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NHL Preview: San Jose Sharks (14-32-5) at Winnipeg Jets (31-14-5)

SAN JOSE SHARKS NOTES:

HERE’S GRANNY

Per David Quinn, forward Mikael Granlund is expected to make his return this Wednesday against the Winnipeg Jets. Granlund was placed on the injured reserve on Jan. 20 with a upper body injury and missed six total games over that span. Granlund has 28 points (5g, 23a) over the past 30 games, most recently registering an assist on Jan. 13 at Ottawa. The forward is six points back of Tomáš Hertl for the team scoring lead. Following games played Jan. 16, Granlund ranked eighth in the NHL with 18 assists and tied for 24th with 22 points (4g, 18a) since Dec. 1. Granlund, who recorded his second point streak of four of more games (1g, 3a) this season from Jan. 6-15, was named NHLPA Player of the Week on Dec. 8 after tallying nine points (2g, 7a) in four games to start December, including scoring the overtime goal to cap San Jose’s four-goal comeback against Detroit on Dec. 7, his 500th career NHL point. Earlier in the season, the Finnish forward matched his career high with a six-game assist streak (Dec. 1-12) with 10 helpers in that span. Inside his December run was a pair of three-point efforts, both a goal and two assists, in the Dec. 1 win at New Jersey and Dec. 7 at Detroit, the former being the first three-point game by a Sharks skater on the year and his first since Feb. 23, 2023, a game in which he posted two goals and an assist against the Sharks as a member of the Nashville Predators.

SUPER MARIO

Defenseman Mario Ferraro was activated from injured reserve today. He was sidelined with a lower body injury on Jan. 29 which left him out of action for two games. Ferraro is having the best season of his young career on the offensive end, the alternate captain with 14 points (1g, 13a) through 47 games – just three points back of his career high of 17 (1g, 16a) set in 56 games in 2020-21. Ferraro has posted a career-best three assists twice this season, most recently on Jan. 13 at Ottawa, and his three multi-point games pace Sharks defensemen. Ferraro enters Feb. 14 at Winnipeg just three assists and three goals shy of his respective career highs, with his 16 in 2020-21 being his most assists and four goals in 2022-23 his personal best. His next game will be the 300th of his NHL career.

YOU ZETTER BELIEVE IT

Forward Fabian Zetterlund is enjoying a career year on the offensive end, adding goals in back-to-back contests Jan. 20 and 22 to push his total to a career-best 14, ranks second behind Tomáš Hertl. He currently sits just two points shy of his career high of 23, set in 67 games last season. Zetterlund joined Hertl as the lone Sharks to reach double-digit goal totals on the year with his 10th of the campaign, coming Dec. 27. The Swedish forward found the back of the net in consecutive contests (Dec. 23 and 27) and has tallied five points in his past 12 games (3g, 2a) entering Feb. 14 at Winnipeg, including a mult-point effort (1g, 1a) on Jan 20. against Anaheim.

GOOD KAAP Goaltender Kaapo Kähkönen in his most recent outing, the Finnish netminder posted his third 40-save effort of the season, helping the Sharks earn a road win at Los Angeles (Jan. 22). Since the team’s first win of the season on Nov. 7 against Philadelphia, Kähkönen has taken over the Sharks lead in SVP (.907), including three 44-save performances (Nov. 16 vs. STL, Dec. 1 at NJD and Jan. 22 at LAK), and 11 games with save percentages of .909 or better. On home ice in that span, Kähkönen has gone 2-3-0 in six appearances with a 2.85 GAA and .920 SVP. On the road in that span, he has posted a 4-7-2 record with a 3.63. GAA and .901 SVP. He enters the contest against Winnipeg with a .916 SVP over his past five appearances on the road since Dec. 12 at Colorado.

THE REAL DILL

Marc-Édouard Vlasic has been an offensive force for the San Jose Sharks in the past few contests. Vlasic has netted five goals in his past nine games played (5g, 0a), including a career-high three goals in three-straight games entering Feb. 14 at Winnipeg. He finished the month of January leading the Sharks in goals with five. Vlasic logged his first game-winning goal of his campaign in the 2-0 victory over Seattle on Jan. 30, passing Dan Boyle (13) for sole possession of second the franchise’s all-time game-winning goals list for defensemen. He is now two games shy from tying Rob Blake for 25th most all-time among NHL defensemen.

DEFENSE TO OFFENSE

Three of the Sharks defensemen – Marc-Édouard Vlasic, Kyle Burroughs and Jan Rutta, found the back of the net in the 5-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Jan 20. It was the eighth time in Sharks history that three defensemen scored in the same game and the first since Dec. 23, 2013 (B. Burns, J. Demers, M. Irwin). Burroughs’ and Rutta’s strikes were their first with the Sharks, with Rutta’s going down as the game-winning goal, the second of his career and first since Jan. 12, 2018. Rutta has posted a career-long five-game point streak (3g, 3a) this season. Mario Ferraro leads Sharks defensemen in points this campaign with 14 (1g, 13a).

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

The Sharks are 12-9-3 this season when three out of the four centers on the planned depth chart (Logan Couture, Tomáš Hertl, Mikael Granlund, Nico Sturm) are in the lineup. San Jose has yet to play a game this season with all four in the lineup. Couture’s impact has been felt since his return, logging his first assist of the season in his first game back (Jan. 20 vs. ANA) and posting the game-deciding goal in a shootout in the following game against the Los Angeles Kings (Jan. 22). Per David Quinn on Jan 12., Hertl will be out ‘at least several weeks’ with knee surgery, Couture will be out of action week-to-week. The Sharks’ centermen lead the team in numerous categories, Hertl in scoring with 15 goals, Granlund in assists with 24 and Sturm in faceoff win percentage with 60.6% (min. 100 faceoffs).

