Sharks Lose 5th in a Row, Fall 5-2 to Canucks

photo from Thatcher Demko (35) goaltender for the Vancouver Canucks goes into the defensive posture against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center in San Jose on Saturday night. Demko stopped 24 San Jose shots for the Sharks second consecutive home stand loss.

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks lost 5-2 to the Vancouver Canucks Saturday at the SAP Center. This was the first road win for the Canucks in San Jose since March 31, 2016, and it added a fifth to the Sharks’ second four-loss streak of the season. Canucks goals were scored by Brandon Sutter, Elias Pettersson, Jake Virtanen and Adam Gaudette. Vancouver goaltender Thatcher Demko made 24 saves for the win. The Sharks goals were scored by Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Evander Kane. Goaltender Aaron Dell made 23 saves for the Sharks.

After the game, Sharks captain Logan Couture talked about the question of confidence during a losing streak:

For a lot of us, we’ve done some really really good things in this league, we’ve been successful players in this league for a long time. I think we need to get that swagger, that confidence back that we’ve had here for so many years. You know, it’s tough when you’re losing, it is very very difficult to feel confident when you’ve got the puck to make that play when you’ve got the extra second.

Are the Sharks losing patience with each other in the midst of this lousy start? After the game, Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon warned that that was a danger, but then said: “It’s pretty easy to look at the guy next to you instead of looking at yourself. Again, we’ve got a lot of skill on this team, a lot of talent. Guys that have been here for a long time… know what it takes to win. I think everybody, if we can believe back in that and just get into that we’re going to be okay.”

Vancouver’s Brandon Sutter started the scoring at 4:17 of the first period. Josh Leivo took a shot from above the faceoff circle. Dell stopped that, but came out a ways to do so and then kicked out a rebound. Sutter picked up the rebound and got it in the net before Dell could get back in position. It was Sutter’s fourth of the season.

Elias Pettersson doubled up Vancover’s lead with a goal at 12:46. Brock Boeser’s pass came out to center above the hash marks, where Pettersson was ready for it. Dell and Brendand Dillon did not seem ready for it and Pettersson’s shot went right through them. It was Pettersson’s fifth of the season. Assists went to Boeser and Bo Horvat.

The Sharks’ penalty kill held the Canucks to one shot on their first period power play. Vancouver still outshot the Sharks 14-8.

Jake Virtanen added a third goal for the Canucks, just 45 seconds into the second period. His shot went right into Dell and then over his leg. Dell went down and had the puck in his legs, and the on ice official called it no goal. After an official review, the call was overturned. Assists went to Alexader Edler and Tyler Myers.

At 5:11, Adam Gaudette scored Vancouver’s fourth on a broken tic-tack-toe play that drew Aaron Dell and two defenders to the right side of the net, allowing the puck to get by on the left. The goal came during a delayed penalty against the Sharks. The puck seemed to be on its way to Troy Stecher as he closed on the net behind the mass of bodies to one side. Instead, it went off of one of those bodies and into the net.

The Sharks had two power plays in the second period, and got six shots with the man advantage. the teams were tied for shots in the second period at eight apiece.

At the end of the second, Joe Thorton was called for cross-checking Jay Beagle, putting Vancouver on the power play to start the third period. The Canucks did not get a shot during that power play. The Sharks had their own power play chance at 2:38, in which they got two shots, but no goal.

The Sharks finally got on the board with a short-handed goal from Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Barclay Goodrow. They broke away and were able to go in two-on-one and score at 10:51.

The Canucks power play turned into a two-man advantage not long after that, when Joe Thornton was boxed for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Sharks survived that, but after the first penalty expired, they gave up a fifth goal. It was Pettersson’s second of the night, with an assist to JT Miller.

Evander Kane added the Sharks’ second goal with just 22 seconds left in regulation. He skated into the zone with Tomas Hertl and went around the Canucks defense to shoot. His first shot came back as a rebound, but he picked it up and put it away. Assists went to Kevin Labanc and Erik Karlsson.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks at 7:00 PM PT in San Jose.

