NHL podcast with Daniel Dullum: Will Hertl’s All Star success inspire downtrodden Sharks in second half; Why Ovechkin and Crosby stayed away from All Star game; plus more

mercurynews.com photo: Tomas Hertl (48) of the Pacific Division representing the San Jose Sharks waves to the fans at the Enterprise Center in St Louis

On the NHL podcast with Daniel:

#1 When someone like Pacific Division’s Tomas Hertl comes from out of nowhere and hits four goals in the NHL All Star could that inspire an already down San Jose Sharks team coming into the second half of the season?

#2 Taking a look at the three on three format of the All Star game is that still an exciting attraction or does it take away from the tradition of hockey and should the NHL go back to the five on five in the All Star game.

#3 Sydney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, Mark Fluery of the Vegas Knights all were missing from the All Star game, Crosby just came off an long injury and Ovechkin opted to take the All Star break off.

#4 Daniel talk about some of the top teams in the NHL who are vying for the playoffs like the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lighting, Washington Capitals, and Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference and in the Western Conference St Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver Canucks, and Edmonton Oilers.

#5 Daniel address some of the top three goal scorers in the NHL this season, from the Boston Bruins David Pastrnik 37, from the Capitals Alex Ovechikin 34, and Austin Matthews from the Toronto Maple Leafs with 34.

Daniel does the NHL podcasts each Sunday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NHL Podcast with Daniel Dullum: A Peter DeBoer sighting in Las Vegas, Ovechkin moving up on goal scoring list, Sharks may stand pat at deadline, more

usatoday.com photo: Vegas Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer behind the Knights bench

This week on the Sports Radio Service NHL Podcast with Daniel Dullum:

1 There’s been a Peter DeBoer sighting in Las Vegas

2 Ovechkin moves up on all-time goal scoring list

3 Stars activate Stephen Johns after 22-month absence

4 Report: Sharks GM Doug Wilson won’t disrupt team core at trade deadline

5 Canadian network to televise six games in Plains Cree language

Daniel Dullum does the NHL podcast every Sunday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Sharks Come Back for 7-6 OT Win Over Capitals in Washington

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks ended a three-game losing streak with a 7-6 overtime win against the Washington Capitals Tuesday night at the Capital One Arena. Sharks goals came from Tomas Hertl (3), Evander Kane (2), Joe Pavelski, and Logan Couture. It was Hertl’s third career hat trick, and the first in Sharks history to include an overtime goal. Capitals goals came from Alex Ovechkin (3), Andre Burakovsky, T. J. Oshie, and Evgeny Kuznetsov. The Sharks’ power play went 2-6 while the Capitals scored one power play goal in three tries. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 33 saves on 39 shots, while the Capitals’ Braden Holtby made 36 saves on 43 shots.

After the game, Sharks forward Logan Couture talked about their defensive lapses: “We shouldn’t have checked out defensively like we did tonight. We weren’t there in our own end, leaving our goaltender out to dry on many occasions and in overtime there he made some big time saves for us to win that game.”

Asked about the team’s ability to bounce back despite all that, he said: “We’re in a difficult spot here. You’re in the third period, you’re down a few goals on the back to back on a long travel day. All the guys in here could have easily looked forward to tomorrow and our break, but we decided to play hard for the third and found a way to tie it up and win it.”

Joe Pavelski started the scoring just 12 seconds into the game Tuesday. An early icing call gave the Sharks an offensive zone draw, which Pavelski won, getting the puck up to Burns at the point. Burns shot the puck, it bounced off of Timo Meier in front of the net, and landed in front of an open net for Pavelski to knock it in. Meier and Burns got the assists.

The Capitals tied it up at 10:41 of the period with a power play goal. Tim Heed was in the box for hooking. Martin Jones made two stops before the puck trickled out to the side of the net, where Alex Ovechkin was tracking it down. He popped the puck in before Jones could get back for the stop. Assists went to Nicklas Backstrom and TJ Oshie.

Andre Burakovzky gave the Capitals the lead less than two minutes later, at 12:11. Burakovsky took a shot off the rush, beating Jones on the glove side through some traffic. Assists went to Chandler Stephenson and Travis Boyd.

