Avalanche Bury Sharks 6-2; SJ has lost 4 of last 5 games

San Jose Sharks right wing Nick Merkley, right, attempts to take the puck down ice against Colorado Avalanche right wing Valeri Nichushkin at the Pepsi Center in Denver on Sat Nov 13, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks fell 6-2 to the Colorado Avalanche in Denver Saturday. Devon Toews, Nazem Kadri, Alex Newhook, Logan O’Connor, Andre Burakovsky and Samuel Girard scored for Colorado. Darcy Kuemper made 28 saves for the win. Logan Couture and Alexander Barabanov scored for San Jose, and Adin Hill made 25 saves in the loss.

With this loss, the Sharks fell out of a playoff spot for the first time in this young season. Although they had their veterans back from COVID-19 protocol, having to kill four penalties in the first period hurt the team.

After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner said: “You start putting your big boys out there, killing penalties and you lose the flow of your game and we could never get it back.” Boughner mentioned mishandled pucks and bad changes, then summarized: “We started doing things that were uncharacteristic. And there were some guys who looked like they hadn’t played in a long time.”

Sharks forward Tomas Hertl mentioned defensive zone turnovers and how they lead to penalties when tired skaters are trapped in their own zone. In terms of offense, he said: “We need everybody to step it up because we are a team, you know, with 20 guys and we are no team with one line. So today wasn’t good enough.”

Logan Couture gave the Sharks the lead early in the first. While Timo Meier created a screen, Couture’s one-timer from the wing beat Kuemper on the near side. Assists went to Mario Ferraro and Meier.

Devon Toews tied the game at 10:10 wth a power play goal. His shot went by a couple of skaters in the slot and under Adin Hill. Assists went to Samuel Girard and Nazem Kadri.

Nazem Kadri gave the Avalanche the lead just a few minutes later. Valeri Nichushkin’s pass found Kadri breaking away. Kadri drew Hill to the front of the blue paint before slipping the puck around behind the goaltender. Assists went to Nichushkin and Erik Johnson.

The Sharks had to kill four penalties in the first period. In all, their penalty kill gave up six shots and one goal. Despite the penalties, the Sharks still got 12 shots on goal to the Avalanche’s ten. In the face-off circle, the Sharks won 46% of the draws.

Alex Newhook made it 3-1 with his first NHL goal, at 13:55 of the second period. Sam Girard made a pass form the red line to Newhook on the far side of the net, and Newhook shot it past a spawling Hill. Assists went to Girard and Jayson Megna.

Logan O’Connor added a short-handed goal for the Avalanche a couple of minutes later. O’Connor broke away, evading Brent Burns and Timoe Meier before scoring with a backhand. Assists went to Darren Helm and Erik Johnson.

The Avalanche outshot the Sharks 11-8, and won 53% of the face-offs. The Sharks penalty kill allowed two shots. The Sharks power play got one shot on goal.

Alexander Barabanov scored a power play goal for the Sharks at 9:02 of the third period. Tomas Hertl made a shot pass form the boards to Barabanov, who was ready to take a shot into the far side. Jasper Weatherby was right in front of Kuemper so the goalie didn’t see the shot. Assists went to Tomas Hert and Erik Karlsson.

Andre Burakovsky killed any momentum from the power play goal with a goal a little more than a minute later. Samuel Girard took a slap shot from just above the face-off circle, and hit Gabriel Landeskog. As Landeskog fell, the rebound went right to Buraskovky for the scoring shot. Assists went to Landeskog and Girard.

Samuel Girard scored Colorado’s sixth of the night at 16:37, into an empty net. Nazem Kadri got the assist.

For the game, the Sharks had a face-off win percentage of 52, and 30 shots to the Avalanche’s 31.

The Sharks’ next game will be Tuesday in St. Paul against the Minnesota Wild at 6:00 PM PT.

