It's like a depth-guy homecoming tonight as Kent Huskins and Scott Nichol return to San Jose for the first time since neither we re-signed by the Sharks last summer. On another non-note, Brad Winchester faces off against his former team for the first time as a Shark (he did play against the Blues last year after he was traded, but he was a Duck at the time. He scored, shockingly, zero points). If any of the three have any impact on the game besides solid defensive play (Huskins), excellent faceoff percentages (Nichol) or random falling down and crashing into goalies (Winchester) then it'll be a bonus.
The real stories of the game revolve around the two teams' scorers and the goaltenders in for each team. The Sharks scored six goals in their first game of the season, sat idly by for six days and then put up zero goals last night against the Ducks. The Blues' offense has turned in two 30-plus shot, only two goals scored performances as well as a 30-plus shot, five goal game. Which offense will show up for the Sharks? Which way will the shots go for the Blues?
As for the goaltending, Brian Elliott gets his first career Blues start tonight. Simmer down, now. The back-up will get his first chance to prove that he can be a, yes, back-up. Can he come in and play a solid game and give the Blues a chance to win? We'll see. As for the Sharks, still no word on whether Thomas Greiss will get another start after his 22-save effort last night or Antti Niemi, fresh off surgery to remove a cyst from his wrist, will get the start. Greiss is actually the Sharks' third goalie, but Antero Niittymaki is out for the next three months having some vowels removed from his name and some hip surgery.
Speaking of injuries, Andy McDonald will join Carlo Colaiacovo, B.J. Crombeen and David Perron (who hasn't played since the last time he suited up against the Sharks, back in No. 4, 2010) on the Blues' early season Pain Train. In his spot on the top line tonight should be offensive threat Evgeny Grachev, who earned a roster spot in training camp this year but has been a pressbox warrior through the first three games. Chris Porter will also be in the lineup tonight as Ryan Reaves takes a seat.
Don't expect payback on Joe Thornton for knocking the sense out of Perron last year - it's just too far gone and the Blues need two points tonight too badly to be worrying about head-hunting Big Dumb Joe.
The game is on FSN for those who have access, on KMOX who like to follow the game old school style and on the web (for those of you who want to see how things have changed) over at Fear The Fin. This is your GDT. It's Saturday night, feel free to get a little rowdy.