Sharks Lose 2-1 in OT to Senators

mercurynews.com photo: The Ottawa Senators Chris Tierney (71) tries to put the puck past San Jose Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell (30) during a penalty shot in the second period on Saturday night at SAP Center in San Jose

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks fell 2-1 in overtime to the Ottawa Senators Saturday at the SAP Center. Ottawa goals came from Nick Paul and ex-Shark Chris Tierney. Goaltender Craig Anderson made 31 saves for the win. The lone Sharks goal came from Evander Kane, while San Jose goalie Aaron Dell made 36 saves in the loss.

After the game, the Sharks goalie said: “We had only a couple breakdowns. For the most part I think we played a really solid game. And we had a lot of chances, just bounced over our stick a couple of times, just you know some bad luck I think. One of those goes in, it’s a whole different game.”

Sharks defenseman Brent Burns was asked how he felt after getting 31.5 minutes of ice time. He said: “I feel great, I feel good. I think we’re all in the same boat. We all train for the summer to play more than what we ever play so it’s good. I get to eat more tonight now.”

The Senators scored on their ninth shot of the first period, at 10:33. The Senators moved the puck from the blue line, below the goal line, back to the blue line, and behind the net again. Jayce Hawryluk gathered the puck behind the net and Anthony Duclair made a short pass to the front for the net for Nick Paul.

The Sharks had the only power plays in the first period, one at 7:41, one at 17:11 and a third at 19:32. They got three shots on those power plays before finally scoring at the tail end of the period.

Evander Kane tipped a Brent Burns shot but that did not go through. Kane followed up and got his stick on the puck again to pop it into the net. Assists went to Brent Burns and Timo Meier.

The shot count for the period was 16-14 Sharks. San Jose also had a very good period in the face-off circle, winning 65% of the time. Joe Thornton, Evander Kane and Dylan Gambrell shared the bulk of those face-offs, each taking five draws.

In his first NHL game, Nikolai Knyzhov took the Sharks’ first penalty of the game at 4:28 of the second. The Sharks killed that off, allowing just one shot on goal.
The teams traded breakaways in the final few minutes of the second period but both goaltenders were up to the task.

Radim Simek kicked the puck into the net with 24.8 seconds left and the goal was immediately waved off. Simek then went to the other end and swept the puck away from the crease before it could cross the line. Since he closed his glove over the puck, that earned the Senators a penalty shot, taken by Chris Tierney. Dell attempted a poke check, and then Tierney lost control of the puck before he could take the shot.

By the end of the period, the shots were 10-9 Senators.

Both teams had good chances in the middle of the third period, including shots from Couture and Labanc in quick succession, without breaking the 1-1 tie. The Senators pressed hard in the final minute and Dell had to stop a great chance for Colin White in the final 20 seconds to get the game into overtime. The shot count for the period was 13-5 Senators.

Overtime did not last long, ending after just 35 seconds. Christ Tierney scored in a two on one after Anthony Duclair made a pass across the ice, around a sliding Brent Burns. Assists went to Duclair and Chabot.

The Sharks next play against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday at 7:00 PM PT at the SAP Center.

Sharks Beat Jets 3-2 in Winnipeg; Sharks win three of last four games

photo from sfgate.com: The San Jose Sharks Brendan Dillion (4) goes airborne after having a collision with the Winnipeg Jets Nikolaj Ehlers (27) as the Sharks Evander Kane (9) is in the background in Friday night’s game in Winnipeg

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 Friday, in Brent Burns’ 1,100th NHL game. Sharks goals came from Marcus Sorensen, Melker Karlsson and Timo Meier. Aaron Dell made 30 saves in the win. Jets goals came from Kyle Connor and Blake Wheeler, with Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck making 32 saves in the loss.

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

You’re never going to come in and play the Jets and not give up some chances, with the team they have and the offense. But I thought we did some really good things away from the puck. I thought that we had guys climbing above and not giving too many odd-man rushes. And there were spurts in the game that we were really good defensively, and when they had their chances, Deller was there to make the big stop.

Timo Meier has three goals and four assists in the last six games, including the game-winner Friday. Of this streak, Evander Kane said: “He’s playing heavy. You know, he’s skating. He’s a big powerful guy with a good scoring touch. When he goes hard to the net, he can finish. So that was another example of that tonight.”