Sharks Fall 5-2 to Coyotes, Kessel Scores 900th Point

The Arizona Coyotes Phil Kessel (81) tries to quickly handle the puck against the San Jose Sharks Marc Edouard Vlasic (44) at the SAP Center in San Jose on Fri May 7, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks gave up a 2-0 lead to lose 5-2 to the Arizona Coyotes Friday. Phil Kessel scored his 900th NHL point in the game with a break-away goal in the third. Other Coyotes goals came from Victor Soderstrom, Conor Garland, Michael Bunting and Jan Jenik. Darcy Kuemper made 26 saves for the win. Erik Karlsson and Timo Meier scored for San Jose and Josef Korenar made 29 saves in the loss.

After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner talked a little about what he had seen from the younger players during the last several games: “They’re a little bit in and out, and then they’re still learning the ropes and how to come every night and prepare and be consistent at the NHL level.” Boughner mentioned Noah Gregor, Rudolfs Balcers and Alexander Chmelevski as players in this category.

Erik Karlsson scored the only first period goal at 3:47. With some traffic in front of Kuemper, Karlsson took a shot from high in the slot. Tomas Hertl got an assist.

At the end of the first period, John Leonard fell, face-first, into the boards by the benches. After some attention from the trainer he was helped from the ice and into the dressing room. He did not return to the game. There were no specific updates about his condition after the game. Boughner did say that “he looked like he was in pretty rough shape,” during the first intermission.

The Sharks out-shot the Coyotes 9-6 in the first, with two of those coming on the power play.

The Sharks’ second goal came from Timo Meier off the rush with linemates Alexander True and Ivan Chekhovich. Meier took the shot from above the face-off dot for his 11th of the season at 3:30 of the second. Chekhovich earned his first NHL point, an assist in his second NHL game.

Victor Soderstrom cut into the Sharks’ lead, scoring for the Coyotes at 4:59. He took a shot into the far side of the net through traffic around the net. Assists went to olive Ekman-Larsson and Conor Garland. It was Soderstrom’s first NHL goal.

Conor Garland tied the game at 4:59, during a 5-on-3 power play. Garland and Jakob Chychrun played catch across the ice before Garland slapped the puck past Korenar. Chychrun got the assist.

The Coyotes out-shot the Sharks 13-9 in the second period, with three of those coming on the power play. The Sharks had one power play that generated two shots.

Phil Kessel broke the tie 4:53 into the third period. Kessel was already behind the Sharks defense when Dvorak’s pass found him. He broke away and beat Korenar on the glove side. Assists went to Christian Dvorak and Alex Goligoski.

The Sharks seemed to have tied the game at 7:46 with another goal from Erik Karlsson but it was called back as an off-side play.

Michael Bunting gave Arizona a two-goal lead at 9:57. Evander Kane broke his stick on a shot and immediately had to hustle back to defend one-on-three. He was unable to give his goaltender much help. Conor Garland got an assist.

Jan Jenik made it 5-2 into an empty net, in the final second of the game. That was his first NHL goal, in his first NHL game.

The Coyotes out-shot the Sharks 15-10 in the third. In the face-off circle, the Sharks won 54% of the draws. Evander Kane had 6 shots on goal, and Tomas Hertl and Erik Karlsson each had five. For Arizona, Jakob Chychrun and Michael Bunting each had five shots.

The Sharks next play on Saturday, again in San Jose, against the Coyotes at 7:30 PM PT.

Sharks Beat Coyotes 3-2 in OT

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks returned from their post-All Star break to beat the Coyotes 3-2 in overtime. Sharks goals came from Kevin Labanc, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns. Coyotes goals came from Josh Archibald and Conor Garland. Sharks goalie Martin Jones made 31 saves in the win, while Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper made 32 saves in the loss.

The first penalty of the game went to San Jose at 3:53, a slashing penalty to Brenden Dillon. The Sharks killed that off efficiently and came out of it with some energy. Offensive pressure from the Sharks produced a Coyotes penalty at 7:30, a holding penalty to Ilya Lyubushkin. The power play did not produce much

In the last three minutes of the first period, Evander Kane had a great chance which he pretty much created with his speed on the way to the net. Kuemper stopped most of the shot but it did slip underneath him. It would have gone in had the goaltender not spun around, spotted the puck and swatted it away.