PLEASE DON’T KILL MY VIBE

The San Jose Sharks have shown their defensive strength against the opponents’ power play unit in the past month. Since Jan. 11, the Sharks have a 84.0-percent penalty kill, which ranks 12th in the NHL entering Feb. 14 at Winnipeg. San Jose has not conceded a goal on the man advantage over the past four games, going 10-for-10. Mario Ferraro has led the way when the team has been shorthanded this season. Ferraro has logged 153:27 shorthanded time on ice, followed by Jan Rutta with 131:32.

WINNIPEG JETS NOTES:

Scene Setter

The Winnipeg Jets play the second half of a two-game homestand on Wednesday when the San Jose Sharks make their only trip to Canada Life Centre this season. The Jets beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on Saturday night in the first game of the homestand. After Wednesday’s game, the Jets visit the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday and Calgary Flames on Monday afternoon.

Tight Central

The Jets are part of a three-horse race for first place in the NHL’s Central Division with a record of 31-14-5… Winnipeg is three points behind the Dallas Stars and one behind the Colorado Avalanche, but have two games in-hand on Dallas and three games in-hand on Colorado… The Jets are second in the Central Division with a .670 points percentage, which is also tied for fifth in the NHL.

Light Schedule , For Now

Wednesday’s game is Winnipeg’s only contest in a span of six days… The Jets have played 50 games this season, which is tied for fifth fewest in the NHL… Starting Feb. 23, the Jets are slated to play 20 games in a span of 37 days and will have consecutive days off just once… Wednesday’s game is Winnipeg’s sixth game this season when having at least three days off… The Jets are 2-2-1 this season when having at least three days off between games.

Against the Pacific

For the first time since Jan. 11, Winnipeg is playing a team from the Western Conference… The Jets are 5-6-0 against the Pacific Division this season… Four of the six losses were Winnipeg’s first four regulation losses of the season… Mark Scheifele (6G, 6A) leads the Jets in scoring against the Pacific Division with 12 points in 11 games… Winnipeg went 13-8-3 against the Pacific Division last season.

Back at Home

The Jets are in a stretch of playing five of eight games at home… Winnipeg is 17-7-2 at home this season… Mark Scheifele leads the Jets in scoring at home with 26 points (6G, 20A) in 23 games, while Kyle Connor has a team-leading 11 goals as part of his 18 points in 17 games… Winnipeg is 272-169-40 all-time at Canada Life Centre and have posted a .500 record or better at home in seven consecutive seasons… Dating back to last season, the Jets are 21-8-2 in their past 31 home games.

Stingy

The Jets are first in the NHL this season by allowing only 2.32 goals against per game… Winnipeg went 34 consecutive games allowing three goals or less from Nov. 4-Jan. 20, which is the second longest streak in the NHL’s Modern Era…The Jets are first in the league this season with 41 games of holding their opponent to three goals or less and have a 30-8-3 record in those games… Winnipeg has allowed two goals or less in 23 of their past 27 games… Winnipeg is 27-3-2 in a league-leading 32 games holding their opponents to two goals or less… At the other end of the ice, the Jets have been held to two goals or less in seven consecutive games, which is tied for the fifth longest such streak in franchise history.

Tale of Two Special Teams

The Jets are a perfect 7-for-7 on the penalty kill in the past two games… The Jets haven’t allowed a goal on the penalty kill in 11 of their past 14 games and are 35-for-40 (87.5%) on the penalty kill during that time… On the power play, the Jets have gone seven consecutive games without a power play goal (0-for-19)… It’s tied for the seventh longest streak without scoring a power play goal in franchise history and fourth longest since relocation.

New Guy

The Jets made a splash over the break, acquiring forward Sean Monahan from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a first-round selection in the 2024 NHL Draft and conditional third-round selection in the 2027 NHL Draft… Monahan, who made his Jets debut last Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, had 35 points (13G, 22A) in 49 games this season with the Canadiens… He joins his third Canadian team after playing the first nine seasons of his NHL career with the Calgary Flames.

Leader

Mark Scheifele leads the Jets with 43 points (15G, 28A) this season… He tallied his 15th goal of the season on Saturday to end a four-game goalless streak… Since returning from injury after the all-star break, Scheifele has factored into two of the three goals the Jets have scored in the three games… He last led the Jets in scoring in a season in 2020-21 when he had 63 points (21G, 42A) in 56 games.

Healthy Bunch

For the first time all season, the Jets have a completely healthy roster with an empty injured reserve list… Forward David Gustafsson was activated from injured reserve on Monday and loaned to the Manitoba Moose on a conditioning stint… The Jets have lost 135 man games this season.

Approaching 500

General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff is two wins away from reaching 500 at the helm of the Jets… He’s set to become the fifth active General Manager to reach 500 wins… He was hired by the organization on June 8, 2011 and has been the only GM in the Jets 2.0 era

Jets vs. SJS Notes

Season Series

The Jets and Sharks play each other three times this season… Winnipeg lost the first meeting 2-1 on Dec. 12, but bounced back with a 2-1 win in San Jose on Jan. 4.

Recent History

Winnipeg is 8-5-3 in its past 16 games against the Sharks, but are 3-3-2 during the past three seasons… Ten of the 16 games have been decided by one goal.

In Winnipeg

Winnipeg is 2-0-1 in their past three games against the Sharks at Canada Life Centre.

Player Notes

Sean Monahan leads the Jets in career scoring against the Sharks with 20 points (9G, 11A) in 36 games… Five of Mark Scheifele’s seven career goals against the Sharks have come on the power play… Connor Hellebuyck is 9-6-2 with a .928 save percentage and 2.39 goalsagainst average in 18 career games against the Sharks

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