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Hurricanes continue road trip vs. struggling Sharks

by Eric Gilmore

HURRICANES (2-5-0) at SHARKS (4-3-0)


SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks defenseman Paul Martin will return to the lineup against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday at SAP Center after missing three games with a lower-body injury.

Martin took part in the Sharks' morning skate Thursday, practiced Friday and skated again Saturday.

"I think I feel really good," Martin said after the Sharks' morning skate. "I think it's gotten better every day. As far as percentage wise, I feel close to 100 percent. I've been through this process before. I think I'm good enough to play."

The Sharks have lost three straight games without Martin and have been outscored 14-4, allowing four power play goals. Martin, a key penalty killer, will be paired again with Brent Burns. Brenden Dillon will rejoin Matt Tennyson.

"Veteran guy," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said of Martin. "He really stabilized our defense early in the season when he was in there. Not that we don't have the people to get the job done when he's not in there, but it's nice having a veteran presence there. He just calms things down."

Martin was one of the Sharks' key acquisitions during the offseason, signing as a free agent from the Pittsburgh Penguins. He has been paired with the offensive-minded Burns since the start of training camp.

"I think any time you're out you want to get back in as soon as you can when you're healthy and ready to go," Martin said. "It's never one person. It takes the whole team and hopefully I can come in play my role and help."

The Sharks called up forward John McCarthy from the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League, and he'll skate on the fourth line with Mike Brown and center Bryan Lerg, another recent call-up. McCarthy has played 87 career games in the NHL and has three goals and three assists.

McCarthy will play in an NHL game for the first time since Feb. 7, 2014, when he scored a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 3-2 victory.

"Just play my game, play a simple game, get pucks north and play physical and take care of my own end," McCarthy said.

Sharks rookie forward Joonas Donskoi will miss his fifth-straight game with a lower-body injury after skating on the top line his first three NHL games.

"He's close," DeBoer said of Donskoi, who took part in the morning skate. "Probably the best way I can term it is if it was a playoff game, we'd probably consider playing him. Looking at the big picture and the fact we're seven games into the season here, probably making the smart decision here in waiting another game."

Goaltender Martin Jones will make his third straight start for the Sharks.

Eddie Lack will make his second start for Carolina, which lost 3-0 Friday night to the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center with Cam Ward in goal. He's 0-1-0 with a 3.10 GAA and .897 save percentage.

The Hurricanes didn't have a morning skate, but forwards Andrej Nestrasil and Riley Nash were on the ice doing drills. Nestrasil was hit in the left leg by a Kings shot in the second period and missed the rest of the game. Nash (shoulder) has missed five straight games.

Here are the projected lineups:


Eric Staal - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm

Nathan Gerbe - Jordan Staal- Brock McGinn

Jeff Skinner - Riley Nash - Kris Versteeg

Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Chris Terry

Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk

John-Michael Liles - Michal Jordan

Noah Hanifin - Ryan Murphy

Eddie Lack

Cam Ward

Injured: James Wisniewski (knee), Andrej Nestrasil (leg), Joakim Nordstrom (undisclosed)

Scratched: Brett Pesce


Matt Nieto - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Patrick Marleau - Tomas Hertl - Joel Ward

Barclay Goodrow - Chris Tierney - Tommy Wingels

John McCarthy - Bryan Lerg - Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Paul Martin - Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon - Matt Tennyson

Martin Jones

Alex Stalock

Injured: Ben Smith (head), Joonas Donskoi (lower body)

Scratched: Mirco Mueller

Status report: Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said Nestrasil is not 100 percent healthy, "but I think we've got the green light on Nash. If that's the case, [Nash] will come back into the lineup." … Ward spent some time on the top line with Thornton and Pavelski on Thursday against the Kings and scored a goal. If the Sharks struggle early, he might see some time there again. ... Pesce, who was recalled Thursday from Charlotte of the AHL, was a healthy scratch against Los Angeles but might make his NHL debut. Carolina chose him in the third round (No. 66) of the 2013 NHL Draft.

Who's hot: Joel Ward has two goals in his past three games. ... Rask scored the game-winning goal in overtime on Wednesday in a 1-0 victory against the Colorado Avalanche.

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