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Posted On Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 4:51 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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:

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Posted On Saturday, 03.02.2013 / 4:56 PM

By Eric Gilmore -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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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Posted On Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 5:27 PM

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

Stuart expects 'strange' game against former mates

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart has played in 894 NHL games over 13 seasons. He's played for five teams -- he's in his second stint with the Sharks -- and is no stranger to playing games against former clubs and teammates.

Yet Stuart knows that when he takes the ice Thursday night at HP Pavilion for the first time against his former Detroit Red Wings teammates, his emotions will be running stronger than usual. This won't be just another game.

"It will be a little strange," Stuart said after the Sharks' morning skate. "Probably not as bad as if I was in Joe Louis [Arena]. That will be a little stranger. It should be fun too. I've got a lot of good memories of being part of that organization. I've moved on, but it's still going to be a little weird to play against these guys."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 4:14 PM

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

Gustavsson set to make first start for Red Wings

SAN JOSE -- Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson's long wait will end Thursday night when he makes his first start for the Detroit Red Wings against the San Jose Sharks.

"I'm really excited," Gustavsson said after taking part in an optional morning skate at HP Pavilion. "It's been a long time since I've started in this league. This is something I've been looking forward to during the lockout and during the summer. So I'm really excited."

Gustavsson, a former Toronto Maple Leafs player, signed a two-year contract with Detroit as a free agent in July, but a nagging groin injury has limited him to two appearances in relief of starter Jimmy Howard.

"Obviously it wouldn't hurt to see him play, and I think it's important that your starting goalie doesn't have to play every night," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "The other thing about it, a real good opportunity for him. We need a win on the road, and he's capable of doing that. So, get in there and play like he can."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.26.2013 / 5:01 PM

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

Landeskog not seeking revenge in return to San Jose

SAN JOSE - It was exactly one month ago today that Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog took a crushing hit from San Jose defenseman Brad Stuart midway through the first period of a 4-0 loss to the Sharks at HP Pavilion.

And as luck would have it, tonight also marks the first time Landeskog, who missed the next 11 games with a concussion and didn't return to action until Friday against the Los Angeles Kings, will meet Stuart since that collision.

Landeskog said he's not out for revenge, but Stuart admitted he'll be ready for whatever the Avalanche send his way.

"I want to get out there and show them that I'm fine, that I can take a hit," Landeskog said after Colorado's morning skate. "Even though it was a hard hit, I don't have any grief against Brad Stuart or anything. He apologized after the hit and said he had no intention of hurting me. So no hard feelings there, but I'm excited to get out there and show them what I can do and show them that I can take that."

Just seconds after Stuart leveled Landeskog, Avalanche defenseman Ryan O'Byrne instigated a scrap with the Sharks defenseman, who was not suspended by the NHL for his hit.

"I think that score's been settled, as far as I'm concerned," Stuart said. "If they want to concern themselves with that, that's good for them. I'll be ready to play the game. We saw how that worked out for us last time."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.26.2013 / 3:53 PM

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

Battle of attrition as Sharks host Avalanche

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche will both be shorthanded Tuesday night when they meet for the second time this season at HP Pavilion.

The Sharks placed defenseman Brent Burns (lower body) on injured reserve and recalled defenseman Matt Irwin from Worcester of the American Hockey League.

Sharks second-line forward Ryane Clowe will be out as he serves the second game of his two-game suspension for coming off the bench on a line change and immediately getting into an altercation with the Chicago Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw on Friday at the United Center.

Third-line forward Tommy Wingels, who went headfirst into the boards late in Saturday's game at the Dallas Stars, also will miss Tuesday's game, Sharks coach Todd McLellan said after the morning skate.

Colorado will be without top-line center Matt Duchene, who is sidelined by a groin injury. Duchene leads the Avalanche in assists (11) and points (17). With Duchene out, Paul Stastny is expected to skate on the top line between Jamie McGinn and PA Parenteau, while John Mitchell centers the second line with forwards Gabriel Landeskog and David Jones.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.09.2013 / 4:02 PM

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

Sharks' Burns activated, set for season debut

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The Sharks activated defenseman defenseman Brent Burns from injured reserve, and he'll make his season debut Saturday against the Phoenix Coyotes. Burns underwent hernia surgery in May, suffered an apparent setback during his recovery and was placed on injured reserve on Jan. 23.

To clear a roster spot for Burns, the Sharks sent defenseman Matt Irwin to Worcester of the American Hockey League. Irwin appeared in nine games, posting two points with one goal and one assist. He scored his first NHL goal against the Colorado Avalanche on Jan. 26.

Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray is a scratch for the game.

According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the Sharks also placed defenseman Nick Petrecki on waivers today.

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.05.2013 / 5:39 PM

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

Sharks, Blackhawks ready to measure up in showdown

SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks are the two hottest teams in the NHL at start of the season.

Tonight at HP Pavilion, the NHL's top two teams will see how they measure up against each other in their first meeting of the 2012-13 campaign.

