Sharks-Panthers coverage starts tonight at 4:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California.
Where they stand
Sharks: 30-20-5, 65 points, 3rd Pacific Division
Panthers: 33-18-6, 72 points, 1st Atlantic Division
Sharks: San Jose began a five-game road trip by downing the Lightning on Tuesday, 4-2. Matt Nieto tallied the game-winner in the third period and Joe Thornton had a pair of assists as the Sharks improved to 3-0-1 in their last four games and 19-8-2 on the road. The Sharks visit Carolina for the second of a back-to-back on Friday.
Panthers: On Monday at home, Florida claimed a 2-1 shootout win over the Penguins, snapping a modest two-game losing streak. The Panthers are 1-2-0 on a current six-game homestand, scoring just four goals over that span.
Keep an eye on…
Sharks: Joe Pavelski. After looking a little off coming out of the All-Star break, the Sharks captain got his first goal on Tuesday since Jan. 26, and registered four shots on goal. Pavelski continues to lead the Sharks with 26 goals and 53 points, although linemate Joe Thornton (50 points) is closing in fast.
Panthers: Aaron Ekblad. The first overall pick in 2014, the Calder Trophy winner from last season has generated 11 goals and 13 assists in 53 games from Florida’s blue line. Ekblad, 20, is second only to former Shark Brian Campbell in time-on-ice per game (20:59) and plus/minus (+16).
Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Matt Nieto – Patrick Marleau – Joel Ward
Joonas Donskoi – Logan Couture – Tommy Wingels
Melker Karlsson – Chris Tierney – Dainius Zubrus
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Dylan DeMelo – Matt Tennyson
Martin Jones (confirmed starter)
Jussi Jokinen – Nick Bjugstad – Jonathan Huberdeau
Reilly Smith – Vincent Trocheck – Jaromir Jagr
Garrett Wilson – Greg McKegg – Shawn Thornton
John McFarland – Derek MacKenzie – Logan Shaw
Dmitry Kulikov – Aaron Ekblad
Brian Campbell – Alex Petrovic
Steve Kampfer – Brent Regner
Al Montoya (confirmed starter)
Goals per game: 2.95 (4th)
Goals-against per game: 2.65 (17th)
Power play: 22.6 percent (4th)
Penalty kill: 80.7 percent (16th)
Goals per game: 2.70 (10th)
Goals-against per game: 2.33 (5th)
Power play: 16.3 percent (27th)
Penalty kill: 81.4 percent (13th)
Sharks: Brenden Dillon (upper body) is out.
Panthers: Quinton Howden (upper body) is day-to-day. Dave Bolland (lower body), Willie Mitchell (lower body), Eric Gudbranson (undisclosed), Aleksander Barkov (upper body) and Brandon Pirri (ankle) are out.
The Sharks beat Florida on Nov. 5 at home, 5-2. The Panthers have won seven of the last nine head-to-head meetings.
Odds and ends
*Marc-Edouard Vlasic has an eight-game assist streak, a new franchise record. His eight-game point streak is tied for a franchise record among defensemen with Brent Burns, who did it earlier this season.
*Joe Thornton has at least one point in 24 of his last 26 games (8g, 26a).
*Jonathan Huberdeau (11g, 29a) and 44-year-old Jaromir Jagr (17g, 23a) lead the Panthers in scoring with 40 points apiece.