Sharks Score Five Again, Shut Out Slumping Sens 5-0

Photo credit: San Jose Sharks

by M. Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks handed the Ottawa Senators a resounding defeat to the tune of 5-0 at SAP Center on Saturday night. The win followed up a surprising 5-4 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night, when the Sharks led a furious comeback after trailing by three goals. Saturday’s goals came from Logan Couture, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Melker Karlsson, Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl. Couture, Pavelski, Brent Burns and Kevin Labanc all had multi-point games and back-up goaltender Aaron Dell made 25 saves for the Sharks’ shutout win. At the other end of the ice, Craig Anderson made 45 saves on 50 shots in a losing effort for the Senators.

Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer said that San Jose’s goal was to start fast against Ottawa, avoiding the slow start that marked their previous game: “I liked our game. Compared to the game against Carolina, I thought we were really sharp and really carried over the way we played in the third period against them into tonight.”

The Sharks checked a lot of boxes in Saturday’s game, killing four of four penalties and scoring on two of seven power plays. Tim Heed returned after dealing with an upper body injury, and Paul Martin is scheduled to start a conditioning stint with the Barracuda. So much rosy news begs the question of whether the Sharks have reached a turning point in the season.

DeBoer would not say that it is a turning point, but he did say that the goals are important for more than the score: “It was nice to score some goals, nice to get some power play goals. Guys have been working awful hard, we generate a lot of chances and we haven’t finished enough this year. So it was nice to have a night like that. Whether we can do that again tomorrow night I don’t know. But confidence is a big part of scoring and there was a lot of guys feeling good about themselves tonight.”

Logan Couture opened the scoring near the midpoint of the first period. The Sharks had outshot the Sens 10-0 at the 12-minute mark. Dell had just fought off the Senators’ first couple of shots in a flurry of activity on the edge of his crease. After Hertl won a defensive zone faceoff, the Sharks went the other way fast, with Labanc making a lovely pass so Couture could beat Anderson as he moved across. Assists went to Labanc and Justin Braun.

At the end of the first period, the shot count was 16-6 San Jose.

Early in the second period, the Sharks had just come off of a power play when Vlasic blasted a shot past Anderson. Tim Heed caught a pass from Kevin Labanc from behind the net, and sent the puck across the ice to the waiting Vlasic.

The Senators were keeping pace at least in shots past the midpoint of the period, but the Sharks did not let up. Joe Thornton passed the puck backward behind the net to a trailing Pavelski, who quickly sent it back up above the goal line for Melker Karlsson to pop into the net.

The Sharks’ power play came to life in the third period with two goals, one early and one late. The first third period power play resulted from a fight between Marcus Sorensen and Ryan Dzingel, when Dzingel was given an extra minor for roughing. Pavelski tipped a quick Couture shot from high in the slot. A second assist went to Brent Burns.

The Senators appeared to have scored at 5:12, in a power play that followed soon after the Sharks’ fourth goal. Braun was in the box for slashing. Matt Duchene took a shot from the face off dot and Bobby Ryan pushed it in. The official waved it off and did not even stop play. On later review, the NHL concluded that the puck had not crossed the line before Vlasic swept the puck back out.

The final power play of the game came when Alex Burrows used the butt end of his stick to bloody Dylan DeMelo’s face. Burrows was ejected with a fighting major and a roughing minor. DeMelo received roughing minor as he went to the dressing room to be patched up. Tomas Hertl scored after catching a bouncing puck off of Erik Karlsson’s hand. Assists went to Brent Burns and Logan Couture.

The Sharks next play on Sunday at 6:00 pm PT against the Minnesota Wild.

Sharks Win 2-1, Pavelski Scores 300

Photo credit: San Jose Sharks

by M. Walsh

San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski scored his 300th career NHL goal Friday, in a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. Goaltender Aaron Dell won his second in a row with 39 saves, and Chris Tierney scored his seventh of the year with the game winner. For the Panthers, Colton Sceviour scored the only goal in the first period, and goaltender Roberto Luongo made 30 saves on 32 shots in a losing effort for Florida.

Joe Pavelski’s goal was his first since November 1st, after an eleven game dry spell. That 300th tally proved elusive for the Sharks captain. Of the milestone, Pavelksi said: “Guess I’m proud of that number, a lot of hard work. But we’ve seen so many great milestones recently, last year too, with Patty and Jumbo. It’s one of those things, it’s a good number but I believe there’s, you know, so much more hockey out there and I’ll keep trying to score some goals.”

Pavelski’s goal was challenged by Florida coach Bob Boughner, the first challenge that went the Sharks way for the first time in a while. The second Sharks goal was also subjected to review, after being called no goal on the ice. Ironically, the last time the Sharks played the Panthers, on November 16 at SAP Center, the Sharks had two goals called back on review, and they lost that game 2-0. It may be that the Sharks’ streak of bad luck with goal reviews has ended.

Of finally having a challenge go their way, Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer said: “Well, yeah, first one of this year, at least it feels like it. You know, I think, we felt it was a goal, so glad to get it. We’ve had enough of those go the other way, and it’s cost us some points. So it all evens out.”

