Sharks Fall to Capitals 5-4 in OT; Losers of seven of their last nine games

sfgate.com photo: Washington Capitals center Lars Eller (20), of Denmark, celebrates his winning goal in overtime of an NHL hockey game with defenseman John Carlson (74) as San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) skates away Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Washington

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks lost to the Washington Capitals 5-4 in overtime on Sunday. The Sharks dominated through most of the game, with a second period hat-trick from Evander Kane, and an empty net goal from Logan Couture in the third. But the Capitals came back with two goals in the final minute of the third to tie the game. Washington goals came from Jakub Vrana (2), Nic Dowd, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller. Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby made 25 saves in the win, while Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 24 saves in the loss.

An important bright spot for the Sharks was that they scored two power play goals. With their game going so well, the last-minute collapse was a shock. After the game, Sharks forward Joe Thornton summarized his team’s game as: “It looked good, it looked real good, then all of a sudden just disappeared, real quick.”

Sharks interim head coach Bob Boughner gave the Capitals some credit in the loss:

It’s tough to let that one get away, 4-2 with a minute to go. I mean, you know, third period we didn’t allow a lot five on five. Defensively, we were pretty tight. You could take a million great things out of this game for us but, you know, that’s why they’re leading the league. That’s why they’ve got the most points, because they find ways to win games. As disappointed as I am, I’m pretty content on the way our five-on-five game looks.

The first period was scoreless and penalty free, with the teams very close in shots at 13-10 Sharks. At 1:14 of the second period, Barclay Goodrow tipped a Timo Meier shot into the net. The goal was disallowed, as Goodrow’s stick was too high when he touched the puck.

The Sharks scored their first goal on the power play at 6:25. Joe Thornton picked up a rebound from an Evander Kane shot. He circled around by the boards and then gave the puck back to Kane for a quick shot to the far side of the net. Assists went to Thornton and Timo Meier.

The Capitals got that back at 7:29 when Nic Dowd skated to the net and got a pass from Brendan Leipsic. The Sharks were caught out of position defensively, allowing both Washington skaters to get a step on them. Assists went to Leipsic and Michal Kempny.

Another defensive breakdown by the Sharks left Martin Jones to make a save while Hathaway was tripping over him at 7:56. A slashing penalty to Evander Kane came out of that.

The Sharks killed that off and as soon as the penalty ended, Kane came out of the box and followed Logan Couture into the zone. Couture dropped the puck to him just inside the blue line. As Couture continued to skate to the net, he created a screen for Kane to shoot and score at 10:06. Assists went to Couture and Melker Karlsson.

Kane completed the second period hat trick with a second power play goal at 16:49. Radko Gudas was in the box for slashing Patrick Marleau as they competed for position in front of the net. Erik Karlsson took a shot right up the center and before anyone else could find the puck, Kane caught the rebound and knocked it in. Assists went to Karlsson and Timo Meier.

The Capitals got one back before the period ended, at 18:42. Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s attempt to send the puck around the boards was thwarted by an official’s skate behind the net. T.J Oshie gathered up the puck and sent it to the front of the net where Jakub Vrana was waiting to shoot it in.

The shots were close again in the second period, 12-11 Capitals.

The Sharks held their lead but did not extend it through most of the third period. The Sharks had killed off a Washington power play and failed to score on two of their own. Logan Couture scored into the empty net at 19:00, giving the Sharks the two goal lead.

Washington got one back just 13 seconds later. The Sharks couldn’t get the puck out, under siege from six Washington skaters. When Lars Eller went to center the puck, his pass went off of Mario Ferraro’s skate and to Jakub Vrana in a perfect shooting position. Assists went to Eller and Radko Gudas.

The teams sat for some time then, waiting for an issue to be resolved by officials.

When they got back to play, T.J. Oshie tied the game at 19:45. With their net empty again, and with a clear prevented by a bounce off of an official (again), the puck ended up in the face-off circle, on Oshie’s stick. Assists went to Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom.

The shots in the third period were surprisingly low but shocking for the Sharks, who had only three. The Capitals had six.

The Sharks had some good moments in overtime. Timo Meier broke up a pass to prevent a three-on-one goal at early, then he sent a pass to Brent Burns for a breakaway. Timo Meier had a shot go off of the goal post, and then Burns and Kane had a two-on-one that Holtby stopped. The Sharks got two shots on goal before it was over.

