TAMPA -- In preparation for an afternoon puck-drop, the San Jose Sharks and the Tampa Bay Lightning opted against morning skates Saturday.
Antti Niemi is expected to start in goal for the Sharks after backup Alex Stalock shut out the Florida Panthers Thursday.
Forward Logan Couture skated with San Jose on Friday, his first time on the ice since undergoing hand surgery Wednesday. He's expected to miss at least two more weeks.
The Lightning also had a key injured player on the ice this week as Steven Stamkos participated in a full team skate on Thursday, his first since breaking his right tibia more than two months ago. Thursday also saw Tampa Bay assign defenseman Andrej Sustr to the American Hockey League. The move was necessitated by the return of injured veteran defenseman Sami Salo, who played Thursday in a 2-1 shootout loss to the New York Islanders.
Here are the projected lineups for the Sharks and Lightning:
Joe Pavelski - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns
Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Tommy Wingels
Bracken Kearns - Andrew Desjardins - Tyler Kennedy
Eriah Hayes - John McCarthy - James Sheppard
Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Jason Demers
Brad Stuart - Justin Braun
Scratched: Mike Brown, Matt Tennyson
Injured: Scott Hannan (upper body), Tomas Hertl (knee surgery), Logan Couture (hand surgery), Adam Burish (back surgery), Raffi Torres (knee surgery), Marty Havlat (lower body)
Martin St. Louis - Tyler Johnson - Ondrej Palat
J.T. Brown - Valtteri Filppula - Alex Killorn
Ryan Malone - Nate Thompson - Nikita Kucherov
Teddy Purcell - Tom Pyatt
Eric Brewer - Radko Gudas
Sami Salo - Victor Hedman
Matthew Carle - Jean-Philippe Cote
Scratched: B.J. Crombeen,
Injured: Keith Aulie (hand), Steven Stamkos (leg)