Sharks Fall 5-3 to Avalanche in Hard Fought Game

Colorado Avalanche right wing Valeri Nichushkin (13) lights the lamp for the game winner in the third period against San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (88) at SAP Arena in San Jose on Fri Mar 18, 2022 (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE– The San Jose Sharks lost to the Colorado Avalanche 5-3 on Friday. Cale Makar, Nazem Kadri, Valeri Nichushkin, and Darren Helm scored for the Avalanche. Pavel Francouz made 25 saves for the win. Jeffrey Viel, Rudolfs Balcers and Erik Karlsson scored for the Sharks. Zach Sawchenko made 24 saves in the loss.

After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner said:

“It was a fairly even game for the first two periods. We just got to capitalize on our chances. Same thing as last night. We didn’t have any goal support. But defensively, we did some right things until we started opening it up a little bit at the end. Obviously we gave a few breaks but all in all, you know, it was a hard-fought game. I thought the guys battled hard, especially after a back-to-back, against the best team in the League.”

Sharks forward Rudolfs Balcers talked about how the veteran leaders helped the team rally in the third period, despite being down 4-1: “They’re our leaders. They’ve been around for a while, you know. That’s the guys you rely on every night, and, you know, when you see them go out there and battle until the end, you know, I think it just motivates the whole bench.”

One of those leaders, Logan Couture, seemed to score the first goal of the game at 6:07 of the first. Unfortunately, the Avalanche challenged the goal for offside. Upon review, the officials saw that Couture did cross the line a hair before the puck.

The first goal, then, went to the Avalanche on a power play at 10:08. Nazem Kadri tipped Mikko Rantanen’s pass from about eight feet above the blue paint. a second assist went to Cale Makar.

Darren Helm made it 2-0 at 14:14, when he picked up a puck that Erik Karlsson lost control of in the Sharks’ zone. Helm slipped by Karlsson and lifted the puck over Sawchenko. An assist went to Andre Burakovsky, who poked the puck off of Karlsson’s stick.

Jacob Middleton fought Kurtis MacDermid after the first goal. J.T. Compher and Marc-Edouard Vlasic had matching roughing minors in the final seconds of the period.

Those matching minors put the teams four-on-four to start the second period. Cale Makar scored 34 seconds in. He took a shot from above the circle, then gathered up his own rebound just above the goal line to score. Assists went to Nathan MacKinnon and Devon Toews.

Valeri Nichushkin made it 4-0 at 15:29. Initially, he redirected pass from Cale Makar, but Sawchenko stopped that. The goalie left a rebound and Nchushkin was still there to lift the puck in. Assists went to Makar and MacKinnon.

Jeffrey Viel got the Sharks on the board at 19:19, tipping a shot from Marc-Edouard Vlasic. A secondary assist went to Nicolas Meloche.

Rudolfs Balcers scored 13:02 into the third period. He knocked the puck loose with a hit along the boards and then took it to the net for a look-away shot, aided by Vlasic who was there to make it a two-on-one and sell the look. Assists went to Alexander Barabanov and Tomas Hertl.

With 3:21 remaining, the Sharks pulled Sawchenko for an extra skater. Erik Karlsson made it 4-3 with a goal at 18:35. Logan Couture knocked down a high clearing attempt and then passed it to Karlsson. Karlsson seemed to fumble the pass a bit, then gathered it for a wrist shot into the far corner.

Valeri Nichushkin scored into the empty net when he and Nathan MacKinnon went two-on-one against Brent Burns.

The Avalanche out-shot the Sharks 29-28, with the shot count close in each period. On the power play, the Sharks had five opportunities and six shots. They also gave up five short-handed shots. The Sharks had one penalty to kill, and gave up one shot, one goal and had one short-handed shot. In the face-off circle, the Sharks won 54% of the draws.

James Reimer was backing up Sawchenko Friday, and Adin Hill is injured.

The Sharks next play on Sunday against the Arizona Coyotes, in San Jose at 4:00 PM PT.