The Capitals responded with a two-on-one against Erik Karlsson. John Carlson carried the puck in and made a pass across to Lars Eller, who scored as Martin Jones slid across to follow the pass. Assists went to Carlson and Holtby. It was Washington’s only shot of the overtime period.

The teams ended the game with 29 shots each.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday in St. Louis against the Blues at 5:00 PM PT.

Sharks Beat Blue Jackets 3-2; SJ puts two straight wins together

mercurynews.com photo: Columbus Blue Jackets’ Gabriel Carlsson, left, of Sweden, and San Jose Sharks’ Timo Meier, of Switzerland, battle for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio.

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. Shark goals came from Barclay Goodrow, Evander Kane and Kevin Labanc. Sharks goalie Aaron Dell made 21 saves in the win. Both Blue Jackets goals came from Zach Werenski and Elvis Merzlikins made 25 saves for Columbus.

After the game, Sharks interim head coach Bob Boughner said:

I just like the way we’re playing as a 20-man unit. We’re all on the same page, and we’re doing some good things, we’re managing our game. It’s a little bit of a more mature game I think lately. And we’re giving ourselves a chance to win every night which is the most important thing.

This win was the second after the team’s abysmal loss to Detroit Tuesday. Asked whether the Sharks know what they need to do here at the midpoint of the season, Sharks forward Barclay Goodrow said:

We know how we have to play to win hockey games. You know, we’ve seen it throughout this year. When we’re not playing the way we should be playing then it’s not a good look for us and then we’re not a successful team. It’s just a matter of bringing that game every night.

The first period was scoreless, though Sharks forward Joel Kellman put the puck in the net. Kellman carried the puck across the line and took a shot past the defenseman, putting the puck over the goalie’s pad and into the net. Unfortunately, the goal was called back for offside.

The Sharks out-shot the Blue Jackets 11-9 in the first and each team killed a penalty.

The second period was much more eventful. The Sharks scored the first goal to count at 7:05 of the period. The Blue Jackets had just completed a power play when Barclay Goodrow came flying out of the box. He picked the puck up in the Blue Jackets’ zone and and had no one between him and the goalie. He used a little backhand shot to slip the puck past Merzlikins. It was Goodrow’s seventh goal of the season and Tomas Hertl got an assist.

The Blue Jackets tied it up at 8:50. They moved the puck around the offensive zone for a long shift before Zach Werenski took a backhand shot from the slot and beat Aaron Dell. Assists went to Boone Jenner and Nick Foligno. It was Werenski’s 12th goal of the season.

The Sharks took the lead back with a goal at 14:40. Timo Meier brought the puck across the line along the wall and made a pass to the center slot where Evander Kane had just arrived. Kane did not hesitate to shoot and he beat Merzlikins on the glove side. Assists went to Meier and Radim Simek. The goal was Kane’s 15th of the season, tying him with Hertl for the team lead in goals.

The Blue Jackets out-shot the Sharks 12-6 in the second period and had one power play.

Kevin Labanc scored the game winner at 16:59 of the third period. Erik Karlsson sent the puck up the ice where Marcus Sorensen chased it into the zone. He was knocked away from the puck around the face-off circle but Joe Thornton was right behind him to pick up it up and send it to the slot where Labanc was ready for the shot. Assists went to Thornton and Karlsson.

Zach Werenski narrowed the lead a few seconds later by shooting in a rebound that Sonny Milano created with a shot from the blue line. Assists went to Milano and Seth Jones.

The Sharks out-shot Columbus 11-2 in the third period. They had a good face-off game, winning 59% of them. Barclay Goodrow (14 draws) and Tomas Hertl (23 draws) both won more than 60% of their face-offs.

Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns led the Sharks in shots with four each, while Werenski led both teams with five. Neither team got any shots on net during the power play.

The Sharks next play on Sunday against the Washington Capitals in Washington DC at 9:30 AM PT.

Sharks Lose 2-0 to Red Wings, First Shut Out of Season

sfgate.com photo: San Jose Sharks right wing Timo Meier (28), of Switzerland, looses his footing against Detroit Red Wings defenseman Madison Bowey (74) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, in Detroit.

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks lost 2-0 to the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday, ending 2019 much the way they started this season. In December, they had two wins and 11 losses. The 2-0 loss to the NHL’s last ranked Red Wings had some disappointing firsts in it, for Sharks fans.

