Programming note: Sharks-Rangers coverage starts today at 1:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California with Sharks Pregame Live.
NEW YORK – Marc-Edouard Vlasic will be rotated into the Sharks’ leadership group for their game against the Rangers on Sunday, and will be serving as an alternate captain along with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.
The Sharks’ plan is to rotate between those three players and Joe Pavelski every five games. Pavelski served as an alternate for the first five.
Vlasic was asked before the game how he’s grown as a leader now that he’s in his ninth NHL season.
“I’ve always been the same player,” said Vlasic, who has one goal and one assist and a +5 rating this season. “I’ve always played the same way. After nine years everybody looks up to you. The young guys do. I’ve been there the longest so it just comes with it. I take it on myself to be a leader on the back end and get those guys going.”
Does that little piece of felt carry extra responsibility?
“To me, no, it doesn’t. I’ll be the same guy with it or without it,” he said.
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The 4-0-1 Sharks have scored seven first period goals and have yet to allow one through the first five games, the longest such streak in franchise history to start a season.
“We’ve had that trait as a team for awhile now, where we are on our toes and we get going, and that’s been real important,” Todd McLellan said. “Tonight will be interesting, three games in four nights and a quick turnaround.”
Patrick Marleau said: “Whoever starts the game that first shift, they have a big job to do of getting that momentum going and get the ice tilted in the other direction and doing it the right way. We’ve been able to do that.”
At the same time, the Sharks’ third periods have been suspect, even though they’ve been able to hang on in four of five games.
The Sharks are getting outshot a whopping 60-25 in third periods this season.
“The starts have been good, the back end of the games have to get better,” McLellan said.
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As expected, Alex Stalock will start in goal for the Sharks, as the platoon with Antti Niemi continues. Jason Demers will be back on defense in place of Scott Hannan, as well.