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At the Rink: Senators at Sharks

by Eric Gilmore

SAN JOSE -- Backup goaltender Alex Stalock will make his ninth start of the season when the San Jose Sharks try to extend their five-game winning streak Monday against the Ottawa Senators at SAP Center (10:30 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN5, CSN-CA).

Stalock is coming off a 21-save, 4-1 victory against the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 12, arguably his best start of the season. Before that victory, he had back-to-back wins for the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League on a conditioning assignment.

"It's been a week since I've been in there," Stalock said after San Jose's morning skate at Sharks Ice. "Just keep it going. Two in the American League and one up here and just try and enjoy it."

Martin Jones, San Jose's No. 1 goaltender, has won four straight starts, including San Jose's past two games. So why make the switch to Stalock?

"He played well," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said of Stalock. "He deserves to play again. I think the whole idea of sending him down was we knew this stretch of games was coming. I believe this is seven in 12 nights tonight. So we're going to need both guys and we end with another four in six nights before the break. So we felt that this was going to be a critical time and we were going to need both guys and we're going to have to play both guys."

Goaltender Craig Anderson will start his third straight game for the Senators. He made 30 saves Saturday when Ottawa rallied from a 3-1 third-period deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 5-3 at Staples Center. That dramatic win came after the Senators started their five-game road trip with discouraging losses to the Washington Capitals (7-1) and Anaheim Ducks (4-1).

"We have a lot to build on from that game," Anderson said. "We showed great character and desperation to battle ourselves back in and find a way to win the game. I think over the course of the season you're going to have ups and downs, and right now to be able to build off that would be big for us."

Senators coach Dave Cameron said he expects his team to be energized against San Jose after rallying to beat the Kings.

"I think what it does is it allows you that feel-good period between games," Cameron said after the Senators optional morning skate at SAP Center. "We were able to discuss why we had the success we had and to show them, so from an energy point of view it should be pretty exciting. But we're going against a real good team here today. They've won five in a row and are clicking on all cylinders."

The Sharks can match their season-high winning streak with a victory against Ottawa. They have won a season-high three straight games at home, including a 2-1 shootout win against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday and a 4-3 overtime victory against the Dallas Stars on Saturday.

"There's a lot of structure to our game right now, a lot of responsibility and a lot of hard work," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski. "Guys are just finding their game. That's the biggest thing. Up and down the lineup we've had some big contributions from guys."

Stalock and Anderson will face each other for the second time this season. They each made 31 saves on Dec. 18 in Ottawa's 4-2 victory. The game was tied 1-1 in the third before forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored the game-winner, just seconds after defenseman Cody Ceci's shot broke Stalock's mask and struck him in the face.

"Fluky thing," said Stalock, who had to change masks. "It went through my cat eye and hit me in the face. I've never had that before. It's a scary deal, but lucky for me it was above my eye and not on my eye."

Here are the projected lineups:


Mike Hoffman - Kyle Turris - Mark Stone

Milan Michalek - Mika Zibanejad - Bobby Ryan

Curtis Lazar - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Alex Chiasson

Max McCormick - Zack Smith - Chris Neil

Fredrik Claesson - Erik Karlsson

Patrick Wiercioch - Cody Ceci

Marc Methot - Mark Borowiecki

Craig Anderson

Andrew Hammond

Injured: Clarke MacArthur (concussion), Chris Phillips (back)

Scratched: Jared Cowen, Chris Wideman, Shane Prince


Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Joel Ward

Joonas Donskoi - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels

Melker Karlsson - Chris Tierney - Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Paul Martin - Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon - Dylan DeMelo

Alex Stalock

Martin Jones

Injured: Dainius Zubrus (upper body)

Scratched: Ben Smith, Matt Tennyson

Status report: McCormick will play his 14th game of the season, replacing Prince in the lineup. "I think Max has been good," Cameron said. "He brings energy, he brings tenacity to our lineup, and you could always use that." … The Senators had an optional morning skate, but during practice Sunday, Hoffman and Ryan switched lines, and Ryan moved to the right side, where he said he's more comfortable.

Who's hot: Thornton has a five-game point streak with two goals and five assists. … Vlasic had a career-high two goals against Dallas and three in his past two games. … Zibanejad has three points (two goals, one assist) over his past four games, including the game-winning goal against Los Angeles.

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