Sharks Stumble Against NHL-Best Caps, Lose 5-2

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Matthew Harrington

SAN JOSE–After a torrid stretch of November, the San Jose Sharks December has been a good reminder of how difficult it is to win in the NHL. Tuesday night, the Sharks were visited by the NHL leaders the Washington Capitals (20-4-5) and despite Alexander Ovechkin being held pointless, the Caps still crushed the Sharks 5-2.

San Jose (15-13-1) opened the scoring, but three Washington goals in three minutes swung momentum in a hurry. The Caps added two more goals before the Sharks could add another for a decisive victory for the 2018 Stanley Cup champs. Norris Trophy frontrunner John Carlson had three points (1g, 2a) and Garnet Hathaway and Jakub Vrana each scored a pair of goals. Martin Jones made 18 saves on 23 shots before being pulled in favor of Aaron Dell. Melker Karlsson had a two point night, scoring and assisting on Evander Kane’s third period goal.

Karlsson beat Braden Holtby for his third goal of the season just 2:33 into play, but Garnet Hathaway scored with 6:29 left in the first to tie the game. No more than 55 seconds later, Vrana found the back of the net for his 13th of the year. Just about two minutes later, Carlson scored his ninth of the year to have the Sharks reeling. Carlson now has 37 points on the season, leading all defensemen and putting him 14 points behind Connor McDavid, the scoring race leader.

Hathaway and Vrana scored again in the second, and Evander Kane scored his team-leading 13th goal in the 13th minute of the third period, but any hopes at a comeback stopped there. In total, Braden Holtby made 23 saves on 25 shots.

The Sharks head to Raleigh Thursday night looking to bounce back against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes will also be trying to rebound after getting shut out by the Boston Bruins in Beantown Tuesday night.

Power Play Power Outage Problematic in Sharks 5-1 Loss to Jets

photo from sfgate.com: Winnipeg Jets right wing Patrik Laine (29) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the first period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019

By Jerry Feitelberg

The San Jose Sharks felt the absence of Tomas Hertl especially hard Wednesday night, losing to the Winnipeg Jets 5-1 at home while going 0-for-6 on the power play. Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 32 saves in a spectacular performance, with only Melker Karlsson solving the one-time Vezina trophy winner. Aaron Dell wasn’t sharp in net, allowing 4 goals on 25 shots, but his defense didn’t do him many favors either, with Winnipeg scoring 5 unanswered goals. Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor and Blake Wheeler all had multi-point nights for the victors.

Melker Karlsson opened the scoring 9:28 into the game, netting his second goal of the year after taking a Joe Thornton feed and beating Hellebuyck for the 1-0 lead, but the Sharks would take their foot off the gas pedal after that.

Patrik Laine (1g, 2a) evened things up on a one-timer with a Shark in the penalty box with 6:45 left to play in the period, then Dell (and Erik Karlsson) were victimized by rookie David Gustafsson. Gustafsson skated right past Karlsson then beat Dell on what could be considered a soft goal 1:51 from the first intermission. Gustafsson’s first NHL goal pulled the Jets ahead 2-1.

San Jose didn’t do itself any favors early in the 2nd period when Mark Scheifele was left unmarked in the slot. Kyle Connor connected with him for the point-blank chance, which Scheifele buried for his 9th goal of the year. Jack Roslovic chipped a rebound home with 4:59 left in the second to give Winnipeg the 4-1 edge and Kyle Connor scored the empty-netter with 5:13 left in the game for the 5-1 final.

The Sharks power play, despite a number of opportunities without linchpin Tomas Hertl in the lineup still recovering from a lower body injury. They barely generated any shots on goal, accounting for 8 over the 6 man advantages. Even dressing 7 defensemen, a tactic that had been successful in some of the previous games, didn’t help things click. The Sharks will hope to have Hertl back for the Black Friday matinee against the Los Angeles Kings, a team the Sharks had beat Monday night in LA after originally blowing a 3-0 lead.