The Sharks went into the game without Joonas Donskoi, injured in Monday’s game in Philadelphia. Donskoi joined the list of injured players that currently includes forwards Tim Heed and Barclay Goodrow, and defenseman veteran Paul Martin. Melker Karlsson was back in the lineup after missing time due to injury, and he left Friday’s game during the third period. Goaltender Martin Jones was dressed as the backup after missing Monday’s game, indicating that he may be ready to play Saturday.

Of the team’s spate of injuries, DeBoer said: “We’re asking other guys to jump in. You know, Tierns makes a play, the big guys are scoring some goals for us lately, Jumbo and Pav, you know Couture’s line’s been good all year. Every injury, every guy that goes down, obviously it’s testing your depth and we don’t have a lot of margin of error. There are a lot of two-on-one games, but we’re getting comfortable in those games so that’s a good thing.”

The Sharks started the game a little slowly, but picked up the pace by the middle of the first period. Nevertheless, they still gave up the first goal in the final two minutes of the period. Dell made the first save, but juggled the puck when it came back on the rebound. The goal initially was given to Panthers captain Derek MacKenzie, but would up being Colton Sceviour’s. Assists went to Alex Petrovic and Micheal Haley.

Joe Pavelski’s tying goal came 11:20 into the second period. Joe Thornton’s pass from behind the net went off of Florida’s Aleksander Barkov and reversed direction. It went right to Pavelski, where he was set up at the corner of the net. As he gained control of the puck, his skate made contact with Luongo’s skate, which was the basis of the coach’s challenge. Luongo was looking in the other direction, which makes sense since Thornton had passed the puck in that direction. Assists on the goal went to Thornton and Timo Meier.

The game winner came 7:13 into the third period. Melker Karlsson’s backhand shot went off of Luongo and to Chris Tierney below the goal line. Tierney shot it back in, bouncing it off of Luongo’s back and into the net. The goal was initially not called as such, but after video review, the NHL made the correction. Assists went to Karlsson and Brent Burns. It was Tierney’s third goal in his last four games.

The Sharks did not get a chance on the power play, but their penalty kill went 2-0 in the game.  Marc-Edouard Vlasic led the team in shots on goal with four.

The Sharks next play on Saturday, against the Tampa Bay Lightning at 4 pm PT.

Sharks Fall to Bruins 3-1, Power Play Struggles

Photo credit: San Jose Sharks

By M. Walsh

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Sharks fell to the Boston Bruins 3-1 on Saturday. Boston goals came from Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk, and Danton Heinen. Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin made 36 saves for the win, while Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell made 17 saves. The lone Sharks goal came from Timo Meier.

The Sharks played well in many short bursts, but they could not generate second chances or sustain pressure for very long. After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said:

We’ve got to be a little bit harder around the net. We had some good chances tonight, it’s just we’re one play off, it feels. You come back to the shift and it’s one play, whether it’s in your d-zone or the neutral zone or the o-zone. It just feels like it’s one play right now.

In Saturday’s loss, the Sharks extended their power-play goal drought to 22. Perhaps more improbable, they saw a fourth consecutive coach’s challenge go against them. Brent Burns continues to shoot without scoring. He now leads the Sharks with 75 shots this season.

Just 1:02 in, the Sharks seemed to have ended their 63-minute goalless streak. Joe Thornton held the puck briefly near the goal line and then passed it back in front of the Bruins net. Out of a crush of players in front of the goalie, the puck found its way over the line off of Joonas Donskoi. The Bruins challenged it and won the challenge. Instead of ending their scoring drought, the Sharks now had three consecutive goals disallowed.

Undaunted, the Sharks went back to work and did get a goal at 4:50, this time from Meier. Danny O’Regan wrested control of the puck behind the Bruins net and guided it to Meier across the goal mouth. Khudobin could not get across in time to stop it. A secondary assist went to Joel Ward.

Moments later, the Bruins came back with a goal of their own. The puck went over the line after Boston’s Jake DeBrusk slid into Aaron Dell and pushed him into the net. The Sharks challenged the play for goaltender interference. The goal held up and was credited to Peter Cehlarik. DeBrusk got an assist for his trouble. It was the fourth consecutive challenge to go against the Sharks.

Of the decision, Pavelski said: “I don’t know. They say he was tripped in there. He was already kind of going down, I think.”

The first power play of the game went to the Sharks at 8:43. Riley Nash went to the box for tripping Joe Thornton. The Bruins penalty kill was effective. It was so effective that, just as Dell was tapping his stick to signal the end of the penalty, DeBrusk broke away and scored to give Boston the lead. Assists went to Charlie McAvoy and Sean Kuraly.

By the end of the first period, the score was 2-1 Boston, though the Sharks were outshooting the Bruins 17-5.

Near the midpoint of the second, Joe Thornton was called for tripping David Pastrnak. The Sharks penalty kill started well, with Melker Karlsson and Chris Tierney leading a merry chase at Boston’s end. The Bruins got no shots with that man advantage and really had no opportunity to do so.

