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Game Preview/Lines #38: Behind Jones’s Resurgence, Boughner Got Inside Info About Jaros

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Credit: Sheng Peng

San Jose Sharks (17-16-4)

Anaheim Ducks (11-21-7)

The San Jose Sharks will be facing a banged-up Anaheim squad. This is how they lined up in their last game:

Here are some of the injuries that they’re battling:

Where to Watch

Puck drop is 7:30 PM PT at SAP Center. Watch it on NBC Sports California Plus, Bally Sports West, or NHL.tv.

Morning Skate

Christian Jaros will make his San Jose Sharks debut in Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s stead tonight.

Bob Boughner received some inside info when San Jose acquired Jaros from the Ottawa Senators in January. Senators head coach D.J. Smith was Boughner’s assistant and associate coach with the Windsor Spitfires at different times between 2004-12.

“When we first got him, I called D.J. [Smith]. He said, one, he’s a great guy. Maybe a guy that was rushed in a little too young,” Boughner shared.

The bulk of the 6-foot-3 defender’s NHL experience – 61 of 76 games – came as a 22-year-old in a tough 2018-19 where Ottawa struggled to a 29-47-6 record.

“A ton of ability, a good skating big, and strong with a good shot. A guy that maybe came over and didn’t get a chance to find his game at the American League level enough,” Boughner added. “He says he’s got a lot of tools. [Jaros] looks good in practice.”

Boughner also gave us some of the inside info on Martin Jones’s resurgence.

Quick Thoughts: This Isn’t Martin Jones’s First Hot Streak

“It was probably five weeks ago now that I pulled both those guys in, had a good honest, talk with them, that we needed more from both of them. It shouldn’t be a decision for me who’s our one or who to put in?” Boughner said of meeting with Jones and Devan Dubnyk. “I wanted them to make it hard on me.”

Jones recalled: “That was during a time in the season where we weren’t playing our best brand of hockey. Sometimes, you need your goalie to bail you out in those situations. Doobie and I, we played well at times, but there were times during that stretch where we weren’t giving our team the best chance to win.”

There’s no doubt that Jones is giving the San Jose Sharks the best chance to win right now. He’s gone 7-1-1 with a .942 Save % and a +6.21 Goals Saved Above Expected, per Evolving Hockey, since Mar. 13.

What’s changed with Jones?

“I always hear [goalie coach Evgeni Nabokov] say his reads are better. When your reads are better, I think you’re more square to the puck. I know Nabby has been on him about being more aggressive in his crease, being a little more on top, cutting the angles off a little more,” Boughner offered.

Jones agreed: “There are certain times and different reads where I’ve found a way to just be a little bit more aggressive. It’s been working so far. Hopefully, we can keep it rolling.”

Boughner was a defenseman by trade though, so his focus isn’t so much the technical side of goaltending. But Boughner does see a different netminder in the crease: “It’s his fight. Fighting on those seconds and thirds. You could see when LA pulled their goalie and it was 6-on-5 and there’s a lot of traffic, where his feet were in his crease, you can watch his body and his head trying to fight around traffic.

“And his rebound control. Even if there is a rebound, he’s fighting, he’s up and he’s square to that rebound.”

Speaking of Jones’s fight, Boughner also touched on Jones’s mental strength: “I thought he got to the point where…he has pride and he may not show that on the outside, may not be a guy that slams a stick or slams the door or says anything negative in the media when he gets pulled or anything like that, but I think he’s a guy with a lot of pride. I know his teammates love him and his teammates want the best for him.”

“It’s not one thing,” Jones said. “I’ve been working hard for a while trying to get back to playing a little bit better hockey. It’s just working right now. I’m just going to try and ride this out.”

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