Golden Knights Beat Sharks 3-1 in Preseason

@SanJoseSharks photo

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The Vegas Golden Knights scored once per period to defeat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 in Saturday’s preseason game at the SAP Center. Max Pacioretty scored once and got assists on the other two Vegas goals, scored by Valentin Zykov and Alex Tuch. Antti Suomela scored San Jose’s only goal. Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves in the win, while Martin Jones made 26 saves for San Jose.

Three players made their first appearance in this preseason for the Sharks on Saturday: forwards Logan Couture and Melker Karlsson and defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov. Knyzhov was signed by the Sharks in July as a free agent.

Martin Jones gave up one goal on four shots in the first period. That goal came off of Valentin Zykov’s stick. Zykov found a rebound right in front of Jones and put it around him with a back hand. Assists went to Nick Pacioretty and Cody Glass.

At the other end, Marc-Andre Fleury saw eleven shots from the Sharks and stopped them all. Four of those shots came from Lean Bergmann, playing on a line Logan Couture and Jonny Brodzinski. Some of those shots also came on the game’s first power play, during which San Jose did not score.

Just past the seven minute mark of the second, Antti Suomela had a nice breakaway chance, displaying some speed. Fleury stopped his shot. Around the midpoint of the period, the teams were pretty close in shots, with Vegas at five and San Jose at four. Vegas had already surpassed their shot count from the whole first period.

Max Pacioretty scored the second goal for Vegas at 14:38 of the second. A play behind the net got out in front of Jones with just one defender to help him out. Pacioretty had a lot of room to move and shoot. Assists went to Cody Glass and Reilly Smith.

Moments after the next faceoff, a Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot from the blue line was neatly deflected by Antti Suomela to get the Sharks on the board. A second assist went to Kevin Labanc.

By the end of the period, the Golden Knights had 14 shots on goal while the Sharks had 9.

Just 18 seconds into the third period, Kevin Labanc was called for slashing Cody Glass. During the ensuing power play, Alex Tuch scored, giving the Golden Knights the 3-1 lead. Assists went to Pacioretty and Jimmy Schuldt.

The rest of the third period was full of penalties, compared to the single penalty called in the first two periods. Dalton Prout and Valentin Zykov were called at 4:36 for cross-checking each other. At 11:36, Nicholas Roy was called for hi-sticking Antti Suomela.

The next preseason game for the Sharks will be on Tuesday in Anaheim against the Ducks at 7:00 PM PT.

Sharks Fall to Hurricanes in Shootout 4-3

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks were defeated 4-3 in a shootout by the Hurricanes in Raleigh, North Carolina. Carolina goals came from Dougie Hamilton, Brock McGinn and Teuvo Teravainen, with the shootout winner also scored by McGinn. Petr Mrazek made 20 saves on 23 shots for the win. Sharks goals came from Timo Meier, Antti Suomela and Tomas Hertl. Aaron Dell made 38 saves on 41 shots for San Jose. The Hurricanes outshot the Sharks and beat them in the faceoff circle 61%-39%.

After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski talked about the overtime point the team earned:

We win in a shootout there, you know we feel a little better about ourselves but we still understand that they took over the second half of the game. If we had the first, they took over the second. These points are big though.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said:

What a tale of two games! I walked out at the end of the first period, I thought we could have been up four-nothing. And then we never won another race or a battle the rest of the night, or shift. So I guess the lesson in that is the NHL still plays 60 minute games not 20 minute games and our goalie got us a point for playing 20 minutes.

By the end of the first period, the Sharks had a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Antti Suomela and Timo Meier. Suomela’s goal, his first in the NHL, followed some pretty skating around two Carolina defenders. He took the shot while hopping over some skates for a nice flourish. Assists went to Evander Kane and Brent Burns.

Meier’s goal came on the power play at 8:16. Burns’ shot rebounded off the goalie’s pads and Meier was right in position to clean it up. The goal extended a six game point streak for Meier and was his sixth of the season. Assists went to Burns and Erik Karlsson.

