Torres missed the first five months of the season after undergoing knee surgery during training camp. He had five points in five games after returning to the lineup, but recent soreness has forced the 32-year-old to miss his fourth straight game.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault has been doing plenty of line juggling. When forward Martin St. Louis was acquired at the NHL Trade Deadline from the Tampa Bay Lighting, the assumption was that he would seamlessly fit on a line with former Lightning teammate Brad Richards. When those two failed to provide consistent offense, Vigneault made some changes, opting to put St. Louis on a line with forward Mats Zuccarello and center Derick Brassard.
"Marty's working extremely hard right now. We tried him with Brad for a couple of games. It had some good moments but it wasn't getting the point production we thought we might get," Vigneault said. "So we made a couple of changes in the last game. I think Brass' line, where Marty was playing, had some good moments."
Goaltenders Henrik Lundqvist and Antti Niemi will start for the Rangers and Sharks, respectively. For Lundqvist and the Rangers, this game could provide a measure of revenge for the last time these teams played, a 9-2 Sharks victory on Oct. 8 at SAP Center.
"There is a memory bank and players are proud. They store games like that in the back of their mind," McLellan said. "But when you look at the circumstances they were playing under, being on the road, training camp, new coach, anything that happened for them that night went the negative way."
Vigneault has moved on from that game played more five months ago. He's more concerned with continuing New York's push to the Stanley Cup Playoffs against a team he described as among the League's elite.
"That was a long time ago. We're a different team now," Vigneault said. "If you intend on getting to the dance, getting to the playoffs, you have to be one of those teams that improves. I think we're improving, we're in the final stretch. It's the best time of the year to be playing and I think our group is ready for the challenge."
Here are the projected lineups for the Sharks and Rangers:
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