Sharks Fall 3-2 in OT to Ducks, Sawchenko Gets the Start

San Jose Sharks goaltender Zach Sawchenko, right, stops a shot by Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique in second period action at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Sun Mar 6, 2022 (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

ANAHEIM- The San Jose Sharks fell 3-2 in overtime to the Anaheim Ducks Sunday. Adam Henrique, Sonny Milano and Rickard Rakell scored for Anaheim and Anthony Stolarz made 20 saves for the win. Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored for San Jose and Zach Sawchenko made 33 saves in his first NHL start.

After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner talked about Sawchenko’s performance:

“Sawzy, I thought he stood tall. I thought that he gave us the saves we needed early, he made some big saves to keep the momentum on our side. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the two points for him. But for his first full start I think he should be pretty happy with it.”

Undrafted, Sawchenko played for the San Jose Barracuda and the Allen Americans from 2019 to 2021 before signing with the Sharks at the end of last season.

The goaltender talked about making his first start: “It was a long road to get here. I think it’s that much more special, doing it here with the same team that I started with whatever it was, four years ago or three years, whatever the number is.” Sawchenko is of Ukrainian descent and he was asked about the performance of the Ukrainian anthem that played before the game. He said: “Obviously it’s cool. It was cool to hear that yesterday in San Jose too.”

The game-winning goal came after a very convenient line change by the Ducks, and Boughner was not happy about it:

“It’s just a complete, disastrous blown call. And the thing that pisses me off the most is they don’t even come over to the bench, they race off the ice. Just, the respect to come and explain it. Everybody missed it, no review, if you watch it, the replay, it’s too many men all day long.”

The game started with a fight between Jeffrey Viel and Sam Carrick.

Logan Couture made it 1-0 Sharks at 7:47. Couture carried the puck in, looking for the pass but took the shot instead and sent the puck right under Stolarz. Assists went to Timo Meier and Santeri Hatakka.

The Sharks came out of the first period with the lead and a shot lead of 10-9. The Sharks had to kill three penalties and had one power play in the period. Their penalty kill gave up just one shot and had two short-handed shots. Their power play got two shots on goal.

The Ducks tied it up at 1:41 of the second period. Max Comtois’s shot went off of Sawchenko and then off of Adam Henrique and into the net. Assists went to Comtois and Troy Terry.

A little over a minute later, Marc-Edouard Vlasic got the lead back for the Sharks with a shot from the blue line through traffic. The puck wet off of Kevin Shattenkirk’s leg and into the net. Nicolas Meloche got the assist.

Sony Milano tied it up again with 20 seconds left in the period. The puck came out of a scrum in front of the net and Milano was right there and in the clear to put it away. Assists went to Adam Henrique and Cam Fowler.

The second period had just two penalties called, one to each team. Each power play got just one shot in. The Sharks were badly outshot in the period, 13-6 Ducks.

At 7:03 of the third period, Jacob Middleton puck the puck in the net during a penalty kill but the play was called offside and the goal was called back. Middleton was about half a stride ahead of the puck that Nieto was bringing over the line. To follow up on that valiant effort, Middleton took a stick to the face at the end of the penalty kill to give the Sharks a power play.

Nine seconds into overtime, Logan Couture was covering Adam Henrique while the Ducks had the puck. Couture took an eye off of Henrique, who was near the bench. While Couture was looking away with Henrique behind him, Rickard Rakell jumped on the ice at the other end of the bench, giving himself a good lead on Couture and Burns both. Rakell skated into the zone alone and beat Sawchenko over the glove. Assists went to Terry and Fowler.

After the game, the teams conferenced about the play. It could have been a too-many men on the ice play since Henrique was lackadaisical about getting off the ice. But the goal held up.

The Sharks struggled in the face-off circle Sunday, winning just 38% of the draws. They improved in the third, winning 53% of them. The Sharks excelled at blocking shots, however, blocking 28 to the Ducks’ 7.

The Sharks lost Radim Simek to injury late in Saturday’s game, giving Santeri Hatakka a chance in the lineup Sunday.

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

Sharks Beat Ducks 5-4 in Shoot-Out

The Anaheim Ducks center Rickard Rakell (right) with outstretched stick can’t stop the San Jose Sharks right winger Matt Nieto (left) who takes the puck down ice on Fri Feb 5, 2021 in the Honda Center in Anaheim (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks defeated the Anaheim Ducks 5-4 in a shoot-out at the Honda Center Friday. Sharks goals came from Matt Nieto, Logan Couture, Evander Kane, and Brent Burns. The shoot-out winner came from Kevin Labanc. Martin Jones made 33 saves for the win. The Ducks got goals from Adam Henrique, Troy Terry and Max Comtois (2). John Gibson made 26 saves in the loss. An eight-goal performance was unexpected from two of the lowest-scoring teams in the league. Stranger still, each team had a three-goal period.

