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Preview: Panthers at Sharks

Florida forward Jaromir Jagr one point from 1,900 in NHL career; San Jose center Logan Couture questionable with upper-body injury

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent

PANTHERS (24-20-10) at SHARKS (34-18-5)

10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV

 

Panthers team scope

Florida Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr, who turned 45 on Wednesday, needs one point to become the second player in NHL history to reach 1,900 (Wayne Gretzky, 2,887). Jagr has played in all 54 games this season and will appear in his 1,684th NHL game. "I believe if you have some kind of talent and you're still healthy, it's up to how much you love the game and how much you're willing to give up for that game and how hard you work," Jagr said. "Those three things, then you can add to that, you can play to 50 if you really wanted to. Some guys don't like it, some guys do. Some guys can't. I love it. Everyone's different." The Panthers are 4-1-0 in their past five games and trail the Toronto Maple Leafs by five points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Florida will play the second of a five-game road trip. "I think we're on the upswing right now," defenseman Jason Demers said. "I think the guys that had been out have brought a good little boost for us. And we know it's a huge road trip for us." Forward Jonathan Huberdeau has two goals and three assists in his past three games after missing the first 51 games of the season with an Achilles tendon injury. Center Aleksander Barkov has three points (two goals, assist) in three games after missing 15 with a back injury. Right wing Nick Bjugstad has three points (goal, two assists) in five games after missing nine with a groin injury.

 

Sharks team scope

San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture might miss the game with an upper-body injury. Couture returned to the lineup for San Jose's 4-1 victory against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday after missing one game. He missed practice Tuesday but was on the ice for an optional morning skate Wednesday. "I feel OK," Couture said. "See how the afternoon goes. Hopefully I'll be good to go." Forward Nikolay Goldobin was recalled from the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League and could make his season debut. "We're going to make some game-time decisions tonight when we get to the rink," coach Peter DeBoer said. "He's here because there's a good chance he could play. He deserves it." Goldobin had one goal and one assist in nine games with the Sharks last season. Forward Patrick Marleau will play his 600th consecutive NHL game. "Hats off to him," forward Joe Thornton said. "That's incredible." Thornton is four assists shy of 1,000 for his NHL career. Goaltender Martin Jones will start his 49th game of the season for the Sharks, who lead the Pacific Division with 73 points, three ahead of the Anaheim Ducks. 

 

Panthers projected lineup

Jonathan Huberdeau -- Aleksander Barkov -- Jaromir Jagr

Jussi Jokinen -- Vincent Trocheck -- Reilly Smith

Jonathan Marchessault -- Michael Sgarbossa -- Nick Bjugstad

Shawn Thornton -- Derek MacKenzie -- Colton Sceviour

Keith Yandle -- Jason Demers

Mark Pysyk -- Aaron Ekblad

Michael Matheson -- Alex Petrovic

Roberto Luongo

James Reimer

Scratched: Jakub Kindl, Greg McKegg

Injured: None

 

Sharks projected lineup

Kevin Labanc -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski

Patrick Marleau -- Logan Couture -- Mikkel Boedker 

Timo Meier -- Tomas Hertl -- Joel Ward

Micheal Haley -- Chris Tierney -- Melker Karlsson

Paul Martin -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon -- David Schlemko

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Tim Heed, Nikolay Goldobin

Injured: Joonas Donskoi (upper body), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist)

 

Status report

If Couture can't play, then Marleau likely will be at center on the second line, opening a spot for Goldobin. ... Labanc was promoted to the top line for the final two periods against New Jersey and is expected to continue skating on that line.

 

Who's hot

Burns scored twice against New Jersey and leads the Sharks in goals (24), assists (35) and points (59). ... Thornton has a three-game point streak (two goals, two assists). ... Trocheck has 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in his past 13 games ... Jokinen has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past five games.

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