It was Detroit’s first shut out of the season and also the Sharks’ first time being shut out. It also ended a nearly three year stretch during which the Sharks got points in games where they allowed two or fewer goals. The goals were scored by Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Hronek. Jonathan Bernier made 34 saves in the win while Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 21 saves for the Sharks.

If there is anything good to take away from this game, it might be that the team only gave up two goals. That is an improvement over some of San Jose’s more spectacular losses this season. They also did fairly well in the face-off circle, winning 52% of them.

Those facts are not very encouraging, though, considering the opponent in Tuesday’s match. The Red Wings are not the worst face-off team in the NHL, just the ninth worst. They are the worst in the goal scoring department.

Sharks captain Logan Couture was asked to find some positives in the game: “Well, Joner was great, that’s a positive. Um, I’m trying to think of other things we can take from this one. But Joner played well, PK had some stops, power play needs to be better, offensively we need to be better. I thought for the most part, five on five we didn’t give them too much.”

Sharks interim head coach Bob Boughner also identified the goaltender as one of the only good parts of the game:

There were some bright spots to our game. I think the maybe power play generating a goal would have been nice. I think that Jonesy played well. It’s one of those games, we didn’t give up much on the road. Defensively we’ve been tightening it up in that area. You know, we just didn’t get our bounce early and the longer the game went I thought Bernier looked more comfortable. I thought we could’ve got more bodies in front of him. But, you know, we just didn’t capitalize, didn’t execute offensively.

The first goal came at 3:15 of the second period. Tyler Bertuzzi deflected Madison Bowey’s shot from the point, after bringing the puck into the zone, then rushing into position in front of the Sharks net. A second assist went to Dylan Larkin. It was Bertuzzi’s 15th of the season.

The second goal went into an empty net at 19:11 of the third period. Brent Burns’ shot was blocked and then went to Filip Hronek, who shot it all the way down the ice into the net. An assist went to Luke Glendening.

The Sharks had three power play chances to the Red Wings’ two. No power play goals were scored. The Sharks out-shot the Red Wings in the game and 14-4 in the third period.

The Sharks next play on Thursday in Pittsburgh against the Penguins at 4:00 PM PT.

Sharks Beat Flyers 6-1, Hat-trick for Meier

photo from sfgate.com: The San Jose Sharks Timo Meier (28) scores a goal in the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night at SAP Center in San Jose

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks played like a new team Saturday, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 6-1 at SAP Center. Timo Meier scored three of those goals for his first NHL hat trick. Mario Ferraro and Joel Kellman scored their first NHL goals and Patrick Marleau addded the sixth. Martin Jones made 26 saves in the win. Ivan Provorov scored the one Flyers goal and Carter Hart made 23 saves in the loss.

The lop-sided win was in stark contrast to the Sharks’ loss Friday night, when they gave up a 2-0 lead during the third period and then lost in overtime. After the win, Sharks captain Logan Couture said: “from the start of the puck drop I thought we were physical, we won more battles and got rewarded.” Nevertheless, he also said: “in the grand scheme of things we’re still near the bottom so we need to win a lot more games.”

Asked about what Timo Meier and Evander Kane did in the win, Sharks Interim Head Coach Bob Boughner said:

They’ve both been struggling a little bit of late and, you know, we had a good meeting this morning where we sort of called each other on the carpet about the details and why we’re struggling. And I think both those guys, along with Goody on that line I thought were obviously our most effective line but they played a lot more straight and north and they were stopping on pucks, they were being physical and I think that’s the results you get when you play that kind of detail.

The Sharks’ first goal came near the halfway mark of the first period. The Sharks had just one shot on goal when Mario Ferraro tried to move the puck out of his zone. the pass was intercepted and bounced back in his direction. He was already moving to chase it down and it came right to him. He moved it through the neutral zone where Barclay Goodrow caught it and carried it into the Flyers’ zone. Ferraro continued his pursuit and was closing on the net when Goodrow passed it back to him. Ferraro shot it past Hart for his first NHL goal. Assists went to Goodrow and Timo Meier.

By the end of the period, the Sharks had seven shots to Philadelphia’s five but were lagging in face-off wins with just 33% going their way.

The Sharks had killed off the only first period penalty, but had lost Melker Karlsson in that kill. He took a shot to the head and had to be helped off the ice. The shot hit him close to or below the bottom of his helmet, near the base of his skull. After the game, Bob Boughner said that Karlsson received some stitches and “he’ still being evaluated but hopefully we can have him back here. It’s a day to day thing.”