In the final five seconds of the period, Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson was called for interference on Joe Pavelski. As a result, the Sharks finished the first and started the second period on a power play.

At the end of the first period, the shot count was 10-8 Sharks.

Tim Heed was carrying the puck out from behind the Sharks net when Christian Fischer came up behind him and knocked the puck off of his stick. The loose puck was snatched up by Conor Garland, who caught Martin Jones out of position for the first goal of the game. That was 9:56 into the second period.

The Sharks responded at 12:09. Kevin Labanc and Joe Thornton converged on the Coyotes net while Marcus Sorensen carried the puck around the boards. Sorensen gave the puck to Brent Burns in the middle of the blue line. Burns took a shot which got to Thornton but did not go in. Labanc found it as it came out on the other side of the goal mouth and knocked it in from a tight angle. Assists went to Thornton and Burns.

They added a second goal just 44 seconds later. Timo Meier attacked the net after Logan Couture poked the puck through the neutral zone for him. Meier’s shot did not go in but Joe Pavelski was a few strides behind Meier and he arrived in position just in time to shoot the rebound in. Assists went to Meier and Couture.

The Coyotes scored under 30 seconds later, but the goal was called back after a standard review for whether or not the net was off its moorings (it was not), followed by a coach’s challenge for goaltender interference. Richard Panik, the shooter, did make significant contact with Jones, pushing him into the net.

Tim Heed was called for holding with just over five minutes to go in the second. The Coyotes had an extended delay on the penalty, before Barclay Goodrow finally blocked a shot and disrupted the unrelenting Arizona possession. The Sharks penalty kill was very aggressive, not giving the Coyotes any time to speak of in the o-zone. At 18:47, Justin Braun was called for holding, and that penalty kill was a little less effective. The Coyotes were able to set up and spend some time on the attack. The power play would carry over into the third period.

The shot count for the second period was dead even at 14 each.

The Sharks killed the rest of that penalty off but at 1:46, Brent Burns was called for high sticking. While he was trying to knock down a high puck, he caught Josh Archibald with the heel of his stick. With all but 40 seconds of that killed off, a line change between Logan Couture and Evander Kane caused a too many men penalty to the Sharks and a brief 5-on-3 power play for Arizona.

As the two man advantage ended, Brent Burns came out of the box at speed and caught a pass for a short-handed breakaway. Not long after, Couture and Hertl had a two on one short handed chance but they didn’t score either.

The ensuing even strength play tilted gradually in Arizona’s direction. Their fourth line finally broke through to tie the game with a goal from Josh Archibald at 7:10. Assists went to Mario Kempe and Lawson Crouse.

Arizona kept the pressure on and the Sharks had their hands full on defense for some shifts. As the period wore on, the game moved faster until the final couple of minutes during which there was so much north-south movement it almost looked like three on three. If that was an attempt to avoid overtime, it failed.

Arizona outshot San Jose in the third 11-9.

To start overtime, the Sharks seemed to have trouble making their passes connect. Luckily for San Jose, the Coyotes did not have much better luck in that regard. Finally, both teams tightened up, but it was San Jose who made it count. Tomas Hertl dropped the puck to Brent Burns, who pulled the puck in to draw the goalie to him, then pushed the puck back out in front of him and put it in the net off the far post. Hertl got an assist on the goal. The time of the goal was 3:14.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic returned to the lineup paired with Tim Heed, while Justin Braun was with Brenden Dillon. Vlasic had 23:59 of ice time, one shot on goal and finished a minus one in the game.

The Sharks will now head out for a four game road trip, starting on Tuesday in Winnipeg against the Jets at 5:00 PM PT.

Wild Hand Sharks Sixth Straight Loss

By Mary Walsh

photo credit: espn991.com Minnesota Wild Zach Parise

SAN JOSE–The Sharks lost their sixth in a row to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. Generally, the game was close, with the 2-0 score including an empty net goal during the final minute of play. The goals were scored by Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu. Minnesota goalie Darcy Kuemper made 25 saves in the shutout, while the Sharks’ Martin Jones played an excellent game too, making 28 saves on 29 shots.