Tomas Hertl tied the game back up with a power play goal at 14:27, while T.J. Oshie was in the box for tripping Timo Meier. The Sharks gave up a short-handed chance early in the power play but, once back in the Capitals’ zone, executed a nice tic-tac-toe play. Hertl found Thornton at the mid boards, Thornton passed to Pavelski below the goal line, and Pavelski sent it back to Hertl, who was low in the slot. Hertl’s one-timer went right over Braden Holtby’s shoulder. It was Hertl’s 20th goal of the season, with the assists going to Pavelski and Thornton.

T.J. Oshie exited the box and in less than a minute got the lead back for Washington. Ovechkin carried the puck into the zone and then fed Oshie with a pass that escaped the pursuing Sharks. Oshie drew Jones to the left, then shot to the right side of the net. Assists went to Ovechkin and John Carlson.

Less than a minute into the second period, Evander Kane tied the game again. Timo Meier retrieved the puck behind the net, then reversed direction and got the puck to Kane on the left side of the net. Kane’s first shot did not go in, but by the time the puck bounced up and across the goal mouth, Kane was in position to shoot it back in. Assists went to Meier and Brent Burns.

Washington grabbed the lead back again at 2:53. Martin Jones had just stopped a shot from Jakub Vrana, but the rebound went to the goal line where Evgeny Kuznetsov pulled it in and shot it past Jones. The Sharks defense was not very helpful for Jones on that goal. Assists went to Vrana and Tom Wilson.

Alex Ovechkin extended the lead to 5-3 at 5:41. Backstrom made a drop pass to Ovechkin at the top of the faceoff circle, while drawing Justin Braun away and creating a moving screen. Ovechkin’s shot went by Jones’ glove side. Assists went to Backstrom and Oshie.

Logan Couture got one back at 14:39. The Sharks had just killed a penalty when Logan Couture followed a puck through John Carlson at the Sharks blue line. He headed through the neutral zone with Tomas Hertl and Brent Burns trailing him, three on none. Couture slipped the puck under Holtby with a backhand shot for his 19th goal of the season.

The teams traded penalties to start the third period, before Ovechkin completed his hat trick at 5:52. The Capitals drove through the neutral zone, ending up 4-on-2, then 4-on-3 against the Sharks’ defenders. Kuznetsov passed the puck to Vrana on the right, who passed it back across the ice to the trailing Ovechkin. He took the shot from the slot for his 36th of the season. Vrana and Kuznetsov got the assists.

Tomas Hertl scored his second, another power play goal, at 10:02 of the third. John Carlson was in the box for holding Joonas Donskoi. This play was like Hertl’s first goal, in that Couture’s pass found Pavelski below the goal line, and Pavelski found Hertl open for the shot in the slot. It looked a little faster than the first one, but very similar. Assists went to Pavelski and Couture.

Evander Kane sent the teams to overtime with his second of the game at 19:59. Martin Jones left the net with just over 1:30 left, giving the Sharks a sixth skater. The Capitals cleared the puck three times, but did not hit the empty net. Pavelski took a shot from the boards, it slowed down when it hit Hertl’s stick, then bounced in front of Kane and an open net.

Hertl completed his hat trick with the overtime game winner 1:48 into the extra period. Hertl carried the puck through the neutral zone and then gave it to Couture at center. Couture hesitated a moment, then gave it back to Hertl, who took the shot from just below the hash marks.

The Sharks will resume after the All-Star Game on February 2 against the Arizona Coyotes in San Jose. Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns will join the other All-Stars in San Jose, starting Thursday. Erik Karlsson’s participation is less certain.