The Sharks scored again at 2:39 of the second period. Joel Kellman, playing his third NHL game, scored his first goal on a nice breakaway. He had to collect the puck from his skates on his way to the net but he managed in time to get a neat backhand under Hart’s pads. Assists went to Radim Simek and Mario Ferraro.

Timo Meier added a third goal at 9:21, his 12th of the season. He tipped Burns’ shot from the blue line while he and Goodrow both screened the goaltender. Assists went to Burns and Brenden Dillon.

The Sharks finished the second period with eleven shots to the Flyers’ eight. They also had one power play and took two penalties. One of those was Barclay Goodrow’s and gave the Flyers almost two full minutes of power play time to start the third period.

The Flyers scored on that power play, 51 seconds into the third. Claude Giroux, on the edge of the face-off circle, made a backhand pass to Ivan Provorov up on the blue line. Several Flyers converged on the net just as Provorov took the shot and it went by Jones on the blocker side. Assists went to Giroux and Travis Konecny.

The Sharks got that goal back with a three on one from Evander Kane, Barclay Goodrow and Timo Meier. Kane carried the puck into the zone and waited until defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere went down, trying to block the pass. Kane’s pass floated over Gostisbehere’s stick to Meier. Meier took the shot and put it past Hart as the goaltender tried to get across.

Timo Meier completed his hat-trick at 12:52 of the third. Barcay Goodrow sent the puck around the boards as he crossed the blue line. Evander Kane was coming around the other side and picked the puck up behind the net. Timo Meier arrived at the net, ready to receive the pass from Kane across the ice. Assists went to Kane and Goodrow.

With 2:40 left in the period, Marcus Sorensen made a nice move after carrying the puck into the zone at speed. He chipped the puck around Provorov to attempt a shot. Sorensen’s shot failed but Patrick Marleau was right behind him to tap the puck in. Assists went to Sorensen and Joe Thornton.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday in Detroit against the Red Wings at 4:30 PM PT.

Sharks Give up Lead, Lose 3-2 to Kings in OT

photo from sfgate.com: Los Angeles Kings Jeff Carter (77) scored the game winning goal in overtime at 1:31 to get the Kings the victory on Friday night over goalie Aaron Dell (30) and the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center in San Jose

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks lost 3-2 to the Los Angeles Kings in overtime Friday night at SAP Center. Sharks goals were scored by Erik Karlsson and Joe Thornton. Aaron Dell made 35 saves in the loss. Both regulation goals for Los Angeles came from Martin Frk, while Jeff Carter scored the overtime winner. Jack Campbell made 22 saves in the win.

The teams played a scoreless first period, trading power plays and finishing close in most respects, shots 10-8 Kings, five blocked shots each, hits 9-6 Sharks. In the face-off circle, though, the Kings walloped the Sharks, winning 71% of them. Tomas Hertl and Anze Kopitar took the lion’s share of those.

The Sharks took a lead at 6:16 of the second period with a shot from Erik Karlsson just below the blue line. He got the puck just off of an offensive zone face-off, and he held on to it until he saw his chance. A screen created by several skaters, including Patrick Marleau, blinded Campbell to the shot. Assists went to Marleau and Joe Thornton.

Joe Thornton scored his first of the season at 11:39 of the period. Marcus Sorensen carried the puck across the blue line and dropped it to Thornton on the left side. Thornton passed it across the ice to Marleau, who moved it closer to the center of the ice with a pass to a speeding Radim Simek. Simek made a back-hand pass just as he approached the blue paint, finding Thornton open while attention was drawn to Simek. Assists went to Simek and Marleau.

The teams finished the second period with 11 shots each. The Sharks narrowed the face-off gap a bit, winning 44% of them.

The Kings scored at 1:30 of the third period. Jeff Carter took a hit from Mario Ferraro in order to send the puck around behind the net to Nikolai Prokhorkin. Prokhorkin sent it post-haste to the front of the net where Martin Frk was arriving fast. Frk took a diving shot and beat Dell for his first goal of the season.

Near the mid-point of the period, the Sharks still had no shots on goal, while Los Angeles had five. In the final minutes, the Sharks had all of three shots on the period, and they were dumping the puck in during the final two minutes when the Kings broke through the neutral zone.

