SAN JOSE -- Todd McLellan was talking about his power play, but the words easily could have applied to the Sharks overall as they prepared for Friday night's home exhibition opener against the Anaheim Ducks at the SAP Center.

"The ingredients all look good on the counter," the coach said Thursday, "but until they're put in the bowl, who knows?"

McLellan will have some of his key ingredients in the lineup for the first time Friday night, and that should give him a better idea how his top two lines are shaping up.

With veteran Tyler Kennedy and rookie Tomas Hertl now in the mix, the Sharks have used camp to test new line combinations. Kennedy, for example, skated with Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau on Thursday, while Hertl was alongside Joe Thornton and Brent Burns.

McLellan said there's a good chance all six forwards would play against the Ducks, though a final decision had not yet been made. None of those players skated in San Jose's 3-2 exhibition victory Monday night in Vancouver.

"I think some guys need games right now. They're getting itchy and chomping to get out there, get past the practice phase and into games," McLellan said. "They want to find out about each other, and that's where tendencies come in."

Players echoed that sentiment.

"You don't really get comfortable with someone until you play some games," Couture said. "You can practice as much as you want, but games are so different."

Added Marleau: "We're ready to build that chemistry."


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Kennedy, who was obtained from the Pittsburgh Penguins on draft day, was looking forward to playing for reasons that go beyond getting a better sense of his new surroundings.

"I think you need to get into games to get your own game under control," he said. "The timing, the speed -- you try to get that up to par so when the season starts you're ready to rock."

The addition of Kennedy to the lineup was part of general manager Doug Wilson's "reset and refresh on the fly" that began last spring with the conversion of Burns to a power forward and the acquisition of Raffi Torres.

McLellan also will be watching Friday night to make sure his players are still buying into the high-speed, drive-the-net style of play that sparked the Sharks' stretch run and first-round playoff sweep of Vancouver.

"It wasn't perfect, and we've got a lot of work to do, but I know which way I'd like the team to go," McLellan said. "Which way would they like it to go? I certainly hope they prefer that up-tempo with energy, passion, hard game."

  • McLellan wouldn't name his starting goalie against Anaheim or for Saturday night against the Phoenix Coyotes, but he did say that Antti Niemi and prospect Harri Sateri will each get one of the two games.

    Sateri is competing with Alex Stalock, who earned the win in Vancouver, for the backup job in San Jose. And McLellan didn't seem concerned about their lack of much NHL experience.

    "Every goaltender on every team goes through this," McLellan said. "Antti Niemi played his first game in the league at some point. ... Marty Brodeur -- go all the way back to whenever -- played his first game in the league."

    Some rookies, McLellan added, "are going to go on to become stars in the NHL. Could Harri or Alex become one of those? We have to give them the opportunity to play."

  • The Sharks still have 42 players in camp. No additional cuts are expected before Sunday.

    For more on the Sharks, see David Pollak's Working the Corners blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/sharks. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/PollakOnSharks.