In the first period, the Sharks out shot the Jets 13-3. At 14:51, Marcus Sorensen scored in a chaotic scrum in front of Connor Hellebuyck. Assists went to Alexander True and Dylan Gambrell. The Jets challenged the goal for goaltender interference but the challenge was unsuccessful, giving the Sharks their first power play.

The second period was something of a reversal, with the teams even in shots at 11, but the Jets scoring twice.

Their first goal came on a power play at 8:21, with Evander Kane in the box for interference. From right in front of the net, Kyle Connor was able to put a shot between his legs and over Dell’s shoulder, into the top corner. Assists went to Blake Wheeler and Neal Pionk.

Blake Wheeler scored less than two minutes later. His shot went past a moving screen and into the top corner. Andrew Copp found him with a pass from the corner, and a second assist went to Nikolaj Ehlers.

The Sharks ended the second period on a power play when Josh Morrisey was called for holding Timo Meier. They started the third with 1:54 remaining on that power play. The did not get any shots on net in that power play.

At 5:18, Melker Karlsson did score, in a quick give and go play with Joel Kellman. The give and go had the Jets defense discombobulated enough that when Karlsson got to the front of the net and received the puck no one was in his way. Assists went to Kellman and
Stefan Noesen.

Timo Meier added another for the Sharks, just 1:29 later. Brent Burns sent the puck to the net where Kevin Labanc tried to get to it. Dmitry Kulikov was in his way so he couldn’t get control of it. The puck trickled out to the side of the blue paint, where Meier found it and put it in the net. Assists went to Labanc and Burns.

The teams played 4-on-4 at 6:55 when Marcus Sorensen went to the box for roughing against Jack Roslovic, and Roslovic went for cross-checking Sorensen. The Sharks killed Evander Kane’s second penalty of the game at 13:17 of the third, and held on to their lead for the rest of the period. The Jets pulled their goaltender with about two minutes to go. Those final minutes were marked by many good saves from Aaron Dell and some missed clearing opportunities for the Sharks, but they kept the puck out of the net.

The third period shot count was 16-11 Jets. The face-off contest went to the Jets 53%-47%.

The Sharks next play on Saturday in St Paul against the Minnesota Wild at 2:00 PM PT.

Sharks Fall to Lightning 3-0; fourth loss in six games

photo from sbnation: The San Jose Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell (30) under fire from the Tampa Bay Lightning as the Sharks get shutout 3-0 on Saturday night

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0 on Saturday at the SAP Center. Goals were scored by Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat. Curtis McElhinney made 30 saves in the shut-out win, while Aaron Dell made 32 saves in the loss.

It was the Sharks’ first game since Tomas Hertl’s most recent injury, which will keep him out for the rest of the season. Additionally, Joel Kellman was injured Saturday. As of the post game report, he was still being evaluated.

The Sharks recognized Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s 1000th NHL game with a silver stick ceremony. Vlasic is the first defenseman to have played all 1000 games with the Sharks.

In the first period, the Sharks had just two shots on goal to Tampa Bay’s 13. Tampa Bay had power plays at 3:32 (Dylan Gambrell for holding), and 8:51 (Erik Karlsson for hooking). The Sharks had one at 6:56 (Cedric Paquette for roughing against Melker Karlsson).

The teams played four on four at 15:56 when Brenden Dillon went to the box for hi-sticking Yanni Gourde and Yanni Gourde went for roughing back. Two of Tampa Bay’s shots came with the man advantage.

Joel Kellman went into the boards during the first, with some help from Kevin Shattenkirk. Kellman got up slowly, and only skated one shift in the second period before leaving the game.

The Sharks went on a power play just 53 seconds into the second period. Erik Karlsson drew a tripping penalty that put Ondrej Palat in the box. The Sharks got three shots on that power play. They went on to out-shoot Tampa Bay for the first half of the period 10-4.

Nonetheless, Steven Stamkos scored at 4:04, after a lengthy play in the Sharks zone and a cross-ice pass from Kevin Shattenkirk that went between two Sharks defenders. The puck found Stamkos right in his old hangout around in the faceoff circle, and the shot went by Brent Burns and Aaron Dell and into the net. Shattenkirk and Mikhail Sergachev got the assists.