Carolina started the second period very well, with a goal just 1:16 in from Hamilton. The Hurricanes had been in the Sharks’ zone for some time, moving the puck well and refusing to be pushed out. Micheal Ferland pulled the puck away from the boards and skated to the slot, then passed it to Hamilton who was ready just above the circle. His hard shot beat Dell over the shoulder. Ferland got the assist.

At 4:28, Lucas Wallmark went to the box for slashing Logan Couture, putting the Sharks on their second power play of the game. Burns kept the puck in as Carolina tried to clear it, and got it to Kevin Labanc along the boards. Labanc got it to Couture across the ice, who passed it quickly to Hertl, right in front of the blue paint. He to knocked it in before Mrazek could get across to stop him. Assists went to Couture and Labanc.

The Sharks successfully killed a slashing penalty to Karlsson, followed by a brief chance for Karlsson and Marcus Sorensen. The Hurricanes intercepted the pass and went the other way for a shot that Dell stopped. The Hurricanes then took up residence in the offensive zone and the Sharks could not get things going the other way.

Dell had just returned to the net after passing the puck to Karlsson up the boards. Karlsson sent it back around to Dillon on the other side of the net but it went off Dillon’s stick to the front of the net. In the scramble that ensued, Dell went down and Brock McGinn put the puck over him into the net.

Carolina completed the comeback at 15:14 when Kane’s pass went awry, right to Sebastian Aho, who gave it to Teravainen. Teravainen took a shot from the top of the faceoff circle and it went right by Dell, who had some traffic in front of him. Aho got the one assist, extending his point streak to ten games.

In the process of outscoring the Sharks 3-1 during the second period, the Hurricanes outshot the Sharks 16-5.

Hertl was missing at the start the third period, triggering some line adjustments.

After the game,  DeBoer said of Hertl’s absence: “He’s been dealing with something here most of the year. He’s been playing through it and he just re-aggravated it.”

Couture took the first faceoff between Kane and Joonas Donskoi. Pavelski then took a faceoff between Meier and Labanc. Each line generated a chance right away but the score remained tied. Suomela centered Sorensen and Karlsson.

At 7:13, Couture lost an edge and went into the back of the net. He consulted with the trainer and returned to the ice. Dell was busy early in the period, facing a couple of breakaways and some other good chances for Carolina. By the middle of the period, the Sharks were being outshot 6-1. The Sharks managed a flurry of offense near the midpoint, registering a couple of shots and wearing down the Hurricanes defense. Carolina pushed right back after the next line change, keeping the Sharks on their heels.

With 5:29 left, the Sharks had been trapped on defense for too long when they were called for icing. The Sharks got a partial change after Couture cleared the puck, but still needed some good saves from Dell to keep the game tied. They still had just three shots in the period. Their fourth and fifth came in the last two minutes of the period.

DeBoer put Karlsson, Pavelski and Meier out to start overtime against Jordan Staal, Warren Foegele and Brett Pesce–all of whom started for Carolina.

With 44 seconds left in overtime, Dell went down after Foegele caught him in the neck with his stick while trying to cut across the crease. After having the goalie checked out, play resumed with no penalty.

The Sharks got credit for two shots during overtime. It was their goalie who held them in it, making four important saves.

Justin Williams shot first for Carolina: a wrist shot right into Dell’s pads. Couture shot next: a very similar shot trying for the five hole.

McGinn shot second for Carolina: a hard shot through Dell, just inside his arm. Pavelski shot second for San Jose, trying a quick shot from in close, but he hit the post.

Aho tried the same thing, shooting third for Carolina. He also hit the post. Donskoi shot third for San Jose, trying his signature backhand from in close, but he missed the net.

The Sharks next play on Sunday in Anaheim against the Ducks at 5:00 PM PT.