Lukas Radil was in Saturday, with Jonny Brodzinsky back out of the lineup.

Sharks Fall 4-1 to Maple Leafs

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks fell 4-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena Friday. Toronto goals came from Jake Muzzin, Morgan Reilly, Ilya Mikheyev and Auston Matthews. Goaltender Frederik Andersen made 15 saves for the win. The lone Sharks goal was scored by Kevin Labanc, while goaltender Martin Jones made 24 saves in the loss. It was Patrick Marleau’s 1500th game as a Shark.

The Sharks had to kill five penalties in the game, and only had one power play. Captain Logan Couture talked about how the team handled this second game in two nights, and third in four days:

I thought we put ourselves in a position to win a game. Obviously too many penalties, but the kill was great, kept us in it. Joner made big saves when we had breakdowns on it. You’re gonna have nights like tonight when, you know, you’re not feeling it and you’re not getting much offensively. We were close to pulling out a point there. It’s tough we couldn’t get one but I liked our kill and I liked our defensive, I guess, desperation.

The penalty problem was something the Sharks had discussed before the game. Head Coach Peter DeBoer said:

I think we talked coming in, in 3 in 4 and a back-to-back, that we needed to do a few things and one of them was stay out of the penalty box. You know, you can’t, you got a little bit of a tired team, we took, what, five minors? It’s hard and I thought we ran out of gas in the third killing all those penalties. Made it tough on ourselves with the penalties.

Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon was asked about a hit he made on Auston Matthews during the game: “Obviously you want to be physical on the good players but I never want to see a guy get injured like that. I saw him leave, I was happy to see him come back in the third. Kinda said, you know, didn’t mean to catch him like that but at the same time, you know, you gotta be hard on those guys, they’re such good players.”

The Sharks started the scoring midway through the first period. Tomas Hertl made a quick play up the boards to Brent Burns at the blue line and Burns took a shot at the net. Kevin Labanc got a piece of it as it went in the net for his fourth of the season. Burns and Hertl got the assists.

Through the second period, the Sharks successfully killed two penalties but only managed three shots on goal. The score stayed 1-0 until the final minute of the second.

Jake Muzzin scored for Toronto with just 3 seconds left in the period. As Muzzin skated to the net, the puck came to him from the corner off of Jason Spezza’s stick. Assists went to Spezza and Ilya Mikheyev.

Toronto took the lead in the third period with a goal from Morgan Reilly at 14:31. William Nylander, Alexander Kerfoot and Cody Ceci entered the zone at speed, drawing the attention of the Sharks defense. Morgan Reilly trailed and Nylander found him as he came across the line. Reilly had also started the play with the first pass in the defensive zone.

Two more goals came from Ilya Mikheyev and Auston Matthews in the final minute of the third. Mikheyev’s goal was into an empty net, with and assist to Mitch Marner. Marner also got an assist on the Matthews goal.

The Sharks next play on Sunday against the Ottawa Senators at 4:00 PM PT.

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 Lose to Predators 5-3, End Point Streak at 9 Games

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks lost 5-2 to the Nashville Predators Thursday, their second loss in a row on the current road trip. Nashville goals came from Kyle Turris, Viktor Arvidsson, Craig Smith, Ryan Ellis and Nick Bonino. Sharks goals came from Logan Couture, Brenden Dillon and Mikkel Boedker. In goal, Nashville’s Juuse Saros made 39 saves for the win, while Martin Jones made 27 saves for the Sharks. The game was whistle-riddled, including a high-pressure penalty shot for the Sharks in the final two minutes of the game. Despite eleven penalties called, neither team scored on the power play.

Thursday’s loss ended the Sharks’ nine-game point streak, but Sharks forward Logan Couture still said: “It was a good game, it was a fun game to be a part of. It was back and forth, I thought it had a lot of grade A looks against a very good defensive team. Their goaltender made some big time saves down the stretch there. But yeah, it was a fun game.”