The Sharks killed off another Tampa Bay power play at 8:29 when Marc-Edouard Vlasic was called for hi-sticking Stamkos. The Sharks had their third power play at 13:30, when Tyler Johnson went for slashing Evander Kane.

By the end of the period, the Sharks had outshot the Lightning 18-8.

The third period was penalty-free and Nikita Kucherov put the game away at 17:57 with a backhand off as he skated out of the slt in traffic. Assists went to Stamkos and Brayden Point.

The Sharks pulled their goaltender with almost two minutes left and Ondrej Palat scored an empty net goal at 19:43. An assist went to Anthony Cirelli.

The third period shot count was 14-10 Tampa Bay. The face-off edge in the game went to the Sharks, who won 54% of them.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday in Calgary against the Flames at 6:00 PM PT.

Sharks Lose 4-1 to Canucks; Get swept in three game road trip

theprovince.com photo: Vancouver Canucks centre Jay Beagle (83) goes into the boards with San Jose Sharks right wing Stefan Noesen (11) during first period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks fell 4-1 to the Vancouver Canucks Saturday and go into the All-Star break on a three-game losing streak. The win put the Canucks at first in the Pacific Division. Canucks goals were scored by Loui Eriksson, Tanner Pearson, Quinn Hughes and T.J. Miller. Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko made 17 saves for the win. Barclay Goodrow scored the Sharks goal and Aaron Dell made 35 saves i the loss.

After the game, Sharks forward Timo Meier said:

Showed some good stuff but not 60 minutes. That’s what it takes on the road, you’ve got to play 60 minutes of honest hockey, hard-working hockey. We didn’t get that done. Now we’ve got a break. We’re obviously not feeling great going into this break. But coming back from the break we’ve got to be ready to give everything we’ve got, push for it.

After the game, Sharks interim head coach Bob Boughner was asked why the team was having so much trouble creating offense. He mentioned the absence of Logan Couture and the fact that the team is having trouble getting out of their own zone. He also pointed to face-offs: “I think the big difference is, this road trip, we’ve been horrible in the face-off circle. Now you’re never starting with the puck, even in the offensive zone, you’re chasing. You can’t chase pucks all night. That limits your possession, and tires you out.”

The Sharks finished the game with an abysmal 38% face-off win percentage. Tomas Hertl and Barclay Goodrow have been struggling there, though they had regular success earlier in the season and tend to take a lot of draws. The only Sharks above 50% in Saturday’s game took relatively few draws. They were Evander Kane, who won three of five draws, Annti Suomela, who won four of seven, and Joel Kellman, who won three of five.

The first period was scoreless and that was the only good thing about it for the Sharks. They finished it with three shots on goal to the Canucks’ nine. The Canucks also won 67% of the face-offs.

The second period did not shape up to be any better than the first for the Sharks, while the Canucks seemed to gain confidence. The period was still scoreless until 14:05 when Tanner Pearson took a shot from the slot. He did not get all of it and it went off of a Sharks before getting to Dell. Loui Eriksson was at the net to pick up the rebound and put it in the net. Assists went to Pearson and Bo Horvat.

The Sharks challenged the goal as an offside play but the review determined otherwise and put the Sharks on the penalty kill. The Sharks killed the penalty but by the end of the period they still only had four shots  and had allowed 18 including the goal.

The Sharks had a better start to the third period, getting the first shots in the first few minutes of play. But at 4:37, Timo Meier went to the box for goaltender interference. 24 seconds into that penalty, Vancouver scored again. This one came as the Canucks entered the zone with Jake Virtanen on the wall. He took the shot and Pearson tipped it in. A secondary assist went to Adam Gaudette.

Barclay Goodrow got one back for the Sharks at 7:09. Erik Karlsson’s shot wound up in traffic in front of the net, where Goodrow dug for it and put it across the line. It was Goodrow’s eighth of the season, a career high for him. Assists went to Karlsson and Antti Suomela.

Vancouver took that back less than a minute later. Quinn Hughes took the shot from the blue line, right through a line of traffic. Assists went to Antoine Rouselle and Adam Gaudette.

Near the midpoint of the period, refereee Kendrick Nicholson took a shot to the head. It appeared that his helmet took the brunt of it but he left the game to be checked out.