Prokhorkin knocked Erik Karlsson off the puck in the corner, Jeff Carter took the puck and lifted it over a Sharks stick to Frk in the slot. Frk scored his second of the game. The goal sent the game to overtime.

The Sharks had recovered in the face-off circle during the third period, but obviously winning 69% of those did them little good. Being out-shot 15-4 may also have contributed to letting the Kings tie it up.

In overtime there were only three shots recorded, two for Los Angeles and one for San Jose. 1:31 in, the Sharks lost track of the puck behind their net and the Kings found it while Aaron Dell was diving for it. With the goalie down and out and no one else covering, Jeff Carter scored the game winner into an open net. Alex Iafallo got the assist.

The Sharks next play on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers at 7:30 PM PT.

Golden Knights Beat Sharks 3-1; San Jose takes ninth loss in ten games

photo from sfgate.com: Vegas Golden Knights center Paul Stastny (26) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks have lost a third game in a row, again. The 3-1 loss was to the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday. Vegas goals came from Paul Stasny, Shea Theodore and Jonathan Marchessault. Malcolm Subban made 37 saves for the win. Logan Couture scored the only Sharks goal and Aaron Dell made 34 saves in the loss.

The Sharks have earned the distinction of scoring the fewest goals(19) this December of any team in the NHL. Comparing the team’s performance in November to this abysmal December, Sharks captain Logan Couture said:

We’re finding ways to lose now whereas in November we were finding ways to win. That was the close games, you know. We were getting games to overtime, we were finding a way to score in overtime, we were getting to a shootout, win in a shootout. Now we’re giving up goals in the last ten minutes in a tie game in the third period and losing those games.

Sharks head coach Bob Boughner was not available for the post game press conference, but Associate coach Roy Sommer said: “Another one of those games where we were in it and end up tying it up and I thought positive things were going to come out of it. It’s kind of like you’re waiting for the other shoe to fall off and sure enough that’s what happened. I thought for the most part we battled.”

In the scoreless first period, the Golden Knights out-shot the Sharks 13-7, and had two power plays. The power plays came at the start of the period, a 1:30 penalty to Evander Kane for tripping, and at the end, a 17:17 penalty to Erik Karlsson for sending the puck over the glass. Vegas got credit for four shots during those power plays.

Almost six minutes into the second period, the Sharks had just one shot on goal, taken by Joe Thornton during a breakaway. Vegas goaltender Subban got enough of that shot so that it rang off the outside of the post. By contrast, Vegas had five shots and Aaron Dell was busy in net.

The Sharks finally had a good shift in the offensive zone around a minute later. They added a couple of shots to their count and drew their first penalty of the game- another puck over the glass penalty. The Sharks applied some pressure during that power play but registered just one shot on goal.

About 90 seconds after the Sharks’ power play expired, they were on the penalty kill for an elbowing penalty to Brent Burns. Vegas came up with no shots on that power play.

Vegas broke the tie with just 2:29 left in the second period. Paul Stasny, guarded by Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Erik Karlsson both on the same side of the ice, took a shot that went off the post. It bounced out to the other side of the net and Stasny got to it again before either Sharks defenseman could get to him. He also had an open net to shoot at. Assists went to Alex Tuch and Valentin Zykov.

The final minute of the period was spent four-on-four with Brenden Dillon and Ryan Reaves in the box with matching roughing penalties.

Logan Couture tied the game back up at 3:54 of the third. Brent Burns carried the puck around behind the net and sent it through the blue paint across to the open shooter. Assists went to Burns and Tomas Hertl.

Vegas took the lead back at 8:05. William Karlsson had his pas intercepted by a Sharks skate as he moved into the Sharks zone. He turned as if to retrieve the puck but instead left it for Shea Theodore to collect, while Karlsson kept Patrick Marleau clear of Theodore. Theodore took a quick shot from above the face-off circle and beat Dell. Assists went to Karlsson and Nicolas Hague.

The Sharks had a third period power play after that, but could not score.

Vegas expanded the lead with a third goal at 16:35. Reilly Smith got the puck after a neutral zone face-off. He carried it over the blue line and out-skated Erik Karlsson before making a cross-ice pass to Jonathan Marchessault who was closing on the net. Dell could not get across quick enough to stop Marchessault’s shot. Assists went to Smith and William Karlsson.

