The San Jose Sharks may have a defenseman to step in for the suspended Brenden Dillon on Thursday, as Paul Martin is champing at the bit to get back on the ice. Martin hopes to be activated off injured reserve in time as the Sharks open a three-game homestand against the Carolina Hurricanes.
“Any time you’re trying to get that strength up and get ready and make sure you’re in tip-top shape, you live and you learn of what you can do and not do - and you find out there’s some other parts of the body that you didn’t know you could get sore.” Martin told the San Jose Mercury News. The 36-year-old, who hasn’t played since Oct. 8 due to an undisclosed injury, hopes to have a chance in preventing the Sharks from matching a season-high three-game losing skid on Thursday. Carolina fell for the fifth time in seven outings with Tuesday’s 3-0 loss to Vancouver to open a season-high six-game road trip. “We need to put together a full 60 minutes. We’ve had good periods here and good periods there, but we haven’t put together a good, full 60 minutes ... game after game,” forward Derek Ryan said.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, FSN Carolinas, NBCSN California (San Jose)
ABOUT THE HURRICANES (11-10-5): Defenseman Justin Faulk zeroed in on Carolina’s troubles in the second period, during which it has been outscored 10-2 over the last six games. “Second periods have been tough for us as of late,” Faulk said. “We need to carry those first periods over to the second to build a game and try to win.” Faulk, who is one point shy of 200 for his career, has been held off the scoresheet in five straight contests following a three-game point streak.
ABOUT THE SHARKS (14-10-2): Joe Thornton may have a bit of gray in his ever-growing beard, but that didn’t prevent the 38-year-old from dropping the gloves in a spirited tussle with Tom Wilson during Monday’s 4-1 setback at Washington. Thornton is more comfortable putting points on the board, as Carolina would attest, with the veteran recording 15 (three goals, 12 assists) in 14 career encounters versus the Hurricanes - including nine (one goal, eight assists) in seven home games. Logan Couture leads the team in goals (13) and points (21), but has failed to dent the scoresheet in each of his last three games.
1. San Jose RW Joonas Donskoi skated in practice for the first time since sustaining an injury to his midsection against Philadelphia on Nov. 28.
2. Carolina G Scott Darling has turned aside 116 of 128 shots in his last five games, but has a 1-3-1 mark to show for it.
3. Sharks G Martin Jones has yielded nine goals in two starts since returning from a lower-body injury.
PREDICTION: Sharks 4, Hurricanes 1