Larry Leavitt on Pro Hockey

by Larry Levitt

DALY CITY–The San Francisco Bulls last Friday night took the lead early 1-0 lead against the Ontario Reign and in that first period they played pretty good hockey. The advantage the Bulls had was the Ontario goalie was the back up to the back up so San Francisco could have really taken advantage of the situation. The Bulls ran into big problems on the power play they went 0-8.

In the second period when the Bulls got into penalty trouble the Reign scored all three of their goals on the power play. So they couldn’t capitalize on the power play and they couldn’t hold the penalty kill and keep the game close and that was the tale of the two cities right there.

The Bulls have a lot of fire power on this club right now and if they can really get going they’d be fine and the biggest problem is that their shooting wide at the net and not getting the breaks. On Friday night the power play was very tough getting them set up and they finally got set up in three or four passes instead of shooting the pass would get interupted and they would have to go back and start all over again. The Bulls who went 0-8 on the power play you have to say there’s a problem there and you got focus on that and get that fixed.

On Saturday night the Bulls won it against Stockton and on Friday they lost to Ontario, on Friday night the difference of the two games was Ontario is a pretty well rounded team other than the back up goalie they pretty much played the puck pretty well. Saturday night against the Stockton Thunder was a great comeback game for the Bulls and that come back should give them a lot of confidence.

The Bulls were behind quite a bit for a large part of the game and they were playing from behind and they really rallied to win. At one point near the end of the game they actually took the lead only to give up the tying goal with 2:30 left and it forced overtime and then the shootout and of course the Bulls won it in the skills competition.

San Jose Sharks update: The Sharks who have lost five of their last six games are not panicking and there are no plans to make changes on the team. They’ve just hit a bump in the road no team in the NHL is going to play 100 percent all of the time. No team will be able to walk through any NHL team.

The Sharks know they have problems, they know they have to regroup and look at their system, they know they have to work on the work ethic but it’s not going on the ice and planning to lay an egg. The game in Nashville they had a very slow start on Saturday night and the Sharks were not playing to their speed.

Nashville is a slow methodical defense team they don’t give you a lot of time and a lot of space the Preds lock you down and don’t allow you to do much. They don’t have one player per say who rules the ice. This game was sure to be a tight battle and sure enough it was and it ended up being 3-2 Nashville.

The Sharks tried to come back at the end but they did make a game of it. The Sharks now move onto St.Louis and Los Angeles two tough contenders.

Larry Levitt does Pro Hockey commentary on the Sharks and the Bulls each week for Sportstalk radio

Sharks Rally Comes Up Short, Lose 3-2 To Predators

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 14: Antti Niemi #31 of the San Jose Sharks watches the replay of a goal against him by Viktor Stalberg #25 of the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on December 14, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN – DECEMBER 14: Antti Niemi #31 of the San Jose Sharks watches the replay of a goal against him by Viktor Stalberg #25 of the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on December 14, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

By Kahlil Najar

NASHVILLE -The red hot Nashville Predators (16-14-3) wont their third straight game and beat the San Jose Sharks (20-7-6), 3-2. San Jose is now 1-4-1 in their last six games and have only scored 11 goals. Dan Boyle scored his sixth goal of the year and Antti Niemi stopped 20 of 23 for his fifth loss of the year.

“We weren’t nearly aggressive enough,” said San Jose coach Todd McLellan. “It’s amazing, in the third when we played on the inside a little bit more, we got more second chances, kept the forecheck alive, we were a much different team. I’m a bit disappointed in the first period and a half to two periods.”

Nashville defenseman Victor Bartley got the Predators on the board at 16:01 of the first period when he shot a wicked wrister at the net from just above the left circle and beat Niemi. The Predators connected on their first power play of the night after when Nick Spaling won the puck along the boards and got it over to Craig Smith behind the net. Smith found defenseman Roman Josi streaking in and Josi’s wrist shot beat Antti Niemi to the glove side to give Nashville the 2-0 lead.

The Sharks finally got in the scoring column in the third when Sharks center Patrick Marleau won the puck behind the net and found Matt Irwin high in the slot. Dan Boyle deflected Irwin’s shot between Hutton’s legs and made it 2-1.  The Predators Viktor Stalberg made it 3-1 with 2:39 left when he beat Niemi low to the glove side on a 2-on-1 breakaway.  The Sharks pulled Niemi and with the extra man, Markeau redirected a pass from Dan Boyle and got it past Hutton with 54.6 seconds left and brought it to a final score of 3-2.

