Programming Note: Sharks-Jets coverage gets underway at 6:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
SAN JOSE –- If last season’s meetings are any indication, the Sharks and Jets are in for a tight game tonight when they meet for San Jose’s home opener on Saturday night at SAP Center.
The Jets beat San Jose twice in three games last season, including a shootout win, and all three games were decided by one goal.
Neither team changed all that much in the offseason.
They’re stuck in the toughest division in the NHL, but many have pegged the Jets as sleeper team in the Western Conference. A 6-2 win over Arizona in their season opener got them off on the right foot.
“They are a big team that can skate,” Todd McLellan said. “There are a lot of big teams but they don’t maybe move as quick. This team can skate with pucks and skate without the puck.
“They can hold on to it in the offensive zone and create a lot using their size and reach. That can cause a lot of teams problems, and we’ll have to deal with that.”
The Sharks, of course, also started the season on a positively high note with a 4-0 shutout of the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night. There wasn’t much that didn’t go right for San Jose, which started to distance itself just a little bit from its playoff collapse last April.
Between the Kings raising their Stanley Cup banner in a long pregame ceremony, and the questions surrounding how the club was going to handle its captaincy situation, Joe Pavelski was pleased that the Sharks were able to handle everything with relative ease for at least one game.
“It’s good to see. That’s a tough situation going into there, and it’s awesome to see how guys put distractions aside and played a good tight team game,” Pavelski said.
“The start, in a difficult situation, was something we had hoped for,” McLellan said. “We did a lot of good things in the game.
"[The Jets] had a very good start and they’d like to bottle that up and reproduce it again. It should be a good match.”
Sharks fans will be seeing their team for the first time since Game 7 last year, and no one needs to be reminded how that one went. Saturday is one of just three home games for the Sharks in the month of October, and after a long five-game trip east, they’ll return for tilts against Columbus on Oct. 23 and Buffalo on Oct. 25 before leaving again for another week.
Logan Couture was asked if Saturday’s home opener is a good chance to let the fans see a team that looks mostly the same, but enters the season what is supposed to be a new philosophy, where performance -– and not any equity earned in the past -– will be what dictates ice time.
“It’s tough to show them in one game, but we want to play well at home,” Couture said. “Every game that we play here we want to make it tough for teams to come into this building, like we have in the past. Every year is a new season, new team.”