Thursday morning the Sharks got the good news that Manny Malhotra will return to the lineup after a six game absence. Malhotra has been one of the Sharks more versatile players this year and his return will definitely be noticed all over the ice.
“We’re excited to have him,” said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan, noting Malhotra’s ability to win faceoffs and skate on the penalty kill and power play. “We certainly are welcoming him back.”
The news is all good for Malhotra.
“I’m happy to get back and play,” said Malhotra. “There is nothing worse than being out and watching the guys.”
Malhotra is stepping back into the lineup as the Sharks are looking for a little more secondary scoring.
“Coming down the stretch, the secondary scoring has to pick up a bit,” said Malhotra. “We can’t rely on (the first line) so much. It’s important for the success of the team gong down the road.”
During the game, Malhotra will be reunited with Scott Nichol and Jed Ortmeyer and they are happy to have him back in the group.
“It’s exciting to get Manny back,” said Ortmeyer. “He is a great part of the team and he adds work and grit and he is an offensive threat.”
The collective group knows what they need to do when they get their call from the coaching staff.
“Bring energy and wear the other team down, but at the same time, we’re not there just to be forecheckers,” said Malhotra.
Malhotra new he would be ready to go as he took to the ice on Wednesday when the team had the day off.
“Yesterday I accelerated hard and there was no reaction,” said Malhotra.
WHO ARE YOU ROOTING FOR?
Jay Leach’s wife is a reporter for NESN (the Bruins broadcast partner) and is working back in Boston tonight. Leach was asked directly who she might be rooting for.
“I would hope she’s rooting for her husband, but professionally she’s probably rooting for the Bruins,” joked Leach.
Leach was acquired from the Canadiens earlier in the season, but he never dressed in a game against the Bruins bitter rival.
“We didn’t have to deal with it in Montreal, but that would be a whole other arena,” said Leach.
Leach has quietly moved himself into McLellan’s top six rotation and is playing in a second consecutive game.
“Jays’ improved every night,” said McLellan.
Rookie winger John McCarthy is a Boston hockey product and grew up watching the Bruins. He was a youth when Joe Thornton
was starring for the Original 6 franchise.
“I liked the team growing up and it’s going to be really fun to play against them,” said McCarthy. “I had the jersey. When I was young, (Thornton) was in Boston and he was one of the guys I cheered for.”
McCarthy is now three games into his Sharks career and is thoroughly enjoying the experience.
“The guys have been great,” said McCarthy. “They have taken the time to introduce themselves and they’ve made me feel welcome in the lockerroom.”
As a fan of all Boston sports, McCarthy got another thrill recently because of his tenure in San Jose.
“Dustin Pedroia was in the lockerroom after the Phoenix game,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy’s family could simply watch tonight’s contest just by being in the Boston area, but they have invested to watch every game they can moving forward.
“They bought the package to watch the games before this,” said McCarthy. “Tonight will be just like watching a Bruins game (on NESN).”
The San Jose-Boston affair will be a battle of special teams as the Bruins rank first in the NHL (87.6 percent) and the Sharks rank second (87.1 percent).
BACK TO BACK
The Bruins are coming off a tough one goal loss to Anaheim last night and the Sharks are hoping to have the fresher legs for tonight’s contest.
“As always in our game we want to be fresher and the team being the aggressor,” said Malhotra.
Around the Worcester Sharks, thn.com just named Logan Couture
as the second best rookie prospect skating in the AHL. Couture is tied for seventh in the league in scoring with 14 goals and 39 points. He also has an impressive six game-winners.
Also, Alex Stalock
has been added to the roster for the AHL All-Star game. Stalock, 22, has won 15 of his last 18 decisions and currently leads the entire AHL in victories (21-9-1), while posting a 2.44 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage for Worcester. The rookie from South St. Paul, Minn., was a fourth-round draft pick by San Jose in 2005.
The Sharks will host Boston Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. and the contest can be found on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.