Sharks Fall to Stars 3-2

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks lost 3-2 to the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center on Friday. The game was tied 1-1 going into a three-goal third period, with the Sharks scoring first and last. Stars goals came from Mattias Janmark, Miro Heiskanen and Brett Ritchie. Stars goaltender Ben Bishop made 41 saves for the win. Sharks goals came from Evander Kane and Logan Couture, with goalie Martin Jones making 27 saves in the loss.

After the game, Joe Pavelski talked about how the team is improving despite some of the recent losses:

It’s just about lengthening our stretches of playing good hockey, which we’ve been doing little bit in our games. Still going a good direction. We had good energy I thought, you know, up and down the lineup for most of the night. You know, there’s always momentum swings and I think we’be done a better job lately of handling them.

Evander Kane described a factor in the team’s inconsistency: “I think it’s just spells throughout the course of the season where I think we’re just a little too relaxed and we need to ramp up the intensity a little bit on the ice.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer considered it a fairly good road game from the Sharks: “It’s a small margin right now. I don’t think they worked harder than us, I thought we played a pretty good road game. You know, we’re just finding the wrong side of that line right now and we’ve got to get on the right side of it.”

The Sharks scored the only goal in the first period, at 9:22. Brenden Dillon carried the puck out of the Sharks zone and through the neutral zone, then passed it to Joonas Donskoi, who was on his way into the offensive zone with Erik Karlsson and Evander Kane. Donskoi passed to Karlsson in the slot, he sent it left to Kane, and Kane took the shot, catching Bishop as he came across. It was Kane’s eighth goal of the season, with assists to Karlsson and Donskoi.

The Sharks outshot the Stars 13-5 in the first period. They had one penalty to kill in the first, and did so without allowing a shot on goal. That was a hooking penalty against Logan Couture. They killed another penalty right at the start of the second period, a delay of game against Marcus Sorensen for sending the puck out of play. The Sharks power play was unsuccessful.

The Sharks lost a goal to an early whistle at 4:09 of the second. The puck trickled across the line after Sorensen took a shot off the rush, but the whistle blew while the puck was still under Bishop.

The Stars tied the game at 14:05 of the second, when Mattias Janmark got a break during a change. Erik Karlsson had flipped the puck down the ice right as most of the Sharks went to change. Tomas Hertl was not able to get control of the puck one on three. It went back the other way, finding Janmark just off the bench and breaking through the zone. He beat Jones on the blocker side. It was Janmark’s second goal of the season with an assist to Roman Polak.

The shot clock evened out in the second period, with the teams almost tied 15-14 Dallas.

The Sharks had an early power play in the third but did not get a shot on goal. After the power play, the Stars brought a lot of pressure and had the Sharks scrambling on defense. That ended about two minutes later, when Miro Heiskanen gave the Stars the lead with a shot from the boards. Assists went to Tyler Pitlick and Radek Faksa.

The Stars extended their lead less than two minutes later. A zone entry went awry for the Sharks when Heiksanen knocked the puck away from Melker Karlsson and Jason Spezza passed the puck to a fast-moving Devin Shore. Shore took the puck into the zone two on one with Brett Ritchie. Shore made the pass and Ritchie put the puck under Martin Jones as he came across. Assists went to Shore and Spezza.

The Sharks got one back very quickly, at 6:59. Erik Karlsson took a blue line pass from Dillon and took the shot. It went off of Couture’s stick as he battled for position in front of Bishop. It was Couture’s ninth of the season with assists to Karlsson and Dillon.

The Sharks pulled Jones from the net with under two minutes to go but could not tie the game back up.

The Sharks next play on Saturday in Glendale against the Arizona Coyotes at 5:00 PM PT. The Sharks will see the Dallas Stars again next week, on the 13th in San Jose.

Sharks Shut Down Dallas Stars, Win 5-2

photo from The San Jose Sharks Mikkel Boedker (89) goes for the victory skate in front of the Sharks bench after scoring a first period goal his first of two against the Dallas Stars Sunday night at SAP Center in San Jose

by Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE– The San Jose Sharks beat the Dallas Stars Sunday, taking a 5-0 lead before giving up two goals in the third period. The Sharks have now won eight of their last ten games. Mikkel Boedker scored twice for the Sharks, with additional goals from Joe Pavelski, Melker Karlsson and Justin Braun. Martin Jones made 26 saves for the win. Gemel Smith and Tyler Pitlick scored for Dallas and Kari Lehtonen made 22 saves on 23 shots after coming in to relieve Ben Bishop who made just one save on five shots in the first period.