As they have for three games in a row now, the Sharks closed out the game with a late third period power play and a six-on-four advantage with their goaltender pulled. As before, they did not score.

The Sharks will next play after the Christmas break, on December 27 against the Los Angeles King at 7:00 PM PT.

Sharks Fall 5-2 to Blues, San Jose 1-3-0 Since Coaching Change

sfgate.com photo: St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo shoots for a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the third period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019.

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE- The Sharks fell 5-2 to the St. Louis Blues Saturday. Blues goals came from Jordan Kyrou, Jaden Schwartz, Alex Pietrangelo, and Ryan O’Reilly. Jake Allen made 34 saves in the win. Sharks goals came from Brent Burns and Stefan Noesen. This was Noesen’s first game as a Shark after being claimed off of waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 19. Martin Jones made 23 saves in the loss.

The Sharks are 1-3-0 since Bob Boughner took over as Sharks Head Coach on December 11. In two of those games they gave up five or more goals against. After Saturday’s game, Sharks captain Logan Couture described the Sharks’ offensive zone struggles:

I thought in the offensive zone we didn’t have enough, I guess polish around their net, you know, we weren’t winning enough battles to score enough goals. The pucks were there, he wasn’t handling many of the shots well. There were a lot of rebounds in the slot, we just didn’t get there to got the second opportunities.

Asked for a reaction to these two losses in a row where the Sharks out-shot their opponent, Couture said: “I don’t care about shots on goal, I care about us losing. We’ve been doing a lot of that. So, the feeling sucks, I mean it’s not fun.”

At the other end of the ice, the Sharks fell short as well. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones said: “Made some mistakes that we shouldn’t be making late in the game and they cost us. When you do that you need a save and we’re not getting that either.” Of Jones’s performance, Bob Boughner said: “He was pretty decent. He gave us a chance. I think their first goal was just okay but there’s not much he could do on the other two. We ask our goalies not to try and have to win us a game, just give us a chance. I thought he gave us a chance tonight.”

The Sharks out-shot the Blues in the first period 15-6 but the period ended with the Sharks on a power play and no goals scored.

Brent Burns changed that at the start of the first period, before the Sharks power play expired. He scored his first goal in 16 games with a beautiful shot that went off the post and in. Receiving a pass from Burns in the corner, Erik Karlsson took a moment to settle the puck at the top of the slot before sending the puck back to Burns for the shot above the face-off circle.

The Blues got that back in less than two minutes. Jordan Kyrou entered the zone and split the defense with his formidable speed. One on one with Jones, his back hand went right under the goaltender.

The visitors went on to take the lead at 5:30 of the period during a power play caused by a delay of game penalty to Evander Kane. Brayden Schenn sent the puck right through the blue paint in front of Jones and Jaden Schwartz had his stick free on the other side of the net so he could tap the puck in. Assists went to Schenn and David Perron.

The Sharks tied it back up when Brenden Dillon’s stretch pass found Stefan Noesen just above the St. Louis blue line. Noesen caught it in stride and skated until he was a nose ahead of the Blues defender before he took the shot. He beat Jake Allen on the short side. Assists went to Dillon and Burns. It was Noesen’s second of the season and his first as a Shark.

The shot count was a little closer in the second period, 13-9 Sharks.

St. Louis took the lead back at 11:07 of the third period with a goal from Alex Pietrangelo. Pietrangelo and Ivan Barbashev came out of the neutral zone with only Marc-Edouard Vlasic back. Vlasic effectively eliminated the pass so Pietrangelo shot from the top of the face-off circle and put it in the top corner. Assists went to Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn.

The Sharks got a game-ending power play at 16:53, not unlike the end of their last game in Arizona. The Sharks could not score again and this time they also gave up a short-handed, empty net goal. That was scored by Ryan O’Reilly with an assist to Justin Faulk. Alex Pietrangelo scored another at 19:52.

The Blues out-shot the Sharks 13-8 in the third period.

The Sharks next play on Sunday at 7:00 PM PT against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Sharks Best Canucks 4-2; Six game skid comes to an end

photo from sfgate.com: The Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes (left) tries to reach around on San Jose Sharks rightwinger Timo Meier on Saturday night at SAP Center.