“Every game we play it seems the team that wins the special teams play, wins the game,” San Jose’s Joe Thornton said. “Tonight they got the one power-play goal and we didn’t, and that’s basically what the NHL comes down to right now, who is better on special teams.”

Logan Couture echoed, “We have to be better on the road. We know how big points are right now. It’s a tough loss.”

The Sharks hope to get back in the win column when they head to St. Louis for an evening game this Tuesday at 8PM EST.

Sharks power play sinks the Wild

By Ivan Makarov

Sharks were looking for answers to the questions about their recent struggles after they lost four in the row. They found these answers on Thursday back at SAP Center against Minnesota Wild. The key to overcoming those struggles, as it turned out, was a great game from special teams.

Sharks power play shined against the Wild, and was credited with all the three goals of the night after going 3 for 6 on their attempts. On the other side of the ice, Sharks penalty kill was perfect, killing all three attempts they faced while stopping eighth power play unit in the league.

“I think we obviously found the work ethic on the power play,” said Joe Pavelski after the game where he scored two. “It certainly didn’t look pretty, but we’ve taken more shots, and got a lot more pucks back, and feel a lot better now.”

The game started well for the Sharks, like it often did this season ay home. With Wild taking penalties, Joe Pavelski scored a power play goal at 5:54 mark in the first period. After passing the puck along the boards, Dan Boyle found Pavelski with the pass at the top of the face off circle. Pavelski shot it Iow and it went into the goal after hitting one of the players in the crease and going between Niklas Backstrom’s pads.

Wild did not stop taking penalties in that period, and with their fourth penalty in that stretch of the game, they gave the Sharks 5-on-3 power play for 1:30. Sharks could not score with the two men advantage, but still had 30 second to play on one man advantage. It was at that time that Tomas Hertl put one into the net. The goal came as a result of a great individual play from Tommy Wingels who kept the puck from clearing, powered his way towards the net and passed it to Hertl who was wide open in the front.

Wild got into more penalty trouble in the second period. One of the key moments in game happened when Zenon Konopka was sent into the penalty box with a double minor for high sticking. Sharks scored again, with Joe Pavelski earning his second goal of the night, as he picked up the rebound neat the crease and put it past Nicklas Backstrom’s who was stretched out on the ice after making a save.

With the three goal lead, the Sharks put themselves into defensive mode, and their penalty kill had to work hard to protect the lead after Wild were awarded several power plays. None of them were as important as when Tomas Hertl was sent into the box, earning his first NHL penalty for a holding against Jonas Brodin. Wild were all over the Sharks in their zone, and with Brad Stuart breaking his stick, it looked a lot like 5-on-3 for a while. Sharks fought hard, and were able to stop the Wild from scoring, keeping their advantage to three goals. Hertl made a great play as well coming out of the box, as he chased after the puck, preventing an icing call on the play, and allowing his tired teammates to change.

“[That play by Hertl] was huge,” said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. “He comes out of the penalty box, we got the clear, both teams are exhausted, so to have them get the line change with us already having used our time out and having have to continue. That was a pretty big and important point.”

Minnesota Wild finally broke their scoring drought in the third period when Brodin scored in front of the net on a deflected shot that was taken by Justin Fontaine at 12:36 mark in the third period. But their effort came a little too late and the Sharks were able to defend their lead and win the game.

With the victory, the Sharks ended their 4-game losing streak, and no doubt added confidence in their special teams ability, which was not consistent in the last few weeks. They are next back in action on the three game road trip that starts on Saturday in Nashville, followed by games in St Louis and Los Angeles.

