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Game Preview #10: New Jersey Devils vs the San Jose Sharks

Can the Devils take the second half of a back to back tonight against San Jose?

NHL: NOV 02 Devils at Ducks Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (4-3-1)* vs the San Jose Sharks (6-4-0).

SBN Blog: Fear the Fin

The Time: 10:30 PM

The Broadcast: TV - MSG+

*This preview was written prior to the conclusion of last night’s game against the LAK, so this record does not reflect the outcome of that game.

Coming into Tonight:

The Devils come into tonight on the second half of a doubleheader after last night’s game against the LA Kings, so we will need to bring at least our B game into tonight. Back to back games on a Western road trip throws an extra challenge at this already injury-riddled lineup. Blackwood returned and started last night, so we can expect Bernier to play today.

The Sharks have started the season on a good note, with wins against Winnipeg (x2), Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Buffalo— not really top teams, but not bad teams either, with the exception of Ottawa. Their losses have come against Boston, Nashville, Montreal, and Saint Louis. Their loss to Saint Louis came Thursday, 3 goals to 5 after giving up 3 goals in the second period. Goalie Adin Hill, formerly of the Arizona Coyotes, struggled a bit in net, only putting up a .852 sv%. Former Devil Nick Merkley, picked up in the trade of Taylor Hall back in 2019 and then handed off to San Jose this past July for Christian Jaros, scored one of the Sharks goals. The other two came from Logan Couture and Brent Burns.

San Jose made hockey news yesterday for their decision to send rookie William Eklund, the 9th overall pick in this year’s draft, back to Sweden to play in the SHL this season. In addition to sending Eklund off, the Sharks are currently among one of the many teams battered by injuries in the early goings of this season. They are currently playing without Erik Karlsson, Jake Middleton, Radim Simek, Mark-Eduoard Vlasic, Kevin Laban, Timo Meier, and Matt Nieto due to COVID protocols, as well as Jeff Viel, Nikolai Knyzhov, and Santeri Hatakka due to injury.

Sharks Lines

Based on the lines from their game on Thursday and practice yesterday, the Sharks lineup should look something like this, assuming Hill will swap out in net for James Reimer:

Leonard- Couture - Dahlen
Barananov - Hertl - Balcers
Cogliano - Bonino - N. Merkley
Gadjovich - Weatherby - Pederson

Ferraro - Burns
Megna - R. Merkley
Kniazev - Meloche


Hatakka did skate yesterday but it is not confirmed if he will be returning from his upper body injury just yet.

Devils Lines:

Like Hatakka, Dougie Hamilton also took the ice yesterday morning, but he is considered day to day. We were told to expect an update after yesterday’s morning skate, but one never arrived, which I am interpreting as not a good sign for an impending return. In positive news, Alex Holtz was brought up from Utica yesterday and played on the second line with Pavel Zacha and Dawson Mercer. Mason Geertsen played defense on the third line, as Christian Jaros was apparently struck in the hand with a puck in optional skate according to Corey Masisak, so he may or may not be eligible for tonight.

Based on last night’s lines:

Johnsson - Hischier - Bratt
Zacha - Mercer - Holtz
Tatar - McLeod - Vesey
Sharangovitch - Gauthier - Kuokkanen

Graves - Severson
Siegenthaler - Subban
Geertsen - Smith


Your Take:

Based on last night’s performance, would you change anything about these lines or leave them as is? Do you expect a win tonight? Leave your predictions in the comments, and thanks for reading!