Vancouver scored again at 15:27 of a two-on-one against Brent Burns. Burns dropped to block the pass but Virtanen passed the puck over him to J.T. Miller, who beat Dell on the blocker side. Elias Petterssen got the secondary assist.

For the second game in a row, the game ended with laundry list of penalties as scraps broke out at 17:18. Joe Thornton and Alexander Edler took matching roughing penalties. Thornton got an extra one for interference, and Edler was given a misconduct. Barclay Goodrow and Brenden Dillon both had misconducts. Brandon Sutter had a misconduct and Christopher Tanev got a roughing and a misconduct.

The Sharks finished the third period with a more respectable 11 shots to Vancouver’s 12.

Tomas Hertl will attend the All Star game starting on the 24th. The rest of the team will be off until the 29th, their first game after the break.

Sharks Beat Stars 2-1, Marleau Scores Game Winner in 1700th Game

sfgate.com photo: San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (48) congratulates Patrick Marleau (12), who scored a goal against the Dallas Stars during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, Jan. 11

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE– Patrick Marleau scored the game-winner in his 1700th career game as the San Jose Sharks defeated the Dallas Stars 2-1 on Saturday. Brent Burns also scored for the Sharks and Aaron Dell made 27 saves in the win. Jamie Benn scored for Dallas and Anton Khudobin made 24 saves in the loss. The Sharks have now won five of their last eight games, and earned points in seven of their last ten. The game also ended a six-game winning streak for the Stars.

This was the second game, and second win, for the Sharks after losing Logan Couture to an ankle injury. Of this challenge, Sharks forward Tomas Hertl said that “The best player has to be extra better if we’re missing a player like that but I think last two games was awesome for our team,” with every player doing exactly what he was supposed to do.

Asked whether the Sharks have turned a corner in their season, Sharks interim head coach Bob Boughner said: “I think we’re turning a corner within ourselves internally. I think we’re playing the right way, we’re giving ourselves a chance to win every night. You know, we’re not looking at the standings board yet and we’re not looking too far ahead at the trip.”

This was Joe Pavelski’s first game back in San Jose since signing with the Stars over the summer. The game was preceded by a video tribute and ceremony for the Sharks fan favorite. Pavelksi received a warm welcome from Sharks fans, despite his new colors and new number, 16. (Bill Goldsworthy’s number 8 was retired by the Minnesota North Stars in 1992, just before they moved and became the Dallas Stars.) After 13 seasons with the Sharks and this season with the Stars, Pavelski recently played his 1000th NHL game. His Dallas teammates gave him a trip to Scotland for that, and some of his Sharks teammates got him a watch.

The first period began with a Stars goal in an early power play. Miro Heiskanen passed the puck across the ice to Tyler Seguin, who quickly took a shot for Jamie Benn to deflect in. Assists went to Seguin and Heiskanen. The time of the goal was 1:32.

At 8:57 of the period, Stafan Noesen put a puck in the net after Melker Karlsson kept the puck in the zone by lifting it in the direction of the net. The puck was on its way over the net and Noesen had to lift his stick well above his head to tip the puck. The goal was disallowed with little review.

The Sharks scored for real at 15:33 when Timo Meier’s shot went off of Brent Burns’ skate and under Anton Khudobin. Assists went to Meier and Erik Karlsson.

At the end of the first period, the Sharks had a 9-7 lead in shots and had won 68% of the face-offs.

The Sharks got their first power play of the game at 2:52 of the second, in which they had just one shot. Seconds after the penalty expired, Patrick Marleau picked up a trickling rebound right outside the blue paint to score. Assists went to Tomas Hertl and Brent Burns. It was Marleau’s eighth goal of the season.

As the Sharks went into their second power play of the game, at 11:31, Brent Burns went to the locker room after a hit from Roope Hintz. The penalty was unrelated to that collision and went to Radek Faksa for hooking Erik Karlsson. The Sharks registered no shots during the power play.

Brent Burns did not return to start the third period but was back on the ice in the first five minutes. After the game, Bob Boughner said: “It’s an upper body thing. He tried to come back in the third, and he played through it so I don’t think it’s anything major. But I think we’ll just see tomorrow. We’ll have a better idea tomorrow but I don’t think it’s anything too crazy.”

