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Posted On Tuesday, 04.23.2013 / 4:50 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Sharks trying to stamp ninth straight trip to playoffs

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks can clinch their ninth straight trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs with one point Tuesday night in their final regular-season home game against the Dallas Stars.

The Sharks, who are in fifth place in the Western Conference with 55 points, know that point won't come easily against a team that has defeated them three straight times this season and is fighting for its playoff life.

"They played well against us all year," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. "I think our power play and penalty kill kind of struggled against them all year. Tonight would be the battle of the special teams. If we could win that, we'll probably get the two points."

Posted On Thursday, 04.18.2013 / 3:48 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Tensions could run high when Sharks, Wild meet

SAN JOSE -- It was 15 days ago that the San Jose Sharks beat the Minnesota Wild 4-2 at HP Pavilion in a game that ended with a nasty confrontation between Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Wild forward Dany Heatley.

Vlasic and Heatley took swings at each other with their sticks then started wrestling. Heatley, a former Sharks player, landed hard on the ice with Vlasic on top of him and suffered a season-ending shoulder injury that required surgery.

The Sharks and Wild meet again Thursday night at HP. Will there be any carryover?

"I think it will be an emotional game," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said after the Wild's morning skate. "I think that both teams are focused on getting two points at this time of the year. That's what it's about. Whatever you can use to get you motivated. I don't know that we need a whole lot of extra motivation right now, but, again, I think it will be an emotional game."

Posted On Tuesday, 04.16.2013 / 4:34 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Kings' Greene hopeful to return prior to playoffs

SAN JOSE -- Los Angeles Kings defenseman Matt Greene said he still doesn't have a target date for his return, but he took what looked to be another step in that direction Tuesday morning at HP Pavilion.

Greene, who underwent back surgery in late January to repair a herniated disk, was on the ice for the Kings' optional skate and stayed long after most of his teammates had left.

Greene was cleared for contact Monday, but he spent most of his time Tuesday skating hard and getting back into shape.

'You want to try to get into as good of shape as you can be if you want to get a chance to come back," Greene said. "It felt good. It's feeling better and better every day. It's just getting more and more used to skating. Getting a little bit of timing back, but I think it's still going to be a battle."

Posted On Friday, 04.05.2013 / 4:17 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Torres debut with Sharks will have to wait

SAN JOSE -- Raffi Torres' debut with the San Jose Sharks is on hold until at least Sunday when they end their seven-game homestand against the Dallas Stars.

After San Jose's morning skate at HP Pavilion, coach Todd McLellan said Torres won't be in the lineup Friday night against the Calgary Flames for the Sharks, who have won six straight games.

"I didn't make the decision. Mother Nature made the decision," McLellan said. "He wasn't feeling real good last night. Feeling a little bit better today, but he won't play tonight, due in large part to that. But I also struggled sleeping last night whether or not we would put him in. The right thing to do for the individual is to put him in and make him feel comfortable right off the bat. But we have to do what's right for the team, and there's been a lot of guys that have played well lately and have to continue that reward."

Talking to reporters before McLellan's announcement, Torres didn't mention being ill, but he said he wouldn't mind if he wasn't in the lineup two days after being traded from the Phoenix Coyotes to the Sharks.

"If it was up to me, I probably wouldn't want to see myself play, just because you don't want to mess with a good lineup when it's winning," Torres said.

Posted On Wednesday, 04.03.2013 / 4:54 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Sharks, Wild

SAN JOSE -- Here's how the lineups could look Wednesday night when the San Jose Sharks face the Minnesota Wild at HP Pavilion:

Posted On Saturday, 03.30.2013 / 4:55 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Burns could move back to defense for Sharks

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks defenseman Jason Demers has been ruled out for Saturday night's game against the Phoenix Coyotes, likely forcing the return of Brent Burns to the blue line.

"He's not going to play tonight," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said of Demers. "Not feeling good today."