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks celebrated Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s 1000th NHL game with a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks Saturday. The win ended a six-game losing streak and no doubt made Star Wars night more fun for the fans at the SAP Center. Sharks goals came from Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Evander Kane and Logan Couture. Aaron Dell made 33 saves in the win. Canucks goals came from Jake Virtanen and Bo Horvat with Jacob Markstrom making 23 saves in the loss.

After the game, Marc-Edouard Vlasic confessed that he did not keep the puck from his 1000th game: “No, that was for Bob. I’ll just pick up a random puck and tell everybody it’s 1000 games. Nobody’ll know the difference.” The win was also Bob Boughner’s first as head coach of the Sharks.

Boughner talked later about the work the team is doing: “We got a practice in yesterday so it was nice to get our lines together and work some offensive zone play that we’re trying to establish. I think that both ends of the ice really, we worked on a little different defensive structure.” He also gave credit to his goaltender:

Deller, you know, he was our best player. You know, he made some key saves at key times and, you know, really kept us in it when we were starting to take on water. And that’s what a goalie does in a win like that. I liked the way we played. We played with some poise. Second period we took on too much but, you know, I thought the third period we responded. Even though they were in our zone a little bit, we didn’t have too many let downs and so many break downs in the slot area.

The first goal of the game came at 10:50 of the first. Joe Thornton got the puck from Kevin Labanc and held it while Tomas Hertl went to the net. Vancouver’s Tyler Meyers dropped to block the pass but Thornton sent it behind him, between the prone defenseman and the goaltender to Hertl on the other side of the net. From there, Hertl had an open net to shoot at and he did not miss. It was Hertl’s 12th goal of the season.

The second period was scoreless with Vancouver out-shooting San Jose 12-7. San Jose had two unsuccessful power plays and one successful penalty kill.

A nice outlet pass from Erik Karlsson found Timo Meier in the neutral zone. Couture, Kane and Meier went into the zone three on two. Meier made a pass to Lane, who passed it right back. Meier wound up taking the shot from just above the goal line and it went in off of Markstrom. Assists went to Kane and Karlsson.

Less than a minute later, Adam Gaudette skated through the neutral zone with the puck, found his way around the Sharks defense and managed to make a quick pass to Jake Virtanen in the slot. Virtanen carried it a few strides before taking the shot and beating Dell on the far side. Assists went to Gaudette and Christopher Tanev.

The third San Jose goal came from Evander Kane at 18:39 of the third. After he missed the empty net twice, his team-mates held the zone and got the puck back to him for a third try. He got that one but did not celebrate. Assists went to Logan Couture and Barclay Goodrow.

The Canucks gave some extra weight to that empty net goal at 19:31 with their goaltender pulled again. Quinn Hughes took a shot from the blue line. Dell stopped that but gave up a trickling rebound. Bo Horvat was there to tuck it in the net. Assists went to Hughes and Brock Boeser.

The Canucks pulled their goalie again. A few seconds later, Marc-Edouard Vlasic stole the puck at the Sharks blue line and found Logan Couture with a pass for another shot into the empty net. The time of that goal was 19:52.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday against the Arizona Coyotes at 7:30 PM PT in San Jose.

Peter DeBoer Out as Sharks Head Coach

Photo credit: @CompleteHkyNews

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — Peter DeBoer is no longer the head coach of the San Jose Sharks. His time with the Sharks ended today, after the team returned from a winless four game road trip. They have just 15 wins this season in 33 games, and have lost their last five games. The Sharks also announced that assistant coaches Steve Spott and Dave Barr and goaltending coach Johan Hedberg were dismissed as well.

Assistant Coach Bob Boughner was named interim head coach, with Roy Sommer as assistant coach and Mike Ricci as associate coach. Evgeni Nabokov will step in as goaltending coach.

In their press release, General Manager Doug Wilson said: “When you have had a level of past success, change is never easy, but we feel this team is capable of much more than we have shown thus far and that a new voice is needed.”

The Sharks started this season with one of the worst Octobers in team history, only to rally in November and claw their way back into the playoff picture. Instead of continuing on that trajectory, they have dropped again to sixth in the Pacific Division and a recent record of 4-5-1. The team is laboring with a minus 25 goal differential. Only one team in the league has allowed more than the Sharks’ 114 goals against this season, and that is the Detroit Red Wings. That is somewhat shocking with two Norris Trophy winning defensemen on the Sharks’ blue line.