NHL podcast with Daniel Dullum: Fans love the outdoor game as ratings way up; The 3 Sharks who are going to the All-Star game; Ovechkin says no All-Star game for him; plus more

nhl.com photo: Notre Dame stadium hosted the Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks last Tuesday Jan 1st to a sold out crowd of over 76,000 fans

On the NHL podcast with Daniel:

1 Winter Classic ratings up

2 Three Sharks selected to All-Star Game

3 Alex Ovechkin said he won’t attend All-Star Weekend

4 Golden Knights topple Anaheim, earn fifth straight win

5 FOX Sports brought back glowing puck for Kings-Oilers game

Daniel does the NHL podcasts each Sunday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NHL podcast with Daniel Dullum: Blackhawks mascot and fan brawl; Caps’ Ovi a scoring machine; Less fighting, more skill in the NHL; plus more

photo from NBC Sports.com: Tommy Hawk the Chicago Blackhawks mascot gets on top of a fan attending a game Friday night at the United Center. The unidentified fan reportedly attacked Tommy and the fan got body slammed to the floor and got up and the two were exchanging punches. No arrests were made in the brawl.

On the NHL podcast with Daniel:

1 McDavid scores twice as surging Oilers beat Flyers 4-1

2 Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin just can’t stop scoring right now

3 NHL ‘toughness’ is dying out, and that’s a good thing

4 Blackhawks’ mascot roughs up fan in concourse altercation

Join Daniel each week for the NHL podcasts Sundays at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Jose Sharks podcast with Len Shapiro: After losing two out of three, Sharks set for Red Wings tonight; Sharks able to contain Ovechkin last Sunday

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

On the Sharks podcast with Len:

1 It’s two out of three for the Sharks as they drop their second on Sunday and their first a 3-2 one goal loss to Columbus on Saturday, March 4th. The Sharks got blanked 2-0 by the Washington Caps on Sunday after defeating the St Louis Blues on Thursday night 2-0.

2 The Caps got goals from Nick Backstrom and Lars Eller, which was enough offense to help them get past the Sharks.

3 The Sharks were able to contain Alex Ovechkin as he went 0-6 on shots on goal.

4 The Detroit Red Wings are in San Jose for a Monday night face off at SAP Center the Red Wings are 26-31-11 fifth in the Atlantic.

5 The Wings bring in goalie Jimmy Howard, who has a 2.82 GA, .911% save percentage. Backup goalie Petr Mrazek leads the team in shutouts with three.

Len has the Sharks podcasts every Monday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

Sharks Take Washington 5-2

By Mary Walsh

AP photo: The San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones stops one of 23 shots against by the Washington Caps on Saturday night

SAN JOSE– The San Jose Sharks defeated the visiting Washington Capitals by a score of 5-2 on Saturday. A wide variety of goals came from Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, Brenden Dillon, Brent Burns and Joe Thornton. A power play goal, a short-handed goal, two even strength goals and an empty netter, combined with a strong defensive game showed the Sharks to advantage against the best team in the NHL. One more win will clinch a playoff berth for the Capitals, but they would not get it Saturday.

Goaltender Martin Jones made 23 saves for the Sharks, and some of those saves were more harrowing than others. He stopped a shot from a two-on-none breakaway in the second period. He stopped a penalty shot. He stopped a couple of shots that looked fairly unstoppable. He stopped almost everything the Caps threw at him. At the other end, Philipp Grubauer also made 23 saves, but the Sharks took more shots.

Tomas Hertl drew the first penalty of the game, a slashing penalty to Jason Chimera at 5:02. The Sharks power play was not systemically weak, but they seemed to have a lot of trouble handling the puck, as if it were bouncing or sticking unexpectedly. The Capitals did not have the same problem, so one could assume the problem was the opponent and not the ice. The Sharks had two shots on goal in the power play, but no goal.

The Sharks did score first, during some confusion at the Washington end of the ice. Joe Thornton was not confused, nor was Brenden Dillon, who sent the puck to the net and created a rebound for Thornton to pick up. Assists went to Dillon and Tomas Hertl.

The Capitals responded with several good chances of their own, but the Sharks minimized their time and space. On one play, a Shark lost his footing at the Caps blue line, allowing Ovechkin to escape through the neutral zone. Some good hustle from the Sharks defense got in his way before he could get a shot off.

Despite the pressure from the Caps, the Sharks maintained a small 11-9 lead on the shot clock as the first period wound to a close. With 14 seconds left in the period, Nick Spaling was called for a high stick against Jason Chimera.