The next penalties called were offsetting minors at 10:46, an interference call against Zdneo Chara and an embellishment call against Jannik Hansen. The Sharks dominated the four on four play but did not change the score.

As the period came to a close, the Sharks still trailed 2-1, and still led in shots, now 25-14.

Fans in the third period saw the Sharks start slowly. It was near the midpoint of the period before they had their first shot on goal. Their game picked up after that, but so did Boston’s game. At 14:59, Danton Heinen scored his third of the season against the Sharks, catching a well-timed pass from Kevan Miller for a breakaway. Too many Sharks were too deep in the Boston zone to catch him.

The Sharks had another power play in the last two minutes of regulation, but it didn’t make a difference.

The Sharks will have a chance to repair their game on Monday when they host the Anaheim Ducks at 7:30 pm PT.

Sharks Shut Out Canucks 5-0; Dells stops 41 as Couture and Tierney combine for four goals

San Jose Sharks’ Logan Couture (39) scores past Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

by M. Walsh

SAN JOSE– The San Jose Sharks defeated the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 5-0 Saturday. Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell stopped 41 shots in his second NHL shutout. Tomas Hertl scored first, while Logan Couture and Chris Tierney each scored twice. Vancouver netminder Jacob Markstrom made 26 saves on 29 shots.

The win stood in sharp contrast to the Sharks’ previous game, a 5-1 loss. Of the 5-0 win, Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer said: “It’s a huge divisional game. Deller was our best player, which is, you know, why we have him. He was great and we found a way. ” As the Sharks’ backup goaltender, Aaron Dell has only started four games this season. Of his performance Saturday night, Sharks forward Logan Couture said:

We believe in him in this room. And 40 saves or whatever it was tonight is pretty impressive. He was tracking pucks well, he’s been great every time we put him in so we have a lot of confidence in him.

Tomas Hertl finished the game with a goal and two assists. After the game, Couture said of Hertl:

He’s been good, he’s had so many chances over these past six or seven games where you just figured he was going to get an ugly one and, you know, we need goals so we hope that this is the start of something.

In all, the Sharks scored at even strength, short-handed, into an empty net and on a penalty shot. The only thing missing was a power play goal. Couture described that missing piece as an ongoing source of frustration:

Our power play’s really draining the energy from us. I mean it’s just getting frustrating. Us guys on the power play, we can’t let that happen. We need to create some energy instead of deflating our team.

The Canucks came to San Jose after an unexpectedly good start to their season, winning eight of sixteen games and adding a couple of points for overtime losses. Those 18 points are good for third in the Pacific right now. Their scoring leader is Derek Dorsett, who has met his second best season total in just 16 games. He has seven goals in this his tenth NHL season. His career best was 12 in 2011-12. Second in scoring for Vancouver is Bo Horvat, now in his fourth NHL season. He has six goals, putting him on track to easily eclipse last season’s 20.

The Sharks scored just 48 seconds into the game, a point shot from Justin Braun that went off of Tomas Hertl in front of the net. A second assist went to Melker Karlsson.

At 11:07, Timo Meier had a very good chance during a delayed Canucks penalty. His shot went just under Markstrom’s glove but hit the far post and bounced out. During the power play, the Sharks had just two shots. The powerplay units were Brent Burns, Tim Heed, Logan Couture, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, then Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Mikkel Boedker, Joonas Donskoi, Tomas Hertl and Joel Ward.

With 5:06 left in the first, Donskoi drew a hooking penalty to give the Sharks another power play chance. The sharks only mustered one shot during those two minutes, and a few seconds after the power play expired, the Canucks had their own chance with the man advantage. Timo Meier was called for slashing at 17:02. The Canucks bolstered their shot count by four but did not score. Though the Sharks led the Canucks in shots 11-4 in the middle of the period, the Canucks had closed the gap to 14-10 by the end of the period.

The Sharks had a third power play early in the second period, but it was cut short just 37 seconds in by a penalty to Joe Pavelski for hooking. During the four on four, a Brent Burns shot from the blue line hit the top bar and left the defenseman still waiting for his first goal of the year.

The Sharks drew a fourth power play at 9:30 of the second, an interference call against Alex Biega. The Canucks managed to thwart the Sharks on almost every entry, forcing them to mostly dump it in and never get set up. The Sharks did not get a shot on goal in that fourth power play. Brent Burns and Tomas Hertl were able to get in with self-passes off the boards but they were quickly stripped of the puck and sent back out by the penalty killers.

That penalty kill seemed to energize the Canucks and they put pressure on the Sharks for several shifts, racking up shots and wearing out the San Jose defenders. That push took a toll on the Sharks and resulted in a slashing penalty to Joel Ward at 15:30. The power play started with a short-handed chance for Couture and Hertl but Markstrom gloved Couture’s shot away.

That short-handed chance foreshadowed another chance for the same pair just seconds later. Hertl chased the puck down along the boards in the Sharks zone and nudged it in Couture’s direction near the Sharks blue line. Couture had enough speed to evade pursuit and take another shot at Markstrom. This time it went in. Hertl received the only assist.

