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Preview/Lines #26: Hill Has “Good Opportunity” to Seize Net



Credit: San Jose Sharks

Entering his fifth season in the National Hockey League, San Jose Sharks goaltender Adin Hill was primed to be the No. 1 option when they traded a second-round pick for him back in July.

However, Hill has taken a back seat to James Reimer, who has boosted himself into the top goaltending choice as of late.

With Reimer feeling “run down and not 100 percent,” according to head coach Bob Boughner, it’s now Hill’s net. Boughner hopes Reimer will be ready soon, but he’s been saying the same thing since the Rangers loss. It’s now three-straight starts and counting for Hill.

“I’ve had the opportunity all year,” Hill said. “They’ve given me plenty of starts and nothing changes day by day. I am focused on getting the win tonight.”

When the San Jose Sharks face the Calgary Flames for their first of seven straight at SAP Center, Hill will make his fourth start in a row. In 13 games this season, Hill owns a 5-7-0 record with a 2.79 GAA and .901 Save %.

It’s not new for Hill to step up when his goaltending partner is down and out. Last season, Hill replaced Darcy Kuemper for the Arizona Coyotes as Kuemper missed significant time due to a lower-body injury.

In Kuemper’s absence, Hill provided some consistency with a 6-6-1 record and a .906 Save % in 13 starts from Mar. 12 to Apr. 11.

In 2019-20, Hill had to step up with injuries to both Kuemper and Antti Raanta where he played in eight straight games, earning a 2-2-1 record and a .911 Save % from Jan. 4 to Jan. 18.

Hill was solid against the New York teams, surrendering just one goal in each of those contests and giving his team a good chance to win. We’ll see if he can overcome a not-as-stellar performance versus Columbus.

Defenseman Jake Middleton, who shares his pregame meals with Hill at Pasta Armellino before every home game, appreciates his demeanor and calm mindset.

“He’s pretty chill guy,” Middleton said. “He shows up and he works hard. It’s cliché to say but everyone’s doing that. Goalies especially, they got their routines and they’re are pretty routine-oriented guys, but he’s a chill guy.”

Boughner has also been pleased with how Hill has responded in Reimer’s absence, despite his last outing against the Blue Jackets.

“I think it’s slipped a little bit in Columbus, but I don’t put it on him,” Boughner said. “I thought that we didn’t do a very good job of managing our game with the guys behind us. He’s in a pretty good spot. I think he’s responded after watching Reimer in front of him for a bit. He gave us a good response. Tonight, unfortunately, we have to lean on him again on a heavy, heavy schedule. I know that Reimer being out, he’s got to run with that and it’s good opportunity for him.”

Alexei Melnichuk was recalled from the San Jose Barracuda and will back up Hill tonight against the Flames.

San Jose Sharks (13-11-1)

San Jose Sharks forward Kevin Labanc is scratched. Nicolas Meloche will enter for Radim Simek.

Calgary Flames (15-5-5)

Here is how the Flames are projected to line up — Daniel Vladar should start:

Where to Watch

Puck drop against the Flames is 7:30 PM PT at SAP Center. Watch it live on NBC Sports California and ESPN+. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

NHL Betting

Can the San Jose Sharks start their homestand on a high note against the Pacific Division-leading Calgary Flames tonight? Check out the NHL betting odds at Fanduel.

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