The San Jose Sharks start a four-game road trip to the center of the hockey universe as they make their only appearance of the 2016-17 season in Toronto. The Sharks were able to hold on to a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes last Saturday before heading out to eastern Canada to face the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Sharks could be without the services of two of their top-six defenders. David Schlemko has been out the last three games with versatile blueliner Dylan DeMelo taking his place in the bottom defensive pairing. All-star two-way defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic could be out as well. Vlasic, 29, skated in only seven minutes of action against the Hurricanes and might need more time off. The Sharks called up young Mirco Mueller from the San Jose Barracuda in case another rearguard is required to suit up against the young Maple Leafs.
The #SJSharks have recalled defenseman Mirco Mueller from the #SJBarracudahttps://t.co/GNJWKwUBVt pic.twitter.com/TQ1dkIizi0
— San Jose Barracuda (@sjbarracuda) December 12, 2016
The Maple Leafs were 0-1-1 against the Sharks last season and in the current campaign have a losing record against the Western Conference, going 4-5-3. Toronto’s last win at home over the Sharks came in a 4-3 victory nearly 15 years ago, on Jan. 29, 2002.
San Jose Sharks vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Air Canada Centre – 7:30 p.m. EST
Broadcast channels – CSN Bay Area
Radio: Sharks Radio Network
2016-17 Season Series: First meeting of the season
San Jose Sharks – 16-11-1 (33 Points)
Road Record: 6-7-1
Hot Players: Brent Burns, Kevin Labanc
Key Injuries: Tomas Hertl, David Schlemko
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Joel Ward – Logan Couture – Kevin Labanc
Mikkel Boedker – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi
Micheal Haley – Tommy Wingels – Melker Karlsson
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Brain
Brenden Dillon – Dylan DeMelo
Martin Jones (likely)
Toronto Maple Leafs – 11-11-5 (27 points)
Home Record: 8-5-0
Hot Players: Frederik Andersen
Key Injuries: Joffrey Lupul, Stephane Robidas, Martin Marincin
Leo Komarov – Nazem Kadri – William Nylander
James van Riemsdyk – Tyler Bozak – Mitchell Marner
Zach Hyman – Auston Matthews – Connor Brown
Matt Martin – Ben Smith – Nikita Soshnikov
Morgan Rielly – Nikita Zaitsev
Jake Gardiner – Connor Carrick
Matt Hunwick – Roman Polak
Frederik Andersen (Likely)
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]Kevin Labanc has goals in consecutive games for the first time in his NHL career. He has appeared in 15 games for the Sharks and scored four goals to go along with two assists.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Sharks will face Roman Polak for the first time since he returned to the Maple Leafs. Polak appeared in 48 regular season and postseason games for San Jose last season, registering three assists and 31 penalty minutes.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]Brent Burns is in the midst of a four-game point scoring streak. The All-Star defender has three goals and an assist in his last four games. Burns is also tied for the Sharks’ scoring lead with Joe Pavelski. Both players have 25 points.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]This is the centennial year for the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. The Maple Leafs have a record of 2,804-2,720-783-133 in 6,440 regular season games over the last 100 years.