 

 

Sharks’ Six-Game Win Streak Snapped, Oilers Top San Jose 5-2

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Matthew Harrington

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks six-game win streak was snapped Tuesday night, and done so in emphatic fashion by the Pacific Division leaders. The Edmonton Oilers came in to the SAP Center and outclassed the Sharks in almost every aspect of the game, rolling to a 5-2 victory and gaining a bit of revenge for a defeat against the Sharks in San Jose last Tuesday.

Mikael Granlund scored his first goal as an Oiler, Connor McDavid scored and racked up two assists and Leon Draisaitl added to his league-leading 44 points with an apple Kevin Labanc and Barclay Goodrow scored for the Sharks, who failed to move into a winning record for the first time all season.

Granlund put the Sharks on their heels early when he scored on a wrister just 3:34 into the first period, and just under eight minutes in Kassian picked up his eighth goal of a year where he has the greatest job in hockey on a line with McDavid and Draisaitl. McDavid Assisted on the play.

Kevin Labanc continued his strong stretch of play, picking up his fourth point over the last two games. He beat Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen 1:24 after Kassian’s marker to pull the Sharks within one. Logan Couture and Evander Kane assisted on the goal.

The Sharks peppered Koskinen in the first, putting 18 pucks on the keeper, but couldn’t crack the Oilers 1B option in net. Add in a Jujhar Khaira goal with 15 seconds left in the period and the Sharks hole to climb out of seemed pretty deep.

They largely weathered the storm of the 2nd until a Oilers powper play with just under three minutes left in the middle stanza. James Neal continued his resurgence, tipping a puck through Martin Jones for a 4-1 Oilers lead with McDavid picking up his 28th assist of the year. McDavid would add his 15th goal of the year 6:34 into the third.

Barclay Goodrow continued his strong season, scoring his 6th goal of the year with 10:17 left in regulation. He’s now one goal away from matching a career-high in seven, a feat he accomplished twice in his career including doing it in 47 games in 2017-18. He’s currently played in 22. While he didn’t make the save here, Koskinen did end the night with 33 denials. Though Martin Jones’ save percentage (.828) and goal total don’t look good for this one, he was hardly at fault for the Oilers offensive outburst.

The Sharks three-game home stand comes to an end, and the real test on if the team has turned a corner awaits. San Jose heads to Vegas to face the Golden Knights Thursday in the Fortress, with Vegas and San Jose jockeying for sixth place in the Pacific.

Sharks Pass Another Test, Win 4th Straight Over Division Leading Oilers 6-3

mercurynews.com photo: San Jose Sharks’ Barclay Goodrow (23) fights against Edmonton Oilers’ Brandon Manning (26) in the second period at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019

By Jerry Feitelberg

If you’re looking for a definitive statement that the San Jose Sharks have officially hit their stride after an abysmal start, Tuesday night was perfect proof. The Sharks manhandled the Pacific Division leading Edmonton Oilers 6-3. 13 different Sharks had a point, with  goals coming from six different players. Martin Jones made 21 saves, but was beaten by Western Conference scoring leader Leon Draisaitl, linemate Zack Kassian and Sam Gagner. Connor McDavid was held to just one assist. Barclay Goodrow had a Gordie Howe hat trick for San Jose. 

The Sharks started the year 4-10-1 through 15 games, but have won four-straight. Each win in the Streak has been an improvement on the last,with the Sharks beating a Blackhawks team that had an equally difficult start, then barely hung on to win 6-5 against a bad Minnesota Wild squad. The shootout win against Nashville Saturday was impressive, with the Preds firmly in playoff position but the win Tuesday solidified the Sharks as being able to beat good teams handedly, a calling card of past successful iterations of the team teal.

Brent Burns opened the scoring after his shot rang around the inside of the crossbar 4:01 into play, then Evander Kane tapped a rebound home from a Logan Couture shot for his team-leading 11th goal 7:27 in.

Patrick Marleau buzzed by goalie Mike Smith, tipping a Tim Heed shot past the goalie for a 3-0 lead and his first goal of the season not against the Chicago Blackhawks (fourth overall) at the 11:12 mark.

Barclay Goodrow got the toughest leg of the Gordie Howe, scoring his fifth goal of the year 1:26 into the second period. Draisaitl broke up the shutout just under halfway through the game, but the real excitement came later in the middle period.

With a little over five minutes left in the second,Tomas Hertl collided with Oilers wunderkind Connor McDavid, causing the wires to cross in linemate Zack Kassian. Kassian went after Hertl, a scrum ensued and in the aftermath Goodrow wound up dropping the mitts with Matt Benning. Benning also received a game misconduct for not having his fight strap tethered down and Hertl and Kassian got a penalty each.

When Hertl exited the box, he struck gold though. Erik Karlsson found him rushing to the Oilers net front and fired a perfect pass diagonally to Hertl at the goal mouth. While Hertl didn’t get all of the puck, he did get enough of it to slip it through Smith for a 5-1 Sharks lead 17:34 into the period.

Kassian and Sam Gagner scored goals in garbage time in the third, but sandwiched in between Timo Meier scored his fifth goal of the year. Goodrow picked up the secondary assist, netting him his Gordie Howe. 

San Jose hits the road to face the Anaheim Ducks. After that, they’ll return to face the Detroit Red Wings Saturday night at home.

Sharks Hang On In Wild 6-5 Win Over Minnesota

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Matthew Harrington

First, the positives for the San Jose Sharks after Thursday night’s game at home against the Minnesota Wild: With a 6-5 win, San Jose now has its second multi-game win streak of the season. The negative; it wasn’t all that convincing.

After two periods of play, the Sharks held a commanding lead, but if not for a miraculous toe-save by Martin Jones on Zach Paries the game would have gone to overtime. Lowly Minnesota scored three unanswered goals to make Sharks fans sweat the third period out. Martin Jones made 21 saves on 26 shots and Logan Couture appears to be shaking off an early season funk with just his second goal of the campaign and a confidence building four-point night. Tomas Hertl had three points and Radim Simek picked up his first goal since returning to the Sharks in their previous game.

Eric Staal had a goal and an assist for the Wild and Luke Kunin had two points. Former Shark Alex Stalock made just eight saves on 12 Sharks goals before being pulled after a four-goal first period.

Couture, in the longest scoring slump of his career, opened the scoring 52 seconds into the game, then Timo Meier made the Sharks lead 2-0 just under six minutes in. Marcus Sorensen notched his third goal of the year and Radim Simek scored on a slap shot, all in the final five minutes of the period to run the score up  4-0 after 20 minutes.

Kunin  would score late in the second at the 15:51 mark, but Tomas Hertl’s sixth goal of the season would seemingly give San Jose breathing room on the power play. The second closed out with a flurry though as Staal and Evander Kane traded power play goals in the final 2+ minutes for the 6-2 Sharks edge.

Brad Hunt’s wrist shot 8:07 into the third cut the Sharks lead in half, then 1:13 later Ryan Donato’s 1st goal of the year made it 6-4. Jason Zucker’s 5th goal of the season with 4:35 left in regulation cut the lead to just one, and a turnover that led to a Zach Parise one-on-zero seemed like it’d tie the game.

A down but not out Jones made the save and his defenders cleared the puck and a mad dash with the extra attacker for Minnesota proved for naught as the Sharks held on for the win. They’ll look to match a season-high win streak of three games when they take the ice Saturday at home against the Nashville Predators.

Sharks Snap Five Game Skid, Beat Hawks 4-2

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Sports Radio Service Staff writers 

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks snapped their five-game losing skid Tuesday night, largely dominating the Chicago Blackhawks in a 4-2 win at SAP Center. Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier had a goal and an assist apiece. Patrick Marleau scored in his 800th consecutive regular season game played and Evander Kane potted his team-leading 9th goal short-handed and San Jose limited Chicago to just 21 shots on goal (8 through 40 minutes). Barclay Goodrow had a pair of assist for the Sharks and Brandon Saad and Duncan Keith scored for Chicago.

The Sharks were shut out by the reigning Vezina trophy winner Robin Lehner after firing 14 shots on net in the first, though the defense was stout in only yielding three shots that Martin Jones turned aside handily. Then San Jose got on the board early in the 2nd period. Marleau tipped a Puck past Lehner 1:39 into the middle frame, deflecting a Timo Meier shot in net for his 554th career goal. Joe Thornton also assisted on the Iron man’s marker.

Evander Kane would take advantage of a lax Chicago power play unit after Brenden Dillon fed him the puck. The power forward finished off the play, scoring his team-leading 9th goal 12:05 into the frame.

Tomas Hertl made it 3-0 in the third, taking a Barclay Goodrow pass and wristing it past Lehner 4:39 into the period.

Brandon Saad and Duncan Keith beat Jones within minutes of each other, turning a 3-0 deficit to a one-goal margin with 1:54 in regulation, but Meier found the empty net to ice the game at the 18:34 mark.

Defenseman Radim Simek skated in his first NHL game since suffering a lower body injury March 12th of last season in Winnipeg. He didn’t register a point but made an impact, including a thunderous hit on Kirby Dach in the first period. The Sharks hope he has the same impact he had upon joining the lineup last year. The Sharks went 16-3-2 over his first 21 games of his rookie season. He’ll get another crack when the Sharks host the Minnesota Wild Thursday night at 7:30 PM PST.

A’s Don’t Help Themselves, Wild Card Race Tied After M’s 4-3 Walk-off Win

Photo credit: @Mariners

By Matthew Harrington

The Oakland A’s clinched a postseason berth Friday night, but it was hardly cause for celebration. By virtue of the Cleveland Indians losing earlier in the night, the A’s knew they’d be locked into a spot in the Wild Card game. The only question is where will that game be played?

The picture didn’t get clearer Friday. The A’s needed a win in Seattle to stay a game ahead of Tampa Bay for home field advantage in the do-or-die game, with the Rays winning earlier in the night. All signs were pointing up when Matt Olson hit a two-run homer in the seventh to give Oakland a 3-2 lead. But closer Liam Hendriks couldn’t hold on to the lead and the Mariners rallied to walk the A’s off 4-3 on a J.P. Crawford double. Now both Oakland and Tampa sit at 96 wins apiece.

Hendriks got a quick out before Mallex Smith singled. The A’s closer bounced back with a punchout of Dylan Moore, but Smith advanced to second and third base on wild pitches and scored easily on a Shed Long single to tie the game. Crawford then took a 3-2 pitch to left field on a line for the walk-off winner.

The A’s were trailing 2-1 heading into the top of the seventh after Seattle scored runs in the top of the first and third innings off Mike Fiers. Marcus Semien’s 33rd homer of the season in the leadoff spot was the lone as run off Justus Sheffield to that point. Matt Chapman singled off reliever Zac Grotz with one out in the seventh, then Taylor Guilbeau was called in to face Olson. Olson hammered a 3-2 count over the wall in left field to give the A’s the 3-2 lead. AJ Puk, Jake Diekman and Joakim Soria all pitched scoreless innings in relief of Fiers, who pitched five strong, but will most likely watch the Wild Card game from the dugout, thanks to the reemergence of Sean Manaea.

The Rays have yet to announce a starter for Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays, but Trent Thornton and his 5.00 ERA will await the Tampa hitters who will step up to the plate eagerly. For Oakland Brett Anderson takes the hill against Marco Gonzalez, who despite a 4.09 ERA has 16 wins to his credit.

Sharks Win First of Preseason, 4-1, on Four-Goal Third Period

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Matthew Harrington

SAN JOSE–The San Jose Sharks finally won in the 2019 preseason, besting the Calgary Flames 4-1 Thursday night at the SAP Center. Dylan Gambrell helped his cause to make the opening night roster by scoring two goals, line mates Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl scored a goal apiece and Brent Burns notched assists on all four goals.

Both teams were scoreless entering the third period, but Kane opened the flood gates by beating Flames netminder Artyom Zagidulin 3:17 into the third. San Jose then scored three goals in a span of 2:58. Tomas Hertl tipped a Burns blast past Zagidulin at the 10:59 mark then Gambrell beat Zagidulin twice for a 4-0 lead.

Gambrell opened the game on the second line with Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl, but couldn’t take advantage of his opportunities and found himself on the potential fourth line with Melker Karlsson and Goodrow. His odds of factoring into the opening night roster, be it as a skater or a scratch were dwindling, especially with Lukas Radil excelling with Kane and Hertl throughout the preseason. The pressure coach Peter DeBoer has put on the young Gambrell paid off in spades with his performance down the stretch, with production from the fourth line being a necessity this year as the Sharks try to replace Joe Pavelski’s production.

One of the many Sharks assured a spot in the lineup October 2nd, Brent Burns still turned in a stellar performance, collecting four assists in a period. The feat would match a franchise record were the game to have counted.

The Sharks got solid goaltending from Martin Jones with the incumbent starter making 24 saves on 25 shots. The lone goal came with 4:02 left in regulation after Justin Kirkland punched home a rebound to cut the lead to 4-1. The same could not be said of Calgary’s goalie Zagidulin. The 24-year-old former KHLer gave up four goals on 12 shots, entering the game to start the third period. Cam Talbot was perfect to open the game, turning aside 24 Sharks shots to enter third tied 0-0.

Up next for the Sharks are some roster decisions and a match-up with the same team the Sharks will face twice in the season’s first two games. San Jose will face the Vegas Golden Knights Monday on the road before opening the season at T-Mobile Arena on October 2nd.

Camp Battles Begin in Sharks’ 4-3 Loss to Ducks

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Jerry Feitelberg

The San Jose Sharks lost to the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 to open the preseason slate of the 2019-20 campaign at home Tuesday night, but they did get some intel on a couple camp battles. Darkhorse candidates for open forward spots Jonny Brodzinski and Joachim Blichfeld both scored for the Sharks, while potential midseason call-up Ryan Merkley had a pair of assists. Fresh off inking a new deal to take himself out of restricted free agency, Timo Meier picked up right where he left off last season, putting the puck in the net as well.

Aaron Dell, the incumbent to the backup goalie gig 11 saves on 12 shots, leaving the game up 2-1 after just over 30 minutes of play. Josef Korenar made 10 saves, but gave up three goals in the Ducks’ come-from-behind win. Max Jones had the game-winner and added an assist for Anaheim.

San Jose’s primary goal in the exhibition slate is to determine which forwards who either weren’t on the roster or saw limited time in 2018-19 will replace Joe Pavelski’s production. The previous Sharks captain departed San Jose in the offseason after 761 points over 13 seasons with San Jose. With openings on almost every line, Team Teal is expecting it to be a committee to replace Pavelski’s production.

With that being the case, Brodzinski and Blichfeld each flashed a skill from Pavelski’s toolbox Tuesday night. Brodzinski’s goal to take a 2-0 lead 10:47 into the game came on the power play, with the 26-year-old deflecting a puck past Ducks goalie Ryan Miller in the crease, number 8’s old spot on the Sharks man advantage. Brodzinski boasts 54 games of NHL experience over 4 seasons and seemed destined to start the year with the Barracuda in the AHL, but a willingness to go to the dirty areas may help him find a spot on the Shark’s fourth line.

For Blichfeld, the WHL’s leading point-getter last season, the contribution is a laser-like wrist shot. He showed it in beating Ducks goalie Anthony Stolarz to tie the game at 3 2:55 into the third period. The 21-year-old is a pure scorer who could do damage on Joe Thornton’s wing if he breaks camp with the team, but handicappers have him below other prospects like Sasha Chemlevski and Ivan Chekhovich who have yet to make their preseason debuts. If Blichfeld can fill the net like he did in junior, scoring 53 goals for the Portland Winterhawks last season, he can help San Jose replace Pavelski’s 355 career goals.

Dell looked good heading into the 2nd period holding a 2-0 lead, but Devin Shore beat him 5:53 into the second to cut San Jose’s lead in half 2-1. After Dell came out, Nicolas Deslauriers and Adam Henrique each scored on Korenar to take a 3-2 lead heading into the third. After Blichfeld’s tying goal, Jones beat Korenar on the power play 6:43 to finish the game.

Dell is expected to be Martin Jones’ backup, but his down 18-19 campaign and cap hit will have him feeling the heat to excel in training camp this year. The crowded crease will also be an issue for the Sharks who will need to find competitive opportunities for five goalies. Jones is expected to be the starter at the NHL level, while Dell, Korenar and Antoine Bibeau are all in on the backup spot, with Dell getting the edge on experienced. San Jose also signed Andrew Shortrigde out of Quinnipiac last season, and would probably be best served developing at a level higher than the ECHL this season leaving five goalies for four spots. This will be a spot to watch as the preseason unfolds.

Fiers Dominates White Sox, A’s Keep Pace in Wild Card Chase with 7-0 Win

Photo credit: @MLBNetwork

By Matthew Harrington

The Oakland A’s hit a pair of solo homeruns in the first two innings to stake starter Mike Fiers to a 2-0 lead, and it’d be all he needed in a stellar seven-inning performance allowing no runs to the Chicago White Sox. Of course, the A’s would add in another five runs in the top of the eighth to turn the close contest in to a rout in a 7-0 A’s win in the South Side.

Fiers twirled a gem, punching out eight Pale Hosers, while scattering just three hits and walking none to give Oakland a tie with the Tampa Bay Rays for the second wild card spot with Tampa yet to play in San Diego Friday night. Matt Chapman and Stephen Piscotty hit solo shots in the first and second innings off former Athletic Ross Detwiler. Chad Pinder had the big blow in a five-run eighth inning, hitting a two-run homer, while Dustin Garneau knocked in a pair as well.

After Marcus Semien grounded out to open the game, Matt Chapman fell in an early 0-2 against Detwiler. He took a ball then sent an 84-mph changeup on a line over the wall in left for his 25th homer of the season. Piscotty would open the next inning working Detwiler to a 2-0 account before missing on another changeup. He took Detwiler to centerfield on the 4th pitch of the at bat, a sinker belt high for a 2-0 lead.

While Fiers (11-3, 3.30 ERA) was near unhittable, Detwiler did settle in. He exited the game with an out in the fifth having given up only four hits and the two runs, but control was an issue. The lefty (1-3, 5.35 ERA) struck out four, but also walked a quartet. Jose Ruis pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball, including stopping a pair of inherited runners from scoring to keep the game in reach.

The game was handed over to Jace Fry in the eighth inning, who struggled for the jump. He worked a full count on Mark Canha, but lost him on ball four, then surrendered Chad Pinder’s 11th homer of the year on a 3-1 count for a 4-0 A’s lead. He then walked Khris Davis and gave up a single to Jurickson Profar before being replaced by former San Francisco Giant Josh Osich without recording an out.

Jurickson Profar gave Osich a rude welcome, sending a line drive past Leury Garcia at second on the first pitch to knock in Khris Davis for a 5-0 A’s lead and a double. Dustin Garneau would also jump on the first pitch, hitting a double to left that would score Piscotty and Profar for a 7-0 lead. He bounced back to strike out Marcus Semien and coax groundouts from Matt Chapman and Matt Olson, respectively.

With the lead in hand, manager Bob Melvin tabbed trade acquisition Jake Diekman with the bottom of the eighth inning. He struck out Matt Skole and Ryan Cordell on four pitches each then forced a ground out from Garcia in his frame. Joakim Soria nailed down the win in the ninth, allowing a single to James McCann but being otherwise flawless.

The A’s and White Sox meet again on Saturday at 4:10 p.m. PT.