This was the Sharks’ second loss in a row to Nashville. On February 22, Nashville won 7-1 in San Jose. Of Thursday’s road game, Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon said:

They’re the top team in the West and I think we came in and pretty much proved to ourselves that we can hang with them, and not just hang with but play well. I think we deserved better tonight, we had a lot of chances. Their goalie played well, credit to him. But I think we really took a step in our game, coming back in here after the last time.

The first period was thick with scoring. Early in the first period, Kyle Turris gave Nashville their first lead of the game. P.K Subban’s hard shot from the point rebounded off Jones and went right to Turris’ stick. Assists went to Subban and Craig Smith.

Less than two minutes later, Logan Couture tied it. As the puck came to him along the blue line, Brent Burns saw Couture skating through the high slot and hit him with a one-touch pass. Couture carried the puck briefly before taking a wrist shot that beat Saros on the short side. Assists went to Burns and Mikkle Boedker.

Just past the midpoint of the period, Nashville took another lead when Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg turned a blue line giveaway into a two-on-none against Martin Jones. Assists went to Forsberg and Ryan Johansen.

The Sharks tied the game, again less than two minutes later, with a goal from Brenden Dillon. Dillon’s shot found its way through a line of moving traffic, including a couple of Sharks, but touched no one and gave Dillon his fifth of the season. The lone assists went to Jannik Hansen.

The second period saw six penalties and just one goal. Craig Smith scored at 10:38. Kyle Turris carried the puck across both blue lines before dropping it to Ryan Ellis. Ellis took the shot, creating a rebound that Smith picked up as he arrived behind the traffic. Assists went to Turris and Ellis.

Mikkel Boedker tied it up next, at 5:54 of the third period. Just as a Sharks power play ended, several Sharks took shots from in fairly close before the Boedker moved the puck away from the net. He skated across the slot and took a shot from the top of the faceoff crcle. His shot seemed to hit one of the Nashville players in front of the net, then dropped and bounced across the line. Assists went to Chris Tierney and Timo Meier.

Ryan Ellis gave the Predators their final lead at 10:06. Ryan Johansen carried the puck through the neutral zone and handed it off to Viktor Arvidsson. Arvidsson tried to center it but it bounced off a skate and then pinballed off the boards to Ellis high in the slot. His shot caught Jones trying to move across. Assists went to Filip Forsberg and Arvidsson.

The final few minutes to the third period were frenetic. The Sharks had a power play at 16:50 after P.K Subban put the puck over the glass, and before that ended, Ryan Ellis was called for displacing the net. Logan Couture was awarded a penalty shot for the Ellis penalty but he could not beat Saros. The Predators killed off the Subban penalty and got a goal from Nick Bonino in the empty net with 17 seconds left in regulation.

The Sharks are still in second place in the Pacific Division, five points behind the Las Vegas Golden Knights and five points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings. The Sharks next play in Las Vegas on Saturday at 7:30 pm PT.

Sharks Win Seventh in a Row, Trounce Flames 5-1

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks won their seventh straight game 5-1 against the Calgary Flames Saturday. Sharks goals came from Brenden Dillon, Jannik Hansen, Evander Kane, and Justin Braun. Brenden Dillon came away with a Gordie Howe hat trick, while Kane missed one by an assist. The lone Flames goal came from Michael Stone.

Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 37 saves for the win, while Flames goaltender David Rittich made 28 saves in a losing effort.

Of the importance of this winning streak, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said:

I think this is the time of year you want to be playing well, you want to get hot. For me, it’s about our game. You know, the results are nice, the wins are nice. You know, out of the seven games, this was probably our sloppiest of the seven but we found a way to win and our goaltender was great. So we’ll clean a few things up but you’re never going to complain too much about winning.

Despite the recent additional injuries, the Sharks have kept up their momentum with the help of some good depth. Stepping in for Joakim Ryan is Paul Martin, who has missed most of this season with an injury.