The teams were tied in shots during the second period at 10 each, and the Stars won 58% of the face-offs.

The Sharks had one penalty to kill in the third period, at 12:37. The Stars recorded one shot in that power play. Dallas pulled their goaltender with just under two minutes left but could not tie the game. The Stars out-shot the Sharks 11-7 in the third and won 67% of the face-offs.

San Jose’s Tomas Hertl and Antti Suomela each took 13 face-offs in the game and each won 8 of them.

The Sharks will next play on Tuesday in Arizona against the Coyotes at 6:00 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 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 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.

Lightning Strike Sharks 7-1

photo from sfgate.com: Lightning center Brayden Point gets around a stick check by Sharks defenseman Brent Burns during the second period of the Tampa Bay victory.

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks fell 7-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Despite two first period power plays, including a double minor, the Sharks lost by their largest margin this season. Goals came from Tyler Johnson (2), Alex Killorn, Steven Stamkos (2), Victor Hedman and Carter Verhaeghe. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 37 saves in the win. The Sharks’ lone goal came from Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Martin Jones made 17 saves on 21 shots before being replaced by Aaron Dell, who made 14 saves on 18 shots.

After the game, Sharks captain Logan Couture said:

I thought we played pretty well through two, I thought we had some good five-on-five looks, they scored a power play one at the end there. But I didn’t like our third period. Kinda gave them some freebies and let our goalies down out there, but for the first forty I thought we played hard and could have been one, two goal game. But, yeah, I just didn’t like our third period.

Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer had the same view of the third period: “You know, the third period was just unacceptable, it was just a poor effort. I think instead of sticking with it, I think we felt sorry for ourselves after that fourth goal and, you know, maybe started thinking about tomorrow but you can’t do that in this league.”

Tyler Johnson’s first goal of the game came at 3:10 when he caught Carter Verhaeghe’s pass from the half boards. Steven Stamkos was skating across in Jones’ line of sight as the puck sailed by him.

The Sharks out-shot the Lightning 15-10 in the first period and had two power plays, one four-minutes long after Mathieu Joseph caught Marcus Sorensen with his stick and drew blood. They held the Lightning to just the one goal until 12:29 of the second period.

Alex Killorn scored his eighth goal of the season when Martin Jones got turned around making a save and lost track of the puck. Killorn found the puck just outside the blue paint and lifted it over the prone goaltender.

Steven Stamkos scored his eighth at the very end of the second period, during a four minute power play caused by a a high stick from Kevin Labanc. Stamkos spent a long time hovering around the face-off dot while his team moved the puck around and finally passed to him. He used a neat wrist shot to beat Jones on the short side. Assists went to Victor Hedman and Alex Killorn.

The Sharks out-shot the Lightning 15-9 in the second period.

Victor Hedman scored 52 seconds into
the third. Anthony Cirelli carried the puck right up to the doorstep and then made a pass through the blue paint to Hedman. Hedman was at the goal line and his shot was from an impossible angle, except that it went off of Jones and in. Assists went to Cirelli and Killorn.

Aaron Dell came in to replace Jones in net after that.

Tyler Johnson scored his second of the game at 3:51 of the third. Aaron Dell had come out to play the puck but Carter Verhaege was there to take it away from him and send it back up ice to Stamkos in the face-off circle. Johnson was on his way to the net and arrived just in time for the pass from Stamkos.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored for the Sharks at 14:44. Vlasic caught a rebound from an Erik Karlsson shot and carried it down below the face-off dot to shoot it into the top corner on the short side. Assists went to Karlsson and Timo Meier.

Stamkos scored his second of the game on a power play at 15:36. Timo Meier was in the box for slashing Brayden Point. Just seven seconds into the penalty, Victor Hedman took a shot from the blue line. Killorn and Stamkos were both set up to tip the shot but Killorn got it. Dell stopped that one but Stamkos was ready to tap the rebound in. Assists went to Killorn and Hedman.

Carter Verhaege scored his first NHL goal at 19:35 on a breakaway. He shot it into the far side from a sharp angle without ever slowing down. Assists went to Pat Maroon and Yanni Gourde.

The Sharks will next play Sunday at 2:00 PM PT against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise.