‘Inconsistent’ Sharks get Wingels back versus Flames

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It’s not all bad injury news for the San Jose Sharks. While they won’t have d-man Marc-Edouard Vlasic tonight against the Flames, at least key forward Tommy Wingels will be back.

Wingels has been activated from injured reserve after missing seven games with a broken hand. Versus Calgary, he’s expected to skate on the right side of a line with Tomas Hertl and Chris Tierney.

The Sharks, perhaps the most inconsistent team in the NHL this season, lost another winnable game Saturday at home to Carolina — just the latest defeat to a team that won’t be participating in the playoffs this spring.

Tonight, not only will the Sharks be looking for redemption for Saturday’s effort, they’ll be trying to avenge last week’s 3-1 loss to the Flames in Calgary.

“We’re an inconsistent team this year. We need to fix that going forward,” forward Logan Couture said, per CSN Bay Area.

“We’ve got a stretch run here. We’re going to need to win a lot of games to get into the playoffs.”

NHL on NBCSN: Sharks’ ‘dog fight’ continues vs. red hot Ducks

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign with a doubleheader tonight. The second half will start at 10:30 p.m. ET with the San Jose Sharks hosting the Anaheim Ducks at the SAP Center. In addition to NBCSN, you can watch it online.

The Ducks have won six straight games and are on track to claim the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time. One thing they haven’t been able to do so is regularly get the better of the Sharks. In four meetings this season, San Jose has earned three victories and has outscored Anaheim 15-8.

Given how strong a team the Ducks have, already having the season series against them locked is a big accomplishment for San Jose, but it hasn’t been enough. Although the Sharks are in a playoff position right now, they only have a two-point cushion.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting an $25,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Thursday night’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Thursday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

“We’re in a dog fight. That’s the best way of putting it,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan told CSN Bay Area.

He added, “We’re a middle-of-the-pack team right now. Until we declare ourselves any different, and that’s through play and wins, that’s what we are. We have to take steps forward to overcome that.”

The Sharks mediocrity this season stems from their inconsistency. In their first game back from the All-Star break, they have an opportunity to set a new tone going forward. It can be a new beginning for guys like Tomas Hertl, who dazzled observers when he was healthy during his rookie season, but has endured a rough sophomore campaign with just 17 points in 48 games. It’s also a chance for Patrick Marleau to regroup. He scored at least 30 goals for five straight campaigns (not counting the lockout-shortened season), but has found the back of the net just nine times this season.

The Ducks will naturally counter with the one-two punch of forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. While Anaheim collectively hasn’t had much success against San Jose this season, that duo has remained very effective and will likely make life difficult again for the Sharks.

The Sharks need these two points more than Anaheim, but the Ducks shouldn’t have a difficult time staying motivated as they battle to put themselves in the best possible position going into the playoffs.

PHT Morning Skate: Ottawa will give Alfredsson key to the city

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Former Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson will meet Ottawa mayor Jim Watson to receive the key to the city. Upon hearing that, current captain Erik Karlsson said, “I’m changing my locks.” (Sportsnet)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting an $25,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Thursday night’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Thursday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Johnny Gaudreau reportedly got a big payday over his late addition to the All-Star Game. (Calgary Sun)

Here are the highlights from Los Angeles’ 4-3 win against Chicago:

Martin Brodeur, who is expected to officially retire this morning, will drop the puck in tonight’s game between the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators. (Blues.nhl.com)

Tomas Hertl’s sophomore campaign hasn’t gone as planned, but he thinks playing in the minors during the All-Star break was a good experience. (CSN Bay Area)

Here are the highlights from Washington’s 4-0 victory over Pittsburgh:

Adam Larsson is rewarding the New Jersey Devils for trusting him in the post-Pete DeBoer era. (NJ.com)

Tyler Kennedy hasn’t had any luck this season as on Wednesday it was revealed he’ll be sidelined for a fourth time. (CSN Bay Area)

WATCH LIVE: Sharks at Wild (8 p.m. ET)

The Minnesota Wild have won just three of their last 10; however, a visit from the San Jose Sharks could be just what they need.

The Wild have won seven straight home meetings with the Sharks and have not lost at home to San Jose since April 2010.

Sharks center Joe Thornton will miss his third straight game with an upper body injury.

San Jose forward Joe Pavelski assisted on two goals against the Jets and has at least a point in three straight games and in six of his past seven overall.

Tomas Hertl is expected to be in the lineup a day after taking a puck to the face in Winnipeg.

The Sharks enter tonight’s game having won two of three.

You can watch the game and the pregame show via the NBC Sports’ Live Extra Stream.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are a few links to get you ready for the action:

Get your game notes: Sharks at Wild

Yeo: No comment on complaints Suter gets ‘all the minutes’ while ‘the rest suffer’

NHL on NBCSN: Wild hope to rise from ‘rock bottom’ against Sharks

With Thornton hurt, Sharks say slumping Marleau ‘has to find a way to produce’

Video: Sharks best Jets on Vlasic’s buzzer-beater

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It wasn’t always pretty, but it seemed like the Winnipeg Jets might squeeze out a standings point or two against the San Jose Sharks tonight, even with a threadbare defense.

That held true for much of Monday’s game, yet it was all for naught as Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored in the waning moments to give San Jose a 3-2 regulation win (and Winnipeg zero points for its troubles):

Ouch.

This marks the Sharks second win in five tries while the Jets have dropped three of their last four games.

As strong as Michael Hutchinson was in net at times on Monday, Winnipeg left the game empty-handed (and probably muttering a few choice words).

One situation to watch for San Jose is Tomas Hertl’s health. He took a wayward Logan Couture puck to the face while sitting on the bench and needed to leave for repairs.