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At the Rink: Devils at Sharks

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com

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.

Patrick Marleau will rejoin center Logan Couture on the second line, along with Tommy Wingels, who received a promotion.

"I think these are kind of the lines that found their way after the first period last game, where we had more energy," Wingels said. "Kind of sparked us a bit, so he kind of wanted to go back to those I think.

"It's such a different game when you play with the lead versus playing from behind. We know the importance of playing with the lead. So it's definitely in our mindset of getting off to a good start and getting that first goal."

The Sharks third and fourth lines have been shuffled, too. Tomas Hertl will center the third line and skate with Matt Nieto and Tyler Kennedy, two of the Sharks' fastest skaters. Center James Sheppard will skate between Tye McGinn and Andrew Desjardins on the fourth line. Desjardins will return to the lineup after missing one game for the birth of son and the past two as a healthy scratch.

"I remember playing years with this team where we'd jump on teams in the first 10 minutes of the game," Couture said. "The game would sometimes be over after 10 minutes. We've got the talent and the skill in this room to do that again, and we need to start."

Goaltender Alex Stalock will make his first start since Jan. 6 when he made 28 saves in a 4-3 overtime victory against the Minnesota Wild.

"Every time you get a chance you've got to stay sharp in practice," Stalock said. "And that's the biggest part for me is working hard and practicing and getting the work in I need to get in, and hopefully it translates into a good game."

Goaltender Cory Schneider will start for the Devils, three days after missing the final two periods of a 5-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Schneider took a Matt Beleskey shot off the right side of his helmet at 3:31 of the first period. He finished the period but didn't return after the first intermission because he started feeling worse.

Schneider had Saturday off, practiced Sunday and was on the ice Monday morning.

"It wasn't anything overly serious," Schneider said. "They just were being cautious the other night. I felt better yesterday."

Schneider has spent most of his NHL career in the Western Conference with the Vancouver Canucks. He's well aware of the Sharks' history of fast starts at home.

"I played here a decent amount being in the West for a while," Schneider said. "You got to be ready to play. The first 10 minutes of the game, the first period, they come hard and if you're not ready, they'll draw penalties, they'll go on the power play, they'll swarm you for a little while. We got to be ready for that, and they can score goals in bunches."

The Devils have made a pair of changes to their lineup with forward Jacob Josefson and defenseman Eric Gelinas replacing forward Joe Whitney and defenseman Peter Harrold. Josefson and Gelinas have both been battling the flu. Josefson will be in the lineup for the first time since Dec. 27 and Gelinas for the first time since Dec. 31.

"They both are healthy, and they should be fresh, so hopefully they'll bring some energy to the lineup," Devils general manager and interim co-coach Lou Lamoriello said.

The Devils opened their three-game California road trip with a 5-3 victory against the Los Angeles Kings before getting outshot 40-15 in a lopsided loss to the Ducks.

"This could be a successful trip if we get tonight, two out of three playing these three teams," Lamoriello said.

Here are the projected lineups:

DEVILS

Adam Henrique - Scott Gomez - Steve Bernier

Patrik Elias - Travis Zajac - Martin Havlat

Dainius Zubrus - Mike Cammalleri - Michael Ryder

Tim Sestito - Jacob Josefson - Jordin Tootoo

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson

Mark Fraser - Marek Zidlicky

Jon Merrill - Eric Gelinas

Cory Schneider

Keith Kinkaid

Scratched: Joe Whitney, Peter Harrold

Injured: Jaromir Jagr (flu), Tuomo Ruutu (flu), Bryce Salvador (lower body), Ryane Clowe (head), Stephen Gionta (hand), Damon Severson (ankle)

SHARKS

Melker Karlsson - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels

Tyler Kennedy - Tomas Hertl - Matt Nieto

Tye McGinn- James Sheppard - Andrew Desjardins

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon - Justin Braun

Matt Irwin - Scott Hannan

Alex Stalock

Antti Niemi

Scratched: John Scott, Matt Tennyson, Barclay Goodrow

Injured: Raffi Torres (knee), Mike Brown (lower body), Mirco Mueller (upper body)

Status report: Devils forwards Jagr and Ruutu continue to skate and should be ready to return for New Jersey's next game on Jan. 28 at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs, acccording to Lamoriello. "They should be, unless there's a setback," Lamoriello said. "All indications right now they should be ready." ... Goodrow will be a healthy scratch, ending his streak of 19 straight games in the lineup. He has a 13-game goalless streak.

Who's hot: Marleau has three points (1-2-3) in his past two games. He ended a career-high tying 16-game goalless streak Thursday against Toronto. ... Braun has a three-game point streak (0-5-5). ... Havlat, a former Shark, is on a two-game goal streak. ... Elias had one assist in each of his past three games and has seven points (2-5-7) over his past six games.

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