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GAME DAY: Golden Knights, Sharks square off in playoff preview

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Golden Knights meet the San Jose Sharks in a probable playoff preview Saturday at SAP Center.

Opening faceoff is 6 p.m., and the game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain.

The Knights (42-30-6, 90 points), who clinched their spot in the postseason despite Friday’s 3-2 loss to Minnesota, would play San Jose in the first round if the current standings hold.

The Sharks own a five-point lead over the Knights for second place in the Pacific Division and home-ice advantage in the opening series. San Jose also has a game in hand on the Knights.

“We went in there last time and played real good in a back-to-back,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “It’s two real good teams and there is a real good chance we are going to play them (in the playoffs), but I don’t think anything is going to change. It’s not like back in ’80s when there was lots of fights and stuff like that. I don’t expect anything like that.

“Both teams are struggling right now. They are going to try to get their game in shape for the playoffs and we are going to do the same.”

The Knights have lost four straight (0-3-1) and continue to be without goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who is day to day with a lower-body injury.

Malcolm Subban has made seven consecutive starts and recorded 36 saves in the Knights’ 7-3 victory at San Jose on March 18. He is 2-9 with a 3.48 goals-against average and .890 save percentage in 11 appearances on the road.

The Knights did not have a morning skate, and no lineup information is available until Gallant’s media availability two hours before opening faceoff.

If Subban doesn’t start the second game of the back-to-back for the Knights, Maxime Lagace (0-1, 4.00 GAA, .871 SP) would get the nod.

San Jose (43-25-9, 95 points) has lost seven consecutive games and allowed 31 goals during its skid.

Goaltender Martin Jones was pulled the last time the teams met and is 2-2 with a 3.54 GAA and .899 SP in six career games against the Knights. Backup Aaron Dell hasn’t fared much better, going 0-2-1 with a 4.46 GAA and .871 SP in three appearances.

San Jose did not announce a starting goaltender for Saturday.

Tomas Hertl recorded a goal and two assists in his 400th NHL game on Thursday and has five points in his past four games.

Defenseman Brent Burns leads San Jose in scoring with a career-high 78 points, including five assists in his last six games.

Forward Joe Pavelski, the team’s leading goal scorer (37), has missed the past five games and coach Peter DeBoer said Friday he was doubtful Pavelski could play.

San Jose has lost five straight at home.

Golden Knights projected lineup

Forwards

Jonathan Marchessault-William Karlsson-Reilly Smith

Max Pacioretty-Paul Stastny-Mark Stone

Tomas Nosek-Cody Eakin-Alex Tuch

William Carrier-Ryan Carpenter-Ryan Reaves

Defensemen

Nate Schmidt-Deryk Engelland

Brayden McNabb-Shea Theodore

Jon Merrill-Colin Miller

Goaltender

Malcolm Subban

More Golden Knights: Follow at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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