The Blackhawks (7-0-2) lead the league with 16 points, just one more than the Sharks (7-1-1). San Jose opened the season with seven straight wins, the Blackhawks six. Chicago has yet to lose in regulation.

"Both of us have had good starts to the year," Sharks center Logan Couture said. "We want to see what they have, and I'm sure they want to see what we have. We're looking forward to an exciting game."

Added Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane: "Both teams seem to be really good this year and obviously want to prove something to the world."

The Sharks will have the home-ice edge Tuesday, but the Blackhawks should have an advantage in terms of energy. San Jose played at Anaheim on Monday night, a 2-1 loss to end the Sharks' eight-game run with at least a point. Chicago hasn't played since Saturday night at Calgary.

"Whether it's back-to-back or not, there's no excuses out here," Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said. "We're ready to play. We're going to go from there. There's going to be times throughout the season where everybody's tired. There's no excuses. They're big points early on. We're playing well and so are they, so it should be an exciting game."

Both teams have slowed down a bit since their blistering starts as opponents throughout the League have gotten back up to speed after the lockout. The Sharks averaged 4.6 goals in their first five games and got two goals from Patrick Marleau in each of their first four games. Now they've lost two straight, first 2-1 in a shootout to Nashville then 2-1 in regulation to the Ducks.

Before beating Calgary 3-2 in a shootout Saturday, the Blackhawks lost 3-2 to Minnesota and 2-1 to Vancouver, both times in shootouts.

"I think you could have predicted it was going to be wide open to start and then things would tighten up as the season goes on," Kane said. "They've been playing very good defensively all year, so hopefully we can sneak a few by them tonight. But for us, we've had a lot of success in this room offensively, five-on-five, every year I've been here. That's something we just have to continue to work at."

The Sharks' power play provided much of the offense during their fast start with 12 goals in 32 attempts. In the past four games, San Jose is just 1-for-18 on the power play. The Sharks will try to get back on track against the NHL's top-ranked penalty kill.

"They're going to come hard," Couture said of the Blackhawks' penalty killers. "They've got guys who are short-handed threats. They look for offense on it, so we got to be sharp, keep our shifts short, try to play in their end and just shoot the puck more.

"We just had a meeting to try to get it going. Obviously we started off well. We were supporting each other; we were getting pucks to the net. That's something we haven't done lately. We've left guys on islands by themselves in the zone and haven't gotten many shots on net. That's something we need to change."

The Blackhawks are preparing for a Sharks' power play that traditionally has been tough on opponents, especially at home.

"They have a great PP," Blackhawks center Dave Bolland said. "They're always moving around, they're never in the same spot, they're always moving from side to side. So we've got to be aware of where Marleau, where Joe [Thornton] is or any of them, or [Dan] Boyle. It's going to be a good test for us. It's going to be a great test."

For the Blackhawks and Sharks, this will be a proverbial "measuring stick" contest.

"We know that right now these are the two top teams in the West," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "The last couple years we've always had great games against San Jose, especially in this building. Even though they played last night, we always know it's going to be a high tempo. Regardless of what San Jose's capable of doing as a team, we know we've got to be way better than we were our last game in Calgary. So as a team it's more about us and how we're prepared to play in this locker room. If we get our game back on track, we'll give ourselves a good chance to win."

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Posted On Tuesday, 02.05.2013 / 4:18 PM

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

Blackhawks relieved to be getting Bolland back

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Second-line center Dave Bolland will return to the lineup Tuesday night for the Chicago Blackhawks against the San Jose Sharks after missing one game with an injury to his lower right leg.

Shortly after the Blackhawks' morning skate at HP Pavilion, Bolland broke the news that he'd be in the lineup, then coach Joel Quenneville confirmed it.

Bolland said he'll have no limitations in Tuesday night's game.

"Feels great," Bolland said.

Bolland was injured Friday night against the Vancouver Canucks when he took a slash from Jannik Hansen in the third period of Chicago's 2-1 shootout loss. He initially feared he had broken a bone and might be out for the season. But after missing Chicago's 3-2 shootout win Saturday night at Calgary, Bolland practiced Monday and skated Tuesday morning at HP Pavilion.

Linemate Patrick Kane said it will be "huge" to have Bolland back on the ice against San Jose.

"I don't know if any of us really knew the extent of the injury," Kane said. "He's a good player. He obviously can play in a lot of different roles -- penalty kills and plays the power play and is a very effective center for us. It's good to have him back, especially these type of games."

Bolland has three goals and one assist in eight games for the Blackhawks.

Quenneville had some more good news on the injury front regarding Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival, who has missed the past five games with a lower-body injury. Quenneville said Rozsival is now healthy enough to play, although it's doubtful he'll be in the lineup tonight.

Sharks veteran defenseman Dan Boyle could be back in the lineup after missing Monday night's 2-1 loss at Anaheim with the flu. Boyle skated on his own Tuesday morning, and Sharks coach Todd McLellan said he'll be in the lineup if he feels healthy enough to play.

Boyle has been battling the flu for a week. He missed San Jose's game against Anaheim on Jan. 29, played the next two games, then was out again Tuesday after a relapse.