DeBoer became the Sharks head coach at the end of the 2014-15 season, replacing Todd McLellan. His tenure with the Sharks had an eerie similarity to his time with the New Jersey Devils, the NHL team he coached before the Sharks. In his first season in New Jersey, he led the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final. Their record declined steeply from there. Under DeBoer’s leadership, the Sharks also reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in team history. That was DeBoer’s first season with the organization and, as with the Devils, that was the high point of his record in San Jose.

Sharks Power Play Scores, Still Lose 5-1 to Panthers

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks lost 5-1 to the Florida Panthers Sunday at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. Panthers goals came from Keith Yandle, Aleksander Barkov, Mike Matheson, Brett Connolly and Frank Vatrano. Their goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky, made 30 saves for the win. The Sharks goal was scored by Kevin Labanc, the team’s first power play goal in 23 tries. Martin Jones made 28 saves in the loss.

After the game, Labanc said:

Today, we were working we just weren’t scoring so it sucks. Like I said, I mean we’re getting a ton of chances but we’re just not capitalizing on them. And… just… it’s all in the detail of the game and it’s not that they’re a better team than us it’s just that we’re making more mistakes.

Sharks forward Evander Kane, who sat out for a period’s worth of penalties, said: “I think we’re a little too relaxed right now. A couple games, that we’re off to bad starts and we didn’t really fight back and we didn’t really have much fight back after we got down so that’s really the most disappointing part.”

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer identified goaltending and special teams as the problem in Sunday’s game:

I thought we hung in there and, you know, kept fighting but you know it wasn’t enough. And, you know, their goalie was better, their special teams were better tonight than ours. That was probably the story. I thought five-on-five we probably carried a lot of the play but, those two areas, they were better than us.

The Panthers started the scoring on a power play at 4:15 of the first. Kevin Labanc was in the box for hooking. Jonathan Huberdeau’s pass up the boards found Keith Yandle for a shot from the blue line. Assists went to Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov.

Barkov scored the next one at 8:15, putting the Panthers up 2-0. The Panthers entered the zone three-on-two with Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic defending. With Karlsson covering Keith Yandle but letting Barkov slip by at the last moment. Evgenii Dadonov was the puck carrier and he sent the puck to the net for Barkov to tap in. Assists went to Dadonov and Huberdeau.

Kevin Labanc made up for his penalty with a power play goal at 10:13. Labanc took a pass from Erik Karlsson up near the blue line and took the shot from above the face-off circle. The puck went up over Bobrovsky’s shoulder as Timo Meier was blocking the goaltender’s view. Assists went to Karlsson and Evander Kane. The goal ended a scoreless streak 23 power plays long for San Jose.

The Panthers out-shot the Sharks 12-9 in the first period.

Florida scored again on the power play at 6:32 of the second period. With Brett Connolly in the goaltender’s eyes, Mike Matheson took a shot from the blue line that made its way all the way in. Assists went to Aaron Ekblad and Frank Vatrano.

Just 4:16 into the second period, Evander Kane was given multiple penalties for fighting, instigation and misconduct. That all resulted from his response to a hit from behind. The penalties put him out of play for the rest of the period and the start of the third. After the game, Kane was asked about the incident and said: “A guy hits me in the head and no call, you know, you gotta protect yourself. Nobody else is gonna protect you on the ice, not the refs, not the other team, so sometimes you gotta stick up for yourself.”

At the end of the second period, the Panthers took an interference penalty that put the Sharks on the power play for almost a minute of the third period. Seconds into the third, the Panthers took a delay of game penalty, giving the Sharks a brief two-man advantage. That was not enough and the Sharks finished those power plays still down 3-1.

Brenden Dillon went to the penalty box for four minutes, two for high-sticking and two for slashing. The penalties came shortly after a slash that Huberdeau delivered to Dillon earlier that was not called.

The score quickly became 4-1 on the next Panthers power play. Mike Hoffman’s shot from the blue line created a rebound that Connolly was able to put in the net despite losing his footing in front of Martin Jones. Assists went to Hoffman and Keith Yandle.

The Sharks pulled their goaltender with just over two minutes to go and Frank Vatrano put the puck in the net a little over 30 seconds later. Assists went to Mackenkie Weegar and Aaron Ekblad.

The Sharks continue their road trip with a game in Nashville on Tuesday against the Predators at 5:00 PM PT.

The Sharks will be without one of their regular defensemen, Radim Simek, for about two weeks as he is undergoing a surgical procedure.