Brenden Dillon scored the first go, at 7:52. Chris Tierney caught a short pass from Timo Meier and made a beautiful behind the back pass to the trailing Dillon, setting the Sharks defenseman up perfectly in the slot. It was Dillon’s fourth goal of the year. After the game, Chris Tierney talked about how he saw that play: “I just saw him coming in late and Timo dropped it too me and I thought their guy was kind of stepping up on me. So I thought he’d be the trailer coming in late, hopefully, he found it.”

Jannik Hansen scored next, his second of the season, and his second in the last three games. Hansen deflected a Burns shot that was going well wide of the net. Hansen’s deflection was at such a sharp angle that Rittich did not see it in time. Assists went to Burns and Barclay Goodrow.

Michael Stone got Calgary on the board at 12:17 with a slap shot from the blue line that found its way through a lot of traffic. Assists went to Micheal Ferland and Chris Stewart.

At the end of the first, the shots on goal were 11-9 Calgary.

The next goal came in the second period at 8:26. The Sharks were on a power play when Kevin Labanc was called for holding, ending the power play and putting the teams on a four-on-four. Neither team scored then, but after the Calgary penalty expired and the Sharks were short-handed, Chris Tierney skated almost to the goal line with the puck. He hovered around there for a bit, looking like he might take the shot, but instead he made a pass to Evander Kane who had an open net. It was Kane’s fourth short-handed goal of the season.

In all, the teams took eight penalties in the second period, after taking none at all in the first. Two of those penalties overlapped at least in part, and two went to Evander Kane as double minor for roughing. Despite the overlaps, it was a rowdy period.

The shot count for the second period was 17-14 Calgary.

Evander Kane’s trips to the penalty box were not over with the second period. He went back there at 3:15 of the third for a fight with Travis Hamonic. In addition, both Hamonic and Kane received minors for unsportsmanlike conduct. None of those penalties resulted in a man advantage. Before those penalties had expired, Mark Giordano was called for cross-checking Melker Karlsson–awarding the Sharks the first power play of the period–for the fifth penalty of the period.

Justin Braun extended the Sharks lead to 4-1 at 10:09 of the third period. Braun caught the puck just as it crossed the Calgary blue line and, after just a couple of strides, took the shot from above the faceoff circle. The shot beat Rittich over the right shoulder. Assists went to Logan Couture and Melker Karlsson.

San Jose’s lead grew again at 12:10. Joe Pavelski tipped a Dillon shot at the net from a ways out, using Evander Kane and Hamonic as a screen. The puck touched Kane on the way in, giving him his second of the game. Assists went to Pavelski and Dillon.

Brenden Dillon left the game a bit early after a fight with Garnet Hathaway at 15:02 of the third. Both left the game as the fight took place in the final five minutes.

The Sharks next play on Monday at 5:00 pm PT in Chicago against the Blackhawks.

Sharks Defeat Oilers in Overtime 4-3

photo from The San Jose Sharks Eric Fehr (16), Joakim Ryan (47) and Brendon Dylan celebrate a third period goal against the Edmonton Oilers Wednesday night at Edmonton

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks started a three-game road trip with a 4-3 overtime win in Edmonton. Two Sharks goals came from Tomas Hertl, including the overtime game winner. Logan Couture scored a power play goal in the second period and Brenden Dillon scored the tying goal in the third. Oilers goals came from Drake Cagguila, Oscar Klefbom and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 25 saves, while Al Montoya made 36 saves for the Oilers.

Joonas Donskoi left the midway through the third period after an awkward hit from Ethan Bear. Donskoi has been playing very well with Joe Pavelski and Evander Kane. Evander Kane also left the game briefly but returned to play. After the game, Sharks Head Coach Pete DeBoer was unwilling to speculate on the severity of the injuries. Of the game, he said:

It was a gutsy effort, it was a grind out there. We had a lot of things going on, we had some chances we didn’t cash in on and they got a stick on a couple tips and we had the goalie interference one go against us. And we lost a couple guys to injury at different points but we kept battling and found a way and, you know, that’s kind of been the story of our group all year.

