By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks defeated the Arizona Coyotes 3-0 in Glendale on Friday. The preseason game lineup proably closely ressembles the group that will start the regular season next week. The forward lines were: Donskoi-Thornton-Pavelski, Marleau-Couture-Ward, Nieto-Hertl-Wingels and Goodrow-Tierney-Brown. The defensive paris were: Vlasic-Braun, Martin-Burns and Tennyson-Dillon. Martin Jones was in net for the shutout. There will probably be only a couple of changes to that lineup when the Sharks play Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Joonas Donskoi distinguished himself again as a deserving member of the top line. His performance included good defensive sense and a few surprising offensive moves, including one pass that was so surprising it even caught Joe Thornton unawares.
Tomas Hertl’s preseason time as a center has not been wasted. He is to be handling the position well, and his game overall shows much improved confidence and strength.
The Coyotes took the first penalty of the game, as Michael Stone pulled Joonas Donskoi down at 5:29. The first Sharks power play unit included Burns, Pavelski, Thornton, Marleau and Couture. A pass from Marleau to Pavelski ended the power play just 17 seconds in to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead. Assists went to Marleau and Couture.
The Sharks took a penalty at 12:16, after two on one was thwarted by some smart speed from Joonas Donskoi. Matt Tennyson was called for hooking Steve Downie. The Sharks penalty kill was effective, but Brenden Dillon took a cross-checking penalty against Matthias Plachta shortly afer the Tennyson penalty expired. The Sharks killed that off as well, but lost most of their early lead on the shot clock. By the time the second penalty was over, the shots stood at 12-10 Sharks.
Three minutes into the second period, the Coyotes took another penalty, this time to Antoine Vermette for tripping Mike Brown. The Sharks did not score on that power play, and as it ended, Joel Ward was called for hooking Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The Sharks killed that off too, protecting their lone goal lead.
Tomas Hertl added to the Sharks lead early in the third period. Just after a line change, Matt Nieto and Tomas Hertl took off in a two on one against Coyotes defenseman Connor Murphy. A short hesitation from Nieto gave him a chance to pick his spot before passing it to Hertl, who put the puck away. Assists went to Nieto and Dillon.
A second goal from Pavelski was essentially the nail in the Coyotes’ coffin. Thornton, behind the Arizona net, made what appeared to be a blind pass to Pavelski. Pavelski wasted no time putting the Sharks up 3-0.
The Coyotes had a chance to redeem themselves with a power play at 13:42, when Brenden Dillon was called for tripping. They did not score and the teams went into the obligatory 3-on3 overtime session with a final score of 3-0 Sharks.
The Coyotes did score in the overtime period, which may have done something for their confidence but did not change the game result. The goal was scored by Anthony Duclair, off a feed from Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
The Sharks next play in Anaheim on Saturday at 6:00.
Friday, the Sharks recalled nine players from the AHL Barracuda. Many will likely play Saturday, avoiding the unnecessary stress of back to back preseason games for the regular NHL players. The group includes four players with fewer than three seasons in the AHL: goaltender Troy Grosenick, forwards Ryan Carpenter and Jeremy Langlois, and defenseman Gus Young. Karl Stollery more seasoned than those four, with just over three seasons of experience in the AHL. Forwards John McCarthy and Frazer McLaren have both spent significant time on the Sharks roster and were mainstays in Worcester. Forwards Micheal Haley and Bryan Lerg have over five seasons of professional experience as well.
The San Jose Barracuda, in a preseason game against the Stockton Heat, lost 4-2 at Sharks Ice on Thursday. Petter Emanuelsson and Julius Bergman scored for San Jose, the game featured four fights and 66 penalty minutes. Troy Grosenick and Aaron Dell shared the net, with Grosenick making eight saves on nine shots and Dell making 14 save son 17 shots. Peter Emanuelsson left the game after taking a hit from behind. The Barracuda will play another exhibition game in Bakersfield on Saturday against the Condors. The game will start at 7:00 pm and be aired on KDOW at AM 1220 and online at http://www.KDOW.biz.