Sharks Beat Canucks 3-2, Erik Karlsson Returns

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks defeated the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 Saturday. The win matches Calgary’s Saturday win to keep the Sharks tied in points with the Western Conference leaders to the North. Sharks goals came from Timo Meier, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski, who happened to be playing on the same line. Martin Jones made 32 saves for the win. Vancouver got goals from Antoine Roussel and Brock Boeser, while Jacob Markstrom made 23 saves in the loss. Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson made his return from injury with an assist and 24:44 time on ice.

Timo Meier put the first goal on the board at 3:45 of the first on a power play. The second power play unit of Meier, Evander Kane, Joe Thornton, Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic moved the puck well all around the offensive zone for some time before Karlsson found Meier in front of the net. Assists went to Karlsson and Evander Kane.

Antoine Roussel tied it up for Vancouver 57 seconds later, when the Sharks lost track of him in the neutral zone and Alex Biega found him with a good pass. He broke away ahead of the Sharks defense and beat Martin Jones before anyone could catch up with him.

At the end of the first period, the Sharks had scored on one of two power plays, while Vancouver had not scored on either of their power play chances. The shot count was 11-8 for the Sharks and the Sharks had won 52% of the faceoffs.

The score remained 1-1 until Logan Couture scored for the Sharks 11:08 into the second period. the play developed after Erik Karlsson broke up a Canucks rush across the Sharks blue line. After breaking up the pass, he sent the puck the other way for Burns to move it through the neutral zone. He sent it to Pavelski, who got it across the blue line line and handed it off to Couture. Couture carried it to the net, waited for his shot and took it.

That goal was followed up by a fight between Barclay Goodrow and MacEwen at 11:10.

The Canucks out shot the Sharks in the second period 18-6. The Sharks killed almost two penalties, the second being cut short by a high sticking penalty to Vancouver. That 90-second power play for San Jose was the only penalty Vancouver had to kill in the second period. The Sharks faceoff win percentage improved to 58% by the end of the second.

The Canucks tied it up again at 4:31 of the third. Brock Boeser bought the puck out from behind the Sharks net and paused as if to make a pass. This lured Martin Jones into moving forward and away from his post. As no one prevented it, Boeser put the puck between Jones and the post. Assists went to Elias Pettersson and Derrick Pouliot.

The Sharks took the lead back with a goal from Joe Pavelski at 13:06. Timo Meier took a shot as he moved across in front of the net but Markstrom kicked that back out. Pavelski was in Meier’s wake and that rebound came right to him for the shot. Assists went to Meier and Logan Couture.

The Canucks pulled Markstrom for the extra skater with just under two minutes left in regulation. Final score, 3-2 Sharks. The Sharks won the faceoff battle 61% of the time, with Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl responsible for most of those.

Marcus Sorensen had to leave the ice for a spell after taking a stick to the face in the final five minutes of the second period. He returned to play for the start of the third period.

The Sharks next play on Monday in San Jose against the visiting Boston Bruins at 7:00 PM PT.

Stars Hand Sharks Third Straight Loss

By Mary Walsh

AP photo: The Dallas Stars Mattias (13) Janmark was on the mark finding the back of the net twice Saturday against the San Jose Sharks here he goes for a victory lap with teammates after his second period goal

SAN JOSE- The Dallas Stars beat the San Jose Sharks by a score of 4-2 on Saturday afternoon. It was the Sharks’ third straight loss, all on home ice. It also leaves them still waiting to clinch a spot in the playoffs. It was a disappointing follow up to Thursday’s defeat at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers, but Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer saw some positives in Saturday’s game:

I think we played a pretty good game tonight. Obviously we didn’t win. It was one of those nights where every mistake we made ended up in our net and we couldn’t buy one at the other end for a couple periods. You gotta be careful and make sure you keep the proper perspective. Obviously we want to be winning every game his time of year but we’ve won a lot of games over the season where we played like that. So we just gotta build on the positive.

Sharks goals came from Joel Ward and Tomas Hertl. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 13 saves on 16 shots. Two Dallas goals came from Mattias Janmark, and one each from Patrick Sharp and Jamie Benn. Antti Niemi made 34 saves on 36 Sharks shots. The shot discrepancy is not unfamiliar to the Sharks. After the game, Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon said: “The last couple games I think we’ve been doing a pretty good job. That’s one of the top scoring teams in the league and we limited them to 17 shots against so obviously we can’t be satisfied when we still lose the game and get no points.”

