WHO. San Jose Sharks (2 p.m–25-11, 39 points, 7th place Pacific Division) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (24-15-9, 57: points, 5th place Metropolitan Division)
How to watch?AT&T Sportsnet Pittsburgh in the Western PA viewing market, NBC Sports for Bay Area and California visitors, ESPN+
Traces of the enemyThe Sharks have lost seven of their last eight games, which may not necessarily be a bad thing since this team is in Bedard territory (only Arizona, Anaheim, Chicago and Columbus have fewer points). Penguins in a difficult time. they are five games into an eight-game road trip and the second half. Last night they went to overtime in Raleigh before losing to the Hurricanes 5-4.
Pen track aheadThe Penguins are off until Feb. 7 thanks to All-Star Weekend and a bye week. We’ll see them again when they return to PPG Paints for Tuesday night’s matchup against the Avalanche before heading off on their road trip to California.
Season Series:Today marks the first time the Penguins have faced this West Coast rival this season. The Pens swept the season series last year with an 8-5 loss at home on Jan. 2 and a 2-1 overtime victory by Jake Guentzel on Jan. 15 in San Jose.
Hidden statistics. The Sharks are 9-14-3 while being outscored 92-76*** in road games. (The Penguins, on the other hand, are 14-5-4 and have outscored the visitors 83-68 while at home.)
Getting to know sharks
SBN partner blog. Fear Finn!
Friday game lines
Michael Eyssimont – Logan Couture – Alexander Barbanov
Timo Maier – Thomas Hertl – Kevin Labanc
Noah Gregor – Nico Sturm – Nick Bonino
Oskar Lindblom – Steven Lorenz – Yevgeny Svechnikov
Jaycob Megna – Eric Carlson
Scott Harrington – Matthew Benning
Mario Ferraro – Jacob McDonald
Goalkeepers. Kaapo Kahkone (James Reimer started last night)
Scratches. Martin Kaut, Jonah Gajovic, Marc-Edouard Vlasic (missed Friday’s game for undisclosed reasons)
IR: Luke Kunin, Radim Simek, Markus Nutivaara
- With James Reimer starting last night, the betting is that Kahkonen will face the Penguins today. He is looking for his first victory since January 10. in their last two starts, the Sharks lost 7-1 to Edmonton and 5-3 in Columbus, respectively.
- Michael Eisemont, who the Sharks claimed off waivers after Winnipeg tried to send him to the minors in early January, quickly became a roster regular in San Jose.
- After centering the Sharks’ third line last season, Nick Bonino moved to the wing this year after his line became statistically one of the worst offensive trios in hockey.
through hockey (refers to Friday’s game)
- The Sharks traded winger Matt Nieto, who had eight goals and 15 points in 45 games, to the Avalanche on Wednesday.
- Just like the good old days, the Sharks are fueled by defenseman Erik Karlsson. With 64 points (15 goals, 49 assists) in 50 games, he is the only Sharks player to score a point in every game.
- After a short 2021-22 season plagued by shoulder injuries, Kevin Labanc is back to being the productive player the Sharks have been looking for for their second-highest-paid winger.
- Timo Mayer is torn. he has scored 28 goals in 50 games, including four in his last six.
Head to head match
- Part of those stats for the redshirt sophomore is Kaapo Kahkonen, the goalie the Pens are expected to face tonight, who has a 5-9-4 record, .869 SV% and 3.88 GAA in 19 starts.
- The Sharks have put together one of the most efficient penalty kills in the NHL this season, though it was affected by the loss of key killer Nieto in a recent trade with the Avalanche.
And now about pens…
Possible game lines
Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Brian Rust
Jason Zucker – Evgeni Malkin – Ricard Raquel
Brock McGinn – Teddy Bluger – Jeff Carter
Drew O’Connor – Ryan Pauling – Danton Heinen
Marcus Peterson / Jeff Petry
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
PO Joseph / Chad Ruhwedel
Goalkeepers. Casey DeSmith or Dustin Tokarski
Scratches. Tristan Jarry, Mark Friedman
IR: Ian Rutta, Josh Archibald, Kasperi Kapanen (lower body injury, week-to-week)
- Tristan Jarry won’t be back until the All-Star break, as Mike Sullivan points out , so we’ll see either Casey DeSmith or Dustin Tokarski in the crease tonight.
- After a day off on Friday, the Penguins will be back on the ice for a morning skate before tonight’s game. Any late injury or return news will be available at that time.