As the Sharks attempted to end their losing streak, head coach Peter DeBoer mixed his forward lines, with more frequency than he has done this season. Every single line was different from the last game, and all but one line changed within the game. It did not change the result, as the Minnesota Wild handed the Sharks their straight loss.

Minnesota recorded their first shot almost five minutes into the first period. It was a good, clean shot from the faceoff circle that Jones gobbled up without any fuss. The Sharks had four shots by then, but they looked like a team working out new lines, which they were. During the first period, the forward lines were: Pavelski-Hertl-Marleau, Wingels-Thornton-Karlsson, Donskoi-Tierney-Ward, and Brown-Carpenter-Zubrus. Every single line had been changed since the loss in Edmonton.

The Sharks had a power ply at 9:35 of the period, when Mikael Granlund went to the box for holding. The power play did not accomplish much, as the Sharks could not stop turning the puck over in the neutral and offensive zones.

At 16:06, some negligence from the Sharks defense allowed Tomas Vanek to get out of the neutral zone with the puck, and make a break for the Sharks’ zone. Jones stopped the shot and kept the game in a scoreless tie. Jones had to make another, tougher save in the final two minutes on Mikko Koivu, who also had too much time to plan and take his shot.

As the period wound down, the shots were tied as well, and the Minnesota took the lead. It was not on the scoreboard but it was a symptom of a momentum shift. The Sharks did have a few moments of offensive zone time at the end of the period, but Minnesota seemed to be getting stronger while the Sharks idled.

The Sharks’ Patrick Marleau drew a tripping penalty early in the second period, a result of a much stronger start for the Sharks. Their power play looked a little more organized as well, with more passes connecting and a very good chance for Joe Pavelski in the slot.

Coach DeBoer mixed up the lines a bit in the second, moving Karlsson to the Tierney-Ward line, and Donskoi to the Thornton-Wingels line. The latter had one of the best chances of the period, when Wingels and Donskoi followed a Thornton shot to the net and caused a pile up in the paint that the officials had to untangle after the whistle.

At the end of the period, Thornton, Pavelski and Marleau made an appearance on the ice together, suggesting yet more line juggling from the coach.

With 1:45 left in the second, Mike Brown was called for boarding, giving the Wild their first power play of the game. During the penalty kill, Joel Ward blocked a shot and was a little slow to get up.

The Sharks trailed in shots by just one at the end of the second, with the score still 0-0.

To start the third, Thornton was on the ice with Wingels and Pavelski. Then Marleau, Donskoi and Karlsson came on as a line. Then Ward, Tierney and Hertl. Only the fourth line remained intact, as it had throughout the game. To the credit of that line, they had been very effective at gaining the zone and creating chances, just not enough so to score.

The Wild finally broke the tie, after Jones had already made several tough saves. Zach Parise was left wide open in front of the net. Donskoi was the only Shark skater in the vicinity and he was a little too slow to react. Assists went to Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville.

An empty netter for Mikko Koivu put the game away, but not until the final minute.

The Sharks’ shot leader was Joonas Donskoi with four. The hits leader was Tommy Wingels with seven. Wingels also had three shots to go with those hits.

The Sharks made a number of roster moves before Saturday’s game. Marc-Edouard Vlasic returned to the lineup, but Logan Couture was out again, this time with a small arterial bleed in his upper leg. There is no new timetable for Couture’s return, but in a press release, Doug Wilson said: “At this time, there is no projected time frame for his return to the ice but we do not expect this to be a long-term recovery. Fortunately, this injury is completely unrelated to his previous ankle injury.”

Dylan DeMelo played as Brenden Dillon’s partner. Forward Ben Smith was assigned to the San Jose Barracuda on a conditioning assignment. Forward Ryan Carpenter was called up. Matt Tennyson and Matt Nieto were scratches.

One other note: the Shark head stayed in the rafters Saturday. The Sharks did not skate through it on their way onto the ice.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday, December 15, in Montreal at 4:30 PT.