The Sharks started the second period on the penalty kill and added a second penalty just 20 seconds in, a delay of game to Brent Burns. The three defenders for the Sharks were Joel Ward, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun. They stopped a couple of shots but eventually the skilled Washington power play was too much and TJ Oshie tied the game. Assists to Niklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin.

The Sharks went back on the penalty kill at 3:39, a boarding call against Joe Thornton. Couture, Martin, Burns and Karlsson started the kill, cleared the puck, and made way for a second unit of Vlasic, Braun, Marleau and Ward. The latter two broke away in the final 30 seconds of the kill for a two on one and a short-handed goal. The goal was Marleau’s, due to a last-second pass from Ward. A second assist went to Vlasic. It was Marleau’s 476th goal, putting him in 51st place among NHL all-time goal scorers.

The Caps had another excellent breakaway chance, with two skaters crossing the Sharks blue line without an escort. Sharks defenders got back in time to give the puck carrier a little grief, but he got a pass away to Matt Niskanen, who had time to take a shot. Martin Jones handled the shot cleanly and held on to the puck.

The Caps tied the game again just past the midway point. After a series of fumbles by the Sharks, from overskating the puck to drop-passing it to no one, the Caps launched a brief attack that ended with the puck taking an odd bounce off a skater in front of the net, and over Martin Jones’ pads. The goal went to Justin Williams, with assists to Evgeni Kuznetsov and Andrei Burakovsky.

The Sharks finished up the period with a power play, a hooking penalty to Kuznestov, drawn by Joonas Donskoi. The Sharks power play was interrupted when Jay Beagle earned a penalty shot when Burns slashed him during a short-handed breakaway. Jones stopped the shot and the Sharks power play carried over to the third period.

Joe Pavelski was not having a particularly good game, but 49 seconds into the third period he scored a power play goal. A fairly straight-forward play started with a pass from Brent Burns to Joe Thornton. Pavelski caught the pass from Thornton and backhanded it past Grubauer for the Sharks’ third lead of the game.

Another player’s game improved dramatically early in the third: Brenden Dillon’s. Although he already had a point, he did not have a good second period. At 2:51 of the third, however, he picked up Tierney’s pass on the blue line and sent a hard shot at the Washington net. The puck laced its way through traffic and gave Dillon his second goal of the season. Assists went to Tierney and Roman Polak. That was Polak’s first point since joining the Sharks jst before the trade deadline.

Couture had a chance shortly after that, finding himself briefly one on one with Grubauer. Grubauer snatched the puck out of the air and kept the score 4-2 Sharks.

Just past the midway point of the period, Joonas Donskoi blocked a pass with his stick and the puck deflected onto the Sharks bench, hitting Paul Martin. He left the bench with a trainer but returned to the ice during the next commercial break.

With a little over three minutes left, the referees drew the crowd’s ire after Mike Weber spent some time shoving Melker Karlsson’s face into the ice while kneeling on his back. It looked very much out of order but no penalty was called.

An empty net goal from Brent Burns closed it out.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday against the visiting Boston Bruins.

2015 NHL All Star Weekend Recap

By Mary Walsh

Team Black won the Skills Competition, Team White won an All Star Game marked by more goals than ever and two plus hat tricks. Ryan Johansen was the MVP, Alex Ovechkin got a car (but not the one he asked for), the first ever All Star Draft trade took place. It was a busy weekend in Columbus Ohio.

The NHL opened the 2015 All Star Weekend in Columbus by announcing that a World Cup of Hockey will take place in September of 2016. Last held in 2004, the 2016 tournament will include teams from Canada, the USA, Russia, the Czech Republic, Finland and Sweden. In addition, two All Star teams will be assembled of players from countries not represented in that group. Future tournaments may be expanded to include qualification rounds to determine which countries will participate. The tournament is expected to last about two weeks and will start on September 17, 2016 at Air Canada Center in Toronto.

The NHL also announced that the 2016 Winter Classic will be held at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, with the Boston Bruins hosting the Montreal Canadiens. Two more outdoor games are scheduled for 2016. The first will be between the Minnesota Wild and the Chicago Blackhawks, on February 21 at TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. On February 27, the Colorado Avalanche will host the Detroit Red Wings at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado.

