Pittsburgh Penguins (8-3-2) @ San Jose Sharks (6-4-0)
HP Pavilion – San Jose, CA
Does anyone remember when the Pens played too many games in a short period of time? Does anyone remember the last time the Pens played a game? We think it was in 2006.
The game is on late. The gameday post is up early. Woooooo.
Season Series: 0-0-0
Last meeting that counted: February 23, 2011. Sharks won 3-2 [OT].
What we said in our recap:
No joke: James Neal's performance in OT has made the rest of the season watchable. After Tyler Kennedy's last-minute, game-tying goal, James Neal put on a show in OT; one of those rare moments in the last two months were you catch yourself slowly rising to the edge of your seat.
But it was all for naught, as the Sharks got a last-second goal from Patty Marleau to win. The Sharks earned the victory, no question. Of all the West teams we've seen, gotta say the Sharks look the best.
Know Your Enemy: Fear The Fin
What they're saying:
Many doubted Neal's successful first few seasons in the league, and his long term scoring potential in the NHL, based on those twenty games when he put just one goal in the back of the net in a much more critical hockey market. He was brought over in part to help with the absence of Crosby, and by almost all metrics was a complete and utter dissapointment.
That's the thing about sample size, though. A twenty game stretch is a poor indicator of expected career play, especially for a guy who has scored 27 and 24 goals in full seasons prior to last. Case in point, Neal has nine goals in just thirteen games this year, scoring on a whopping 17.3% of his shots. Will he continue at this clip all year? No, and that's kind of the point of the argument. You can't assume anything with confidence based on limited stretches of play, good or bad. Still, the 17.3% is a hell of a lot closer to his career 13.5%-ish number.
Both posts are about James Neal. Man. What a player.
Pittsburgh Penguins Notes:
Both Jordan Staal & Kris Letang are game-time decisions.
Due to the Letang injury, Alexandre Picard has been called up.
Sidney Crosby wants to play hockey.
San Jose Sharks Notes:
Joe Thornton regrets calling the New York Rangers "soft."
Joe Pavelski is playing well.
Martin Havlat will play his first home game as a member of the Sharks tonight.
Favorite Sharks-Related Image, Photoshop or Gif:
Pittsburgh Penguins lines from Penguins.NHL.com:
Chris Kunitz – Jordan Staal*** – Pascal Dupuis
Steve Sullivan – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
Joe Vitale – Mark Letestu – Craig Adams
Matt Cooke – Richard Park – Arron Asham
Kris Letang*** – Brooks Orpik
Paul Martin – Deryk Engelland
Matt Niskanen – Ben Lovejoy
*** Game-time decision.
San Jose Sharks lines from Empty Netters:
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Ryane Clowe – Logan Couture – Martin Havlat
Andrew Murray – Michal Handzus – Torrey Mitchell
Brad Winchester – Andrew Desjardins – Jamie McGinn
Douglas Murray – Dan Boyle
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Brent Burns
Colin White – Jason Demers
It's great to have Penguins hockey back, even if it is late at night.
We'll try not to fall asleep during this.