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Flyers at Sharks preview

Patrick makes NHL debut for Philadelphia; Thornton ready to go for San Jose after knee surgery

by Eric Gilmore / Correspondent

FLYERS (0-0-0) at SHARKS (0-0-0)

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


The Game

Center Joe Thornton will be in the lineup for the San Jose Sharks just over five months since he had surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee on April 24. Thornton was limited to one preseason game but said that was enough to prepare him for the opening night game against the Philadelphia Flyers at SAP Center on Wednesday.

"I feel great," Thornton said. "I got my feet wet with that first one and had some good practices here and ready to go."

The Sharks, who have won seven consecutive season openers, will play their first five games at home.

"It's a good test for us with a lot of these home games, and we've got to make some hay with it," Thornton said.

Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere skated for the second straight day and is expected to be play. Gostisbehere, who sustained an undisclosed injury during a collision with two New York Islanders in Philadelphia's preseason finale Sunday, skated with Robert Hagg.

"I'm ready to go have some fun," Gostisbehere said. "It's exciting times for our team. We've got five rookies on our team and we got some young blood in the lineup. I know they're going to be hungry."


Players to watch

Flyers rookie Nolan Patrick, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, will center the second line in his NHL debut. "I don't [usually] get too fired up or too excited," Patrick said. "This is probably the most excited I've been for a game."

Left wing Kevin Labanc will skate on the Sharks' top line with Thornton and right wing Joe Pavelski, a role he had for a handful of games last season. "Work hard. That's basically the line's foundation," Labanc said. "Without hard work you're not going to make it very long on that line."


They said it

"This team's starving to get back to the playoffs. We're a playoff team every year. We know that. I think our biggest goal is to get there and eventually win a Stanley Cup." -- Gostisbehere

"It's a long summer when you're out in the first round. I think we took advantage of it and got rested. I thought guys came in in great shape. We had a good camp. Now it's showtime." -- Sharks coach Peter DeBoer , whose team was eliminated by the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference First Round in April


Flyers projected lineup

Claude Giroux -- Sean Couturier -- Jakub Voracek

Jordan Weal -- Nolan Patrick -- Wayne Simmonds

Dale Weise -- Valtteri Filppula -- Travis Konecny

Taylor Leier -- Scott Laughton -- Michael Raffl

Ivan Provorov -- Andrew MacDonald

Shayne Gostisbehere -- Robert Hagg

Brandon Manning -- Radko Gudas

Brian Elliott

Michal Neuvirth

Scratched: Jori Lehtera, Samuel Morin, Travis Sanheim


Sharks projected lineup

Kevin Labanc -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski

Mikkel Boedker -- Logan Couture -- Joonas Donskoi

Jannik Hansen -- Tomas Hertl -- Timo Meier

Melker Karlsson -- Chris Tierney -- Joel Ward

Paul Martin -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon -- Dylan DeMelo

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Ryan Carpenter, Barclay Goodrow, Tim Heed


Status report

Elliott, who signed with Philadelphia as a free agent on July 1, was the first goaltender off the ice and is expected to start. ... Boedker skated on the first power-play unit and will get the first chance to replace forward Patrick Marleau, who signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs as a free agent on July 2.


Stat pack

The Sharks are 9-1 with one tie against the Flyers in their past 11 games at SAP Center. … Giroux has 10 points (six goals, four assists) in 13 career games against San Jose. ... Burns, the reigning Norris Trophy winner, is one point shy of 500 for his career.

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