As Brent Burns begins his present quest for a potential Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes, there’s a matter of his recent past to address.
After spending the past 11 years in San Jose, Burns returns for the first time since approving a summer trade, looking to help the Hurricanes avoid a seventh consecutive road loss to the Sharks on Friday night.
Long considered one of the best defensemen in the NHL, the 37-year-old Burns was named to three All-Star teams and won the 2017 Norris Trophy during his time with the Sharks.
However, San Jose reached the Stanley Cup Final just once with Burns in tow, and with the club amid a rebuild, the popular bearded blueliner was open to a trade. It eventually came in July to Carolina, a preseason Cup favorite.
After playing 22 1/2 minutes during the Hurricanes’ 4-1 opening victory over Columbus on Wednesday, he’ll face his former team in the Sharks’ home opener.
“It will be fun to see the (Shark) tank, because the tank will be rocking,” said Burns, who ranks among the NHL’s all-time leaders for defensemen with 227 goals and 777 points.
“It will definitely be weird.”
Though Carolina is off to a solid start on a season filled with expectations, it’s 0-4-2 at San Jose since a 5-4 victory in February 2015.
The Sharks, though, were outscored 7-3 in losing both games to Nashville during last week’s NHL Global Series in Prague. Two of San Jose’s few seasoned veterans, Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl, each had a goal overseas, but the offense went 1-for-8 on the power play.
The Sharks will try to avoid opening with three straight defeats for the second time in four seasons.
“As much as we came over (to Prague) to perform in front of their fans, we came (there) to get points and wins,” first-year Sharks coach David Quinn said.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t do it, but there’s a long, long way to go. I like a lot of what I saw out of our team.”
Ex-Hurricanes James Reimer and Kaapo Kahkonen combined to stop 43-of-49 shots against the Predators. Reimer made 49 saves while facing 52 shots as San Jose split its two games with Carolina in 2021-22.
Meanwhile, Hertl has seven goals and seven assists in 14 career contests against the Hurricanes.
Carolina’s Martin Necas had a goal with two assists Wednesday for the Hurricanes, but he does not have a point in three career games against the Sharks. Teammate Andrei Svechnikov scored against the Blue Jackets and has two goals with an assist in his last three games versus San Jose.
The Hurricanes’ Frederik Andersen made 31 saves in the 2022-23 season opener. Dating to his time with Toronto, Andersen has a 1.97 goals-against average and .940 save percentage while winning his last five starts versus San Jose.
However, backup Antti Raanta, who went 15-5-4 with a 2.45 GAA for the Hurricanes last season, could get his first start of 2022-23 in this contest.
Andersen and Raanta won the Jennings Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltending tandem from last season.
–Field Level Media