On Friday, January 23, the All Stars gathered to draft their teams in Columbus Ohio. Alex Ovechkin said that he wanted to be chosen last, because he needed the car. He made this point repeatedly, with hand-written signs held up to the camera and in statements during interviews. His motives could have been guessed at but he kept the secret well enough that his fellow All Stars did not take the hint, and picked him third to last. It was eventually revealed that he wanted to give the car to a program called Nova Cool Cats Special Hockey. Learning this, Honda decided to help him out. Read all about that here.

DRAFT RESULTS:

Team Black captain: Nick Foligno. Alternates: Patrick Kane and Drew Doughty. Coach: Darryl Sutter.

Team Foligno, with the first overall pick,  chose the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Ryan Johansen. It was a wise choice. Johansen went on to win the Breakaway Challenge and the MVP award.

The rest of the team was drafted as follows: 3rd: Duncan Keith (CHI), 5th: Anze Kopitar (LAK), 7th: Steven Stamkos (TBL), 9th: Tyler Seguin (DAL), 11th: Carey Price (MTL), 13th: Claude Giroux (PHI), 15th: Dustin Byfuglien (WPG), 16th: Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT), 17th: Brian Elliott (STL) (replacement for injured Sergei Bobrovsky), 19th: Brent Burns (SJS) (“The second best 88 in the league” per Patrick Kane), 21st: Kevin Shattenkirk (STL), 23rd: Bobby Ryan (OTT), 25th: Radim Vrbata (VAN), 27th: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (ARI), 29th: Zemgus Girgensons (BUF), 31st: Alex Ovechkin (WSH), 34th: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM).

Team White captain: Jonathan Toews. Alternates: Ryan Getzlaf and Rick Nash. Coach: Peter Laviolette.

Team Toews drafted Phil Kessel (TOR) first. Commenting on their choice, Jonathan Toews made reference to Kessel being the last All Star drafted in 2011:

We know that Phil had a tough one a couple of years ago, I think he deserved to be at the top end of the draft this year. And I think, the three of us were just talking, that he’s one of the most coachable players out there so we’re happy to have him on our team.

About half way through the draft, Team Toews traded Kessel for Tyler Seguin. Asked if he saw the trade coming, Seguin said: “You never expect it, you never expect to get traded. It’s tough to swallow right now but I’m really excited. A big opportunity over there with White, so it’ll be fun.”

The rest of Team Toews was drafted as follows: 4th: Shea Weber (NSH), 6th: Jake Voracek (PHI), 8th: Corey Crawford CHI), 10th: John Tavares (NYI), 12th: Roberto Luongo (FLA), 14th: Brent Seabrook (CHI), 16th: Vladimir Tarasenko (STL), 18th: Patrice Bergeron (BOS), 20th: Jaroslav Halak (NYI), 22nd: Aaron Ekblad (FLA). 24th: Patrick Elias (NJD), 26th: Ryan Suter (MIN), 28th: Marc Giordano (CGY), 30th: Justin Faulk (CAR), 32nd: Tyler Johnson (TBL), 34th: Filip Forsberg (NSH)

In a little rule change, both of the last two picks (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Filip Forsberg) received Honda Accords.

On Saturday, the Skills Competition was won by Team Foligno 25-19. Both Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson and Colorado’s Erik Johnson were unable to play due to injury. It appears that Johnson was an unlucky name for All Stars in 2015.

The winner of the NHL Breakaway Challenge, as chosen by fan vote, was Ryan Johansen. Johansen left the puck in the slot, skated back to the bench and brought one of the training staff’s sons out with him to take the shot. A few rounds later, Jakub Voracek did the same thing, but brought out Johnny Gaudreau out instead of a child.

In the accuracy competition, the home team’s Patrick Kane had the fastest time overall.

The highlight of the Skills Relay was Ryan Getzlaf’s turn in the mini-net passing drill. He hit the four targets in five tries. The extra try was a second shot at a net he had already hit.