The Stars’ Antoine Roussel was a conspicuous participant in the first six penalties of the game, including a fight with Tommy Wingels. His antics did slow the game down. After the game, Wingels said:

I don’t get it. It’s embarrassing, I don’t think that stuff belongs in the game. Every shift after that you’re going to try to fight again. The rest don’t want that, the players don’t want their teammates… the fans don’t want to see after every whistle you have to be broken up.

Those Roussel penalties were not the only ones in the game. In all, the Sharks had six chances on the man advantage, but did not score. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said, of their power play:

You give our PP unit that much time, we’ve got to get one, you know. We’ve got to really find a way to produce, not just chances but goals. And we didn’t do a good enough job there. There were a few looks we had, we still need to be a little cleaner I think but this time of the year PKs are hard, they’re aggressive. You got to make those entries count, you got to make the faceoffs count, I didn’t win enough of those draws. They’re all parts where they really add to that momentum throughout the PP. Could do a better job, sure.

Missing from the Sharks lineup was Joonas Donskoi. He did skate in the warmups, which may indicate that his absence will not be a long one. Matt Nieto and Marc-Edouard Vlasic both missed their fifth games since injury on March 17. Dainius Zubrus moved up to the Couture line, and Micheal Haley played on the the fourth.

The Dallas Stars have sustained several significant injuries this season. They are presently without perpetual scoring threat Tyler Seguin and regular blue-liner Jason Demers. John Klingberg, talented young defenseman, recently returned from injury, giving his team a needed boost.

The first period was going by scoreless, with a penalty per team and a couple of scuffles. Brenden Dillon took a roughing minor against Antoine Roussel. Roussel then took a slashing minor against Micheal Haley. Roussel and Tommy Wingels finished with fighting majors around the 14 minute mark. At 15:28, the shot count was 12 to 3 Sharks. On the Stars’ fourth shot, the puck went over Martin Jones’ pad for Mattias Janmark’s 14th goal of the season. His shot from the blue line got a little help from passing traffic. Assists went to Jordie Benn and Ales Hemsky.

The Stars added to their lead 4:22 into the second. A miscalculation from Jones left him too far from the crease and the net open for Janmark. Tomas Hertl made an attempt to stop the goal, but he lacks experience as a goaltender. Assists went to Jason Spezza and Stephen Johns.

The first penalty of the game that did not involve Antoine Roussel came 6:40 into the second. The Sharks did not score. Joe Pavelski went to the box at 13:41 for boarding against Johnny Oduya. During the ensuing power play, Jason Spezza made a pass from below the faceoff circle across the ice and back. Patrick Sharp took the shot quickly and cleanly. Assists went to Spezza and Klingberg.

The Sharks had a late power play, at 15:35. Stephen Johns went to the box for elbowing Roman Polak. With four seconds left in the period, Klingberg was called for roughing, and Thornton received the same.

Seventeen seconds into the third, Stars captain Jamie Benn was called for hooking Joe Pavelski. As a result, the teams payed four on three for 1:40. The Stars went right to the man advantage when Dylan DeMelo was called for slashing, just as the Sharks power play expired.

Before the DeMelo penalty expired, Joel Ward put the Sharks on the board with a short-handed goal. Antti Niemi handled the puck behind the net and he made a pass up the wall. After the pass, Joel Ward skated in behind him and seemed to nudge him from behind. Niemi went down and was thus unable to get back to his crease before Ward could put the puck in an open net.

The Sharks closed the gap further at 5:48 with a goal from Tomas Hertl. Taking advantage of busy traffic in the slot, Brent Burns made a pass to Pavelski, who carried it a bit and tried a backhand shot. Hertl skated in behind him and caught the rebound for his 19th goal of the season. Assists went to Pavelski and Burns.

Alex Goligoski was caught hooking at 10:09, putting the Sharks back on their thus-far ineffective power play. It was not effective.

The Stars took another penalty at 13:24, this time to Mattias Lanmark for tripping DeMelo. Still no power play goal.

The Sharks took their time out with 1:35 left in the game, and set up for an offensive zone faceoff with their net empty. Dallas wont the faceoff and iced the puck. The Sharks made better use of the next faceoff and moved the puck around in the Dallas zone, but with 1:08 left in the game, the Stars’ Patrick Sharp took control of the puck, passed it to Jamie Benn and Benn put it in the empty net.