Sharks skid continues against the Islanders

By Ivan Makarov
San Jose Sharks returned to California after a disappointing four game road trip where they won just once. They hoped to turn things around playing at home where they won the last five games. Instead, their skid continued, as they allowed a third period breakdown, the Islanders come back, and their opponent’s win in the shootout.
The Islanders were in the middle of the losing streak themselves, having lost the last 10 games. However, solid play from their netminder and a great third period helped them break through and finally win.
A key turning point happened early in the third period. Sharks were up 2-0, but it became a one goal game just 51 second after the play began. Tomas Vanek scored by finding the puck in the crease after Antti Niemi was unable to freeze the puck after the shot by John Tavares who was near the crease after a great individual effort and drawing all defense to him.
New York went on to tie the game with less than two minutes left in regulation with an extra skater on the ice after their goaltender was pulled. John Tavares won the face-off inside the Sharks zone against Joe Pavelski and Kyle Okposo put one into the net. Antti Niemi was screened on that play by the Islander players and didn’t appear to see the shot coming.
“He lost it clean,” said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan about Pavelski’s play. [Islanders] scored short side high. You’d like to get beat by a different shot. You’d like to be in the shooting lane. But it was a draw like that, and they got one freebie and they made it count.”
It was an even game in overtime, with NY having the slight advantage and the best scoring chance. With 1:16 remaining in overtime, Antti Niemi saved the game with a stretch glove save after a breakaway attempt by Brock Nelson. This was a great save in the very important moment of the game, taking it to the shootout.
Logan Couture scored on his shootout chance but Joe Pavelski and Dan Boyle didn’t. Kyle Okposo became a hero again, scoring on his attempt after Boyle missed, and winning the game for his team.
There were still positives in that game despite the outcome.
The power play looked dangerous and was credit with the first goal. Patrick Marleau scored his 14th goal of the season after a rebound he picked up inside the face-off circle.
Joe Pavelski found the net for the first time in seven games, scoring Sharks’ second goal. Sharks’ center played aggressively on the forecheck, helping the puck stay inside Islanders zone and forcing a turnover. As he picked up the puck, he passed it back towards the blue line where Dan Boyle was skating by himself. Boyle shot the puck on the net, Poulin made the save, but it bounced back to Pavelski who put it inside the open net. This was Pavelski’s 10th goal on the season.
Sharks also had a great start in the game, outshooting the Islanders 18-3 in the first period, and outshooting them overall 48-28.
But in the end, it was losing key battles at the start and the end of the third period that cost them the win.
“Whether or not we deserved [the outcome], we ended up with it,” said McLellan. “I thought we started the game very well. I thought we got a little lose in the second period and decided we wanted to trade chances, giving up some odd number rushes. We gave up a goal in the first minute and the last minute of the third. … Our top line right now is getting beat, along with the goaltender, and it has to improve.”
They will be back in action on Thursday at SAP Center against Minnesota Wild.
Games Notes
  • The Islanders played game four of their five-game road trip in San Jose. It was the first of two meetings between the clubs this season.
  • Evgeni Nabokov was back to SAP Center, although did not dress up for the game due to injury. He was given a loud ovation during the first period when video board played his highlights from the time he was a San Jose Shark.
  • Two Sharks players registered multi-point nights: Patrick Marleau (1-1=2) andDan Boyle (0-2=2).
  • Patrick Marleau is now in sole possession of 77th place on the all-time goal scoring list (418 career goals).
  • Patrick Marleau led all Sharks skaters with seven shots on goal.

Sharks Drop 3rd in a Row, Lose 3-1 to Wild

By Mary Walsh

ST PAUL-  Sunday afternoon, the Sharks’ losing streak grew to three with a 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild. Two second-period goals were scored by Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu. Wild goaltender Josh Harding made 37 saves. The Sharks finally scored at the end of the game with their net empty. That goal was scored by Patrick Marleau with just over a minute left in regulation. Instead of going on to tie the game, the Sharks gave up an empty-net goal, Zach Parise’s second of the game.

During pre-game, Drew Remenda asked Sharks defenseman Justin Braun what the defense needed to do to get the team back on track. Braun’s answer was straightforward:

We’ve got to get the puck up to the forwards’ hands as fast as possible, we can’t be slow tonight.

The Sharks did get credit for a lot of shots in the game, the forwards did have the puck a lot. They were rarely trapped in their own zone, but their play in the offensive zone was hampered by a determined Minnesota defense.

Matt Nieto, back from the AHL, led the Sharks in shots with six, while Patrick Marleau and Brent Burns led the team in hits with three each. The Sharks’ game went from uninspired in the first period to discombobulated in the third.

As expected, Todd McLellan made several changes to the Sharks’ lineup for the Sunday afternoon game in Minnesota. Joe Pavelski was moved to the right wing on a line with Couture and Marleau. Martin Havlat sat, possibly due to injury from a blocked shot in the previous game. John McCarthy also sat, while Matt Nieto took a spot on a line with Andrew Desjardins and Tommy Wingels. Freddie Hamilton was slotted in at center on a line with James Sheppard and Tyler Kennedy. Both Jason Demers and Matt Irwin played, with Scott Hannan sitting out. Irwin was paired with Dan Boyle while Demers was with Brad Stuart, putting Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun back together. The only line that was untouched was the Thornton line with Brent Burns and Tomas Hertl.

