GDT: Sharks at Maple Leafs (7 p.m., Sportsnet)

Photo: NHLI via Getty Images

The Sharks enter this game 18-3-5, and are 9-1-2 against fellow Pacific Division opponents, which is easily the strongest division in the NHL. They enter winners of five straight.

This is a dominant team with a deeeeep lineup.

Projected Lineup  
Left WingCenterRight Wing
Tomas HertlJoe ThorntonBrent Burns
Patrick MarleauLogan CoutureTommy Wingels
Martin HavlatJoe PavelskiTyler Kennedy
John McCarthyAndrew DesjardinsMike Brown
Left DefenseRight Defense
Justin BraunMarc-Edouard Vlasic
Brad StuartDan Boyle
Scott HannanJason Demers
Starter: Niemi

How can the Leafs beat them? Well, it begins and ends between the pipes with James Reimer, one would think. The Leafs are shorthanded and are the inferior team, so the answer to closing the gap is cliched – ‘outwork them.’ Playing without the puck a lot, which is almost ensured, means ramping up the physical play will be necessary to try to create separation.

Hey, even the Sharks once had a 0-1-4 stretch once, right? These guys are human.

Nazem Kadri won’t play tonight in order to be with his family after the passing of his grandfather. Cody Franson is a game time decision.

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