The Sharks came back three times in the game, after trailing by a goal. Sharks forward Logan Couture described the team’s approach to coming back like that: “I think we always know on the bench that we got a chance to come back. They took three one-goal leads and the bench doesn’t deflate. Guys stay positive and keep the pressure on, play in their end and we were able to respond each time.”

The Sharks power play scored, a good sign that they have cured what ailed them during the long drought that ended a few games ago. Their faceoff percentage also improved to 52% for this game, perhaps a sign that they are addressing what has been a shortcoming lately.

Drake Cagguila scored just 2:39 into the first period to give the Oilers their first lead. He caught Zack Kassian’s pass from behind the net and put it away with a lighting quick flick of the wrist. Assists went to Kassian and Jujhar Khaira.

Tomas Hertl tied it up at 8:03. Mikkel Boedker intercepted a Leon Draisaitl pass in the Sharks’ zone and sent the Sharks the other way at speed. Boedker gave the puck to Logan Couture, who went in two n one with Tomas Hertl. Hertk went to the net and caught Couture’s pass to score. Couture and Boedker got the assists.

Midway through the second period, Oscar Klefbom took a shot from the blue line off a pass from Connor McDavid to give the Oilers their secon lead. The shot went off the left post and in. The Sharks challenged the goal due. From one camera angle, you could see that Pontus Aberg clipped Jones’ skate and stick, pulling him right just before Klefbom’s shot went left. The goal was upheld. Assists went to McDavid and Aberg.

Drake Cagguila was called for high-sticking Donskoi and drawing blood at 9:43 of the second. The Sharks did not need the four minutes to score. Logan Couture scored 18 seconds into the penalty off a pass from Brent Burns. Assists went to Burns and Pavelski.

Before the second penalty expired, Timo Meier was called for high-sticking Klefbom, and the power play ended early.

The Sharks ended the second period on another power play that carried over into the third period. Moments after it expired in the third, Klefbom shot again from the blue line. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins deflected in and it went off the post, this time the right one. Assists went to Klefbom and McDavid.

Midway through the period, Tomas Hertl passed the puck to Brenden Dillon at the Oilers blue line. Dillon took the shot but it was blocked. The puck went right to Boedker, who gave right back to Dillon. Dillon shot again and this time it went in.

Almost three minutes into overtime, Tomas Hertl fought the puck away from Leon Draisaitl in the way into the Oilers’ zone. He left the puck off for Logan Couture to pick up and then got to the slot where he caught Logan Couture’s pass and put it away with a one-timer.

The win puts the Sharks three points ahead of third-place Los Angeles and fourth place Anaheim in the Pacific Division, and two and three points ahead of the current wild cards Dallas and Minnesota. The Sharks next play on Friday at 6:00 pm PT against the Flames in Calgary.

Sharks Shut Out Coyotes 3-0

By Mary Walsh

AP photo: The San Jose Sharks Tomas Hertl scores a second period goal and goes to the Sharks bench for a brief victory lap Sunday

SAN JOSE– The San Jose Sharks defeated the Arizona Coyotes by a score of 3-0 Sunday. James Reimer made 25 saves for the shutout. It was his second shutout in four starts for the Sharks. Sharks goals came from Joel Ward, Tomas Hertl and Joe Pavelski. Brent Burns picked up an assist on Pavelski’s goal, setting a new record for most points by a Sharks defenseman in a season with 65.

The Sharks owed the Coyotes a good performance after their unimpressive loss last Thursday. The Sharks also needed a win against a non-playoff team, if for no other reason than to get one. Their recent record is littered with losses to the wrong teams, and wins against top tier opponents. This is not a problem that is likely to come up during the playoffs, but selective competing is not something the Sharks want to fall back into. For this reason, beating the Coyotes was a very good thing for the team.

