The San Jose Sharks are seeking to hit the reset button in their home opener versus the Vegas Golden Knights.
The San Jose Sharks hope to rewrite the narrative surrounding this team after a disheartening effort in their first game against their biggest rival.
Prior to puck drop in Las Vegas on Wednesday the Sharks got word that Erik Karlsson was going to absent from the line-up due to the birth of his daughter. This meant that San Jose was going to have to survive without their catalyst for the beginning phase of the season.
The game turned out as expected with the Sharks falling to the Golden Knights 4 – 1. They looked out of sync and barely generated any possession time or decent chances in the offensive zone. Expect tonight to go differently with specter of the T-Mobile Arena behind them.
Erik Karlsson returns to the line-up and not a moment too soon. It’s tough for a team to formulate a whole new game plan when you’re primary puck mover gets scratched moments before pregame skate.
Along with this news is the fact that the Sharks will be minus Dalton Prout who got placed on IR this morning. They’ve recalled Jacob Middleton from the Barracuda and he gets the start next to Mario Ferraro.
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— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) October 5, 2019
Hopefully with Erik Karlsson, fresh home ice, and a stern talking to by Coach Pete DeBoer San Jose has better luck against their divisional rival. In order to do that Team Teal will have to get to work on limiting the high danger opportunities headed Jones’ way.
In the first match-up the Knights limited the Sharks to a measly 4 high danger scoring chances and just 22 shots overall, according to naturalstattrick. /They’ll need to produce better results then that and this all starts with having the forwards help on defense when San Jose’s aggressive blueliners join in the rush. Jones played well but they shouldn’t anticipate him to bail them out like he did on Wednesday.
The Golden Knights will be without defenseman Nate Schmidt after his collision with Logan Couture in the beginning stages of Game 1. Nevertheless they’ll still be icing the same formidable forward group that’s been giving the Sharks trouble, however they’ve made some tweaks to their defensive pairs according to The Athletics Jesse Granger
Tonight’s defensive pairings:
Nic Hague will make his NHL debut. Said his mother and father are in San Jose for the game, had dinner with them last night.
“This is what you dream about as a kid.” #VegasBorn
— Jesse Granger (@JesseGranger_) October 4, 2019
Regardless of who Vegas has out there they will be ready to play. The Sharks will need a quick start if they are hoping to fend off this Golden Knights onslaught.
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Kevin Labanc will be a X-Factor for the Sharks. Pete DeBoer will likely shift his best right-winger up and down the line-up to help generate some offensive flow among an undermanned forward group.
Whatever your opinions are of Vegas you cannot deny that this is the most exciting rivalry running in today’s NHL. You want to miss Erik Karlsson’s debut and the home opener at SAP Center.
The broadcast for tonight’s game is on NBCS Bay Area and streamed through the NBC MyTeams app. For an audio only feed download the San Jose Sharks official app.