Struggling Sharks get Paul Martin back tonight

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The San Jose Sharks haven’t been able to contain their opponents without defenseman Paul Martin. Fortunately for them, he’s coming back.

Following a three-game absence due to a lower-body injury, Martin is set to retake his spot alongside Brent Burns tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes.

“He really stabilized our defense early in the season when he was in there,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer told the team’s website. “Not that we don’t have the people to get the job done when he’s not in there, but it’s nice having a veteran presence there. He just calms things down.”

While it seems extreme to attribute San Jose’s early success primarily to Martin or dismiss their recent struggles as a result of his absence, the difference between those two stretches are stark. San Jose is 4-0-0 while allowing just two goals with Martin in the lineup and it’s 0-3-0 while surrendering 14 goals without him.

Martin is playing in his first season with the Sharks after inking a four-year, $19.4 million deal.

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