NHL podcast with Matt Harrington: Kings’ Peterson plays the most fun game of his life; Blues come to SJ after win in Vegas; Leafs too hot to handle, get by Ducks 2-1; plus more

Chicago 5 Sports photo: The Los Angeles Kings Nate Thompson (44) congratulates Kings goaltender Calvin Peterson (40) following Friday night’s game at the United Center in Chicago against the Blackhawks

On the NHL podcast with Matt Harrington: 

#1 For the Los Angeles Kings goaltender Calvin Peterson, it was a homecoming facing the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night at the United Center. Peterson was a player with the Chicago Young Americans of the Midwest Elite Hockey League; played at the United Center when he was with Notre Dame during the Frozen Four. Peterson stopped 34 shots in the Kings victory over the Hawks 2-1.

#2 The St Louis Blues who come to SAP Center tonight against the San Jose Sharks picked up a huge victory at T Mobile Center on Friday in a 4-1 victory against the Vegas Golden Knights. Goals from Ryan O’Reilly–two of them help pace the Blues to victory.

#3 The red-hot Toronto Maple Leafs who have won six of their last seven including a win last Thursday over the San Jose Sharks defeated the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. The Leafs Morgan Reilly scored an overtime breakaway goal for the winner. It was Reilly’s ninth goal of the season and 26th point.

#4 The Washington Capitals’ Nicklas Backstrom didn’t waste any time scoring a power play goal 22 second into overtime to help edge the Colorado Alvalanche 3-2. The Caps’ Alex Ovechkin and Devante Smith-Pelly also scored.

#5 The Dallas Stars shutout the Boston Bruins behind Jason Dickinson’s goal a rebound at 1:34 in overtime. The Stars’ Ben Bishop stopped 23 shots. Big win for the Stars and tough loss for the Bruins.

Matt Harrington does the NHL podcast each Saturday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Sharks Hit 100-Point Mark With 4-2 Win Over Avs

Photo credit: nhl.com/sharks

By Matthew Harrington

The San Jose Sharks chose the perfect time to pull out of a four-game losing skid, winning game No. 81 Thursday night at the SAP Center to keep Southern California foes Los Angeles and Anaheim at bay. San Jose topped the visiting Colorado Avalanche, a team clinging to the final Western Conference playoff spot by a point, 4-2 to stay two points ahead of the Kings for second place in the Pacific Division with just one game left to play in the regular season.

Justin Braun, Logan Couture, Joonas Donskoi and Tomas Hertl scored for San Jose and Martin Jones made 23 saves for his 30th win of the season. Mikko Rantanen and Blake Comeau scored for the Avs.

Braun opened the scoring in the first with a point shot that beat netminder Jonathan Bernier for a 1-0 lead 2:58 into the game. Braun’s fifth goal of the season, a career-high, would be the only action from either team until the third period.

The two teams traded power play goals, with Rantanen (4:43) and Couture (6:00) scoring on cross passes that resulted in open nets. Couture leads the Sharks with a career-best 34 goals.

Donskoi would add the game-winning goal 10:14 into the period after picking up a Dylan Demelo point shot rebound and backhanding it in the crease past Bernier. Comeau would score to pull Colorado within one with just under seven minutes left, but Tomas Hertl’s empty netter with two seconds left iced the game.

Game Notes: With a Kings overtime win Thursday, San Jose sits two points ahead of the Kings with one game to play. The Kings hold the tie-breaker with 43 regulation or overtime wins to San Jose’s 40. Anaheim (97 points) is three points behind San Jose, but has two games in hand and will face the Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes.

Los Angeles also draws the Stars who will wind up being one of the first teams out of the playoff race with only 90 points. The California team with the most points will host the first round, while the last place team will likely face division winning Vegas in the first round.

If San Jose wins Saturday night against Minnesota, they will host a first round match up.

Up Next: The Sharks host the Minnesota Wild this Saturday, April 7th at 7:30 pm PT.