The win might not erase the team’s horrific 6-0 road loss in Dallas last New Year’s Eve, but was a major improvement. Sharks defenseman Justin Braun was asked about the two games later. “We were actually moving in this game. Back in Dallas everyone left their legs somewhere else,” he explained. Sunday was different. “It was great. Everybody was coming above on the backcheck and shutting down their speed so, yeah, that was huge.”

Also significant was how long the Sharks held a 5-0 lead, from 5:00 of the second period to 5:35 of the third. Despite significant absences like Joe Thornton and now Tomas Hertl, the team is proving to be resourceful and tenacious. After the game, Sharks Head Coach Pete DeBoer said:

As a coach you hate those types of leads, especially with a lot of game left and we had that big lead for a long time. You know the other team’s going to push and they’ve got some quality. We just kept talking about if we allow them open it up a little bit they’re a team that can easily score four or five goals in a period. So I thought we stuck with it overall for a good length of time and did a good job with it.

The first period was a goaltender’s nightmare for Ben Bishop. By the time the Sharks had put five shots on net, they had four goals.

The first came just 29 seconds in, from Joe Pavelski. Taking advantage of a Jamie Benn turnover in the neutral zone, Marc-Edouard Vlasic caught the puck as it crossed the Sharks blue line. He returned the puck quickly to Pavelski, who sent it behind his back to Timo Meier. Meier carried it in but Dallas wrested control soonafter. As Tyler Seguin tried to clear it, he put it right on Pavelski’s stick. Pavelski’s spinning backhand found its way through traffic, went off the post and in. Assists went to Meier and Vlasic.

The second goal came from that same line at 5:59. Meier took a shot from the blue line that missed the net just enough to bounce off the boards behind it. Melker Karlsson was on the doorstep to poke it in when it bounced in front of the post. Assists went to Meier and Pavelski.

Jannik Hansen moved the puck into the Dallas zone but it didn’t go far before bouncing off of a Star. The ricochet first whizzed by Chris Tierney, then by Alexander Radulov and finally landed on Mikkel Boedker’s stick as he skated into the zone. His wrist shot from the circle went between Bishop’s pads and in. Assists went to Hansen and Justin Braun.

Boedker scored again at 17:23. Chris Tierney held on to the puck for a long time at the end of a Sharks power play, sending it once to Joakim Ryan on the blue line, only to get it right back from him. Finally, he saw Boedker ready in the slot and passed it perfectly for Boedker’s one-timer. The shot went into traffic and under Bishop’s blocker before the very tall tender could react. The goal came one second too late to end the Sharks power play goal drought. Assists went to Tierney and Vlasic.

Dallas opted to change goaltenders then, putting Kari Lehtonen in net.

The second period started much as the first had, but only produced one Sharks goal. Five minutes in, Joe Pavelski sent the puck up the boards as a Dallas defender closed on him. Braun picked that up and took the shot and it went in. Assists went to Pavelksi and Karlsson.

Jones’ shutout bid ended at 5:35 of the third. A miscue put Daniel O’Regan in front of Jones while Gemel Smith caught a pass from Brett Ritchie and took it to the net. Jones saw the shot too late. Assists went to Ritchie and Stephen Johns.

Dallas scored again at 8:57. A shot came in and Jones almost had the puck when it slipped away in front of him. Tyler Pitlick was right there to pick it up and put it in with his backhand.

Brent Burns left the ice briefly during the first first period Sharks power play, and returned very quickly. He left again during the third period less than four minutes in after two shifts. He did not return. As things stand now, Pete DeBoer expects Burns to be on the upcoming road trip.

The Sharks next play in St. Louis against the Blues on Tuesday at 5:00 pm PT.

Sharks see Stars on New Year’s Eve in 6-0 loss in Dallas

Dallas Stars left wing Antoine Roussel (21) and center Radek Faksa (12) celebrate a goal by center Tyler Pitlick (18) on San Jose Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell (30) during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Dallas, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. The Stars won 6-0. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

By: M. Walsh

The San Jose Sharks were roundly defeated by the Dallas Stars 6-0 in their last game of 2017. The Sharks were unable to recover from a sluggish first period, despite having their leading scorer (Logan Couture) back in the lineup after a two week absence.

First period goals came from Stars defenseman John Klingberg and Stars forward Tyler Pitlick.