The Sharks next play on Monday against the visiting Los Angeles Kings at 7:00 PT.

Sharks Lose 5-3 to Stars Despite Special Teams Improvements

By Mary Walsh

AP photo of Antoine Roussel scoring third period goal on Sat

The San Jose Sharks lost on the road to the Dallas Stars 5-3 on Saturday. Special teams overshadowed even strength play: power plays and penalty kills were central to scoring, though not always in the usual fashion. A wide array of power play and penalty kill results were on display from both teams. Sharks goals were scored by Joe Pavelski, Matt Nieto and Joel Ward. Alex Stalock made 20 saves on 24 shots. Dallas goals were scored by Vernon Fiddler, Patrick Sharp, Jason Demers, Antoine Roussel and Tyler Seguin. Antti Niemi made 26 saves on 29 shots for the win.

It was a good challenge for the Sharks, as the Stars were 8-2-0 before Saturday’s win. The Sharks’ only win in the last five games came against the struggling Carolina Hurricanes. The Sharks had their chances on Saturday but were disappointed again, for the fourth time in five games. After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said:

We were right there, we had our chances, power plays right at the end. It definitely was better, gave us that chance. Special teams too. It was there for us, but it’s been there for us, the last few games, throughout this little bit of losing streak we’ve had, games have been there. We’ve got to get a little bit more, out of each and every guy. We’ve got to win these games or… It’s what the league is. You play so many one goal games and you’re in tight spots and teams are good. You gotta find yourself on the right side.

The Sharks faced two former teammates, goalie Antti Niemi and defenseman Jason Demers. Sharks’ defenseman Brenden Dillon was also facing former teammates, as he came to the Sharks in a trade from Dallas for Jason Demers. The game was also a chance for Sharks goalie Alex Stalock to face Antti Niemi.

The first period began with an early goal from Stars forward Patrick Sharp. Stalock stopped an intial shot from Jason Demers, but he could not cover the puck before Sharp got a stick on it and put it over Stalock’s outstretched pad. Tyler Seguin was part of the four on three that set up the goal, and his pass found Demers right in the slot. Assists went to Demers and Seguin.

The first penalty of the game went to the Sharks, for too many men on the ice. This pitted San Jose’s 16th ranked penalty kill against Dallas’ 2nd ranked power play. Several short-handed chances for the Sharks turned those rankings on their heads. The Sharks penalty killers were successful in that first try and the next, when Joonas Donskoi went to the box for interference late in the period. The Sharks finished the period down by a goal but not by a power play goal. The Sharks also looked pretty good on the shot clock, trailing Dallas just 10-9, despite the power plays.

The second period expanded on those special team numbers. The Sharks’ first power play of the game came early in the second, when Jordie Benn went to the box for holding Tommy Wingels. Where the Sharks penalty kill had over-achieved, their power play did not look ready to do the same. They could not get organized to begin, and only managed one shot on goal during the man advantage. The Sharks got another chance a couple of minutes later when Alex Goligoski went to the box for interference on Marc-Edouard Vlasic. The second power play started even less well, with an odd man rush against and a short-handed goal by Stars defenseman, ex-Shark Jason Demers. Assists went to Antoine Roussel and Vernon Fiddler. It was Demers’ first NHL short-handed goal.

The power play was not yet over, and not done behaving unpredictably. The Sharks finally got on the board with a goal from Joe Pavelksi. Brent Burns took a couple of shots from the point and on his second try he hit Pavelski’s moving stick just perfectly for a deflection. Antii Niemi did not see it coming because Patrick Marleau was right in his eyes.

The next penalty went to Justin Braun not long after that goal, for closing his hand on the puck. The Sharks did a good job of clogging up the neutral zone against the Stars attackers, and made some space for a short-handed attack by Tommy Wingels and Matt Nieto. Wingels stripped the puck from Jason Spezza and only John Klingberg was able to get back to defend. Wingels made a slick pass under Klingberg’s stick to Nieto. Niemi could not get across in time and Nieto shot it into the far corner of the net. It was Nieto’s second goal of the season. An assist went to Wingels.

The Sharks killed off the rest of the penalty. The score was tied 2-2, and so were the shots at 15 apiece.

With five minutes left in the period, Vernon Fiddler gave the Stars another lead. Brent Burns fell with some help from Roussel and slid behind the net. Fiddler escaped ahead of the wreck with the puck and Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon was trapped behind Burns, unable to pursue Fiddler as he went around the net and roofed it for his first goal of the year. A well-deserved assist went to Roussel.

