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At the Rink blog

Sharks hope win sparks trip turnaround

Saturday, 02.25.2012 / 3:41 PM

By John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

NASHVILLE – The San Jose Sharks enter their second-to-last game on Saturday of what had been a rather unsuccessful nine-game road trip with a chance to finish at .500 thanks to a 2-1 win on Saturday at Toronto.

The Sharks went 1-4-1 in the first six games of the trip, but Sharks coach Todd McLellan said he saw some improvement and hopes that with wins over the Predators on Saturday and in the finale at Minnesota on Sunday the Sharks can go home with nine out of a possible 18 points.

The poor road trip, combined with Phoenix’s surge, has allowed the Coyotes to tie the Sharks for first in the Pacific Division with 71 points entering Saturday.

“Defensively, we were much better,” McLellan said of the Leafs’ game. “We weren’t as loose. Positionally, we were better. I thought our goaltender looked sharp, the way he’s supposed to look. Power play got us a goal. We came out on the winning side of a one-goal game, instead of the losing side. Kept a team to under three, which is important to our team.

“A lot of real positives. I thought we got solid contributions from all four lines. We were much more disciplined. We didn’t end up in the penalty box. I can keep going on and on. It’s amazing how many things we did better and yet it still a one-goal win.”

One player who will not play on Saturday or Sunday is newly acquired center Dominic Moore, who has a lower-body injury. Moore missed the game on Thursday at Toronto and McLellan said he would not get back into the lineup at earliest until the team returns home against Philadelphia on Wednesday.
 
Here's the Sharks' projected lineup:
 
Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Ryan Clowe - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels
Jamie McGinn - Michal Handzus - Torrey Mitchell
Brad Winchester - Andrew Desjardins - Jim Vandermeer
 
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Dan Boyle
Jason Demers - Brent Burns
Justin Braun - Colin White
 
Antti Niemi
Thomas Greiss

Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1