RALEIGH -- Alex Stalock will start in net against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night, head coach Todd McLellan confirmed shortly before the game at PNC Arena.
Stalock, 3-0-0 with a 1.55 goals-against average and .944 save percentage, came on in relief of Antti Niemi in the Sharks’ 5-1 loss in Pittsburgh on Thursday night. He stopped two of just three shots faced in his first action since Nov. 15.
Niemi surrendered four goals in a seven-and-a-half minute span to start the second period as the Penguins took a commanding 4-0 lead.
McLellan said: “Some might wonder why we didn’t pull Nemo at 4-0, but we talked about it on the bench, with Alex scheduled to start today, how much was too much? How much wasn’t enough? We wanted to get through the period and then give him a period to feel good about it coming into tonight’s game.”
McLellan said there is validity to the notion that the Sharks will get a chance to quickly move on from their poor performance with a game the next day. San Jose and Carolina will both be playing for the third time in four nights, too.
“We weren’t very good last night. That was real evident. We just didn’t compete, didn’t play as a team, didn’t do the things we’ve normally done and didn’t live up to the standards we’ve created for ourselves,” McLellan said. “We’d like to get back at it again tonight. It doesn’t make the night any easier, but we have to keep in mind they had the same schedule we had.”
Mike Brown, who scored a goal and was part of a very effective fourth line in a 4-2 win over Toronto on Tuesday, was a surprise scratch against the Penguins. McLellan said after the game that Brown could have played, but indicated on Friday that Brown is not at 100 percent health.
John McCarthy took the only two Sharks penalties against the Penguins, including tripping minor deep in San Jose’s offensive zone.
“We would have preferred to play Mike Brown last night and we’d prefer to play Mike Brown tonight, but based on where he is health-wise, I’m not sure that he could finish the night,” McLellan said. “He’s in between injured and healthy, if that makes any sense.”