The first period could be called tentative. The Sharks outshot the Wild, and the Sharks had one power play after Charlie Coyle was called for holding the stick. It was as tepid a period as could be without a lot of stoppages. There was little indication that the lineup changes had energized the team. Luckily for San Jose, Minnesota wasn’t much more lively. The period ended scoreless, with the shots 11-5.

The Sharks came out with more energy in the second period, but those second period problems are starting to look like a curse more than a habit. With only 2 shots on goal, the Wild had a 2-0 lead. The Sharks were unlucky with a non-call when Minnesota’s Zach Parise knocked the stick from Justin Braun’s hands. Seconds later, Parise scored off the rebound of a shot made easier by Braun being stickless.

A bad line change from the Sharks followed, leaving two Sharks to defend a three man rush that became a four on two before reinforcements could arrive. As mistakes go, that was a bad one and it put the Sharks down 2-0.

The Sharks were not able to make any of their 21 shots pay off. Joe Pavelski and Justin Braun each had chances one on one with Wild goaltender Josh Harding, but they couldn’t beat him.

Probably the best Sharks chance of the period came on a short-handed attack from Matt Nieto, who was almost more that two Wild defenders and Harding could handle. He had a couple of shots in close before they fended him off.

The second period ended 2-0 Minnesota, with the shots at 32-11. The Sharks also finished the period a man down, as Brad Stuart was in the box for holding the stick, though it was hard to say whose stick he held or when.

The Sharks started the third still on the penlty kill. Joe Pavelski and Andrew Desjardins had a good 2 on 1 shorthanded chance to end the kill, but Desjardins couldn’t make the shot. A good backcheck from Minnesota and a quick slide by Harding cut down his options.

The Sharks only managed 5 shots in the first half of the third, though the Wild still had none. Nino Niederreiter took a high-sticking penalty about six minutes in, but the Sharks power play still couldn’t score.

In all, the Sharks’ power play went 0-4, their penalty kill 2-0. Antii Niemi made 10 saves on 12 shots.

The three stars of the game were: 1st: Josh Harding, 2nd: Mikko Koivu with one goal on one shot, and 3rd: Torrey Mitchell with two shots.

Sharks Need a Quick Reset

By Mary Walsh

The Sharks lost two games in a row. How tedious of them. The Pittsburgh Penguins are having a fine season, so losing to them isn’t something to be completely ashamed of. The Carolina Hurricanes, however, should not have defeated the Sharks 5-3, even if the Sharks’ backup goaltender was in net, even if the Sharks were on the second half of back to back games with travel. The Hurricanes had matching travel issues, and San Jose didn’t give Cam Ward enough work for goaltending to be the difference.

Yes, the Sharks should be thoroughly disappointed with themselves for losing to Carolina, especially after being blown out the game before. How awful to respond to a bad loss by losing again, giving up an early two-goal lead, and being outshot 35-25. Three goals and 30 saves would normally be enough for a Sharks win this season.

Despite all that, it would be unreasonable for anyone to get too excited about that lost pair. The Sharks have a record to be proud of, 19-5-5 on the season and 7-3-0 in their last ten. Still, San Jose has a responsibility to make sure that little pair doesn’t grow up to be a great big panic-inducing streak of losses.

To that end, the Sharks made some roster moves. Matt Pelech, who didn’t play on the road trip, was sent to Worcester, while Matt Nieto and Freddie Hamilton have been called up. Mike Brown was placed on injured reserve, for injuries initially described as almost negligible.

Who will sit now? The switching of  Joe Pavelski and Andrew Desjardins at the end of the last two games could indicate that the coaching staff will focus their adjustments on the bottom six. Pavelski always seems like an unlikely candidate for the press box. Tyler Kennedy’s minutes have been slipping. Will he sit? Was that line juggling a demotion of both Kennedy and Havlat to the fourth line? Will they both sit? Or will Hamilton, a center, be in for Desjardins? Will Nieto or Hamilton replace McCarthy, he of the two penalties in Pittsburgh? Would any of that be enough?

