Where: Climate Pledge Arena
When: Friday, April 29th, 2022; 7:00pm PDT
Wait, who are we playing? Landlubber’s Guide to the San Jose Sharks
Local TV: ROOT Sports Plus (find channel in your area)
Local Radio: 950 AM KJR
SiriusXM: Channel 91
Last Time Out
It was “one of those nights” when these two teams last met. The Kraken pumped 19 shots on Sharks netminder James Reimer in the first period, but still managed to give up the first goal. Morgan Geekie tied the score 9 seconds later, but the Sharks shut down the Kraken the rest of the way. Reimer ended up with 39 saves on the night; final score — 3-1 San Jose, the only loss Seattle has given up to the Sharks this season.
Stats, Streaks, & Droughts
This is the second of back-to-back games for San Jose, having lost to the Edmonton Oilers last night. The Sharks’ recent performance hasn’t been anything to write home about — 3-3-4 in their last 10 — but they did do the rest of the league a favor with a come-from-behind victory over the Vegas Golden Knights this past Sunday. Thanks, fellas.
It has been much the same story for the Kraken of late — following up a three-game win streak with four straight losses — Seattle is 4-6-0 in their last 10 contests. About the only good news is that newcomer Matty Beniers continues to shine, notching assists against both the Canucks and Kings, and bringing his totals to three goals and four assists in eight games since turning pro. One thing he will absolutely have to work on this summer is face-offs — he is just 40% at the dot right now; that’s the kind of performance that gets you relegated to the wing until you show the club you can improve.
Players To Watch
The same three players sit atop the Sharks stats sheet, as has been the case all year. It starts with winger Timo Meier, who leads the team in goals (35), points (76), and power play goals (12):
Next up is Tomas Hertl, tops among forwards in TOI, with his 30 goals and 34 assists:
And finally 13-year veteran and first-round San Jose draft pick Logan Couture, who is steady-as-she goes with his eighth 50-point season:
Injuries, Illnesses, Additions, & Scratches
San Jose is dealing with a number of injured players, some of them significant losses. Forwards Ryan Dzingel, Ozzy Weisblatt, John Leonard, and Kevin Labanc, as well as defensemen Nikolai Knyzhov and Erik Karlsson are done for the season. Blueliner Radim Simek is listed as day-to-day and doubtful for tonight. Goaltenders James Reimer and Kaapo Kahkonen have been alternating starts the past two weeks, and with Reimer starting last night against Edmonton it’s better than even money Kahkonen gets the nod against the Kraken.
For Seattle, we got word earlier this week that forward Jaden Schwartz, who has played fewer than half the games this season, is done for the year. He joins Brandon Tanev on the see-you-at-training-camp list. Defenseman Vince Dunn and forward Kole Lind sat out both Tuesday and Wednesday and are questionable for tonight. The club has not announced a specific injury to defenseman Haydn Fleury, but he has only seen action in two games in the last month. In his place is Dennis Cholowski, who made his Kraken debut earlier in the week. He has been used as the second unit power play quarterback the last two games — a big vote of confidence from the coaching staff.
Joey Daccord and Philipp Grubauer got the mid-week starts, so we expect to see Chris Driedger between the pipes tonight. Head Coach Dave Hakstol has been very stingy with advance lineup information lately, so if you want the latest details as game time approaches you can follow us on Twitter.
Odds & Ends
- If you missed it in the “Coverage” section above, tonight’s game is relegated to the ROOT Sports Plus channel for tonight. The link for finding the channel on your local cable provider is pasted in as well.
- It’s the last home game of the season, and it’s Fan Appreciation Night at Climate Pledge Arena. The club is telling ticket holders to get to their seats early, because “anything can happen in The Deep.” The celebration is sponsored by Amazon — maybe Jeff Bezos will be there handing out $100 bills.
- Wednesday night’s action saw the last of the qualifiers for the Stanley Cup Playoffs secure their positions for the post-season. Those teams did not include the Vegas Golden Knights. You’ll recall that at the birth of their franchise, Vegas management announced their goal of winning the Stanley Cup within six years. This is year five — or, more accurately, it was year five. Get ready for another summer of exorbitant free agent spending combined with sketchy salary cap shenanigans as they desperately try to claw their way back to contender status by their self-imposed deadline.
- If you’re not dialed into hockey Twitter most of the day, this might not have hit your radar. The biggest news out of San Jose this past week comes to us courtesy of the Jumbotron operator: