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Posted On Wednesday, 01.21.2015 / 5:04 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Kings at Sharks

SAN JOSE - The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings, two Pacific Division rivals fighting to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, will each have one more chance to get back on track before the All-Star break when they play Wednesday at SAP Center.

With 54 points, the Sharks are in third place in the Pacific, one point ahead of the Calgary Flames, who own the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference, and two ahead of the Kings.

"It's a huge game standings wise," Sharks center Logan Couture said following the morning skate. "Yeah, it's at home. Yeah, we've got a four-day break or five-day break after this. Still, we know where they are in the standings. It's a massive game. We're getting to the last push here of the season where every point is huge. We've given away a couple points in our last couple games. We've got some injuries, they've got some injuries. We're going to have to battle for a point or for two tonight. I expect us to bring our best. We need to be a lot better than we were the other night."

The Sharks and Kings have been struggling. The Kings are coming off a 1-2-4 homestand. The Sharks have gone 1-1-1 in the first three games of their crucial seven-game homestand.

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Posted On Monday, 01.19.2015 / 5:44 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Devils at Sharks

SAN JOSE - The San Jose Sharks are known for their fast and furious starts at SAP Center, but they were on the wrong side of a first-period barrage Saturday against the Calgary Flames.

The Flames built a quick 2-0 lead and captured a 4-3 overtime victory. Sharks coach Todd McLellan started making changes on the fly against Calgary, and he'll stick with most of those new-look lines Monday against the New Jersey Devils.

Joe Pavelski, the Sharks leading goal scorer, will be reunited with center Joe Thornton on a top line that now includes red-hot rookie Melker Karlsson.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.17.2015 / 5:19 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flames at Sharks

SAN JOSE -- Calgary Flames rookie goaltender Joni Ortio has been close to perfect since being recalled from Adirondack of the American Hockey League eight days ago to replace an injured Karri Ramo.

Ortio had a 36-save shutout in his season debut for the Flames, a 1-0 victory against the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 10, earning another start. Then he made 27 saves in a 4-1 victory against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. And now he'll have another chance to prove himself when he makes his third straight start for the Flames against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Saturday.

"I see sparks in his eyes," Flames coach Bob Hartley said after Calgary's morning skate. "His passion. His passion level is unbelievable. He gave us some big saves at the right time. He's on his toes. He wants to be a big part of this team. Right now, he's 2-0 and tonight is another big challenge."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.15.2015 / 4:40 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Maple Leafs at Sharks

SAN JOSE -- Tomas Hertl gave the San Jose Sharks a glimpse of what he can do at center when he filled in Tuesday on the fourth line against the Arizona Coyotes for Andrew Desjardins, who missed the game for the birth of his son, Ames.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan liked what he saw from Hertl so much that he decided to give him another shot at center.

Hertl scored a goal in San Jose's 3-2 victory against Arizona, and he'll center the fourth line between Tyler Kennedy and Jamie McGinn again Thursday at SAP Center against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Desjardins will be a healthy scratch.

"We want to take another look at Tomas there," McLellan said after the Sharks morning skate. "We thought that was one of his better skating games, and maybe that assignment at center ice made him move a little bit more. I thought Kennedy and McGinn had good games as well. So there's no need to change anything there right now. We'll give them another look and see what we get out of him tonight."

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Posted On Saturday, 01.10.2015 / 5:16 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Rangers at Sharks

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton, who missed the past four games with a shoulder injury, was activated from injured reserve and will return to the lineup at SAP Center on Saturday against the surging New York Rangers and former teammate Dan Boyle.

"I've been taking it easy, just trying to get better, and it's been getting better," Thornton said after the Sharks morning skate. "It's a good sign. It feels good. I'm excited to play again tonight."

Thornton's streak of consecutive games ended at 319 on Jan. 3 when he missed San Jose's 7-2 loss at SAP Center to the St. Louis Blues. The Sharks are coming off another 7-2 loss to the Blues on Thursday at Scottrade Center.

"It's huge," Sharks forward Patrick Marleau said of Thornton's return. "Obviously all the things that he brings. The list is too long to name them all, but it's a big boost for our club."

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Posted On Saturday, 01.03.2015 / 4:18 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blues at Sharks

SAN JOSE -- Center Joe Thornton will miss the San Jose Sharks' game at SAP Center on Saturday against the St. Louis Blues because of an upper-body injury. It ends his streak of consecutive games at 319.

Thornton was hurt in the first period Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks when he was hit hard in the left shoulder by Anaheim's Clayton Stoner. Thornton missed the rest of that game, which the Sharks won 3-0, but practiced Friday.

"I told you yesterday we wouldn't put him in a situation where it was high risk and lead to a longer period of not being involved," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said Saturday, calling Thornton day-to-day. "The medical staff made that decision and we'll see how he is tomorrow morning."

Joe Pavelski will move from wing to center on the Sharks' top line and skate with Tomas Hertl and Matt Nieto, who had skated on the fourth line the past two games after returning from an ankle injury.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.30.2014 / 5:03 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Canucks at Sharks

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks forward Matt Nieto was activated from injured reserve and will be in the lineup Tuesday at SAP Center against the Vancouver Canucks.

Nieto hasn't played since Dec. 4 against the Boston Bruins when he sustained an ankle injury. He's missed the past nine games.

"The injury took a little longer to heal than expected, but I'm ready now," Nieto said. "I'm itching to get back in the lineup, and I'm ready to go and excited to be out there playing."

Nieto, who scored a goal in two of his past three games, will skate on the fourth line with center Andrew Desjardins and forward Micheal Haley. For most of the season he skated on the top three lines.

"Matt is a very good player and we need him in the lineup," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.20.2014 / 5:21 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blues at Sharks

SAN JOSE - If familiarity truly breeds contempt, then the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues are headed for some heated confrontations.

The Sharks and Blues play each other three times in a nine-game span starting Saturday at SAP Center.

"In that sense it makes it feel like a playoff type atmosphere when you get to see a team that often," Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "You're going to have to make adjustments right on the hop and adjust to everyone's game. It's kind of fun because you get to do it right in a row and see how each team reacts."

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Posted On Thursday, 12.18.2014 / 5:35 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Oilers at Sharks

SAN JOSE - After a four-day break in their schedule, the well-rested San Jose Sharks will return to action against the reeling Edmonton Oilers and interim coach Todd Nelson at SAP Center on Thursday.

The Oilers have lost 16 of their past 17 games, including a 2-1 shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Tuesday in Nelson's NHL coaching debut.

Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish fired coach Dallas Eakins on Monday and promoted Nelson from Oklahoma City of the American Hockey League.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.13.2014 / 5:33 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Predators at Sharks

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic will return to the lineup when they play the Nashville Predators at SAP Center on Saturday.

Vlasic missed the final two periods Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers and the game Thursday against the Minnesota Wild with an upper-body injury.

The Sharks won the two games, and coach Todd McLellan was asked what he learned about them during those victories minus Vlasic.

"To be honest, we learned that we want him back," McLellan said after the morning skate. "And that's not a shot at the rest of them. Marc-Edouard's just that solid. He means that much to our team, his presence out there, the way he carries himself in the locker room, his ability to play in all situations. He's essential, but the fact that we could pinch hit without him was a real positive. It gave some others an opportunity for ice time and we found ways to win. So that was important."

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Quote of the Day

I was surprised. I knew I got it. It's tough. You never know how hard it is until it registers on the gun. I got pretty much all I could into and you just hope for the best.

— Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber after winning the AMP NHL Hardest Shot event at the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition