Stalock Stymies Sharks, Wild Win 3-2; Loss ends SJ’s three game win streak

photo from Minnesota Wild forward Alex Galchenyuk, left, celebrates after scoring a goal against San Jose Sharks’ Martin Jones, right, in the second..

By Matthew Harrington 

SAN JOSE–The San Jose Sharks longest win streak since November came to an end with the visiting Minnesota Wild getting a desperately needed 3-2 win. Former Shark Alex Stalock made 40 saves and Alex Galchenyuk scored the game-winner. Former Shark Gary Suter’s nephew Ryan scored for the Wild as well and Zach Parise added the insurance goal.

Stefan Noesen and Joe Thornton had the Sharks tallies and Martin Jones made 24 saves in his third-straight start. Suter scored his eighth of the year 8:34 into the first, but Noesen responded on a San Jose power play with 5:20 left in the frame. Noah Gregor and Tim Heed had the assists. 

The Wild capitalized on poor defense in the second period, scoring a pair of goals in the period. First Galchenyuk was given room to break towards the net, taking a Parise rebound to the net on the backhand for a 2-1 Wild lead 11:30 into the period. Suter also assisted on the goal for his second point of the night. 
Parise would finish off a cross-crease pass after he was left unmarked when a pair of Sharks defenders went after the Puck carrier Luke Kunin. After taking Kunin’s pass, Parise went five-hole on the backhand to beat Jones for his 25th goal with 5:32 left in the period. 

Joe Thornton scored on a net front scramble 9:08 into the third to make it 3-2 Minnesota. Despite an absolute flurry of shots, 20 by San Jose to just three for Minnesota, the Wild closed out the game. They hopped over a couple teams to now take the first wild card spot in the Western Conference. 

The Sharks next welcome the Senators to the Shark Tank for a Saturday afternoon tilt, then hit the ice Sunday night against another playoff bound squad, the Colorado Avalanche. 

Matt Harrington does the NHL podcast each Saturday for 

Sharks Spoilers Again in 5-2 Win Over Leafs photo from Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, left, scores a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, March 3, 2020.

Playoff contenders coming into the Shark Tank have officially been put on notice: the San Jose Sharks will not be doormats for the top teams of the league as the season winds down. The Sharks scored two goals in less than a minute in the third period to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 Tuesday night after embarrassing the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-0 Saturday night at home. The Sharks peppered Jack Campbell with 38 shots on goal Tuesday. 

Evander Kane scored twice, Antti Suomela and Stefan Noesen had a goal and an assist and Martin Jones made 25 saves to give the Sharks the victory over a Toronto squad sitting in third place in the Atlantic division five points ahead of the Florida Panthers. Auston Matthews scored his 46th goal of the year, trailing only David Pastrnak (47) of the Bruins for the league lead. The Maple Leafs superstar also added his 33rd assist on a Mitch Mariner goal.

The teams were tied 2-2 entering the third after Toronto twice erased a one-goal deficit, but the Sharks pulled ahead just over five minutes into the final period. Stefan Noesen used the Sap boards to his advantage, tracking down Suomela’s shot that whistled wide left of the Toronto net. It bounced off the end boards on the opposite post where Noesen was waiting to tuck it in for a 3-2 Sharks lead 5:48 into the third.

Evander Kane added his second goal of the game and 24th of the year just 50 seconds later. The winger skated to Leafs net minder Jack Campbell’s left and ripped the puck under his glove for a 4-2 lead. Radim Simek put in the empty netter for the final score. 

Kane opened the scoring in the first, tipping a Brent Burns point shot on the power play 6:38 into the game, but Matthews would answer back 2:48 into the second. Suomela scored his first goal of the year 66 seconds later after Noesen put the Puck on Campbell and Suomela found the rebound on the goal line for the no-angle strike. Marner scored with 2:33 left in the second to tie the game 2-2 on a great individual effort.

The Sharks fan once again play spoiler Thursday in game three of a five game homestand when they face the Minnesota Wild. The Wild currently sit one point back of Winnipeg for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference and look to avenge a 2-0 loss at home to the Sharks earlier in the year. 


Sharks Beat Devils 3-2 in OT, Couture Wins It With First Goal Since Injury Return

photo from The San Jose Sharks Marcus Sorenson scores past New Jersey goaltender Cory Schnieder at SAP Center in San Jose on Thursday night 

By Jerry Feitelberg

It’s good to have the captain back, or at least that’s what Sharks fans are saying after Logan Couture scored in overtime to cap a 3-2 comeback win after trailing 2-0 and snap a five-game losing Streak. Marcus Sorensen scored a short-handed goal and Mario Ferraro also lit the lamp to give San Jose its first win after the trade deadline.

Couture scored his first goal since returning to the lineup in the previous game, beating Schneider 38 seconds into the overtime for the win. Brent Burns had circled the cage and fed Couture in the slot, but his shot ricocheted off the goalie.

Evander Kane picked up the rebound with his back to the net, hooked his stick to pass to Couture at the far post. Couture buried it for the win and his 15th goal of the year.

Ferraro started San Jose’s comeback with his second goal of the year 2:20 into the third when his point shot fluttered through traffic, beguiling Devils net minder Corey Schneider to cut the lead to 2-1. Noah Gregor, one of the young players who will see an expanded role after the deadline departures, picked up his first career assist on the play. 

Joel Kellman, filling in on the penalty kill for an injured Melker Karlsson and the traded Barclay Goodrow, managed to force the puck the other way on a two-on-one with Marcus Sorensen. Kellman feathered the pass to Sorensen perfectly, allowing the Swede to bury his seventh goal of the year with 4:02 left in the second to tie the game.

New Jersey’s pair of first period goals came off Sharks miscues, with Travis Zajac managing to score on a no angle shot that Martin Jones saved but ultimately was pulled off the post for. The puck was sitting in the crease when Marc-Edouard Vlasic, attempting to clear it, may have put it across the goal line 11:09 into the game.

Nikita Gusev scored just under four minutes later when Jacob Middleton had a chance to clear the puck, but was pickpocketed by Gusev right in the slot. Gusev outwaited Jones for the easy goal and a 2-0 Devils lead at the time.

The Sharks continue a six-game homestand when they face the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday night in a homecoming of sorts for one player. Patrick Marleau will face the team that traded him to the Eastern Conference in Monday’s dealings ending his second stint in Teal.

Short-handed Sharks Fall to Desperate Panthers 5-3

photo from Florida Panthers’ Mike Hoffman, right, celebrates after scoring a goal against the San Jose Sharks in the second period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, in San Jose, Calif.

By Jerry Feitelberg

SAN JOSE–The desperate Florida Panthers started the first game of the dreaded three-team California gauntlet with a 5-3 win over the San Jose Sharks in a Monday matinee. Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves and Evgenii Dadonov, Mike Hoffman and Colton Sceviour scored for the Cats while Dylan Gambrell, Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier scored for San Jose who were coming off two-game road winning streak.

Florida avoided a three-game losing streak and now sits three points back of Philadelphia for the second Eastern Conference Wild Card spot.

The Sharks continue to be without a core group of players with Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl and now Erik Karlsson out with injury and Evander Kane in game two of a three-game suspension for an elbowing penalty Friday in Winnipeg.

They may add another player to the walking wounded after Antti Suomela exited the game after the second period after taking a hit from Josh Brown.

Dadonov opened the scoring for Florida when the Sharks defense loosened up enough for him to slip in and take a Frank Vatrano feed to beat Aaron Dell 4:52 into play. Gambrell picked up the equalizer, his fourth goal of the year, on a pass from Suomela right into the slot 11:30 into the period.

The Sharks fell behind 2-1 halfway through the game when Mike Hoffman picked off a d-to-d pass in his defensive end and went end-to-end before burying the puck 22nd goal of the year. A wild third period started with Colton Sceviour firing a puck on Dell, following up on his rebound and scoring at 10:04.

Kevin Labanc answered back with a strike with 5:26 left in regulation to open up a six minute span that saw teams swap four goals. Anton Stralman, Meier and Vincent Trocheck all scored down the stretch for the 5-3 final.

Next up for the Sharks is a four-game road swing through the Tri-State area, facing off against the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers before returning home to the Shark Tank to face the Devils once again February 27th.

Flames Burn Sharks 6-2, Tkachuk Dives and Dazzles

photo from Calgary Flames’ Mark Jankowski, top right, celebrates after scoring a goal against San Jose Sharks goalie Aaron Dell, bottom left, during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in San Jose, Calif

By Matthew Harrington

SAN JOSE–The Calgary Flames fourth line and power play were lethal Monday night at the SAP Center, with the Flames topping the host San Jose Sharks 6-2. Matthew Tkachuk scored a highlight reel goal, each member of Calgary’s fourth line scored and the Flames converted on three of six power play opportunities. Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns scored for San Jose. Aaron Dell made 31 saves, but the Sharks were outshot 37-36 in the loss.