Sharks can’t get enough offense; Bernier stops 39 shots for 3-1 Avs win

~ Photo credit: NHL.com

~ By Pearl Allison Lo

~ The Colorado Avalanche’s Jonathan Bernier posted his best save percentage since January 4 as the San Jose Sharks fell 3-1 Tuesday night at Pepsi Center.

Bernier earned the first star of the game with a .974 save percentage, while the Sharks’ Martin Jones fired 39 shots.

Sharks coach Pete DeBoer joked, “Bernier’d be making $20 million a year if he was playing us every night.”

It was the least amount of shots Jones has faced since January 13 when he was pulled from the game.

With one game left between the teams, the Avalanche clinched the season series with another two-goal win versus San Jose.

Gabriel Bourque, J.T. Compher and Tyson Jost were the Avalanche’s scorers and Joel Ward put the Sharks on the board.

San Jose out-peppered the Avalanche 39-20 and 14-3 in the first period.

Things were looking good as Colorado was held shotless for ¾ of the opening period. The Sharks won faceoffs 72% to 28%, but the Avalanche blocked 11 shots. Four of those blocks came during the Sharks’ power play. San Jose’s Joonas Donskoi and Joe Pavelski each had three shots. Colorado’s Nikita Zadorov had five hits.

The Avalanche swiftly recovered in the second, though, creating an uphill battle for the Sharks.  

Brenden Dillon was on his way out to clear, but fell. Jost recovered the puck at the blue line before passing it to Compher. The swift pass helped enable a 2-on-1, which Compher used to his advantage. With Jones situated near him, Compher passed far side to Bourque, who sent the puck over Jones’ right pad to make it 1-0 at 2:31.

Colorado doubled their lead just over two minutes later using a pretty pass. The puck traveled from Girard at the far faceoff circle to Yakupov at the far blue line to Jost at the near blue line. Jost sped up before shooting past Jones.

San Jose slashed the lead in half at 13:29. Ward scored after the puck went off a defender as Ward hit the goal cam, but the tally was initially waved off. It was Ward’s first goal since November 22.

In the third period, Justin Braun and Jones helped prevent a 3-on-1 attempt. The Sharks’ Timo Meier also fished the puck off the tape to stop a goal.

Compher made it 3-1 with four seconds left with an empty-net goal.

Some of San Jose’s Logan Couture’s comments were, “some mental lapses, they’re a quick team, they’re quick in transition.”

Game notes: The Avalanche were without Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon this time.

The Sharks completed their five-game road trip with a 2-2-1 record.  They will now hold a two-game homestand. First up, the division-leading Vegas Golden Knights Thursday at 7:30pm.

San Jose Sharks Podcast with Len Sharpiro: Sharks can hear footsteps of the Avalanche, Flames and Kings in the NHL Standings

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports: The Colorado Avalanche’s Carl Soderberg take at the net on Thursday night at the Pepsi Center to score his 10th goal of the season against the visiting San Jose Sharks.

On the San Jose Sharks Podcast with Len:

  1. Colorado Avalanche, who picked up their eighth straight win, defeated the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night 5-3. The Avs were mighty coming out of the gate, but almost faltered in holding off the Sharks late in the game.
  2. The Aves scored three goals to open the game in the first period as Nathan MacKinnon scored twice in the period for his 20th and 21st goals of the season. Carl Soderberg added one goal in the period for his 10th of the year.
  3. In the second period, the Sharks regrouped and held the Avalanche to just a goal but were down by three goals going into the third period
  4. The Sharks outshot Colorado 38-13, making a valiant effort to try and catch the Avs. The Sharks’ Marc Edouard Vlasic scored his sixth goal and Joe Thornton got his 12th, but fell short losing by two goals 5-3.
  5. The Sharks come home Saturday night to host the Pittsburgh Penguins at SAP Center. Len talks about the preview of this game.