Near the 14 minute mark of the first, Logan Couture blocked a shot and ended his shift a little early, but he did not leave the game. Justin Braun took the first penalty of the game, an interference penalty at 14:07. The Sharks were able to clear the puck twice in the first minute of the Coyotes power play, and allowed just one shot in that minute.

1:21 into the penalty, Patrick Marleau was called for high sticking and the Coyotes had a five on three for 39 seconds. The Sharks killed off the five on three, but had their hands full. The Coyotes added another shot before Braun came out of the box, but no more after that.

At 18:20, the Sharks took the lead with a goal from Joel Ward. He deflected Brenden Dillon’s shot from the point, a one-timer on a pass from Joonas Donskoi. Donskoi made the pass from below the blue line, for his 22nd assist of the season. It was Ward’s 20th goal of the season and Dillon’s seventh assist.

At the end of the first, the shots were 13-7 Sharks.

2:26 into the second, Brent Burn went to the box for tripping. The Sharks killed it off and finished the kill with a short-handed chance.

The Sharks had their first power play at 5:48, a holding penalty to Klas Dahlbeck. The Sharks power play had some difficulty establishing themselves in the Arizona zone. Eventually they did get set up, but the power play did not generate a goal.

They had another chance at 11:05, when Boyd Gordon went to the box for holding Melker Karlsson. the Sharks’ first unit again looked somewhat disorganized and the second jumped in for a faceoff and went right to work. In the space ofa few passes, they had the puck in the net. This time they got a little lucky as Hertl’s attempted pass to Ward hit Arizona’s Murphy and bounced back under Mike Smith. The goal went to Hertl, with assists to Donskoi and Paul Martin.

The Sharks went right back on the power play at 13:50, when Kevin Connauton was called for delay of game after sending the puck over the glass, but did not score. The Sharks finished the period on a penalty kill, as Nick Spaling was called for interference. The shots at the end of the second were 22-18 Sharks.

The Sharks completed the penalty kill to start the third period, and 13:10 in they had another power play. The Coyotes took yet another penalty at 17:55, a hooking penalty to Michael Stone.

The Coyotes pulled their goaltender with just over a minute left and briefly threatened in the Sharks zone. It was quite brief, and then Brent Burns took control of the puck in the neutral zone and passed it to Joe Pavelski for the empty net shot. It was Pavelski’s 34th goal of the season. Assists went to Burns and Joe Thornton.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday at 7:30, hosting the visiting St. Louis Blues.

Matt Nieto and Marc-Edouard Vlasic missed their second game after being injured last Thursday.

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.

Sharks Fall to Senators 4-2

By Mary Walsh

AP photo Sens Kyle Turis pushes the Sharks Marc Edouard-Vlasic during first period battle for the puck in Ottawa

The San Jose Sharks lost the third game in their current road trip, falling to the Ottawa Senators by a score of 4-2. As they had the night before in Toronto, the Sharks scored first and then gave up the lead. Unlike the Toronto game, they followed up on a weak second period with a worse third. The Sharks gave the swift Senators too many opportunities, odd-man rushes and power plays. That translated into four goals, three scored in the third period. Those goals were scored by Bobby Ryan, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Chris Wideman and Erik Karlsson. The Sharks’ goals came from Joe Thornton and Brent Burns.

The first period went by scoreless, with just two penalties called in the final five minutes. Both went against Ottawa, but their penalty kill kept the Sharks off the board. In their first power play, a hooking call against Kyle Turris, the Sharks recorded no shots. The closest they came was a Thornton shot that went off off Joel Ward in front of the net. The second power play carried over to the second period, the result of a tripping call against Mark Stone at 19:18. It is worth noting that the penalties were drawn by Joonas Donskoi and Melker Karlsson. After the first period, the Sharks had a slight lead in shots at 13-12.