The problem in both losses was defense. Not defensemen per se, but this creeping habit the Sharks have of giving up goals in bunches. In Toronto and Pittsburgh, the leak seemed to be confined to the second period. San Jose patched that, only to see the Hurricanes tear open a four-goal breach in the third. It is hard to see exactly how those failures can be solved by changes to the third and fourth lines. There isn’t a lot you can do when you are not on the ice.

On his first stint with San Jose, Nieto played on the top line. If McLellan really wants to mix things up, the lines may look nothing like they did in these last three games, and the winning streak that preceded them. It sounds like overkill to throw all of the forward lines into flux over two measly losses, but waiting to see how bad it can get isn’t a good plan either.

The team’s best hope won’t be found in the defensive instincts of two call-ups. Even if they are perfect, they can’t compensate for a team-wide meltdown. A change to the lineup might focus the team, make them more cautious and attentive to communication and execution. The refreshed, reset Sharks’ mantra has been speed. That is all well and good, but if you are heading into a wall, you don’t want to get there faster. It might be time for the Sharks to slow down, at least mentally.

Sharks’ Win Streak Ends With 5-1 Loss to Pens

By Mary Walsh

PITTSBURGH- The San Jose Sharks were overwhelmed Thursday, by a team they had handled very well in past meetings. The final score was 5-1 Penguins. The Sharks had their work cut out for them in Pittsburgh, as Sidney Crosby has still never scored against the Sharks, so that was and is probably on his to do list. The job got much bigger when the Sharks went down 4-0 with just over half of the game remaining. That hole was too deep for San Jose to climb out of.

Thursday morning, Pierre LeBrun offered the Sharks at Penguins game as a good alternative to the All Star Game. In the first period, the comparison was grossly inaccurate, as both teams played stifling defense. Play opened up in the second period, with one team racking up the shots, and the other piling up goals. The Sharks got credit for 24 shots in that fateful period, while the Penguins scored four goals.

Before the game, Penguins Head Coach Dan Bylsma said, of his team’s third line:

…it’s not a typical physical it’s not a shut down line, they do it with speed. All those guys have some tenacity to their game too, it’s not just speed, you can’t knock them off the puck that easily. Chris Connor, we said it when we called him up “he’s going to knock someone down every game” and against Toronto his first game, right before his goal he reversed shoulders and knocks a guy down in the offensive zone but the speed at which they play as a unit is a factor… and they’re tough to handle and they’ve been able to do that with some consistency for our group in all the games they’ve played.

That formula turned out to work well against the Sharks, not only for the line Bylsma was describing.The Sharks had a lot of shots, but they didn’t have much time to set those shots up.

Much was made of how the Penguins and the Sharks were not especially familiar with each other, but they each had players who had faced the other team more than once. The above-mentioned Chris Conner had faced the Sharks as recently as late last season, while playing for the Phoenix Coyotes. Some of the Penguins, though, had not played the Sharks before. Penguins defenseman Simon Despres, recently recalled from the AHL, looked forward to the challenge:

I know nothing about San Jose, it’s my first time playing a West[ern] team personally, so I’m excited to play them … They’re a top team in the league, it’s going to be a good challenge for the team.

Familiar with San Jose or not, the Penguins were prepared for the game.

Sharks’ Head Coach Todd McLellan didn’t make too much of the absence of Evgeni Malkin from the Penguins lineup. Before the game he pointed out that the Penguins have a lot of recent experience playing without their top scorers, and playing well.

The Sharks took two penalties in the game, and both went to John McCarthy. On the second of those, the Penguins scored their fourth goal of the game. McCarthy’s penalty minutes were not the only thing going wrong for the Sharks. There were few mistake-free players for San Jose, and the team’s overall composure was badly rattled by the early second period onslaught from Pittsburgh.

In the first period, both teams kept their opponents to the outside and most of the shots taken were hurried. One good chance came for the Penguins when Andrew Desjardins and Scott Hannan both failed to get control of the puck in the slot, Chris Conner sped in and got a shot off. Niemi stopped it. Neither team had many great chances in the first period, even on the power play.  The period ended with shots 12-7 Pittsburgh.

The second period started inauspiciously for the Sharks, with the home team scoring less than 30 seconds in. Pascal Dupuis scored the first of the game on a tip from Brooks Orpik’s shot from the point. The Sharks responded  with a good shift from the Pavelski line, but that was followed by a three-on-one rush when Despres pushed the puck past Jason Demers. Jayson Megna and Joe Vitale went the other way. Megna took the shot, scoring his third of the season.