Len Shapiro does the SJ Sharks podcasts each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com


Bernier spoils Sharks’ comeback; Avalanche top Sharks 5-3 for eighth win in a row

~ Photo credit: Colorado Avalanche

~ By Pearl Allison Lo

~ The San Jose Sharks came to within one from three goals down, but the Colorado Avalanche goalie Jonathan Bernier stymied power play attempts and what not to preserve a 5-3 win at Pepsi Center on Thursday.

San Jose made it 4-3 at 4:53 of the second and had two power plays after that, but former Shark Matt Nieto gave Colorado extra change at 16:46. Blake Comeau gathered the loose puck in the neutral zone, turned around along the boards and passed to Nieto. Nieto’s shot went in and off the post before Martin Jones’ right pad could get back.

With an empty net, San Jose got their seventh power play at 19:01, but ran out of time.

Bernier finished with 45 saves in helping his team to an eight-game winning streak. He withstood the Sharks’ shot advantages of 17-7 in the second and 21-6 in the third. San Jose’s ineffectual power play went 1-for-7.

The Avalanche’s speedy Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and an assist, teammate Mikko Rantanen had a goal and two assists, Nieto had an assist, and Comeau had two assists.

The Sharks’ Marc-Edouard Vlasic had a goal and assist and teammates Joe Thornton had a goal and Kevin Labanc had two assists. MacKinnon now has 17 points during Colorado’s win streak with seven goals and 10 assists.

San Jose, winners of three in a row, trailed 3-0 as Colorado continued their leading trend with a barrage of goals in the first.

MacKinnon scored two goals in under a minute–the second on a power play–to make it 2-0 by 8:01. The first came when he scored through Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s legs, Gabriel Landeskog then Rantanen touching the puck first in the opposite end. The second came around the horn from Rantanen and then Samuel Girard, as MacKinnon rocketed the puck between Jones’ left arm and left pad.

Carl Soderberg made it 3-0 at 18:14. Comeau zipped the puck longside the boards to Nieto. With Tomas Hertl and Dylan DeMelo’s sticks nearby and approaching, Nieto was then able to transfer the puck over DeMelo’s stick to Soderberg up front. From the edge of the faceoff circle,  Carl Soderberg tallied through a narrow space between Jones’ glove and pad.

The Sharks were unable to score during the power plays at 11:47 and 18:47.

The Avalanche resumed their push in the second, though not before San Jose had five more shots on the power play.

After the pass from Mark Barberio, MacKinnon shot down the slot through a line of traffic and Rantanen made sure the count was 4-0 at 1:34.

San Jose’s Joonas Donskoi hit the post at 9:01.

43 seconds later, the Sharks finally broke through Bernier and their goose eggs on the power play with one second left on special teams. Vlasic set up Labanc, who fired and Timo Meier swept the puck after it dropped past Bernier.

San Jose had another power play at 17:26, during which they attacked the net five more times.

The Sharks remained undaunted, leading off the third with a goal 29 seconds in, to make it 4-2.

Labanc aimed at net, Hertl touched the puck and Vlasic finished the play.

San Jose’s 4-3 goal came off a 2-on-1. Pavelski passed over the far blue line to Burns who crossed the pass to Thornton in front of Bernier and made a swick goal to score. It was Thornton’s fourth game with a goal in each.

The Sharks’ two power plays after that came at 7:35 (seven shots) and 10:24. They also took a penalty at 13:59 which shifted momentum.

Game notes: In the second, Pavelski tripped over Soderberg’s stick to the left of Jones and Soderberg got cut by Pavelski’s skate.

Colorado’s Patrik Nemeth blocked a game-high seven shots.

Labanc and Burns had a game-high seven shots apiece.

Up next: San Jose will head home to host the Pittsburgh Penguins for one game Saturday at 5pm.

Sharks blow out Avalanche for 50th Win

By: Phillip Torres

SAN JOSE-The San Jose Sharks (50-22-9) hosted the Colorado Avalanche (52-22-7) on Friday night at the SAP Center in San Jose. The Sharks defeated the Avalanche 5-1 in an offensive explosion for San Jose. Marty Havlat recorded a hat trick in the third period to give the Sharks some insurance goals and assure the win for San Jose.