Ottawa and San Jose both tend to win when they score first, so the first goal was eagerly anticipated, if misleading. It came 29 seconds into the middle frame, during the carry over penalty time. Though they lost the opening faceoff, the Sharks regained control quickly. The top power play unit established themselves in the offensive zone and a quick pass from Brent Burns near the right faceoff circle found Joe Thornton on the opposite side. Thornton’s shot was quick and went through the traffic cleanly into the net. Assists went to Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski.

Just over a minute later, Tomas Hertl was called from tripping, giving the Senators the first of three power plays in the second period, including a five on three. The Sharks killed the penalties but gave up an even strength goal at 4:46. Justin Braun caught a puck in the defensive zone and seemed to be trying to pass it off the boards to Marleau. Bobby Ryan was quicker to the puck than Marleau. He skated in and around Braun and then beat Stalock to tie the game.

It was a bad spot in Stalock’s game, which did have some bright spots. Near the end of the second period, Brent Burns had a puck jump by him on the Senators blue line, allowing Ottawa defenseman Dave Dziurzynski and forward Alex Chiasson to go the other way, with only Paul Martin in position to defend. Martin stayed with Dziurzynski but could not prevent his pass below the faceoff circle. Alex Stalock read the play perfectly and came to the top of his crease to reach out and block the pass with his stick. He caught the puck up and tapped it in the direction of Brent Burns, who by now had come back to help out. It was a good indication of alertness and confidence from a goaltender who has not played a lot of games this season.

The game remained tied through until 8:19 of the third period. After a shot by Diurzinsky went off of Stalock’s mask, Pageau picked up the rebound and put a shot through Stalock. Stalock sensed that it was behind him, and turned to try to catch it, but it got by. Assists went to Dziurzynski and Cody Ceci.

Stalock made a quick trip to the bench after, where heStalock got a new mask. Evidently the shot to the head did some damage to his armor.

The Sens stretched their lead with just over seven minutes left. Dennis Wideman took a shot from the blue line, while Chris Neil blocked Stalock’s view. Two Sharks and another Senator were also in the goaltender’s line of sight, so he probably did not see the shot at all as it flew by into the top corner. Assists went to Curtis Lazar and Shane Prince.

Ottawa added to the lead when some offensive zone action from the Sharks left the ice open for another two on one against, this time by Karlsson and Hoffman, with Brenden Dillon trying to defend. Hoffman drew Stalock to the right, then sent a pass around Dillon to Karlsson. 4-1 Senators. Assists went to Hoffman and Bobby Ryan.

With 2:24 left, Brent Burns got one back for the Sharks. Hertl, Goodrow and Wingels got the play started and Burns skated in to finish it up with a shot from in front of the net.

The Sharks had a 20 second power play when Mark Borowiecki was called for boarding Joel Ward. It was not long enough to make a difference.

Final score: 4-2 Senators.

Goalie Craig Anderson made 31 saves on 33 shots for the Senators. Alex Stalock made 31 saves on 35 shots for the Sharks.

Brent Burns led the team by a significant margin with seven shots on goal. Joel Ward had four hits and four shots. The Sharks were outshot by the Senators 35-33.

Some of the Sharks lines looked different Friday. Dainius Zubrus skated with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski again, while Tomas Hertl skated with Barclay Goodrow and Tommy Wingels. Measuring by ice time, that second group made up Friday’s fourth line. Matt Nieto was promoted to the line with Marleau and Ward. As previously mentioned, Chris Tierney centered Melker Karlsson and Joonas Donskoi. Despite their stats in Friday’s game, that line looked pretty good. They drew penalties and showed promise as a unit.

The Sharks next play on Sunday in Chicago against the Blackhawks at 4:00 PT.

Six Win Road Trip First In Sharks History

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks ended a perfect six-win road trip on Sunday, with a 5-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was the first time the Sharks swept a road trip longer than four games, and the first time they won six games on a single trip.

