The San Jose Sharks look to rebound from two straight losses to avoid a season sweep to the Carolina Hurricanes. The defending Western Conference champs were a popular pick to win the Pacific Division this year, but currently sit in fourth place and occupy a wild card position. The Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, and Calgary Flames are all above them in the standings.
The Sharks are in an interesting position going into the trade deadline and next season. The team is full of aging veterans who will see expiring contracts at the end of this season. Both Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton are UFA’s at the end of the season and are questionable to re-sign, which has put the Sharks in a win now mode.
Though they are both 37, Thornton and Marleau are still contributing on and aff the ice. Both players are former captains of the team and Thornton is still an alternate. Jumbo Joe ranks fourth on the team with 16 points (2g, 14a) and Marleau ranks fifth with nine points (6g, 3a).
The Sharks are 6-3-2 in their last ten games with two straight losses. This San Jose team is one of the oldest in the league with an average player age of 28.07 playing the second half of a back to back against the league’s youngest team who is rested. In their first game of the back to back, they lost to the Anaheim Ducks 3-2.
- Home Sweet Home: The Sharks are 9-4-0 at home compared to 6-7-1 on the road. The Sharks already lost to the Canes on the road but look to turn the table at home.
- Brent Burns signed an eight-year, $64 million contract. The contract has a cap hit of $8mil per year and will keep Burns under contract until he is 39. Burns currently ranks first in the NHL among defensemen in goals with 12 and ranks second in points with 24.
- San Jose has only played three back to back sets, earning a 2-1-0 record in the back half of those sets. This marks the first of three back to backs for the Sharks in December.
- The Sharks have one of the best defensive units in the NHL. The Sharks allow the second fewest shots against per game with 26 and their 2.15 goals against per game is the third fewest.
- Martin Jones played in the first game of the back to back, so there is a good chance that Aaron Dell will get the start in net for the Sharks. Dell’s only loss this season was the 1-0 loss to the Hurricanes. His .931 Sv% and 1.93 GAA are both better than Jones’s .920 Sv% and 2.08 GAA.
- In the month of December, three players have averaged at least a point per game for the Sharks. Joe Pavelski has four points (1g, 3a), Brent Burns has three points (3g, 0a), and Joe Thornton has 3 points (0g, 3a) in their three December games.