Sharks Rout Islanders 4-1

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks defeated the visiting New York Islanders 4-1 Saturday night. Sharks’ goals came from Timo Meier, Joonas Donskoi, Brent Burns and Logan Couture, while Tomas Hertl earned three assists. Sharks goalie Martin Jones made 22 saves for the win, while Islanders goalie Robin Lehner made 37 saves on 41 shots in a losing effort.

The lone Islanders goal came from Brock Nelson. The Islanders did not take the loss quietly. As if in tribute to the Elton John tune, the game devolved into numerous fights and skirmishes before it was over.

The Sharks scored first as Timo Meier notched his fourth of the season at 7:59. Despite two Islanders crowding him, and eventually helping him fall to the ice, Tomas Hertl got the puck to Logan Couture at the top of the faceoff circle. Couture sent a quick pass to Meier, who was right at the edge of the blue paint. Lehner stopped Meier’s first shot but Meier was able to pick the puck back up and put it over Lehner’s outstretched pad. Couture and Hertl got the assists.

After a busy but unsuccessful power play at 16:59, San Jose gave up a goal with just 33 seconds left in the period. Josh Bailey skated into the Sharks’ zone and neatly avoided Justin Braun to make a pass to Brock Nelson. Nelson had avoided Burns and wound up with a clear shot at the net, which he took and hit his mark. Assists went to Bailey and Anders Lee.

At the end of the period, the Sharks had a slight lead in shots, 11-6, but a significant advantage in the faceoff circle at 67%-33%.

Evander Kane and Timo Meier both had good chances early in the second, but it was Joonas Donskoi who got the first second period goal at 4:59. Antti Suomela rushed the net and took a shot that was blocked by a sliding Scott Mayfield and Lehner’s stick. Suomela was too far beyond the goal line to get a good shot, so he sent it in front of the net. Donskoi was there in a flash to tap it over the line. Suomela got the only assist.

Just past the halfway mark, a scuffle followed a collision with Lehner in the Islanders’ net. After it was sorted out, Kane went to the box for roughing and Mayfield went to the box for cross-checking Kevin Labanc. The teams played four-on-four for two minutes. With three seconds left in that, Brent Burns took the puck and skated away from Jordan Eberle on the boards, and then took a shot around Tomas Hickey and Lehner to give the Sharks a 3-1 lead. Assists went to Hertl and Donskoi.

With 3:50 left in the period, Barclay Goodrow and Scott Mayfield engaged in some fisticuffs, then left for intermission early.

The Islanders got a late power play when Kane was called for slashing at 17:29. The Sharks’ penalty killers did an exceptional job in the first 1:15 of the penalty, spending a lot of time in the Islanders’ zone. That was thanks in large part to Hertl getting the puck across the line and carrying it all the way down and around the offensive zone.

At the end of the second period, San Jose had the 3-1 lead, a shot advantage of 26-14 and were still ahead in the faceoff circle, winning 61% of the draws.

Hertl helped Couture score the Sharks’ fourth goal. Hertl bounced the puck off of the back of the net while he made a quick reversal to lose an Islanders defender. Free of that burden, he was able to get back in front of the net and took a shot that went under Lehner and out the other side. Couture was there waiting for it and put it over the line. Assists went to Hertl and Joakim Ryan.

At 9:52 of the third, Kane was given a four minute roughing penalty after being taken down at the blue line and objecting strongly. His objection drew like responses from Lee and Mayfield, who each got two minutes for roughing against Kane.

At 12:08, a Cal Clutterbuck hit inspired just about everyone on the ice joined in to the fighting/roughing club: Clutterbuck, Burns, Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas all received misconducts. Burns also got a tripping penalty. Martin and Clutterbuck also got roughing penalties.

The sum total of the penalties put the Sharks on a power play, but it did not produce any more goals.

Shortly after Kane’s penalties expired, Kane was back on the ice and challenged Lee to fight right off the next faceoff.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday in Nashville against the Predators at 5:00 PM PT.

