famer. Expect players like Tomas Hertl, Joe Pavelski, and Logan Couture to fill the roles left by Jumbo at 5v5 and the powerplay.
The suspension gives Joonas Donskoi an opportunity to slot into the lineup for the first time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the San Jose Sharks. He’s been a healthy scratch in lieu of Micheal Haley for the first 3 contests of this series. The coaching staff has seemingly lost confidence in him, which makes sense considering he has been ice-cold for months now. However the last time he scored a goal was against the Vegas Golden Knights on January 10th at the T-Mobile Arena.
Logan Couture was the most effective skater for Team Teal in their lackluster effort in game 3 on Sunday night. Cooch scored on the powerplay, which was created by Couture after he drew the man advantage off the interference penalty on Alex Tuch. That tally was desperately needed considering the Sharks gave up another goal in the first minute of the period.
Keep an eye out for how Coach Pete DeBoer deploys Erik Karlsson tonight. He only logged 20:54 in ice time in game 3. He had trouble winning races to the puck and getting back on defense for the entirety of the contest. Could this be a sign of the injury that held him out for a third of season. Possibly, but a lot of the San Jose Sharks looked sluggish in game 3 and the match was out of reach heading into the third frame. So the coaches really didn’t have that much on an incentive to burn out arguably their most effective blueliner with a lot of series remaining.
The absence of both Marc-Eduoard Vlasic and Joe Thornton will put Team Teal’s depth to the test. The line-up configuration for the Sharks is going look a little different heading into game 4, but expect the Vegas Golden Knights to throw out the same cast of characters on home ice.
San Jose Sharks
Timo Meier ~ Logan Couture ~ Kevin Labanc
Evander Kane ~ Tomas Hertl ~ Joonas Donskoi
Marcus Sorensen~ Joe Pavelski ~ Gus Nyquist
Lukas Radil ~ Barclay Goodrow ~ Melker Karlsson
Joakim Ryan ~ Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon ~ Erik Karlsson
Tim Heed ~ Justin Braun
Projected Starter ~ Martin Jones
Backup ~ Aaron Dell
Vegas Golden Knights
Jonathan Marchessault ~ William Karlsson ~ Reilly Smith
Max Pacioretty ~ Paul Stastny ~ Mark Stone
Tomas Nosek ~ Cody Eakin ~ Alex Tuch
Will Carrier ~ Pierre-Edouard Bellemare ~ Ryan Reaves
Nate Schmidt ~ Deryk Engelland
Brayden McNabb ~ Shea Theodore
Jon Merrill ~ Colin Miller
Projected Starter ~ Marc-Andre Fluery
Backup ~ Malcom Subban
The San Jose Sharks need to scrap together an all out group effort if they want to head back to the Tank with the series tied 2 – 2. Tonight is a defining moment for a lot of these skaters in Teal sweaters. If they cough up another early lead it will be much more difficult to crawl back into it without their emotional leader on and off the ice.
Puck drop for tonight’s game at the SAP Center is at 7:30 PM PT. The game will be televised nationally on NBCSN but is also broadcasted locally via NBCSCA. The audio can be streamed on the Sharks App courtesy of 98.5 KFOX.