The Canucks led the Sharks in shots during the second period, 14-6, but the Sharks still had the 2-0 lead where it counts.

The Canucks came out fast and furious in the third, firing five shots on goal in the first two minutes. The shot imbalance evened out as the period went on, until the Sharks scored three times in the final two minutes. Logan Couture scored into an empty net at 18:19. Assists went to Joel Ward and Tomas Hertl.

In the final two minutes, Timo Meier was charged with elbowing and given a five minute major and game misconduct.

With the net still empty, Chris Tierney scored twice in 20 seconds. The first was into an empty net and the second was on a penalty shot. It was his first NHL penalty shot goal.

The Sharks next play on Sunday in Los Angeles against the Kings, at 7:30 PM PT.

Sharks End Road Trip With 3-2 Win Over Sabres

Photo credit: San Jose Sharks

by Mary Walsh

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The San Jose Sharks defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Saturday afternoon. The win extended their win streak to three against a team that was once nigh unbeatable for the Sharks, at least in Buffalo. Sharks goals came from Logan Couture, Joonas Donskoi, and Chris Tierney. Sabres goals came from and Ryan O’Reilly and Jason Pominville. Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell made 31 saves on 33 shots for the win, while Sabres goalie Robin Lehner made 28 saves on 31 shots.

The game concludes a five game road trip for the Sharks, during which they added three wins to their record. After the game, Sharks forward Tomas Hertl said: “Six points on the road trip is huge for us but we have to be ready coming home we got a lot of good teams like Tampa, Nashville and we have to win home. It’s like our building, our tank and we have to play better there.”

Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer said, of the six points:

We’ll take six. You know, six, seven, eight, I mean you want as many points as possible but I like how we’re starting to play. I think the majority of our play is heading in the right direction and we’re giving ourselves a chance to win every night which is a big part of it.

The game marked a significant improvement in the Buffalo power play, ranked 27th in the NHL before Saturday. Though they only scored once in five chances, the Sabres showed signs of returning to last season’s top ranked power play. The Sabres’ power play goal ended the Sharks’ impressive streak of 16 consecutive penalties killed on the road trip. The Sharks had three chances on the power play but did not score, and at even strength each team had dangerous moments. Both goaltenders had their work cut out for them, but neither team was especially sloppy on defense.

In a near miss for the Sharks, a Buffalo goal was called off with 2:48 left in the first period for goaltender interference. Sam Reinhart caught Dell’s leg and then blocker while skating through the blue paint, turning Dell away from the play and making it harder for him to get back in position. After the game, DeBoer said of the decision to challenge that goal:

It was a great challenge by Dan Darrow and Johan Hedberg who handle that end for us. That helped us get a little momentum too early… When you look at it, I don’t have those feeds, those guys do. But it’s clear that’s what the rule is in place for, for exactly that situation. So I’m glad they got it right.

The first goal came at the tail end of a Buffalo power play, when Joonas Donskoi came out of the penalty box and catch a stray puck that Matt Tennyson failed to stop at the Sharks blue line. Donskoi broke away with a step on the Sabres defense and had room to pick a spot just wide of Lehner.

The second goal of the game came on the first Sabres power play of the second period. Joel Ward was in the box for hooking. Both teams were on their way into the zone after Timo Meier’s short handed chance. O’Reilly came in as the trailer and beat Dell from above the faceoff circle. Assists went to Kyle Okposo and San Reinhart.

The Sabres took the lead with a goal at 14:51 of the second. Evander Kane pushed the puck down low to Jack Eichel, who passed it back up to Pominville. Pominville got his shot around both Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun for his third goal of the year against the Sharks. Assists went to Eichel and Kane.

The Sharks tied the game back up with just 12 seconds left in the second period. Their power play had just expired. Chris Tierney, Melker Karlsson and Timo Meier had just come on the ice. Meier carried the puck behind the net under pressure from Rasmus Ristolainen. Melker Karlsson trailed the pair, pulled the puck off the boards and took a hard shot from just above the goal line. The puck went off of the goalie and Tierney was on the other side to knock it down and in the net. It was Tierney’s second goal of the season. Assists went to Meier and Karlsson.

Logan Couture’s game winner came 16:08 into the third period. He fought his way through a check from Jake McCabe to catch a pass from Tomas Hertl. McCabe followed after Couture and gave him a shove while he took the shot. No matter, the shot went in anyway. Assists went to Tomas Hertl and Justin Braun.

After the game, DeBoer gave his assessment:

Tough game, they’re a desperate team. We wanted to end this road trip right and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We shot ourselves a little I thought early in the game with the penalties but recovered and did enough to win, got a great performance from Deller. So it was a good win for us.

The Sharks next play on Monday in San Jose against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7:30 PM PT. The game will be Patrick Marleau’s first visit to the Tank as a Maple Leaf.