Sharks Preseason 2018: Comeback Flames Out

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks lost a second preseason game to the Calgary Flames at SAP Center on Thursday night. Despite scoring the first goal of the game and making a fervent push late in the game, the Sharks could not catch up after they gave Calgary a 4-1 lead. The 4-3 loss featured two goals from Sharks prospect Antti Suomela, who could very well show up on the opening night roster. Timo Meier also scored for the Sharks, while the Flames got goals from Mark Giordano, Elias Lindholm, Travis Hamonic and James Neal.

The Sharks got the first power play at 2:36 when Sam Bennett went to the box for slashing Melker Karlsson. The first power play unit was comprised of Erik Karlsson, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns. The Calgary defenders pushed them out of the zone and the Sharks changed their lines to Evander Kane, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Kevin Labanc, and Tomas Hertl, with Burns staying on for most of the power play. The Sharks came away from the man advantage without a shot.

About five minutes in, Suomela and Meier had a good chance after a takeaway in the offensive zone, but Mike Smith was up to the task and stopped shots from both. Calgary answered with a nice chance of their own, but after a scramble in the crease, Martin Jones shut them down.

A flurry in front of the Calgary net started as Joonas Donskoi pushed the puck to the net and Suomelo pushed it under Smith’s pads for the game’s first goal. Assists went to Kevin Labanc and Erik Karlsson. Time of the goal was 10:24.

A Thornton pass was intercepted by Mikael Backlund, who sent it to Mark Giordano, who tied the game with his fourth goal of the preseason at 11:30.

Calgary took the lead after Justin Braun was helped to the ice at the Sharks’ blue line, which allowed Elias Lindholm and Johnny Gaudreau into the Sharks zone, where Lindholm scored at 17:00.

At the end of the first, the score was 2-1 Calgary and the shots were 12-8 Calgary.

The Sharks started the second with a penalty at 1:14, a hooking penalty to Joe Thornton. It was Calgary’s first power play of the game. The Sharks’ penalty killers pushed Calgary out three times in less than a minute. The power play could not get any traction, but after the penalty expired, Calgary applied an excess of pressure and scored a third goal at 3:31. The goal was Travis Hamonic’s (his first of the preseason) with assists to Mikael Backlund and Derek Ryan.

The Sharks had a third power play at 9:19 when Matthew Tkachuk went to the box for cross-checking. That power play went nowhere, but a nice chance for Timo Meier after the penalty expired resulted in a fourth power play for San Jose at 11:21. The Sharks did not very much on that power play and almost as soon as it expired, James Neal went the other way and gave Calgary at 4-1 lead. That was his first goal of the preseason.

With Kane, Donskoi and Joakim Ryan around the net, Suomela deflected a Burns shot into the net at 18:00 of the second.

With the score 4-2 Calgary and the shots 19-18 Calgary, the second period came to a close.

To start the third period, Labanc was in for Meier with Couture and Hertl. Suomela was out on a line with Donskoi and Kane, while Meier turned up with Thornton and Pavelski.

Erik Karlsson took his first penalty as a Sharks at 5:12 of the third, called for interference on Gaudreau. The Sharks killed that off, keeping their penalty kill perfect.

That penalty kill had more practice at 8:49 when Labanc went to the box. The penalty killing unit did not look as one would expect, at least not after the first shift. Couture, Hertl, Burns and Braun were out as one unit. They were followed by Kane and Meier, who started in the neutral zone and went due north to score shorthanded. Meier got the goal, with assists to Kane and Braun.

At 14:02, Kane took issue with a hit he sustained at the Sharks’ blue line and put some people in the box. Calgary’s Sam Bennett got five for fighting, while Labanc sat in Kane’s place for a two-minute roughing penalty, and Kane himself was excused.

Despite pulling the goalie in the last minute, the Sharks could not find that fourth goal to tie the game and finished with the 4-3 loss to Calgary.

The Sharks’ next preseason game will be Sunday in Las Vegas against the Golden Knights in a 5:00 pm PT puck drop.