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Game Preview/Lines #54: Meier Knows He Can Be “Way Better”

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Credit: NBCS Bay Area

San Jose Sharks (21-26-6)

Arizona Coyotes (22-26-6)

This is how the Coyotes lined up in their last game, a 4-2 loss to the Kings that eliminated them from the post-season:

Where to Watch

Puck drop is 7:30 PM PT at SAP Center. Watch it on NBC Sports Bay Area Plus, Bally Sports Arizona Plus, ESPN+, or NHL.tv.

Morning Skate

Timo Meier knows how disappointing his season has been.

“I know I have to be better,” Meier admitted. “I expect myself to be way better.”

Meier has scored just 10 goals this year, just a 16-goal pace over an 82-game season. That’s a far cry from his breakout 2018-19 campaign, when he became just the fourth 22-or-younger player in San Jose Sharks history to score 30 or more goals in a season.

The good news? Meier is just 24 and he’s still showing flashes of what he can be. There’s this game from a month ago:

Quick Thoughts: Meier Reminds Us How Good He Can Be

There’s this clip from Wednesday:

What’s striking here? Meier (28) skates into three Avs on entry, using his body to protect the puck. He initiates contact on Tyson Jost (17), and by drawing Colorado’s attention east-west, opens up the middle lane for an encroaching Brent Burns (88). Then, behind the net, he backs into Devon Toews (7), using that momentum to separate himself for a wraparound. Finally, he finds a soft spot for a deflection on the Mario Ferraro (38) point shot.

The key here? Initiating contact.

“We want him with and without the puck to use his body. So when he doesn’t have the puck, we want Timo to be hard to play against, a physical guy that gets in on the forecheck, that bangs bodies,” Boughner said. “The other part of his game is down low, that I think there’s another level to that. Holding onto pucks more, cutting back, getting off the wall, and using his body and the back of net, those kinds of things.

“Tommy Hertl is a good example. It’s a skill and Tommy is one of the best we have at holding onto the puck, put that big body out and buy himself time and cut back and create offense that way. That’s something we’re working on with Timo because he’s definitely a big frame and he’s got all the tools.”

Boughner revealed that the San Jose Sharks coaching staff has been pulling tape from Meier’s breakout 2018-19 to remind the Swiss winger who he can be: “We pulled that up a couple weeks ago when we were sitting and looking at Timo’s game and working on it.

“He was using his feet. He was using his speed. He found himself in situations to score more. That’s something we’re working on everyday with him.”

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