NHL podcast with Matt Harrington: Caps Ovechkin back in line up after missing practice; Leafs Marner and Engvall back after Covid protocols; plus more

The Washington Capitals Alexander Ovechkin who hasn’t missed a game this season was out from Friday’s practice due to an upper body injury and who started for the Caps today against the New York Islanders (NHL.com file photo)

On the NHL podcast with Matt:

#1 The Washington Capitals Alexander Ovechkin is back he returned after missing practice Friday after suffering from an upper body injury. Ovechkin made it to Saturday morning’s skate and played against the New York Islanders in the afternoon. Ovechkin has not missed a game this season.

#2 The Toronto Maple Leafs Mitchell Marner and Pierre Engvall are both expected to return tonight against the St Louis Blues both missed three games due to Covid 19 protocols. The Leafs are glad to have them back in the line up Marner has 21 points and Engvall with ten points in 32 games.

#3 The Anaheim Ducks Troy Terry is a question mark for today’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks. Terry was out on Covid 19 protocols. The Ducks 19-14-7 second in the NHL Pacific.

#4 Aisha Visram made NHL history becoming the first woman to serve behind the bench in an NHL game as head trainer for the Los Angeles Kings. Visram got the call to serve after members of Kings staff were placed on Covid 19 protocols.

#5 Matt, the Minnesota Wild’s Kirill Kaprizov, the New York Rangers Adam Fox, and Colorado Avalanche’s Cale Makar were three of 18 first time All Star selections for Sat Feb 5th’s All Star game in Las Vegas. The trio has had themselves quite a first half.

Join Matt for the NHL podcasts each Saturday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Avalanche Shut Out Sharks 3-0

The San Jose Sharks Erik Karlsson (65) tries to control the puck as the Colorado Avalanche’s left wing Andre Burakovsky gives pursuit at SAP Center on Fri Apr 30, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks fell 3-0 to the Colorado Avalanche in Denver Friday. Gabriel Landeskog, Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen scored for Colorado, and Philipp Grubauer made 21 saves for the shut out win. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 33 saves in the loss.

The Sharks are clearly giving prospects a good look now and several played in Friday’s game. Left wing Ivan Chekhovich made his NHL debut with the Sharks Friday. He had one blocked shot in 10:55 of ice time. Center Alexander True made his third appearance of the season. He had one shot on goal and took one penalty in 13:01 of ice time.

After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner said: “These young guys that are playing on the road in a tough building, against a good team, there was quite a few fans here tonight, so there was some atmosphere and it’s a good experience for them.”

Also getting a good look, the more experienced left wing Alexander Barabanov played his third in a row since joining the team at the trade deadline. He had a goal and two assists in his first two games. On a line with Tomas Hertl and Evander Kane Friday, he had one blocked shot, one hit and one penalty in 19:15 of ice time.

Boughner said, of Barabanov: “He slows the game down a bit, and his skill takes over. We’re asking a lot of him, playing on that top line against those players and he doesn’t look out of place defensively.”

The first goal came on a Colorado power play at 11:13 of the first period. Cale Makar took a shot down the slot and Gabriel Landeskog subtly tipped it into the net. Assists went to Makar and Mikko Rantanen.

Landeskog was in front of Jones for the next goal as well, on another power play at 13:13. This time Makar’s shot went past Landeskog and in. Assists went to Rantanen and Joonas Donskoi.

The Sharks had one power play in the first period, and got two shots on goal with the man advantage. Colorado had two power plays and got six shots with the extra man. Colorado outshot the Sharks 13-6 in the first.

The second period saw the Sharks kill off two penalties, one abbreviated by a Colorado penalty. Colorado’s power play got two shots in the period and the Sharks got none in their minute or so of power play time. The Avalanche out-shot the Sharks 12-8 in the period.

The Sharks put the puck in the net midway through the third period but Colorado challenged it as off side. Alexander Barabanov had knocked the puck out of the air above the blue line and after a review the goal was called back.

The third Colorado goal came at 18:21 of the third, when Mikko Rantanen scored into an empty net. Assists went to Landeskog and Carl Soderberg.

The Sharks power play took four shots in two tries in the third. The Avalanche still out shot the Sharks 11-7.

In keeping with attention to prospects, the Sharks’ AHL team was also playing Friday, in San Jose. Lengthy look-ins on that game were broadcast during intermissions of the Sharks game. The Barracuda won 6-4.

The Sharks next play on Saturday, again in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche at 5:00 PM PT.