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

BLACKHAWKS

Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Patrick SharpDave BollandPatrick Kane

Viktor StalbergAndrew ShawBryan Bickell

Jamal MayersMarcus KrugerMichael Frolik

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook

Niklas Hjalmarsson- Johnny Oduya

Nick Leddy - Sheldon Brookbank

Corey Crawford

Ray Emery

Injuries: Daniel Carcillo

Scratches: Brandon Bollig, Michal Rozsival

SHARKS

Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

James Sheppard - Logan Couture - Ryane Clowe

Scott Gomez - Michal Handzus - Martin Havlat

TJ Galiardi - Andrew Desjardins - Adam Burish

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Jason Demers

Brad Stuart - Dan Boyle

Douglas Murray - Justin Braun

Antti Niemi

Thomas Greiss

Injured: Brent Burns

Scratches: Tommy Wingels, Matt Irwin, Nick Petrecki

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 4:50 PM

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

Sharks expect Oilers will be looking for payback

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- It was just nine days ago that the San Jose Sharks exploded for six goals in the first period and defeated Edmonton 6-3, spoiling the Oilers' home opener.

They meet again Thursday night, and the Sharks expect to face a motivated team looking for payback.

"Obviously, Edmonton's going to play hard," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. "We kind of embarrassed them in their building. They're coming off a big win last night, so they'll want to kind of get revenge for their loss."

The Oilers beat the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday night 2-1 in overtime as they kicked off a three-game road swing. Edmonton improved to 4-2-0 but will face the NHL's last undefeated team. San Jose improved to 6-0-0 with a 3-2 shootout win Tuesday night against Anaheim.

The Sharks beat Anaheim despite being outshot 30-18 and playing what they said was their worst game of the season.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan said he doesn't expect a first-period replay of San Jose's first game against Edmonton.

"I don't think we're going to see the same start from Edmonton," McLellan said. "They were a young team that was real excited at home in front of their crowd. They made some mistakes. I haven't seen them make those mistakes since that first period. The second and third was a pretty evenly-played match. I think you'll see more of that tonight.

"Our game against Anaheim was not to our standards in a lot of different areas, so we have to get better. That will be our goal, to improve and clean a few things up. It will be more of a speed game, I believe, than it was against Anaheim. That's just how Edmonton is built. They can fly. We'll have to be well aware of that."

McLellan shuffled his bottom three lines in the third period and overtime against Anaheim, and, based on Wednesday's practice, he'll likely open with that new look. The biggest change is Scott Gomez moving to the second line as a wing alongside center Logan Couture with Martin Havlat dropping to the third line.

"He's a good player, sees the ice well, good passer, speed," Couture said of Gomez. "It's going to be fun playing with him and (Ryane Clowe) tonight."

McLellan said he shuffled his lines Tuesday because "a couple lines were very unproductive last game, not even creating anything toward the net, just minute eaters. We need more production from different people, so we moved things around. We'll take a look at how they're going to start, who will be in their lineup, and make decisions from there."

The Sharks' roster will definitely have a different look tonight. They lost forward Frazer McLaren off waivers to Toronto, and that open roster spot will likely go to defenseman Jason Demers, McLellan said. Demers has been recovering from a fractured wrist he suffered while playing in Europe during the lockout.

"Not everybody can stay on a roster," McLellan said. "Unfortunately you're only given 23 spots. Organizations have to make decisions. We had to make a tough one yesterday in putting (McLaren) on waivers. Doesn't surprise me that he was picked up. He's a quality individual, fulfills a role in the League right now and on many teams, and fulfills that role well. He'll do well in Toronto, and we wish him all the best. We're proud he was a Shark at one point."

McLaren, a seventh-round pick by San Jose in the 2007 NHL Draft, racked up 490 penalty minutes for Worcester of the American Hockey League, a franchise record. He appeared in 40 career games for the Sharks, including one this season, compiling 85 penalty minutes, one goal and five assists.

McLellan said there's a chance Demers could be in the lineup tonight. But there's also a good chance that defenseman Dan Boyle will return to the lineup after missing Tuesday night's game with the flu.

Boyle, who missed practice Wednesday, took part in an optional morning skate and said he would play tonight.

Boyle said he felt "better, or I wouldn't be here. Whatever I had kicked my [rear]."

Boyle also missed the entire third period of Sunday's game against Vancouver because of a nosebleed that trainers had trouble stopping. Boyle said he got hit in the nose in the second period but "was fine" when he came off the ice at the end of that period.

"They started playing around up in there and then waterworks came out," Boyle said. "It was nonstop. I've never experienced a nosebleed like that in my life. … I don't know if there's an artery up there, but something. We hit something. It was disgusting is what it was."

Boyle said he's glad to be back on the ice and part of the NHL's last undefeated team -- Chicago fell to 6-0-1 with a 3-2 shootout loss Wednesday to the Minnesota Wild.

"I like being a part of that," Boyle said. "Obviously we're probably going to lose at some point, but it's fun. It's fun to have something like that going for us. See how far we can take this."

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