The Sharks answered a couple of minutes later with a power play goal. After several seconds to warm their power play up during a delayed call, the Sharks tied the game again. A Thornton pass from the side boards was sent to the net by Patrick Marleau. Joel Ward’s stick stopped the puck in front of Niemi, then pulled it to him and popped it into place. Assists went to Marleau and Thornton.

Tomas Hertl drew another penalty for the Sharks. On what could have been called a breakaway, Hertl was hooked by Stars defenseman Jyrki Jokipaka. The Sharks only had 45 seconds of the second period left.

The Sharks did not score on that power play, in either the second or third periods. Where the second period had been littered with whistles, the third period did not see a penalty called for the first 15 minutes. It did see the Stars take back the lead, again, when three Stars crashed the net. Antoine Roussel got the goal, with assists to Klingberg and Fiddler.

The Sharks opted to challenge the goal using the offside option. It looked very close but the call on the ice stood up and the Stars had a 4-3 lead with 6:27 left in the game.

The first penalty of the period went against the Sharks with just 1:49 left. The penalty was against Brent Burns for interference. DeBoer pulled Stalock to even it up. A long shot from Tyler Seguin missed the net but seconds later, he tried again from the blue line. His shot went between Vlasic’s legs and in to give the Stars a 5-3 lead.

To make matters worse, Chris Tierney was called for holding before the Burns penalty was up.

The Sharks next play in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday at 11:30 PT.

Sharks Lose 5-1 in Final Home Game of Season

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE– In their last home game of the season, the San Jose Sharks fell to the Dallas Stars 5-1. Before the game finished, both the Sharks and Stars were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. The Winnipeg Jets defeated the Minnesota Wild, putting the Jets out of reach for Dallas or San Jose. The Los Angeles Kings obliged the Sharks by losing in overtime to Vancouver. That makes it just possible that the Sharks could have the opportunity to play spoilers to the Kings’ last minute scramble into the 2015 playoffs. Probably that is not much motivation for the Sharks today. It is not clear what would motivate the Sharks at this point.

Joe Thornton scored the Sharks’ only goal on Monday. Jamie Benn scored the game winner for Dallas. Jason Demers was roundly applauded by the Sharks fans when he was featured on the jumbotron. The Sharks gave away a lot of signed jerseys and gifts for fan appreciation night. It is possible that those last two facts are more significant than the first two.

It did not matter, as far as playoffs go, who won Monday. Still, one team was more eager to win than the other.

28 seconds into the game, Jason Demers took a shot from the blue line. Al Stalock stopped it but kicked it out to Colton Sceviour, who was waiting, unmolested, between the blue paint and the faceoff circle. Sceviour scored, assists went to Demers and Vernon Fiddler. A few seconds later, Mike Brown and Antoine Roussel fought. They both went to the box and the score was still 1-0 Stars.

The Sharks took the first penalty of the game, a tripping penalty to Melker Karlsson. The Sharks killed the penalty off and by the midpoint of the period, they were near even on the shot clock.

At 9:51, Mike Brown was called for charging Trevor Daley, a call that did not go over well with the crowd or Brown. The hit was a beat late but Daley did just release the puck. The hostile encounter with Roussel just after the hit on Daley could have been called roughing, but the ref opted to go with the hit on Daley. The Sharks killed that penalty too.

The Sharks finally got a power play when Shawn Horcoff went to the box for holding the stick at 14:21. The power play generated some good chances but did not change the score.

The Sharks went back on the penalty kill with just 2:50 left in the period. Barclay Goodrow was in the box for elbowing Tyler Seguin. While everyone was mulling over that call, the Stars scored. They had some help from a couple of Sharks skaters who crowded their own goalie and did not help him out. Patrick Eaves had a clear shot at the net, though Logan Couture did try to impeded him from behind. Eaves got the goal, with assists going to Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza.

At the end of the first, the score was 2-0 Stars, with the Stars leading on the shot clock 11-9.

The Sharks made it to 6:12 of the second period without taking another penalty or giving up another goal. This time, Joe Pavelski went to the box for hooking. Al Stalock was not happy about the call, since he had just gotten a shoulder to the face from a falling Dallas Star. Perhaps the officials felt the hook caused the fall. In any case, back to the penalty kill went the Sharks.