Islanders, Greiss Defeat Sharks 3-1

New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck scores on an open net late in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. The Islanders won 3-1. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

by M. Walsh

SAN JOSE– The San Jose Sharks lost 3-1 to the New York Islanders Saturday. The game winning goal was scored by Brock Nelson, with additional goals from Anders Lee and Cal Clutterbuck. The Sharks goal came from Kevin Labanc. Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss made 40 stops on 41 shots, while Aaron Dell made 20 stops on 22 shots for the Sharks. After the loss, Sharks forward Joe Thornton said: “You just can’t get frustrated, line after line, just keep going, keep working hard. But our compete level was really high tonight. Just didn’t get the outcome we deserved, I thought.”

Thornton gave Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss a lot of credit for the game’s outcome. Though the Sharks put 41 shots on net, they only came away with one goal. It is a scenario long familiar to Sharks fans, but Saturday night the goaltender may truly have been the difference. Greiss is perfectly capable of controlling rebounds with a high level of accuracy, and that was certainly contributed to the Sharks’ glaring lack of second chances. The Sharks could have put more traffic in front of the net, but Greiss had a very good game as well.

Joe Pavelski had five shots on goal, and all but two of the Sharks got credit for more than one shot. Their 41 shots loomed over the Islanders’ 23. At times, the Sharks did have the Islanders on their heels, but San Jose’s game still was not consistent enough. In an uncharacteristic show of anger, Joe Pavelski broke his stick after failing to score on a very good chance. He explained that after the game: “Liked my game, like the finish to be a little bit better. You know, something had to give so the stick did.”

Sharks Head Coach Pete DeBoer also addressed the question of frustration with this poor start to the Sharks season:

“I thought tonight was probably our best game of the four we’ve played. I thought the special teams both looked good, you know we did a lot of good things five on five. We’re building our game and if you see frustration, that’s ’cause these guys expect to win every night.”

The Sharks started the game with a very early penalty: an interference call against Justin Braun. They killed that off and several minutes later got a power play of their own, when Calvin de Haan went to the box for slashing Kevin Labanc. On the ensuing power play, Mikkel Boedker’s shot was kicked out and bounced into the faceoff circle, where Labanc was waiting. He took a few steps and shot it. It deflected off of an Islander skater and into the net. Assists went to Boedker and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

The Islanders got on the board after a prolonged spell in the Sharks’ zone. After several bad passes and failed clear attempts, the Sharks gave it up one too many times. Jordan Eberle caught a pass from Adam Pelech and shot it at the far corner of the net. Anders Lee was waiting there to knock it in.

The Sharks followed that with a good shift from the top line. They held the puck in for a good minute or so, taking a few shots and seeing some chance, but not changing the score.

At the end of the first, the shots stood at 12-9 San Jose, with the score knotted at one.

The Sharks were on the penalty kill again, almost as soon as the second period began. Boedker went to the box for slashing at 1:04. 28 contributed a fine short handed attack in the middle of the kill, and the rest of the penalty kill finished the job without too much drama. The Sharks came out of the kill with some energy and sustained several long attacks, but it was the Islanders who scored next.

At 13:48, a Ryan Carpenter hit on Adam Pelech looked likely to lead to a penalty, especially when a couple of skaters started to go after Carpenter, including the alleged victim of the hit. But the whistles never blew and the rest of the players kept playing. Through the disarray, Brock Nelson’s shot went by Dell to give the Islanders the lead. The time of the goal was 6:27, assists went to Joshua Ho-Sang and Calvin de Haan.

The Sharks started the third period well. They dominated in shots and zone time for the first five minutes, but could not beat Greiss or create any second chances. That dominance ended with a defensive zone penalty to Joakim Ryan at 5:27. Jannik Hansen and Chris Tierney had a fine short-handed chance but still they could not beat Greiss. The rest of the penalty kill was very efficient, allowing the Islanders no shots and very little time in the zone.

The period went on and by the final five minutes, the Islanders were sitting on three shots to the Sharks’ 12. Nevertheless, the score was still 2-1 Islanders. After their fourth shot of the period, the score was 3-1. Cal Clutterbuck was the goal scorer after he grabbed the puck in the Islanders’ zone and put it in an empty net. Assists went to Nikolay Kulemin and Casey Cizikas at 18:10.

The Sharks will host the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday at 7:30 PM PT.

Barracuda Finish Weekend With Loss to Gulls

By Mary Walsh

photo credit: San Jose Barracuda–San Jose goaltender Aaron Dell was in the headlights as the San Diego Gulls made work on net in their 3-1 victory at SAP on Sunday

SAN JOSE– The San Diego Gulls beat the San Jose Barracuda by a score of 3-1 Sunday. The teams split the weekend meeting with a win each. Two goals were scored by Antoine Laganiere, and one by Matt Bailey for San Diego. Goaltender Anton Khudobin made 34 saves on 35 shots for the win. The Barracuda goal was scored by Ryan Carpenter, while Aaron Dell made 17 saves on 19 shots.