With the score 2-0, Pittsburgh’s Matt Niskanen was called for interference on McCarthy. The Penguins stopped the Sharks from scoring on the power play, and came back with offensive pressure that exposed the Sharks yet again.  After a turnover in the Sharks’ zone, Niemi stopped a Sidney Crosby shot but Chris Kunitz picked up the rebound and made it 3-0.

San Jose’s fourth line looked like they might shift the momentum as they got in the zone and had the Penguins scrambling, until McCarthy was called for tripping Olli Maatta in front of the net. It took the Penguins 14 seconds to score on that power play. The goal went to Kunitz, from James Neal and Sidney Crosby. 4-0 Penguins.

The Sharks finally got on the board at 9:27 of the period, with a goal from Tomas Hertl, possibly off of Pittsburgh’s Derek Engellund’s stick. Shortly thereafter, Andrew Desjardins drew a penalty, giving the Sharks a power play that seemed to let them regroup. They had eight shots before the penalty expired but failed to score.

By the end of the period, Todd McLellan had replaced Joe Pavelski with Andrew Desjardins at center with Tyler Kennedy and Martin Havlat. Pavelski was moved to center John McCarthy and James Sheppard.

The second period ended with the score 4-1 Pittsburgh, and the shots 31-27 San Jose.

McLellan changed goaltenders for the third period, putting Alex Stalock in to replace Antti Niemi. The forward lines remained as they had finished the second, with Pavelski centering McCarthy and Sheppard.

The Penguins started the period in the Sharks’ zone. Four minutes later they extended their lead to 5-1, a goal from Kris Letang. It was the Penguins’ first shot of the period. They only got credit for two more, to the Sharks’ 14. The final count was 45-30.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 33 saves on 34 shots for the win. For the Sharks, Antti Niemi made 21 saves on 24 shots in the first two periods, Alex Stalock made two saves on three shots in the third. The Sharks’ power play went 0-3, their penalty kill 1-2.

It was Dan Boyle’s 900th NHL game, Tyler Kennedy’s 400th, and Sidney Crosby’s 500th.

Sharks win Sixth in a row

Sharks win Sixth in a row

by Jerry Feitelberg

The San Jose Sharks started a four game road trip on a successful note as they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 4-2. The Sharks entered the game with 41 points and are in first place in the Pacific Division. With the win they now have 43 points and a record of 19-3-5 for the year. Toronto was looking to snap a four game losing streak but the Sharks were just too much for them as the lost their fifth straight.

The Sharks had Antti Niemi in goal and James Reimer was in the nets for the Leafs The Sharks took a 2-0 lead in the first period. The Sharks’ Mike Brown opened the scoring by lighting the lamp when he deflected a shot into the net off the stick of Jason Demers. Time of goal was at 10:00. The Sharks took a 2-0 lead when they had a two man advantage on the power play. The Leafs’ Jay McClement and Mason Raymond were sent to the penalty box and the Sharks had a great opportunity and the capitalized when Joe Pavelski made a great pass to Joe Thornton and Joe put in past Reimer for the score. For Thornton, it was his fifth goal of the year.

The Leafs came back to tie the game at two apiece in the second period. The Sharks did not play well and the Leafs scored the goals on power plays. The Leafs have the best record scoring power plays on home ice. The Sharks pushed back took a 3-2 lead when Brad Stuart’s shot made it into the net and Dan Boyle assisted on the play.

There was no scoring until late in the third period Logan Couture scored his tenth goal of the season into an empty net with just 1:24 left to play in the game. Final score Sharks win 4-2.

Antti Niemi stopped 28 shots and the Leafs’ Reimer made 37. The Sharks travel to Pittsburgh to play the Penguins Thursday night. They then play Carolina and Minnesota before returning home.

California teams dominate in battle for top spot in NHL Pacific

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary

SAN JOSE–The Sharks played like a Stanley Cup Champion during this five game homestand in which they won all five games at SAP Center. The Sharks now head to the road to face Toronto, Pittsburgh, Carolina, and Minnesota for a four game road trip. The Sharks concluded their five game homestand with a overtime win against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night 4-3. These were no doubt the two best teams in the Pacific in the NHL.

This was a very physical game there were five fights already in the first period. These two teams don’t like each other and these are two excellent teams as a matter of fact I was looking at the Western Conference there are three teams from California that occupy the top three spots in the Pacific San Jose, Los Angeles, and Anaheim. One of those teams is going to win the conference those are the best three teams right now and they have the best chances to stay all the way through.

I like the Sharks chances their playing very tough and one other team in the Western Conference that is tough is the Chicago Blackhawks and watching the NHL this last month the western teams are much more physical and they dominate the Eastern Conference which is interesting and for many years it was the east but now the west rules they seem to have bigger players, faster players more physical and the Sharks have a very good mixture of players so it’s going to be a good season for the Sharks.

 

Sharks play by play announcer Dan Rusanowsky before the game on Saturday night the voice of the Sharks for radio told me to keep my fingers crossed he thinks this might be the year but we said that last year too. The Sharks are very aggressive and their aggressive again on Saturday night as they fought the Ducks from a 3-3 tie to win in overtime 4-3. There is still a lot of game left and they have lost only one game in San Jose this year and the Ducks are undefeated at home.

The Sharks are now 18-3-5 with 41 points and the Ducks are 18-7-4 with 40 points, this is a real good homestand that the Sharks put on with wins over Tampa Bay, New Jersey, L.A., St. Louis, and Anaheim. The game on Saturday night was a big game for the Sharks because right after Saturday’s win they flew to Toronto to begin a four game road trip which starts on Tuesday night. The Sharks will be playing seven games in nine days which includes a brief return to San Jose for two games before heading back out again for another three games on the road.

The Sharks delivered on Saturday night and it was a good rivalry and it’s not a like the Dodgers and the Giants because that’s baseball since their days in New York. This is a very good rivalry, if the Sharks ever had a rival they have to look at the Ducks and the Kings. The Ducks are a very good team and organization they play in a beautiful place the Honda Center and a few years ago it was known as the Arrowhead Duck Pond just across from Anaheim Stadium from Highway 57.

The Ducks have a good thing down there and they get the crowds down there and a population of 354,000 people live in Anaheim almost like the size of Oakland. San Jose has over a million but it’s a good rivalry and we like to see these three teams in the Pacific Conference and the three teams I like their odds are the Kings of Los Angeles, the Ducks of Anaheim and the Sharks of San Jose. Like I said before one of those three teams from California is going to win the Pacific and the Western Conference.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez does News and Commentary each week for Sportstalk Radio

Sharks hold off Ducks late

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By: Phillip Torres

SAN JOSE-The San Jose Sharks (18-3-5) hosted the Anaheim Ducks (18-8-3) on Saturday night at the SAP Center. San Jose defeated Anaheim 4-3 in front of a sellout crowd in San Jose. The physical game between these two rivals was decided via shootout. The victory completed a perfect 5-0 homestand for the Sharks.

Anaheim scored first when Corey Perry scored his 15th goal of the season at 5:56 in the opening period to give the visiting Ducks an early 1-0 lead. Ryan Getzlaf and Dustin Penner earned the assists on the play.

Logan Couture scored his ninth goal of the season with assists from Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Patrick Marleau. Couture tip the puck inside the net off of a deflection. The score tied the game at one goal a piece and gave the Sharks the momentum. It was San Jose’s first of three goals in the second period.

Marleau scored the second goal of the period at 10:13 in the period to gave San Jose the 2-1 advantage. The wrist shot goal came on a two on one break away with Joe Thornton. The two on one break away came out of nowhere as the Sharks were shorthanded after a penalty that put the Ducks on the power play. Jonas Hillar never had a chance as the duo deeked him until he dropped to the floor as the puck hit the net.

Marty Havlat scored his second of the year with less than a minute remaining in the period to extend the lead to 3-1 Sharks. Havlat’s backhand shot was assisted by Mike Brown and Scott Hannan.

The third period was dominated by Anaheim as they scored two goals to tie up the game. Alex Grant and Ben Lovejoy scored there first goals of the season to send the Ducks into Overtime.

After a scoreless Overtime period the game was forced into a shootout. San Jose won the shootout 1-0 as Joe Pavelski put the puck on the net in the second round.

San Jose will be back on the ice on Tuesday as they will be Toronto as they will be hosted by the Toronto Maple Leafs. The puck will drop at 4 PM Pacific Time.