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Game #23 Preview/Lines: Where Ferraro-Burns Can Improve, Blichfeld on MacKinnon, Hertl Update

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Credit: Sheng Peng

The San Jose Sharks desperately need a win.

Of course, we said this three weeks ago, when the 7-7-2 Sharks were about to begin their first protracted homestand of the season. Since then, San Jose has gone 1-4-1, proving home cooking isn’t always the recipe for success.

The finale for this star-crossed homestand is tonight – and the Sharks hope they can save their best for last.

To do so, they’ll need Mario Ferraro and Brent Burns to find their game. They may also need rookie Joachim Blichfeld, fresh off his two-game suspension, to step in for star scorer Timo Meier.

Ferraro, Blichfeld, and Bob Boughner joined us before tonight’s game. Plus, we got a Tomas Hertl update.

San Jose Sharks

Per Bob Boughner, Timo Meier participated in morning skate, but he’ll be a game-time decision:

St. Louis Blues

Jordan Kyrou-Ryan O’Reilly-Vladimir Tarasenko

Mike Hoffman-Brayden Schenn-David Perron

Nathan Walker-Zach Sanford-Sammy Blais

Kyle Clifford-Dakota Joshua-Mackenzie MacEachern

Torey Krug-Justin Faulk

Vince Dunn-Marco Scandella

Niko Mikkola-Robert Bortuzzo

Ville Husso

(HT Lou Korac)

Where to Watch

Puck drop is 6 PM PT at SAP Center. Watch it on NBC Sports Bay Area, FOX Sports Midwest, or NHL.tv.

Morning Skate

Plus-minus, as we know, is a very flawed stat, but Brent Burns’s -8 and Mario Ferraro’s -6 over the last three games are eyesores.

There’s no doubt that Bob Boughner noticed, as he split his top pairing up in the third period of Saturday’s game versus Vegas.

“Mario and Burnzie play so hard. It’s just a matter of, and I’ll say it again, hitting some more singles and just being a little more safe and keeping everything in front of you,” Boughner said. “We know that those guys like to keep pucks alive and like to step up and pinch and want to jump into the o-zone. I don’t want to put the reins on that because we need them as part of our offense, but there’s times to do it, and there’s times not. It’s just playing a little cleaner game is really what it is.”

A prime example of when you should be a little more safe? Mark Stone’s game-opening goal:

Burns’s pokecheck misses at center ice, he gets caught flat-footed, and it’s a Golden Knights’ 2-on-1 the other way.

“It comes down to knowing the time and place to make certain plays and be more aggressive. I can’t speak for Burnzie,” Ferraro said. “So I’m just speaking for myself here, I got to be more aware of the time in the game, the score of the game, and obviously, we’re out there a lot with the top guys.”

Ferraro and Burns will get another shot at the crown together tonight; they’ll probably see a lot of Kyrou-O’Reilly-Tarasenko.

Speaking of Burns, he did do a good job of defending his own teammate on Wednesday. After the 4-0 loss to Colorado, the press corps requested Joachim Blichfeld because his head shot had sent Nathan MacKinnon to the dressing room. Instead, Burns came out – I presume, to shield his rookie teammate from the heat – and spoke passionately in Blichfeld’s defense.

Quick Thoughts: Burns Defends Blichfeld, Is Ferraro Legit Top-Pairing D-Man?

Subsequently, Blichfeld was suspended for two games. Today marks his first press availability since pre-game Wednesday.

“I was just trying to make a play and obviously wanted to hit his chest and shoulder,” Blichfeld offered. “I didn’t want to hurt him. I hope he’s okay.”

Without naming names, the rookie was appreciative of how his San Jose Sharks teammates supported him throughout this process: “It’s really a team and guys that you know, sticking out for each other. It was nice after the hit and everybody came out to help and that’s when you know you’re in NHL, everybody helps each other out and you’re teammates and I’m glad they did that.”

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SG

I like that 1 RH shot is on every Line.

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