In the hardest shot competition, Shea Weber’s second shot (his first missed the net) won with 108.5 mph. That is just behind Zdeno Chara’s standing record of 108.8. Ovechkin came in second with 101.4. Brent Burns, shooting against Florida rookie Aaron Ekblad, lost his heat with a 93.3 mph shot. Ekblad’s shot was clocked at 95.3 mph.

In the shootout, Team Foligno won with 25 goals to Team Toews’ 19. Brent Burns scored once and missed once.

The All Star Game itself took place on Sunday. The final score was 17-12 Team Toews. The game set an All Star record with 29 goals scored. During the second period, a new All Star record was set with 11 goals. For every shot on goal, the NHL gave 200 dollars to the Ronald MacDonald House Charities. 92 shots produced a donation of $18,400.

The MVP award went to Ryan Johansen. The prize was a Honda Accord.

The forward lines for Team Toews were Nash-Toews-Vorcek, Tarasenko-Getzlaf-Seguin, Elias-Bergeron-Tavares, Gaudreau-Forsberg. (Tyler Johnson was out with a lower body injury.)

The defense pairs for Team Toews were: Suter-Weber, Faulk-Ekblad, Giordano-Seabrook.

For Team Foligno, the forward lines were Nugent Hopkins-Girgensons-Vrbata, Foligno-Johansen-Ovechkin, Ryan-Kopitar-Stamkos, Kane-Giroux-Kessel.

Team Foligno’s defense pairs were Keith-Doughty, Burns-Shattenkirk, Ekman Larsson-Byfuglien.

Jakub Voracek, Ryan Johansen, Rick Nash, Tyler Seguin, Patrick Kane, Steven Stamkos, Filip Forsberg and John Tavares all had multi-goal games. Tavares was the first to get a hat trick, and he went on to tie the All Star record with four goals. Voracek also had a hat trick.

The Sharks’ Brent Burns had a goal and an assist for Team Foligno.

Roberto Luongo played the first period for Team Toews, Corey Crawford played the second, and Jaroslav Halak played the third. Corey Crawford led Team Toews in saves with 14 on 18 shots.

Carey Price played the first period for Team Foligno, Marc-Andre Fleury played the second, and Brian Elliot played the third. Carey Price led Team Foligno in saves with 12 on 16 shots.

Four players on Team Toews were tied for the team lead in assists with four each: Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron and Vladimir Tarasenko.

Alex Ovechkin led Team Foligno in assists with three.

Entertainment notes: Locksley played The Whip (aka the CBJ goal song) in the pregame show. Fall Out Boy performed during the first intermission, beginning with Light Em Up. The second intermission featured O.A.R. performing Love and Memories and Two Hands Up.

Sharks Defeat Capitals in Shootout

By Mary Walsh

It could be hard to remember when the Sharks struggled in the shootout, since they have now won in five in a row. Their defeat of the Washington Capitals on Tuesday was not a dominant one, but it was worth two points. It was also worth pride points, as the Sharks extended their current winning streak against Washington to six, and 17-1 since 1999.

After the win, Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan described the game in subdued terms:

It was important for us to start the trip off the right way. [It was] kind of a back and forth affair: they had some momentum, we gained it back. Close game, two pretty good teams that played pretty well.

The modest 2-1 final score was a good indicator of the kind of game it was: a tough defensive game that didn’t leave the star shooters a lot of room to meneuver. The goals were scored by Tyler Kennedy for the Sharks and Alex Ovechkin fo the Capitals, with Patrick Marleau scoring the shootout winner. The final shot count was 36-29 for the Capitals. Each team had one power play, neither gave up a power play goal.

Patrick Marleau spoke during the post game for CSN:

Coming out east we took a little while to get warm, into the game.

They hemmed us in early on but we stuck with it. We were able to get our forecheck going in the first kind of went back the other way in the second, but we came in with a good effort in the third and in overtime.

Washington had 5 shots to the Sharks’ 1 in the first five minutes of the game. The first slip-up came during a line change that let Alex Ovechkin enter the Sharks’ zone with only three players defending. That seemed to set off an offensive flurry for the Capitals.