After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner talked about the stunning shift in momentum from the first period to the second, when the game lurched from 1-0 Sharks to 3-1 Ducks:

“Your character’s in question there, when you have such a good first period and you come back and all of a sudden, you know. Hey, our power play didn’t go as well as we thought and that we wanted, and we lost momentum I think that way. But, you know, at the end of the day it’s a five-on-five game and we’ve got to get our five-on-five game established again. I just didn’t like a couple of the goals. I thought we looked basically uninspired in parts of the second period.”

Coming into the game, the Ducks were 4-5-2 on the season. In their previous game, they defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-1. Ryan Getzlaf was out with a lower body injury Friday. The Sharks were 3-5-0. Due to COVID protocol schedule changes, they had a week off after a shut-out loss to Colorado. Alexander Chmelevski made his NHL debut.

Matt Nieto started the scoring with his third goal of the year. Matt Nieto and Marcus Sorensen jumped into the zone two one one. Sorensen had the puck on the outside and waited until he was almost at the goal line before making a pass to Nieto in front of the net at 12:50 of the first period. Assists went to Sorensen and Alexander Chmelevski, Chmelevski’s first NHL point.

At the end of the first period, the Sharks had a 17-8 lead in shots. They had one shot on one power play, gave up a short-handed shot, and trailed in the face-off circle at 44%.

The second period was all Ducks. At 10:03, Adam Henrique tapped a rebound under Martin Jones to tie the game. Assists went to Derek Grant and Troy Terry.

A few minutes later, Terry scored to give Anaheim the lead. Cam Fowler brought the puck into the zone and then passed it to Terry on the outside. Fowler kept going and acted as a screen for Terry’s shot. The assists went to Fowler and Grant.

In the final minutes of the period, Max Comtois made it 3-1. The Sharks had just finished their second scoreless powerplay. An offside call led to a neutral zone face-off that Anaheim won. It took the a couple of tries to get through the neutral zone but finally they made it into the Sharks’zone. Rickard Rakell took advantage of a give-away and skated behind the Sharks net. He found Comtois with a short pass and Comtois’ shot squeezed between Jones and the post.

In the second period, the Ducks out-shot the Sharks 13-3 and won 60% of the face-offs. On the Sharks’ power play, they had one shot and gave one up.

After the game, Boughner acknowledged that a lot was said during the second intermission: “It was time to look ourselves in the mirror a little bit and it was a gut check. And they responded.”

The Sharks’ big guns did indeed respond in the third period. Logan Couture scored in the first minute. Couture dumped the puck in and Evander Kane chased it down in time to sling it in front of the net. Couture was at the net by then and tapped it in while goalie John Gibson was trying to come across. Assists went to Kane and Brent Burns.

Evander Kane tied the game with a short-handed goal at 2:06 of the third. He stole a pass meant for Hampus Lindholm. Chipping it to himself and took a shot from above the face-off dot. The puck sailed by Gibson on the far side.

Brent Burns gave the Sharks their second lead of the game at 8:04. John Gibson had just gotten back into his net after a stroll behind it. Burns took a pass from Ryan Donato and buried it.

The Ducks tied it back up with another goal from Max Comtois. The Ducks won a defensive zone draw, and followed that up with a gruelling long shift in the Sharks zone. Comtois received a cross-ice pass from Carter Rowney and shot the puck past Jones on the glove side. Assists went to Rowney and Lindholm.

The Sharks improved a little in the face-off circle in the third, winning 46% of them. The shot clock favored the Ducks 11-8.

The teams traded good chances for the first couple of minutes until a high stick penalty put the Ducks on the power play. The Sharks got a nice short-handed chance when Marc-Edouard Vlasic got control of the puck and carried it out of the zone. The Sharks killed off a good chunk of the power play moving the puck around the Ducks’ zone and taking one shot.

Ryan Donato shot first for the Sharks and scored. Rickard Rakell shot first for the Ducks and Jones made a great save.

Couture shot second for the Sharks but Gibson shut down the five-hole attempt. Comtois shot second for Anaheim but Jones stopped him with an outstretched toe.

Kevin Labanc shot third and, though he tripped over Gibson’s skate, he still got the puck in the net.

The Sharks next play on Saturday, in Anaheim again, against the Ducks at 7:00 PM PT.

Sharks Beat Devils 2-1, Start Season 4-0

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks won their fourth in a row to start the season. They needed overtime and a shootout to defeat the New Jersey Devils 2-1. Goaltender Martin Jones set a new shutout record for the franchise, spanning from the team’s first game of the season to the final minutes of the fourth game. Regulation goals were scored by Patrick Marleau for the Sharks and Adam Henrique for the Devils. The game was a far cry from the trouncing that they gave to the Washington Capitals, but in light of recent injuries, it was a good win.

