Devan Dubnyk’s injury likely shifts more responsibility to Martin Jones

Devan Dubnyk is day-to-day with a non-COVID, lower-body injury, the Sharks announced Thursday, meaning coach Bob Boughner and his staff will likely have to lean on goalie Martin Jones for at least the next little while.

Jones is making his second straight start Thursday night against the Los Angeles Kings, his former team.

It is unclear when Dubnyk’s injury took place. His last game came Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks, as he stopped 32 of 33 shots in what was a 2-1 shootout loss for the Sharks. Dubnyk, 34, has played in six games this season and has an 0-3-1 record, but also a solid .917 save percentage and a 2.71 goals against average.

Dubnyk’s injury likely puts more on the shoulders of Jones, at least in the short term. Jones, who is 5-2-0 with a .878 save percentage in seven games this season, stopped 24 of 27 shots Tuesday against the Kings and was perfect in overtime and the shootout as the Sharks won 4-3 at Staples Center.

Rookie goalie Alexei Melnichuk, recalled from the Barracuda on Wednesday, will be the backup to Jones vs. the Kings as the Sharks finish the two-game series with their Southern California rivals.

Melnichuk, 22, was signed as a free agent out of the KHL in the offseason. He attended training camp with the Sharks and was on the team’s taxi squad to start the season, but recently played his first two games as a professional in North America with the Barracuda. In two games, Melnichuk had an 0-1-1 record with an .879 save percentage.

The Sharks next two scheduled games are Saturday against the Vegas Golden Knights and Monday with the Anaheim Ducks. After that, San Jose is scheduled to play in St. Louis against the Blues on Feb. 18 and 20, and finish the month with home games against the Golden Knights on Feb. 25 and 27.

Jones has been the NHL’s busiest goalie since he came to the Sharks before the 2015-16 season. In the last five-plus years, Jones has a 160-110-23 record with a .907 save percentage, and has played in every one of the team’s 60 playoff games in that time. In the last two seasons, Jones save percentage dipped to .896 as he went a combined 53-40-7.

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Author: Curtis Pashelka