Tonight, the San Jose Sharks play in their second exhibition game against the Anaheim Ducks at the SAP Center in San Jose. It will be the second opportunity for new faces to prove themselves to coach Todd McLellan before another round of cuts as well as a chance for the veterans to take the ice for the first time this preseason.
McLellan said Thursday there is a good chance six Sharks forwards will see some ice time. With few starters playing during Monday's preseason opener, the vets are chomping at the bit to get game minutes in with newbies Tyler Kennedy and Tomas Hertl. As many of the players said yesterday, you can practice until the cows come home, but the chemistry during game time is a completely different beast. Kennedy will most likely be on the Couture-Marleau line while rookie Hertl on the Thornton-Burns line.
Goalkeeper Dogfight Continues
Competing backup goalkeeper Alex Stalock didn't necessarily prove himself to be a lock at backup keeper for starter Antti Niemi during Monday's 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. He started off solid, but with long periods of time between seeing any action in front of the Sharks net (he only saw 16 shots on goal and saved 14) Stalock admitted he lost focus, which may have affected his reflexes when the puck eventually came his way.
“It’s one of those games where the other guy is seeing rubber non-stop, shot after shot, and they get nothing for a while and then, boom, they come down and get one,” Stalock said. “You see the other end, the guys is getting work non stop, doesn’t have to think, just react, make saves and you are sitting there and that’s when you get in trouble and your mind starts wandering.”
Coach McLellan confirmed that Harri Sateri will get a chance to show off his stuff in one of the next two games, and Niemi will dust off the cobwebs in the other.
Improved Powerplay Units
Special teams focused on powerplay units during practice, specifically working on improving the weak second unit from last season. Number one unit in practice was Marleau-Thornton-Couture with Boyle and Pavelski on the points. Number two unit was Torres-Kennedy-Burns with Matt Irwin on one point and either Jason Demers or Justin Braun on the other.
“Our powerplay units have to produce and push each other,” McLellan said. “We need production from both of them and we need more of a push from the secondary group than we had last year.”
New-Look Aggressive Sharks
The Sharks are eager to continue the fast-paced, aggressive style that earned them a trip to postseason and avoid the listless performance that plagued the team halfway through last season. After the arrival of bruiser Raffi Torres, San Jose's offense was quicker on the ice and more audacious on the attack. If the Sharks have the same chemistry and spark they showed after Torres' arrival, they will likely have a very successful season. Of course, tonight is only the second exhibition game, and any player invited to camp still has a chance to make an impression and break into the new season's roster.
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