Al Stalock got his first start since November 10, making 28 saves on 31 shots. Sharks goals came from Patrick Marleau, Brent Burns, Brenden Dillon, and two from Joe Pavelski. It was Brenden Dillon’s first goal of the season and the game winner. After missing Saturday’s game for a personal matter, Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer was back behind the bench in time for the game.

After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said the team did not set out on this trip thinking of a win streak:

We didn’t talk about it. We talked about one day at a time. You look back now, it’s just a long time from then. Six in a row. You know, it’s good but it’s… we need that. It’s what we expect. We expect to win on a nightly basis and give ourselves that opportunity. Once we’re here it’s “take the good from it and now we gotta translate it back home.”

The Sharks started the game well, out shooting the Blue Jackets 10-5 in the first period. Each team had a power play in the first but the only goal scored came at even strength from Patrick Marleau. Joonas Donskoi took a shot that resulted in a small rebound. Marleau was in front of the blue paint, where he could tap the puck under Sergei Bobrovsky and into the net. Donskoi and Ward got the assists.

Micheal Haley and Mike Brown both fought in the first period, within four seconds of each other, against Dalton Prout and Gregory Campbell respectively.

The Blue Jackets pushed back early in the second period, out shooting the Sharks 7-1 in the first five minutes. Their efforts paid off when Ryan Johansen, surrounded by Sharks in front of the net, poked the puck between his feet and through Stalock. Assists went to Kerby Reichert and Josh Anderson.

Seconds later, the home team took the lead with a goal from Boone Jenner. An odd-man rush drew Stalock to the left, and a cross-ice pass left an open net for Jenner to shoot at. Assists went to William Karlsson and Brandon Saad.

The Sharks’ struggles continued through the first half of the period, until they got some respite from a power play. Joe Pavelski took a stick to the face from Rene Bourque at 8:57. The power play was short-lived as Brent Burns was called for interference just a minute in. Half a minute later, Justin Braun was called for holding.

The Sharks survived the brief four on three and the five on three that followed. Some seconds of five on four followed but the Sharks weathered it.

The Sharks got another chance on the power play at when Dalton Prout was called for cross-checking Mike Brown. The Sharks did not score but it was still an improvement over the previous attempt. By the end of the second, Columbus had the 2-1 lead on the scoreboard, and a 19-7 lead in shots for the period.

Late in the period, Tommy Wingels went to the dressing room. He had blocked a couple of shots earlier and seemed to be suffering the effects. He was back on the bench for the third period.

The Blue Jackets put the puck in the net at 2:23 of the third. DeBoer challenged the goal, as Scott Hartnett was standing in the blue paint for some time before the goal, impairing Stalock’s ability to move freely. Donskoi was blocking Hartnell’s exit, if he wanted to make one. The challenge came up empty, giving the Blue Jackets a 3-1 lead. The goal was Cam Atkinson’s, with assists to Nick Foligno and Hartnell.

The Sharks cut the lead to one goal, with a Justin Braun shot from the blue line, deflected in by Joe Pavelski at 6:13. The assists went to Braun and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

The Sharks then tied it up with a power play goal. Joel Ward was at the point and gave every indication he was looking for a shot. Brent Burns was lurking in the circle on the other side of the ice. Ward sent a quick pass through the penalty killers to Burns, who knocked it in before Bobrovsky could get across.

1:50 later, San Jose’s Chris Tierney won an offensive zone draw and Brenden Dillon caught the puck on its way to the blue line. He took a shot that Bobrovsky probably could not see, as Tierney was screening him as he made his way to the net.

The Blue Jackets pulled Bobrovsky with less than two minutes left. Seconds later, Pavelski stole the puck from Boone Jenner in the offensive zone and scored into the empty net.

Scott Hartnell picked up a misconduct in the final minutes, putting the Sharks on a power play for the final 1:16 of the game.

The final shot count was 31-29 Columbus, the final score 5-3 Sharks.

The Sharks next play on Wednesday at home against the Chicago Blackhawks.