The first goal came just over six minutes into the game. Alexander Radulov pushed his way past the Sharks defenders on the boards and got the puck to Janmark. Janmark carried it behind the net and passed it up to Klingberg, whose quick shot beat Jones on the far side. Assists went to Janmark and Radulov. The second goal came at 15:07 just after a faceoff in the Sharks zone. Pitlick narrowly avoided losing the puck to Joe Thornton, and then to Melker Karlsson, before beating Jones over the right shoulder with a wrist shot. An assist went to Faksa.

The Stars outshot the Sharks 17-5 in the first period.

Second period goals came from Stephen Johns and Tyler Seguin.

In the second, the shots went the other way with the Sharks up 12-5, but still, the Stars scored twice. The teams were trading penalties during the first five minutes. The Sharks’ Joonas Donskoi and the Stars’ Brett Ritchie were in the box so the teams were playing four on four. The Stars took control after a defensive zone faceoff and moved quickly through the neutral zone. Stephen Johns took a shot from almost the blue line that made its way through traffic and past Jones’s right glove. Janmark and Faksa got the assists.

Near the seven minute mark, Alexander Radulov went into the boards after a not very dangerous-looking push from Justin Braun. He was down for some time before skating off the ice under his own power. He left the ice presumably for evaluation.

The Stars scored on a power play at 9:33, a Klingberg shot redirected by Tyler Seguin.

Third period goals came from Pitlick and Devin Shore. Klingberg, Pitlick, Jamie Benn, and Mattias Janmark each turned in two-point games, while Radek Faksa earned three.

The third period goals came just fifty seconds apart. Devin Shore picked up the puck at the blue line as he raced into the zone and slipped past everyone to get in front of Aaron Dell. He used a late backhand to get around the Sharks’ backup goaltender.

The final goal came after Faksa and Antoine Roussel entered the zone on a brief two on one. The Sharks caught up to them but a rebound snuck out to Pitlick who was trailing the play. He shot it through the mass of players in front of the goal and scored his second of the game. Assists went to Faksa and Roussel.

Joe Pavelski, Justin Braun and Brent Burns each got credit for four shots on goal, with Timo Meier coming in second for the Sharks with three.

Dallas goaltender Ben Bishop made 26 saves for the shutout. For the Sharks, Martin Jones made 18 saves in the first two periods, and Aaron Dell made eight saves in the third.

Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said, of the first period: “We were fighting the puck, it was tough out there early. And they might have done a little of it but a lot of it came from us at the start and just really allowed them to stay in our end. It wasn’t one guy either, it was a group effort out there and we all contributed to that showing.”

Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer dismissed the suggestion that this game was symptomatic of a larger problem with how the team plays on the road: “I don’t look at this like we’ve been a poor road team. This was a poor game tonight. We’ll see, I’d like to think that we can go on the road and play our game, we’ve done it even this year for stretches. So I don’t think it’s a symptom of something bigger, just a bad night.”

The only good news in the game for Sharks fans was Logan Couture’s return to the ice after missing four games to injury. Couture was asked after the game whether he had any doubts while he was recovering:

There’s always doubt and there’s always anxiousness. A lot of times, when you’re going to sleep at night when you’re dealing with this injury, you’re always doubting yourself and you’re always doubting coming back from it. Thinking of the worst just comes with the territory. I think the first shift I got out there and chased the puck around in our own end for about fifty seconds. First period was tough but from there on I felt okay. I didn’t play very well but I felt okay.

The Sharks next play in Montreal against the Canadiens at 4:30 pm PT on Tuesday.

Lightning Strike Early And Often, Beat Sharks 4-3

By Mary Walsh

photo credit: AP of Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov skates as he scored twice aginast San Jose Saturday night

SAN JOSE: The San Jose Sharks finally scored a power play goal at home. They scored three, but lost 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. Tampa Bay’s 20th place penalty kill probably jumped up a couple of ranking spots after killing seven penalties on Saturday night. Or maybe not, since they also gave up three power play goals. The first one was to Matt Tennyson, who broke the cursed power play scoring drought for the Sharks. The second went to Joel Ward, and the third to Brent Burns.

Al Stalock made 16 saves on 20 shots for the Sharks, while Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop made 24 saves on 26 shots before leaving the game with an injury. His replacement, Andrei Vasilevskiy made seven saves on eight shots. Tampa Bay goals were scored by Eric Condra, Nikita Kucherov (two) and Brian Boyle. There were some bright spots in the Sharks’ game, but not enough.

Tampa Bay wasted no time getting the scoring started. Just 2:19 into the game, Nikita Kucherov was able to skate through the slot, avoiding one Sharks defender and using the other as a screen, to put a shot right under Stalock. An assist went to defenseman Victor Hedman.