Demers took a hard shoulder-to-head hit from Detroit Red Wings center Cory Emmerton in the first period Thursday night. Although Demers finished the game, that hit raises obvious questions about a potential concussion. McClellan was asked whether Demers is out because of the Emmerton hit.

"He's not going to play tonight," McLellan repeated. "He's not feeling good today."

Posted On Thursday, 03.28.2013 / 4:13 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Niemi to make 11th straight start for Sharks

SAN JOSE -- Less than 24 hours after shutting out the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi will make his 11th straight start Thursday night when the Sharks face the Detroit Red Wings at HP Pavilion.

Niemi loves a heavy workload, and he said he has no problem playing back-to-back games.

"Especially when the first game goes pretty good, it's pretty easy to go in the second game," Niemi said Thursday morning after the Sharks' optional skate and brief team meeting. "Just keep on doing what I did last night."

Niemi stopped all 22 shots he faced Wednesday night in the Sharks' 4-0 victory, recording his second shutout of the season and 21st of his career. He improved his record to 14-8-5, lowered his goals-against average to 2.22 and improved his save percentage to .922.

"Nemo's our guy," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "He had a day off in Anaheim, played, day off coming home. Back-to-back, but he (slept) in his own bed. He should be fine."

Posted On Wednesday, 03.27.2013 / 3:53 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Sharks' Clowe set to return from shoulder injury

SAN JOSE -- After missing four games with a shoulder injury, San Jose Sharks forward Ryane Clowe will return to the lineup and skate on the third line Wednesday night against the Anaheim Ducks at HP Pavilion.

Clowe hasn't played since the first period against the Los Angeles Kings on March 16 when he aggravated a nagging shoulder injury.

"I feel good," Clowe said after the Sharks' morning skate. "I probably felt pretty good last game, but I just needed a couple extra skates. ... I had a little skate yesterday. I feel good today."

Clowe will skate on a line with center Joe Pavelski and left wing TJ Galiardi. James Sheppard will drop from the third line to the fourth line, bumping Adam Burish out of the lineup.

Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 4:51 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Quick expected to start for Kings

SAN JOSE -- Jonathan Quick was the first goaltender off the ice at the Los Angeles Kings' morning skate and is expected to make his sixth straight start Thursday night at HP Pavilion against the San Jose Sharks and goaltender Antti Niemi.

Quick allowed five goals on 29 shots in a 5-2 road loss Tuesday against the Phoenix Coyotes. Last season he went 0-1-2 with a 2.56 goals-against average against the Sharks at HP Pavilion. He's 8-4-4 lifetime against San Jose with a 2.52 GAA.

Niemi is 8-3-2 for his career against Los Angeles with a 2.15 GAA.

Brent Burns, typically a defenseman, skated at right wing on the Sharks' top line with center Joe Thornton and left wing Logan Couture. He played forward Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues for the first time this season, opening on the third line but moving up to the first line late in the second period.

Sharks forward Martin Havlat was on the ice during the morning skate but remained on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan said Havlat has made significant progress in his recovery.

"He's getting better," McLellan said. "It's nice to see him skating at almost full speed."

Sharks backup goaltender Thomas Greiss remained on injured reserve with a strained neck but "skated a little bit" Thursday morning, McLellan said. "Won't play tonight. I think he's a little bit further down the road, but getting better."

Here's how the lineups could look Thursday night when the Sharks face the Kings at HP Pavilion:

Posted On Saturday, 03.02.2013 / 4:56 PM

By Eric Gilmore - Correspondent / - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Sharks plan to take more shots at Predators

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan continued pounding home the same message Saturday morning to his struggling team: When in doubt, shoot.

The Sharks, who face the Nashville Predators on Saturday at HP Pavilion, have won two of their past 12 games with 15 goals during that span.

"We have to have a shoot-first mentality," McLellan said after the Sharks' morning skate. "We have to attack the net with some authority to score. Teams that aren't scoring are talking about this on a daily basis. We're stressing it. We have to have everybody with that type of mentality. We can't be a pass-first-and-react-off-of-that type of team."

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