(passive-aggressively updated to be above Rudy's post)
The Sharks are a little bit hurt.
Though Scott Nichol may play tonight, he probably wouldn't if the team weren't so banged up; he has a nasty black eye, complete with swelling and stitches. He's a hockey player, so it's no big deal, but if he were a lesser man he'd probably still be in the emergency room. His return unfortunately means we aren't likely to see Tommy Wingels again tonight, though I'll have my fingers crossed. I love that dude.
Niclas Wallin went down with an Oiler on top of his leg. His awesome mustache unfortunately did nothing to shield him from injury, and though we don't have any specifics yet it looked pretty bad.
Jason Demers was already out with an injury, and he's not likely to be in the line-up tonight.
Devin Setoguchi's still banged up in the "upper body" region. He won't play.
Kent Huskins got hurt not long after Wallin did in the Edmonton game. That's another defenseman down.
So...yeah, there's some injury issues going on here.
Justin Braun will most likely play again tonight. All I know about him is that he has the same name and birth-year as a professional soccer player (thanks Wikipedia) and he played 20+ minutes against Edmonton without any glaring screw-ups and added two assists, so welcome to the big club, Justin!
The team will likely have a couple of other young guys up to fill the gaps in the roster. If they all play as well as Braun, this could actually work out well for the Sharks, though it's unfortunate that these injuries all came on at once, right before the Sharks have to face the conference-leading Red Wings and during a stretch when the team plays many games away from home.
The next month could very well define the season for the Sharks. If they can persevere and play above .500 during this difficult time, then they'll be in decent shape once they begin getting their starting players back in the lineup. If all the obstacles in their way trip the team up, they could easily get left behind in this unbelievable, unpredictable Western Conference.
The Sharks have a way of losing games they should win, and winning games they should lose. They have a lot stacked against them tonight, so I expect a glorious victory.
Prediction: Sharks win 3-2. Goals by someone playing injured and two defensemen you've never heard of.