After a Sharks victory on Saturday, both the San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings received an extra day of rest before they return tonight for game 4. Gaining their first win of the series was huge for the Sharks and has no doubt made this a series once again.
In a game that went to overtime, it was young leader Logan Couture who returned to the game and netted the overtime winner after leaving the game earlier due to an injury.
Immediately after scoring that goal Couture went to the locker room rather than celebrate and take part in the post-game three stars celebration, but I’m sure most would not mind as he was going in to get a head start on taking care of that injury.
The good news is he returned to practice this morning and there is no doubt he will be in the lineup tonight versus the Kings.
Other lineup news for the Sharks include the possibility of Jason Demers playing tonight as either a forward or a seventh defenseman. Demers’ last stint at forward was in 2010. Some may say this move is because of San Jose’s previous success at moving Brent Burns to the forward position, but Todd McLellan has already ruled that out when speaking to David Pollack of the Bay Area Sports Group, saying that these are “two completely didfferent cases. We can’t get into making this a habit.”
Also Martin Havlat, who made a comeback in game four after being injured against the Canucks, was injured once again in the first period against the Kings and will not be in the lineup. His proneness to injury comtinues to be the problem.
San Jose’s top two lines will stay in tact.
On the Kings front it is possible to see Kyle Clifford enter the lineup for Los Angeles, although we will not know until closer to game time. He was the Kings’ best player this season against San Jose scoring three goals during the regular season. He has yet to play in this series due to an injury sustained in Los Angeles’ first round matchup, so it is possible he debuts in the series tonight.
If the Sharks can hold home-ice tonight this matchup could become a best-of-three series. While the Sharks would still have to win on the road, where the Kings are very tough, it would be a start.
In order to do that tonight the Sharks will want to maintain the discipline they displayed on Saturday. They only took three penalties, thus limiting Los Angeles’ chances where they have done most of their damage, on the power play. All of that while earning six power plays, including a five-on-three advantage in overtime, which eventually led to the win.
San Jose will look to keep the ball rolling tonight to get this series tied at two apiece. However, in order to do that, they will once again have to beat Jonathan Quick who, so far in these playoffs, has a 1.60 goals against average and a .947 save percentage.