The Sharks took the early 2-0 lead in the first period. Dan Boyle put San Jose on the board first with a goal at 3:01. Boyle’s wrist shot was assisted by Brent Burns and Joe Thornton. Patrick Marleau doubled the lead at 10:11 with a slap shot goal that was assisted by Logan Couture and Havlat.

Colorado scored their lone goal in the second period. Patrick Bordeleau scored on a wrist shot at 15:18 to prevent the shutout for Colorado. The loss for Colorado prevented them from clinching the Central Division title.

Havlat completely took over the third and final period as he registered his sixth career hat trick. Havlat scored at 5:26, 13:40, and 15:04. Havlat’s last goal on the night was scored on an empty netter. The Sharks will be back on the ice on Saturday as they will be hosted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the regular season finale. The puck will drop at 6:00 pm.

Sharks Come up Short in Mile High City

By: Phillip Torres

COLORADO-The San Jose Sharks 47-20-9) were hosted by the Colorado Avalanche (47-21-6) on Saturday at in Colorado. The Avalanche came away with an impressive 3-2 victory to earn a playoff birth against a possible opponent in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov recorded a season high 47 saves on the night to preserve the one goal victory.

Colorado never trailed in the game as they got the scoring started off early in the first period. Paul Stastny knocked in a wrist shot at 1:33 in the opening period. His wrist shot that found the net passed Antti Niemi was assisted by Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon.

The Sharks tied the game back up at 1-1 less than two minutes later with a goal from Joe Pavelski. The score was Pavelski’s 38th goal on the season, and it came via a backhand shot, assisted by Joe Thornton and Brent Burns. Although San Jose answered back fast, the tie did not remain for long. Cody McLeod put the Avalanche back on top before the first intermission with a wrist shot at 10:34.

With the score 2-1 Colorado heading into the second period, Colorado put the game away with the eventual winning goal at 6:32 in the middle period. John Mitchell made it a 3-1 game with a wrist shot on a power play goal. The goal was assisted by Jamie McGinn and Erik Johnson.

Dan Boyle made it a 3-2 game later in the period but that goal capped the scoring on the night for both teams. The third period was a defensive showing by both opponents, especially Colorado who was great on the penalty kill all night. The Sharks had their fair share of opportunities in the final period to send the game to overtime, but it came to no avail.

The Sharks will be back on the ice on Tuesday April 1st as they will be back at the SAP Center in San Jose. The Sharks will host the Edmonton Oilers and the puck will drop at 7:30 pm.

Avalanche Win 4-3, Block Sharks Comeback

From NHL.comBy Mary Walsh

DENVER- The Colorado Avalanche did not run roughshod over the San Jose Sharks, on their way to a 4-0 lead Saturday. What they did for a brief spell early in the second period was run around them. The Sharks looked to be in control of the game several times, except for their opponent’s scoring opportunities. Those squeaked through at first, then flowed as from an open spigot.

The game seemed all but over when the score reached 4-0, after the Avalanche scored three times in just over one minute in the second period. The Sharks scored twice in the same period, with the help from some power plays. A third tally from Logan Couture early in the third pulled a comeback within reach, but the Avalanche held on to win 4-3.

The Avalanche had two very good chances early in the game, getting the puck and bodies to the net. Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi made the saves but the Sharks seemed to start out a step behind the speedy Avs.

The Sharks had a couple of early shots, first from Andrew Desjardins and James Sheppard, and then from Matt Nieto on a line with Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau. After the five minute mark, the Sharks picked up their game and started racking up the chances. By the ten minute mark, the Avs had gone for six minutes without a shot.

Colorado finally did make a push the other way and Niemi had to glove a shot from John Mitchell to halt play. A moderate ruckus in front of the net ensued, with Andrew Desjardins in the middle of it. Cody McLeod caught the linesman with a stick but no penalties came out of it.