Near the halfway mark, Joe Pavelski was called for high sticking. Really, the infraction occurred as much as a minute before the time of the penalty, as Tampa Bay tried to make something of the delayed call, skating at length with their net empty. Despite their efforts, they were unable to launch an attack until the power play was under way. Even then, they only recorded one shot with the man advantage.

It was not until after that power play expired that the Lightning struck again, this time with a pass from the wall, near or below the goal line, that seemed to bounce off of a well-placed stick in front of the blue paint. The goal went to Eric Condra, with assists to Andrej Sustr and J.T. Brown.

The Sharks drew a hooking call with 3:27 left in the period. Brian Boyle was the culprit. The Sharks had some difficulty getting their power play in order, and Tampa Bay’s penalty killers were aggressive.

Karlsson, Donskoi, Hertl, Braun and Martin took the ice with less than 30 seconds left in the penalty. The first power play unit was made up of Thornton, Pavelski, Ward, Marleau and Burns. The power play expired and the Sharks went into the first intermission down by 2-0. The Sharks were also trailing on the shot clock, with just four to Tampa Bay’s six.

The Lightning took another penalty, this time for too many men on the ice, but Tommy Wingels was called bout 30 seconds later for goaltender interference.

During the four on four time that followed, the Sharks kept the Lightning hemmed in their zone, and put a few shots on net to boot.

Around the seven minute mark of the second, the Lightning overwhelmed the Sharks’ fourth line of Chris Tierney, Dainius Zubrus and Mike Brown. The Lightning did not score, but the Sharks were trapped in their zone for too long.

The Sharks had another try on the power play at 9:20, when Braydon Coburn was called for holding. Tommy Wingels drew that call. The Sharks recorded a few shots during the power play but did not get anything past Bishop.

At 12:55, the Sharks seemed to have scored after a wild scramble, but the goal was called off as the referee lost sight of the puck and blew the whistle before the puck crossed the line.

That was followed by a holding call to Andrej Sustr, and again the bulk of the power play time was given to the top unit. They could not do anything with that time, but the second unit, if indeed that is what they are, did score. Matt Tennyson’s shot from near the point got by Bishop, with assists to Justin Braun and Tomas Hertl. The other skaters on the ice were Donskoi and Karlsson.

With just over five minutes left, Chris Tierney went to the box for tripping. The Sharks were doing a great job killing the penalty, often stopping the Lightning at the blue line. Half way through, Joel Ward was called for tripping as well, putting the Sharks down by two men for 50 seconds. The Sharks held them off for 30 of those seconds but Steven Stamkos and Kucherov took advantage of the Sharks being a little too far from their goal and found a 2 on 1 chance. A late pass from Stamkos set Kucherov up perfectly. He picked a corner over Stalock’s shoulder and gave Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead.

At the end of the second, the shots were 18-14 Sharks, the score 3-1 Lightning.

The Sharks’ belaguered power play had another shot 40 seconds into the third period, when Tomas Hertl drew a tripping call on Anton Stralman. Donskoi, Hertl and Karlsson started this one, but had no luck. The Ward-Marleau-Thornton unit came out for the second minute of the power play. No joy there either.

DeBoer put the third line out after the power play expired, with Wingels, Hertl and Nieto. They started well but Brian Boyle broke away with Brown in a two on one. Stalock stopped Brown’s shot but lost track of the puck. As it sat there behind his skate, Boyle tapped it in.

Jason Garrison went to the box next, 5:42 in, for interference. That power play started with a two on one chance for Tampa Bay. Burns and Stalock stopped them from scoring but the Sharks never gained any traction.

Victor Hedman went to the box at 8:13 for cross-checking Chris Tierney. Thirteen seconds into the power play, Brent Burns’ shot went off Joel Ward and by Bishop. Marleau was acting as a screen, and Bishop claimed there was some interference but the goal stood up after a review. Assists went to Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski.

With 11:10 left in regulation, Ben Bishop took a stick through the mask and left the game, being replaced by Andrei Vasilevskiy.

With the penalty count becoming ridiculous, Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn went to the box for boarding Brenden Dillon.

Brent Burns was clearly on a tear as he took control of the power play, caught a puck at the point, skated backwards around the Lightning zone to pick his spot, and shot it over Vasilevskiy’s shoulder from the faceoff circle.

The Sharks had a couple fo chances after that but even with an empty net they could not truly control play in the offensive zone and no more goals were scored.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday at 6:00 PT, a road game against Calgary.