A very fast fight between Mike Brown and Aaron Volpatti at 11:39 broke up the game, and shortly thereafter Tyler Kennedy scored the first goal of the game.

At 13:30, when Tommy Wingels went off for a change, Kennedy went to the middle of the ice and got to the net in perfect time to deflect a shot from Jason Demers. At intermission, Kennedy described the play:

He made a great change in the offensive zone, and I tried to get out there. And JD made a great pass … that’s a world class pass there and I just tried to get it on net.

By the end of the period, the shots stood at 11-10 Sharks.

Going in to the second period, the Sharks’ weak spot lately, San Jose was lucky to not have worse luck to go with their inefficient puck management.

It took the Capitals almost thirteen minutes to tie the game up in the second period. The goal came from Alex Ovechkin, who took a fast shot from a bad angle and put it up the into the far corner. It was his first shot of the game, off a pass from Karl Alzner. The puck blew past Brad Stuart and Antii Niemi before anyone had time to react.

Nieto and Pavelski changed places on the top two lines at the end of the second period. In a last-second flurry of offense, Brad Stuart scored just after the buzzer. The goal was quickly reviewed but the period ended with the teams still tied.

The second period ended with the shots at 11-9 Washington.

The third period opened with some pressure from Washington, but that fizzled quickly with the first penalty of the game, a tripping call against Nicklas Backstrom.

The Sharks started their power play with a clean breakout and a quick shot on net, but Capitals’ goaltender Philipp Grubauer suffocated the shot and stopped play. After the faceoff, the Sharks had some trouble getting out of their own end, and the next zone entry produced just one shot on net.

The teams traded chances after that, with each taking long turns on the attack. In the first seven minutes, the shots for the period were 5-3 Sharks.

Ten minutes in to the third period, the Sharks were spending a lot of time in their own zone. Niemi had to make a point blank save on Eric Fehr, after he was left to saunter out from behind the net and shoot at will.

That seemed to wake the Sharks up and spur them back onto offense. Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski had the best chances of that shift when they each took a try, Marleau’s shot hitting the post and Pavelski’s ending up in Grubauer’s glove.

After the game, Marleau spoke about the team’s improved play in the third period:

I think we got a lot more time in their zone so it was just trying to get to those loose pucks after we got shots from our point. I think the D played really well tonight, moving the puck back and forth and getting the shots through.

It would be nice to find a couple of those rebounds and put them in but for the most part, we’ll take the two points.

During the last four minutes of the game, McLellan made another lineup change, moving Marleau to the line with Thornton and Nieto, or so it seemed. Thornton was right back out with Burns and Nieto a couple of shifts later.

With a minute and 15 seconds left, the Capitals got their first power play when Marleau was called for hooking Grabovski. McLellan mentioned that after the game:

We almost got it to the point where we didn’t take a penalty, using our legs to check instead of our sticks or our hands. Worked until that last minute but the penalty kill did a good job.

Regulation ended in a tie, with the shots for the third period standing at 13-8 for Washington.

As the game went to overtime, the Capitals had 45 seconds remaining on the man advantage.

Two faceoff wins helped the Sharks kill that off, and the four on four play moved very fast after that. Good chances for Marleau and then Fehr came to naught, turnovers and takeaways kept attacks brief for both sides.

With just over a minute left in overtime, Marc-Edouard Vlasic pestered Jason Chimera relentlessly in the Sharks’ zone, staying with him all the way around the ice and behind the net, until Chimera lost an edge and went down. Still Vlasic kept after him, jostling him so he couldn’t get to his feet. Chimera finally did get up, and on the way he clocked Vlasic in the face with a quick left hand. No penalty was called, though Vlasic was clearly unsettled by the punch.

The teams survived the next minute without scoring and went to a shootout.

Of the six shooters, only Patrick Marleau scored:

I was just trying to use Logan’s move a little bit. He’s had some success with it so I just did that, went to the backhand a little bit then quick to the forehand.

Roster notes:
Matt Irwin back in the game after missing two games with injury. Scott Hannan sat, as did James Sheppard and Matt Tennyson.

The Sharks next play on Thursday in Florida against the Panthers. Puck drop at 4:30 pm PT.