With 46 seconds left in that penalty, Brent Burns joined Pavelski in the box for slashing. It was a fairly blatant slash, breaking Eaves’ stick.

Logan Couture, Justin Braun, Brenden Dillon and Al Stalock managed to kill 26 seconds of the five on three, but with 20 seconds left, Jamie Benn scored from the faceoff circle. Assists went to Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza.

At 11:29, Shawn Horcoff went to the box for interference. The Sharks power play looked stymied by the Stars’ penalty killers and spent too much time chasing rushes the other way. In the final two seconds of the power play, one of those short handed rushes trapped two Stars in the Sharks’ zone while Chris Tierney went the other way with the puck. He dropped it to Thornton at the Stars’ blue line and charged ahead one on two to add to a screen in front of Jhonas Enroth. Joe Thornton followed him in and shot through the three-man wall to put the Sharks on the board. The assist went to Tierney.

At the end of the second period, the Stars led 3-1 and 20-15 in shots.

Just over four minutes in to the third period, the Sharks showed some life on a delayed penalty, maintaining control of the puck in the Stars’ zone for over 20 seconds before the whistle blew and their power play officially began. They did not score on that power play.

Tommy Wingels went to the box for boarding at 9:15. The highlight of that penalty kill, possibly the second best Sharks play of the game, was a short-handed breakaway by Barclay Goodrow and Chris Tierney. They didn’t score but they looked very dangerous.

Their efforts did not go unnoticed. A shift from the Thornton line followed and they looked rejuvenated. That was not enough to change the course of the game, but it did help slow the Stars down.

The Sharks held the Stars scoreless for 15:08 of the period. With 4:52 left in the game, Patrick Eaves evaded Brenden Dillon along the boards in the Sharks zone. He was clear just long enough to get a pass to Jamie Benn, who was loitering below the faceoff circle. 4-1 Stars.

With the three-goal lead, Ryan Garbutt decided it would be a good idea to elbow Matt Irwin in the neck as the Sharks defenseman skated into the Dallas zone. The Sharks power play did not score.

Ryan Garbutt did score at 18:00, on a breakaway with a backhand.

The Stars took another penalty with 37.3 seconds left in regulation. Shawn Horcoff went to the box for the third time, this time for goaltender interference.

Final score 5-1 Dallas. Shots 25-24 Dallas.

Matt Irwin led the Sharks in shots with six. Mike Brown and Tommy Wingels led the team in hits with four each. Karl Stollery and Brenden Dillon led in blocked shots with four each. Al Stalock made 20 saves on 25 shots.

Jason Spezza and Jamie Benn led the Stars in shots with four each. Antoine Roussel led the Stars in hits with three. Jyrki Jokipakka led in blocked shots with four. Jhonas Enroth made 23 saves for the win.

The Sharks next play in Edmonton on Thursday at 6:30 PT.

Sharks beat Stars in shootout

SAN JOSE, CA - DECEMBER 21: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks is congratulated by teammages after he scored the winning goal in an overtime shoot-out against the Dallas Stars at SAP Center on December 21, 2013 in San Jose, California. The Sharks won the game 3-2. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA – DECEMBER 21: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks is congratulated by teammages after he scored the winning goal in an overtime shoot-out against the Dallas Stars at SAP Center on December 21, 2013 in San Jose, California. The Sharks won the game 3-2. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

By: Phillip Torres

SAN JOSE-The San Jose Sharks (22-8-6) hosted the Dallas Stars (17-12-6) on Saturday night at the SAP Center in San Jose. This exciting thriller was worth the price of admission as it took a Joe Thornton goal in the fifth round of a shootout to decide the winner. The Sharks came away with the 3-2 victory as they rallied late to earn the W.

San Jose fell behind early as Ray Whitney and Antoine Roussel scored the first two goals in the game to take the early 2-0 advantage. Jason Demers put San Jose on the board at 11 :47 in the second period. Demers slapshot goal was his first goal of the season with assists from Tyler Kennedy and Andrew Desjardins.

Joe Pavelski tied the game up at 2-2 with his 14th foal of the season at 4:24 in the third and final period. Pavelski scored on a nice backhand shot. Thornton and Marc Edouard Vlasic.

Thornton scored the lone goal in the shootout and gave San Jose just its fourth win in December. The Sharks will be back on the ice Monday as they will host the Colorado Avalanche. The puck will drop at 7:30 P.M.