The Gulls took six penalties in all, the Barracuda took none. The Barracuda did have two goals discounted, which did not happen to the Gulls. Anton Khudobin was in net for the San Diego Gulls on Sunday. His backup ws Matt Hackett. Khudobin has played 99 NHL games with Boston, Carolina, Minnesota and Anaheim. Hackett has played in 26 NHL game with Buffalo and Minnesota. It would appear that the Anaheim Ducks are not taking any chances with goaltending this season.

Nevertheless, the less experienced Aaron Dell only let two pucks get by him, while Khudobin let three in. Two did not count but they did get by him.

San Diego scored less than four minutes into the game, when Barracuda goaltender Aaron Dell collected the puck behind the net and passed it forward, where a Gull was lurking. He made the initial save on the quick shot that followed, but in doing so he slid too far from the net. Matt Bailey caught the rebound and put it behind Dell for his third goal of the season. An assist went to Antoine Laganiere.

The fifteen minute mark approached and San Jose was still trying to get their second shot on goal, while San Diego had nine. They got it, in the course of a power play. Harry Zolnierczyk was in the box for slashing. The Barracuda got credit for three shots on that power play, but the score remained unchanged.

The Barracuda had one more shot in the period. The first ended with the score 1-0 and the shots 11-5 San Diego. The Barracuda made up some lost ground in the first few minutes of the second period, creeping closer on the shot clock and even almost scoring a goal off a peculiar bounce that coincided with some confusion in the Gulls’ zone. The goal did not count but the shots were 12-9 at that point. San Jose was on the hunt and San Diego was caught a little bit off guard.

The Barracuda completed the shot clock comeback with a power play at 6:27, a too many men penalty to San Diego. That power play went by with the score still 1-0 visitors. The shot clock read 14-13 Barracuda 102 seconds later, when the Gulls scored again, this time through a chaotic coverage breakdown by the Barracuda. The goal was Laganiere’s 12th of the season. Assists went to Corey Tropp and Matt Bailey. It was the second shot of the period for the Gulls.

The Barracuda had a third consecutive power play at 11:40 of the second. This time it was Stu Bickel in the box for tripping. Still no goal fro San Jose. At 14:02, San Jose had a fourth power play and San Diego still had none.

That fourth power play made all the difference. Karl Stollery carried the puck off the wall into the slot, where he sent it in the direction of Ryan Carpenter, who was at the side of the net with his stick ready for a deflection. Trevor Parkes was battling with a Gull in front of Khudobin so the goaltender never saw the shot coming. It was Carpenter’s 4th of the season. Assists went to Stollery and Barclay Goodrow.

The shot count for the second period was 19-4 Barracuda.

San Jose had their fifth power play at 3:12 of the third, thanks to a tripping penalty on Corey Tropp.

After a frustrating sequence in and out of the Gulls’ zone, the Barracuda finally connected on a pass or two and Nikolay Goldbin took a shot from near the goal line at 9:04 of the third. The puck went in, but the presence of a teal skater on the other side of the blue paint qualified as interference. He did not really seem to be in the way but that is how the officials called it. For the second time in the game, a Barracuda goal was waived off.

The sixth Barracuda power play came with a little more than eight minutes remaining in the third period. Joseph Cramarossa was the culprit, confined for high-sticking.

Dell came out of his net with just under two minutes left, but the additional skater did not make the difference. The final shot count was 35-19 Barracuda.

While no Barracuda player had more than three shots, eight different players finished the game with three. It was a solid effort.

The Barracuda next play on Wednesday, in San Jose at 7:30 PT, against the Ontario Reign.

Barracuda Beat the Heat 4-1

By Mary Walsh

photo credit: San Jose Barracuda–The Barracuda get a split with a win against the Stockton Heat 4-1 on Sunday

The San Jose Barracuda defeated the Stockton Heat by a score of 4-1 Sunday. The loss ended the Heat’s 10 game home win streak and moved the Barracuda back into third place in the AHL’s Pacific Division.

In stark contrast to Saturday’s meeting, Sunday’s game started out as a low-scoring affair, with just one goal in the first two periods. The game opened up in the third, mostly for San Jose. Barracuda goaltender Aaron Dell deserves much of the credit for the win. His team was outshot 26-16 through the first two periods but he stopped them all until the third period. In all, he made 39 saves on 40 shots. John McCarthy scored two goals in the game, with goals also scored by Nikita Jevpalovs and Trevor Parkes. Freddie Hamilton scored the lone goal for the Heat and Stockton goaltender Kevin Poulin made 25 saves on 28 shots faced.

Nikita Jevpalovs opened the scoring Sunday, giving the Barracuda a first period lead. Nikolay Goldobin’s shot from the left side created a rebound for Jevpalovs to pick up and put away. Assists went to Goldobin and Mirco Mueller. Goldobin is currently working on point streak of six games, a season high for the team.

The second period did not start out as well as the first, with the Barracuda being outshot 7-1 in the first half. The rest of the period did not go much better for them, and Aaron Dell stopped 12 shots while his team only took 6. Still, Stockton had not scored and the Barracuda held on to their 1-0 lead.

The Barracuda started the third much better, taking a lead on the shot clock early, but at 5:16, the Heat tied the game with a goal from Freddie Hamilton. Assists went to Kenny Agostino and Garnet Hathway. It was Hamilton’s 14th goal of the season.

Gus Young was called for slashing at 6:18 of the third, and half way through the Stockton power play, Mirco Mueller was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty as well. Stockton took their time out to prepare for the five on three.

The Barracuda held on through the five on three and then, during the abbreviated five on four, John McCarthy escaped with the puck through the neutral zone and beat Poulin to give San Jose the lead back. The goal was unassisted.

Parkes was tripped at 9:53 by Gabriel Verpaelst, giving the Barracuda their first power play of the game. It was just their second power play of the weekend.

McCarthy scored again at 14:25, after Micheal Haley got the puck in while taking a hard hit. Trevor Parkes controlled the puck behind the net and got it to McCarthy who came in late to get to the net. Assists went to Parkes and Haley.

Parkes got the empty net goal at 17:40, with an assist to Joakim Ryan.

Raffi Torres played on Saturday but not Sunday, which was consistent with the team’s expectation that he would play in just one of the weekend games. Barclay Goodrow was also out of the lineup, possibly in case the Sharks had to call him up for Monday’s game. Mirco Mueller was in the lineup, having returned from his call up last week.

The Barracuda next play on Friday in Bakersfield at 7:00 PST.

Barracuda Fall 4-2 to Condors

By Mary Walsh

photo credit: San Jose Barracuda–The Barracuda lose to the Bakerfield Condors 4-2 on Valentines day at SAP

SAN JOSE– The San Jose Barracuda fell to the Bakersfield Condors by a score of 4-2 Sunday. The game winner was scored by Ryan Hamilton. Anders Nilsson was in net for the win, making 21 saves on 23 shots. For San Jose, Aaron Dell made 22 saves on 25 shots faced. Both Barracuda goals were scored by Ben Smith.

San Jose and Bakersfield were playing for third place in the division on Sunday. When the game started, the Barracuda had a two point lead over the Condors but had played one more game. With the win, the Condors jumped the Barracuda for third place in the AHL’s Pacific Division.

I remember when the Bakersfield Condors wore grey and burgundy and had the names of local businesses on the tails of their jerseys. That was when they were an ECHL team last year. Now the Condors look pretty much like the Oilers, especially from a distance far enough to not see the emblem. They wear the same colors but they differ in one important respect: they are doing well in their division this season.

The Barracuda were first on the power play, into the first period. Bakersfield was called for too many men on the ice and Anton Slepyshev served the penalty at 11:47. San Jose did not score. Instead, Bakersfield scored at . Barracuda goaltender Aaron Dell stopped the first couple of shots during a Condor attack during which the Barracuda could not clear the puck out. Andrew Miller’s shot went over Dell’s shoulder from the slot to give the visitors the lead. It was Miller’s twelfth of the season. Assists went to Rob Klinkhammer and Jujhar Khaira.

The Condors kept the Barracuda on their heels for the rest of the period. With San Jose defenders stuck in their zone, they were lucky to make it to intermission down by just one.

At the end of the period, the teams were tied on the shot clock but the home team trailed by one.

The second period was marked by a lot of hits and questionable stick use. By the ten minute mark, the Barracuda had added two shots and the Condors just one. Near the eleven minute mark, the game’s first fight broke out behind the Barracuda goal line. The scuffle landed Andrew Miller and Joakim Ryan in the box with roughing minors. Miller got an additional two minutes, so Slepyshev joined him in the box and a Barracuda power play commenced.

San Jose still could not score, but they did keep the Condors on the defensive. And defend they did. The Baracuda had very little time to take the shots they got credit for and many that just missed the net. With six minutes left, Bakersfield still only had one shot in the period but they still had a one goal lead.

The Condors got their first power kay with 4:13 left in the second. San Jose’s Julius Bergman went to the box for slashing. During their power play they finally got a few shots on goal. Half way through the power play, Karl Stollerysent the puck out of play and was called for delay of game. San Jose managed the three on five penalty kill and the minute of four on five that followed.

At the end of the second, the score was still 1-0 Condors and the shots were 17-15 Condors.

The third period started with an early chance for the Condors that hit a post. That seemed to wake the Barracuda up and they responded with several good shifts in the offensive zone. When the Condors pushed back, they were wrapped up in extended board battles and had few chances to score again until the middle of the period.

At, the Condors extended their lead. A neutral zone breakdown gave the Condors a two-then-three on one with Julius Bergman as the one. Jujhar Khaira scored the goal with assists going to Andrew Miller and Griffin Reinhart.

The goal unsettled the Barracuda and inspired the Condors. The orange and blue attack continued with the Barracuda scrambling defensively.

The Barracuda recovered somewhat in the second half of the period. At 12:05 they scored after John McCarthy and Ben Smith combined to win the puck off the boards. McCarthy carried it behind the net and tried a wraparound. That did not work but Smith was on the other side of the crease to catch the puck and put it in. It was his seventh goal of the season in eleven games played with the team. McCarthy received the lone assist.

The Condors did not let that go and stretched their lead back to two with 3:40 left in the game. Entering the zone fast two one two, Ryan Hamilton and Tyler Pitlick gave the Condors their third goal of the game.

The Barracuda made a game of it with just over a minute left. A good four skater rush through the neutral zone and some give and go between Smith and Bryan Lerg resulted in another goal for Smith.

Barracuda coach Sommer opted to pull his goaltender after that and with 26.2 left in the game, the puck escaped the neutral zone and only the Condors’ Klinkhammer was near enough to catch it. He put it in the Barracuda net.

Final score: 4-2 Condors.

John McCarthy led the Barracuda in shots on goal with five. Mirco Mueller, called up to the Sharks briefly after Brenden Dillon’s recent injury, was back with the AHL squad in time for Sunday’s game.

Raffi Torres, still on the Barracuda roster, did not play for the second game in a row. He has played five games with the Barracuda this year.

The Barracuda hit the road next week and will face the Heat on Saturday and Sunday in Stockton.

Barracuda Lose to Rampage in OT

By Mary Walsh

photo credit: San Jose Barrcuda-San Antonio Rampage take San Jose Barracuda to OT and win it 1-0

SAN JOSE– The San Jose Barracuda have quietly turned into a winning team in the AHL’s Pacific Division. They may not mean to be quiet about it, perhaps the deafening noise from their parent team’s struggles has just drowned them out. In any case, they now sit second in their division and, more impressively, had won five in a row before Sunday, and seven of their last ten games. An overtime loss, by a score of 1-0, did not change any of that.

Sunday’s match was the second of back to back meetings with the San Antonio Rampage. Saturday night’s game ended 6-4 in San Jose’s favor, so they faced a motivated opponent Sunday afternoon.

San Jose started the game well, at both ends of the ice. They were rewarded with a power play when San Antonio’s Duncan Siemens was called for holding at 2:35. The Barracuda did not score and had another chance at 6:16 when San Antonio goaltender Spencer Martin was called for tripping. The power play started out fairly well but just as the second minute started ticking down, the Rampage found a deflected puck and attacked the Baracuda net two on one. The shooter was unlucky and hit the post. The pair had a second chance and shot again. This time, Aaron Dell’s quick glove sent the puck over the net. San Jose did not score on the power play but they scaped unscathed.

A few minutes later, the Barracuda had to kill their own penalty: a hooking call to John McCarthy. Not long after that one expired, the Barracuda were penalized again, this time to Langlois, also for hooking. They killed these all off, and despite a lot of zone time for the Rampage, the Barracuda skaters kept opposing shots to a bare minimum. The penalties kept coming, and the Barracuda finished the period on another power play, a slashing call to Nikita Zadarov.

By the end of the period, the shots were 9-6 San Jose.

The Rampage started the second by killing off the last of the Barracuda’s third power play, and then evening up the shot count at 9-9 before the five minute mark.

The next penalty went to the Barracuda, this time a kneeing call on Alex Gallant at 8:58. The kill was very efficient, not allowing the Rampage much time at all to sustain an attack. They were back on the kill at 13:51 when Micheal Haley went to the box for slashing. The fourth time around, the Barracuda penalty killers did not look as sharp, and the Rampage took over the shot lead in a still scoreless game.

By the end of the second, the Rampage led on the shot clock, 17-13.

Four minutes and seven seconds went by before the Barracuda recorded their first shot of the third period. By then, the Rampage also had just one. In the minutes that followed, the Barracuda seemed to wake up and spent a lot of time in the ofensive zone. Still, shots on goal were few and far between, goals non-existant. A media time out ended the San Jose surge, and when they returend, the Rampage took their turn on offense. They were no more successful and by the ten minute mark, the shots were 21-17 an Antonio and the score still 0-0.

The tension boiled over a few seconds past that mark in a multi-player skirmish, after Julius Bergman took a hard hit near the end boards. From that, San Antonio’s Reid Petryk landed in the box for charging. The Barracuda had a number of attempted shots but none hit the net during the two minute man advantage.

the Rampage had barely finished killing that penalty when the Barracuda’s Haley was called for hooking at 12:20. The Rampage added one shot to their tally, and in the final seconds of the power play they hit another post. It made a loud ringing sound, shot across the goal mouth and out.

In the final minutes, the Rampage were all over the Barracuda, but luck and posts seemed against the visitors. With 2:20 left in regulation, the shots were 26-17 Rampage, and the Barracuda were trapped in their own zone by icing calls and turnovers. The closest they got to the offensive zone was a neutral zone faceoff. A few brief skates through the Rampage zone was all San Jose could manage in the final seconds of the third.

The Rampage won the game on a wrist shot from Reid Petryk with 1:48 remaining in the OT session. An assist went to Marc-Andre Cliche.

With the one point, the Barracuda remain in the playoff picture, in seconds place in the division, but their winning streak ended at five.

Aaron Dell received the third star of the game for his trouble, making 26 saves on 27 shots.

The Barracuda next play on Wednesday against the Gulls in San Diego at 7:05 PT.