Earlier Friday, the Sharks announced that they would be without the services of forwards Logan Couture and Joonas Donskoi. Head coach Peter DeBoer opted to make wholesale changes to his lines when he lost the top top six forwards. Bringing Ben Smith in as fourth line center, he moved Chris Tierney to the third line between Tommy Wingels and Matt Nieto. Tomas Hertl moved to the second line between Patrick Marleau and Joel Ward. Nikolay Goldobin took Donskoi’s place next to Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski.

Near the end of the game, DeBoer moved the more experienced Barclay Goodrow to that top line. Patrick Marleau took on some additional penalty killing minutes in Couture’s absence, while Paul Martin took the point on power plays. The number of adjustments required spoke to the importance of Couture to the team.

The Sharks’ penalty kill streak ended at 15, and Martin Jones set a new shutout streak for the franchise. The game was not pretty but it did keep their winning streak alive.

Less than three minutes in, the new second line of Hertl, Joel Ward and Patrick Marleau scored. The goal featured a good board battle won by Hertl, followed by a smart pass from Ward to a well-positioned Marleau. All in all, that line looked good.

Martin Jones has not given up a goal since 1:49 into the Sharks’ first game of the season on October 7. Shutouts in game against the Ducks and the Capitals put Jones in a position to break Al Stalock’s shutout record of 178:55, 45 seconds into Friday’s game. He did that and set the new one at 234:33. A couple of pucks got by him during that time, only to have the goals waived off, but it is still a tremendous record.

Jordin Tootoo and Mike Brown took matching roughing penalties at 8:58 of the period but the four-on-four minutes did not change the score. The first period ended with the score still 1-0 Sharks, and the shot count 10-5 Sharks.

Early in the second period, Tomas Hertl had a scoring chance thwarted by a slash to the hands from Adam Larsson. No penalty was called but Hertl looked a little sore. That hand could bear watching. The first power play of the game went to the Devils at 14:01 of the second. Joe Pavelski was called for hooking. The Sharks killed it off, keeping their penalty kill record perfect at 12-0.

With 2:06 left in the period, Goldobin drew a penalty against Jon Merrill. The ensuing power play highlighted how the Sharks were losing some momentum. They let Stephen Gionta escape the zone for a short-handed chance just over half way through the power play.

Gionta saw his rebound go to Josefson, who put it in the net, but the goal was waived off because Gionta made contact with Martin Jones before the shot went in. The contact was initiated while Gionta was still outside the crease, and ended with Gionta falling over Jones in the crease. The contact certainly slowed Jones down, but calls like that are going to make this season interesting. It was probably worth a coach’s challenge, but Devils head coach John Hynes did not make one.

At the end of the second period, shots were 23-17 Sharks, with the 1-0 score unchanged.

Less than two minutes into the third period, the Devils were back on the power play after Justin Braun was called for holding the stick. With 43 seconds left in the power play, Brenden Dillon shot the puck out of play in the defensive zone and gave the Devils a two man advantage. The Sharks survived the five-on-three and were about to kill the second penalty when Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot the puck out of play and joined Dillon in the box. The second two man advantage would only last 17 seconds. Chris Tierney managed to clear the puck out during the short five-on-three. Matt Nieto cleared it next, letting the team refresh their lines. The Sharks managed to steal the puck in the neutral zone shortly after that, getting a quick short-handed chance for Pavelksi. Several quick clears by the Sharks frustrated the rest of the Devils power play.

Jones made his 100th consecutive save once the teams were back at even strength.

Chris Tierney and Tommy Wingels had a good chance around the nine minute mark but Corey Schneider stopped it. Tierney had a very good game and proved that he is a great option for the Sharks in that third line center spot.

The Sharks penalties were not done, as they were called for too many men with under five minutes left in the third. The Martin Jones shutout streak ended with a power play goal from Adam Henrique. The score was still tied at the end of regulation.

The Sharks only had a 32-28 lead in shots as overtime started. Thornton, Pavelski and Burns started for the Sharks in three-on-three. Next came Marleau, Hertl and Vlasic. DeBoer put Tierney on the third unit with Wingels and Martin.

With 11.3 seconds left in overtime, Burns tripped Henrique and went to the box. The 4-on-3 power play looked good for New Jersey but they ran out of time.

The Devils shot first, starting with Adam Henrique (goal). Jacob Josefson shot second (save) and Mike Cammalleri went third (miss) .
The Sharks’ shooters were: Joe Pavelski (goal-smokin’ shot, top shelf), Brent Burns (goal-very slippery backhand). No third shooter was needed for San Jose.

The shot leaders for the Sharks were Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns and Paul Martin with four apiece. Burns (30:38) and Martin (30:09) led the team in ice time by a sizeable margin.

The Sharks next play Saturday in Brooklyn against the New York Islanders. The game will start at 4:30 PT.