The Sharks took the game back after that, putting relentless pressure on the Avs, leaving Niemi with little to do except be ready for the occasional and very fast Colorado incursion. One such drew a penalty against the Sharks, when Justin Braun was called for hooking Matt Duchene, at 14:44 of the period.

It took the Colorado power play almost a minute, but they did make that power play pay off at 15:28. Andre Benoit shot the puck at the net from the blue line, and Nathan McKinnon tipped it in. Assists went to Benoit and Paul Stastny.

Shots for the period were 10-8 San Jose.

The Sharks started the second period with two dump-ins but no extended control of the puck, and then Sharks Captain Joe Thornton took an interference penalty on Ryan O’Reilly just 23 seconds in. The Sharks penalty killers minimized Colorado’s chances and survived the early setback.

The Sharks seemed to be getting their act together when a series of mistakes in their own zone created an opportunity for Jamie McGinn to score his ninth of the season, extending his goal streak to three games. Assist to Matt Duchene. That goal seemed to leave Niemi unsettled, and when a bouncing shot came down from the blue line and went by him 52 seconds later, Sharks Coach Todd McLellan replaced him with Alex Stalock. The goal went to Erik Johnson, with assists to Gabriel Landeskog and Paul Stastny.

Right off the faceoff, McKinnon sped into the Sharks zone and put a shot past Stalock, giving the Avs three goals in a minute, six seconds. The next faceoff started with a fight or two. Desjardins, Bracken Kearns and McLeod ended up in the box, giving the Avalanche a five-on-four power play.

37 seconds into the power play, Logan Couture drew a roughing call against Matt Duchene, putting the teams at four on four. 25 seconds later, Jan Hejda was called for slashing Joe Pavelski, giving the Sharks a brief five-on-three. While the Avalanche were busy knocking Couture down repeatedly in front of the blue paint, they missed Pavelski coming in to fire on an open net. That put the Sharks on the board with a minute left in the power play. Assists went to Marleau and Thornton. That penalty expired but seconds later, as Alex Stalock flew to the bench during a delayed penalty, Patrick Marleau came on to the ice and his quick shot brought the Sharks within two.

A chance in front of the Avalanche net ended with the net off its moorings and Desjardins fighting Max Talbot in the corner, after the linesman did make an effort to restrain them. Desjardins quickly took the upper hand in that one. While he and Talbot sat in the box for the fighting major, the Sharks put together some good time in the offensive zone, but the Avalanche kept them from finishing.

With just a minute and 46 seconds left in the period, Alex Stalock was penalized for delay of game after he played the puck over the glass. The Sharks kept the Avalanche power play from scoring before the end of the period.

The shot count for the second period was 13-9 San Jose.

The Sharks finished off the penalty kill to start the third period, and the game proceeded at a subdued pace. With five minutes gone, the Sharks were having trouble maintaining possession of the puck. After playing catch with the Avs in the neutral zone for nearly a minute, the puck finally landed on Couture’s stick so he could carry it into the zone with Marleau. A pass back to the blue line gave Scott Hannan a chance to shoot. Marleau couldn’t get the first rebound in but Couture was there to grab the second one, and put it past Varlamov. That cut Colorado’s lead to one at 5:44 of the third period. Assists went to Marleau and Hannan.

The Sharks had a power play at of the third, when James Sheppard and Jan Hejda collided in front of the Avs net. The refs called Hejda for interference. The Sharks couldn’t score on that power play, despite many close calls. A series of failures to keep the puck in burned seconds off that power play. With about a minute and a half left, McLellan pulled Stalock for the extra attacker, but the Sharks still couldn’t sustain pressure in the offensive zone. The Avalanche held on for the 4-3 win.