Calgary had a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes thanks to Milan Lucic’s sixth goal on the man advantage and goals from fourth liners Tobias Rieder and Zac Rinaldo. Karlsson scored his 6th goal of the year with 7:13 left in the period to cut the lead and Brent Burns scored a power play goal on their lone opportunity 4:51 into the second. Calgary’s third bottom liner scored halfway through the second on a backhanded for a 4-2 Flames lead.

Matthew Tkachuk arguably took a dive early in the third period, then scored a goal that will surely be the talk of the league tomorrow morning. Much like his OT winner in Nashville earlier in the year or Tomas Hertl’s fourth goal against the Rangers years ago, Tkachuk pulled the puck between his legs and fired top shelf for a 5-2 lead. Mikael Backlund added a goal just six minutes away from the end of regulation for the 6-2 final.

The Sharks’ league-leading penalty kill was put to the test, sending a man to the box six times. Lucic, Tkachuk and Backlund all scored for a 50% PK conversion night for the Sharks. San Jose will have a while to think about this contest, they won’t play again until Friday against Winnipeg in the Great White North.

Hertl Exits Sharks 5-2 Loss to Vancouver Early with Injury

photo from Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom, left, blocks a shot from San Jose Sharks’ Tomas Hertl during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, in San Jose, Calif.

By Jerry Feitelberg

The San Jose Sharks suffered two losses Wednesday night against the Vancouver Canucks, first seeing Tomas Hertl exit the game in the 1st period with a lower body injury then following it up by losing a one-goal lead in the 3rd period to drop a 5-2 decision to the Canucks.

Hertl scored the first goal of the game before exiting with an injury and Brent Burns scored his 4th goal of the month but the Sharks ran into as tout Jacob Markstrom in net. The Canucks keeper made 38 saves to stifle the Sharks offense while the Canucks rallied to score 4 times in the 3rd period.

Hertl opened the game looking to build off his success at the All-Star Game in St. Louis where he scored 4 goals in one game and had the game-winner in the championship against the Atlantic Division. He took a pass from Timo Meier and wired it past Markstrom 4:15 into the game for a 1-0 Sharks lead.

He was using his skills as a power forward to create opportunities, but after a rush a few minutes after his goal Christopher Tanev didn’t ease up on pressure, lost his balance and pressed Hertl into the boards at an awkward angle.

Hertl lay on the ice briefly but skated off under his own power before heading down the tunnel to the Sharks locker room, ending his night after a little less than half a period.

The news after the game on Hertl didn’t sound positive. He has missed significant time with a right knee injury earlier in his young career and that area appeared to be close to the point of impact. If he is out for a prolonged period of time it may speed up the Sharks trade deadline plans with Logan Couture also still sidelined with an injury.

The early momentum for the Sharks seemed to slip away after Hertl exited the game and Quinn Hughes took advantage. His point shot worked its way through a crowd past Martin Jones 11:08 into the 1st to tie the game. Brent Burns gave the Sharks the lead 5:57 into the 2nd but Vancouver dominated the 3rd on the scoreboard.

Tyler Myers tied the game 2:36 into the period, then Marc-Edouard Vlasic took a double-minor for high-sticking 4:47 into the final period. The Sharks killed off the first penalty, but 16 seconds into the 2nd Jake Virtanen scored his 15th goal of the year. Brandon Sutter added one 59 seconds after the power play strike and Tanner Pearson scored the empty-netter for the Canucks. Markstrom turned aside all 12 third period shots for the win.

The road ahead doesn’t get easier for the Sharks who will hope to have Hertl back in the lineup Saturday. They face the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning at home.

Milestones Galore for Marleau in Sharks 4-2 Win Over Ducks photo: The San Jose Sharks Patrick Marleau gets congratulations after scoring in the second period of Monday night’s game against the Anaheim Ducks at SAP Center in San Jose

By Jerry Feitelberg

It’s a shame Patrick Marleau didn’t pick a song for the first game the San Jose Sharks decided to use individual player songs, because he’d have a nice personal soundtrack to a few NHL milestones. Marleau scored a pair of goals in the Sharks 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in a return to action following the All-star break, moving into the top 25 all-time in goals and top-50 in points.

Stefan Noesen scored a pair of goals for the Sharks as well, and Erik Karlsson dished his 600th career point on an assist, but the night belonged to Marleau. He became just the 4th player all time with 22 consecutive 10+ goal seasons, joining Gordie Howe, Mark Messier and Alex Delvecchio. He also netted his 1,100th and 1,101st points in San Jose teal and picked up career game-winning goal 101 as a Shark (109 in total).

It was Stefan Noesen who opened the scoring for the Sharks on a deflection 1:55 into the game but Marleau’s veteran savvy led to the Sharks’ next strike. Marleau picked off an errant Ducks pass in the slot before beating John Gibson for his 9th goal of the year.

It was also Marleau’s 650th career goal, moving him into a tie with Guy LaFleur for 26th place all time in goal scoring. The goal was also Marleau’s 1,100th as a Shark and tied him with Rod Brind’Amour for 50th all-time in points with 1,184.

Ondrej Kase scored the first of the Ducks goals short-handed 9:04 into the second, but Marleau responded on a wrist shot with 4:28 left in the 2nd to move past LaFleur and Brind’Amour for his place in history. By edging past LaFleur. Marleau found himself moving further up the ladder. His second goal places him in 25th place, tied with Mike Modano’s 651 career tucks.

It also put him in the company of the aforementioned Hall of Famers by having 22 double-digit goal total seasons.

Noesen scored his 2nd goal of the game 2:28 into the third, with Erik Karlsson assisting for his 600th career point. A late power play goal by the Nick Ritchie of the Ducks soured an otherwise strong showing from Aaron Dell who made 26 saves on the night.

The Sharks look to continue the second half push against the team that smoked them heading into the All-star break when the Vancouver Canucks come to the Bay Area Wednesday night.


Without Couture Sharks Beat Blazing Blue Jackets 3-1 photo: San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) skates with the puck against Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov (44) and goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (90) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020

By Matthew Harrington

SAN JOSE–Despite missing their captain and top line center, the San Jose Sharks (20-22-4) managed to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 Thursday night at the SAP center.

Joe Thornton scored a power play goal and Kevin Labanc and Brent Burns tallied even-strength markers for San Jose. Aaron Dell made 30 saves to pick up his 7th win of the season, only giving up a goal to Sonny Milano off a turnover in an otherwise stellar showing.

Columbus (21-16-8) has only lost two games in regulation over their last 16 games, but both the losses in regular time are at the hands of the Sharks. San Jose also beat the Blue Jackets 3-2 in Columbus last Saturday.

Earlier in the day, the Sharks announced Logan Couture would be out for at least 6 weeks after fracturing his ankle in a game against the St. Louis Blues. For all the doom and gloom that came with the Sharks looking at substantial time without their lone All-Star this year, Thursday didn’t feel like the beginning of the end. Instead, San Jose looked energized to try to build momentum while awaiting his return.

The Sharks fired 33 shots on netminder Elvis Merzlikins and even managed to pick up a power play goal despite missing Couture from the top power play unit. Kevin Labanc, one of the forwards who will be expected to step up and help shoulder the offensive load, started his two-point night by scoring off a rebound 1:01 into the 2nd period.

Later in the period, Joe Thornton scored a very un-Jumbo goal on the power play. With the umbrella shifting, Thornton found himself at the point with the puck. Barclay Goodrow was providing the perfect screen, so the model of the paradigm of pass-first decided instead to shoot the puck. Thornton’s shot beat Merzlikins up high for a 2-0 Sharks lead with 6:32 left in the middle period.

Late in the second, Brent Burns was dogged by Gustav Nyquist and chose to clear the puck out of his corner by wheeling it back up the middle. He didn’t feel the pressure from Milano crashing in while being dogged by his former teammate, so he turned the puck over to Milano right in the slot. Milano dodged the Dell poke check and slipped the puck in the net to ruin Dell’s shutout.

Burns atoned later in the game, scoring a backhand goal of his own off a rebound of a Kevin Labanc shot 2:09 into the 3rd. Labanc picked up an assist for a two-point night and the Sharks held the Blue Jackets scoreless over the remainder of the game to win their first game without their team leader in points.

Saturday night the Sharks welcome back a familiar face to the Shark Tank, with another former captain Joe Pavelski making his first appearance in San Jose since signing with the Dallas Stars in the offseason. Patrick Marleau will be appearing in career game 1,700.

Missed Opportunity Costly in Sharks 3-2 Loss to Coyotes, Hall has Game-Winning Assist in Arizona Debut

Photo credit: @ArizonaCoyotes

By Matthew Harrington

SAN JOSE — Despite fresh faces behind the bench drawing up the plays, the San Jose Sharks power play remains dismal. On Tuesday night, it hit the low point of the season against the Arizona Coyotes. Trailing 3-2 at home, the Sharks were gifted a 6-on-3 for 43 seconds after a pair Coyotes penalties and the goalie pull but failed to generate a single shot on goal. San Jose is now 1 for 15 on the man-advantage over their last five games, going 0-for-4 Tuesday with three shots on goal. Tomas Hertl scored the two Sharks goals and Taylor Hall netted a point in his Coyotes debut. Darcy Keumper was named first star with 26 saves.

In a night where officiating was spotty, enforcement of a rule new to the NHL in 2019 that is fairly black-and-white led to the first Arizona penalty in crunch time. Coyotes defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin had his helmet knocked off in a scrum along the boards, but continued to play on after the puck left the corner. In a new rule this season, since he was not directly involved in the play he needed to grab his helmet or exit the ice but he chose to play on. Brad Richardson would cross-check Tomas Hertl in the back during a scrum for a loose rebound to set up the fatal 6-on-3 that ultimately amounted to nothing.

The Coyotes set up a tense final minutes of the game after Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored with 2:37 left in regulation after his shot ricocheted off Brenden Dillon’s shinpad wide of the far post and went in. Before that, Dillon was beat out on a race to a loose puck by Hall whose effort led to a game-winning assist in his first game since being traded to Arizona Monday afternoon.

The Sharks erased Arizona leads twice, once in the first two periods each. Carl Soderberg scored 4:57 into the contest, but Tomas Hertl answered back on a snapshot that rattled around the net behind Keumper with 2:34 left in the first.

Derek Stepan scored his sixth goal of the year and second against the Sharks this year 9:11 into the second, but Hertl again answered, going bar down on Kuemper from the left face-off dot to the blocker side with 6:05 left in the period. Hertl now has four of the seven goals the Sharks have scored since interim head coach Bob Boughner took over three games ago.

Aaron Dell started in his second game in a row after winning against Vancouver Saturday. He made just 16 saves on 19 shots, though he was hardly at fault on any of the goals. The Sharks now have lost 7 of their last 8 and are six points back of Calgary for the final wild card spot.

The Sharks play host to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday at 7:30 pm PST.

Sharks Lose Boughner’s Debut 6-3; Make that six consecutive winless games

Photo credit: @NBCSSharks

By Jerry Feitelberg

Meet the new Sharks, same as the old Sharks. In their first game since the firing of Peter DeBoer and a number of other coaching staff moves, the San Jose Sharks still ran into familiar problems of an ineffective power play and subpar goaltending in a 6-3 loss to the New York Rangers.

Artemi Panarin scored a hat trick for the Blue Shirts, Mika Zibanejad added a pair and the Rangers had 30 shots to just 18 for San Jose in Bob Boughner’s debut behind the San Jose bench. Tomas Hertl scored playing a hybrid wing-center position, Logan Couture netted a goal and Brenden DIllon scored his first goal in over a year, but the Sharks fell to 0-5-1 over their last six games and now sit five points out of a playoff spot. Joachim Blichfield made his NHL debut and Joe Thornton appeared in NHL career game 1,6000.

Dillon’s goal broke a 2-2 tie 4:12 into the third period and felt like it would be the deciding goal that would spark a Sharks turnaround, but Zibanejad used a Chris Kreider screen on a Rangers power play to tie the game 8:49 into the period. A lackluster defensive effort that saw two Rangers slip behind Sharks defenders for a gigantic screen on Sharks goalie Martin Jones led to another Zibanedjad strike about five minutes later for a 4-3 Rangers lead.

Jones would most likely want the Rangers next goal back as he pulled off his left post with Panarin nearly on the goal line to that side. An all-world sniper, Panarin made Jones pay for the early release from the post with 3:11 left in regulation. He scored on the empty net as well for his 18th of the year and the hat trick to complete a four-goal Rangers third period.

The early response from the Sharks seemed to be a change for the better. Tomas Hertl opened the game scoring first 9:13 into the first period, something the Sharks were having trouble with this season. Jesper Fast and Panarin (another goal Jones would want back after leaving his five-hole unguarded on a lateral push) would score in the second period, but Logan Couture answered back with his 10th goal of the year. San Jose didn’t capitalize though on two power plays, and only mustered 18 shots on the Rangers backup goalie, spelling doom in Boughner’s home debut as Sharks head coach.

The picture of how the Sharks will respond to their coach’s firing may get more clear Saturday night when they take on the Vancouver Canucks. By then, the team should be adjusted to life under four new coaches and systems might be better installed. For now, though, Sharks fans have to continue to settle for a night of unmatched expectations.