Patrick Marleau was the game’s points leader with a goal and two assists. Joe Pavelski led the Sharks in shots with seven, Erik Johnson led the Avalanche with five. The Sharks’ power play went 1/3, their penalty kill 3/4. Antti Niemi stopped 11 of 14 shots, Alex Stalock stopped 6 of 7 for the Sharks.

Roster Notes:
Eriah Hayes made a difficult trip through a storm to get to Denver from Boston, but he did not crack the Sharks lineup. Mike Brown, hit twice by friendly fire at the end of the game against the Oilers in San Jose, was good to go. Tommy Wingels, however, was still not able to play and has been placed on IR for an upper body injury, not a head injury.

Sharks win a thriller against the Avs

By Ivan Makarov

SAN JOSE, CA — Ever since San Jose Sharks played Colorado Avalanche in the playoffs series back in in the 2010 Stanley Cup, the games between the two teams had a rivalry feel to them. They were often packed with big hits, fights and back and forth scoreboard. The next matchup at SAP Center on Monday night was no exception, and had all that. The Sharks came out on top against the Avs, winning their ninth straight at home against them, this time by the score of 5-4 in a shootout.

Colorado Avalanche is a young team on the rise. Having not qualified for a playoffs spot since that series against the Sharks almost four years ago, they were rebuilding through lottery picks in the NHL draft, including picking up Nathan MacKinnon as the first overall pick last summer (he went on to score in the game). They also went through a coaching switch, hiring their former player and a hockey legend Patrick Roy who made his NHL head coaching debut this season. All the changes are now paying off, as Colorado were just two points behind the Sharks in the stranding coming into this game.

Avs got the first lead in the game. Their rookie McKinnon scored his eighth goal of the season to break the scoring in the game half way through the first period, with a wrist shot on the power play. Sharks’ Jason Demers tied the game three minutes later, also on the power play, scoring with a big heavy slap shot from just above the face-offs circle as Joe Thornton laid a great pass for him.

Colorado took the next lead in the game, with their captain Gabe Landeskog scoring at the end of the first period, capitalizing on a fast transition, leaving him wide open in front of Antti Niemi, who was unable to react in time. That’s how these new Avs play – counter attacking, and moving the puck fast throughout the ice. That left the game 2-1 in favor of the visiting team, going into the first intermission.

Besides the exciting action, the game also featured two fights in that period. First Mike Brown knocked out Cody McLeod with repeated punches, sending his opponent to the dressing room with blood all over his face. Few minutes after that former Shark Jamie McGinn dropped the gloves with Brad Stuart to get the crowd even more riled up.

Sharks came back firing on all cylinders in the second period. They played faster, more focused and went to the net at every opportunity. The increased pressure resulted in two goals – one by Brent Burns and another one by Cody Irwin – both from the top of the face-off circles. The home team did not give much room for the Avs to come back either, and Joe Thornton said after the game that he thought that the Sharks played the best single period of the whole season, as they took 3-2 lead going into the third period.

It seemed as if the Sharks would finish the game with a victory as the game was winding down, but that’s not how the Avalanche saw it. They not only tied the game with less than two minutes left, but took 4-3 lead scoring just 12 second after the tying goal. San Jose pulled the goaltender for an extra skater, and climbed back into the game on a goal by Joe Pavelski.

Sharks could have ended the game in overtime, getting a golden 4-on-3 power play opportunity, but came up empty, taking the game into a shootout.

Antti Niemi stopped all his two tries by McKinnon and Matt Douchene, while Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau scored on their tries, letting the Sharks earn the extra point over their opponent.

While it was frustrating for the team and for the Sharks coach Todd McLellan to end the third period like that, the fact that they came back and still won the game helped them go on a short Christmas break in a happier mood.

“A wild finish,” said McLellan describing the game. “It’s disappointing that we couldn’t hold on, for whatever reason. You saw it in the third – we went on our heels. We didn’t back off. To come back and respond with a goaltender pulled, it alleviates some of that.”

The Sharks next travel to Phoenix where they take on another divisional rival Phoenix Coyotes on Friday.