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 Defeat Avalanche 3-2, Hertl Scores Twice in 500th Game

The San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (48) celebrates scoring in the second period against Colorado Avalanche goaltender Phillipp Brubauer (31) at SAP Center in San Jose on Wed May 5, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks won 3-2 after a tight game against the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday. The Sharks’ Tomas Hertl scored twice in his 500th NHL game and Erik Karlsson added the game winner on a power play. Josef Korenar made 30 saves for his third NHL win. Tyson Jost and Andre Burakovsky scored for Colorado, with Philipp Grubauer making 30 saves in the loss.

The first period was scoreless. Colorado took two penalties in the period, giving up six shots to the Sharks power play. The Sharks took one penalty and gave up two shots to the Avalanche power play. The shot count for the period was 12-10 Sharks. Colorado won 12 of 21 face-offs.

The second period was scoreless until the 15:39 mark. Tyson Jost scored the first goal of the game by picking up a rebound as he skated across the slot. His backhand shot went over Korenar as the goalie fell forward. Assists went to Patrik Nemeth and Jacob MacDonald.

Andre Burakovsky made it 2-0 at 18:18. Nazem Kadri’s pass found Burakowsky in the face-off circle and Burakowsky took a moment to pick his shot. It went by Korenar on the glove side. Kadri and Conor Timmins got the assists.

Tomas Hertl cut the Colorado lead in half with a goal in the final seconds of the period. Evander Kane carried the puck in and made a pass across the slot just as Hertl arrived at the net to deflect the puck in. Assists went to Kane and Alexander Barabanov.

The Sharks took the only penalty in the second period, but their penalty kill did not allow any shots. Colorado out-shot San Jose 16-9 in the second, but won just 9 of 20 face-offs.

Hertl tied the game at 2:50 of the third period. Evander Kane’s shot created a rebound as Hertl passed in front of the net. Hertl found the puck in his skates and then scooped it into the net while falling to his knees. Assists went to Kane and Nikolai Knyzhov.

Erik Karlsson scored on a power play at 9:18. After several shots form the same spot, and with Grubauer’s stick on the ice behind the net, Karlsson’s shot finally went in. Assists went to Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl.

Colorado took two penalties in the third period, giving up three shots to the Sharks power play. The Sharks out-shot the Avalanche 12-6 in the third and won 9 of 21 face-offs. In all, the Avalanche won 53% of the face-offs in the game.

The Sharks next play on Friday in San Joe against the Arizona Coyotes at 7:30 PM PT.

Karlsson Stars in Sharks 4-3 Shootout Win Over Wild

Photo credit: @GettySport

By Matthew Harrington

The San Jose Sharks beat the visiting Minnesota Wild 4-3 in a shootout after Erik Karlsson beat Cam Talbot ion a slapshot in the eighth round of the skills competition to cap a big night for the former Norris Trophy winner. Patrick Marleau appeared in his 1,757th career game, passing Mark Messier for second all-time and trailing Gordie Howe by just 10. Erik Karlsson scored a pair, fellow d-man Radim Simek potted one as well and the youthful couplet of Ryan Donato, John Leonard and Dylan Gambrell combined for four assists. Kevin Fiala scored a pair for the Wild and Nick Bonino struck for a mark as well. The Sharks (14-16-4) dominated on the shot counter, flinging 39 pucks on netminder Cam Talbot, while Martin Jones saw 25 shots in the San Jose net.

The Wild (21-10-2) scored first after Ryan Hartman screened Jones in a broken play that had the Sharks scrambling in their own end. Marcus Johansson had easy pickings with the screen, beating Jones for his fourth goal of the year 12:41 into play.

The Sharks answered back with a screen of their own when Radim Simek’s point shot appeared to kick off Dylan Gambrell or Jonas Brodin with 3:56 left in the period. Ex-Wild Ryan Donato and John Leonard assisted on the goal, leaving Gambrell, who also led the rush down the ice, pointless on the play.

Nick Bonino gave the Wild the lead just a minute before the first intermission after Joel Eriksson Ek first put Nikolai Knyzhov on a poster He toe dragged around the defense after Knyzhov went for an agressive poke check, giving Eriksson Ek the clear path to a 2-on-1 with Bonino. Bonino buried the tic-tac-goal on the cross-crease pass.

Karlsson scored his first of the game with 4:15 left in the second period after burying a 2-on-1 pass from Evander Kane. Kane blocked a shot in the Sharks end to start the rush and Karlsson saw the play developing and went full speed ahead to the Wild zone to finish the play.

4:11 into the third, Karlsson fired a rocket that hit the inside of the post, then the camera imbedded in the net on a point shot to give the Sharks the then 3-2. Donato and Gambrell assisted on the goal, Karlsson’s 4th of the year. Karlsson hadn’t had a two-goal regular season game since December 19th, 2017, his last season with the Ottawa Senators. Gambrell again was screening Talbot and this time nabbed an assist.

Fiala tied the game 9:48 into the third when Matt Dumba fed him with a puck that found a seam through the slot. Fiala was waiting a stride outside the crease to bury the tying goal and push his season total to double-digits with 10 goals.

The two teams meet again Wednesday night at the SAP Center. Presumably rookie phenom Kappo Kähkönen will be in net for former Shark Dean Evason, while former Wild tender Devan Dubnyk may get his turn in the Sharks net.

Notes: Jeffrey Viel made his NHL debut, playing 7:28 and registering two hits. He got on the scoresheet, dropping the gloves with Minnesota’s Luke Johnson 2:57 into the game. It was also Johnson’s first career fight. Viel came out the clear winner….Jared Spurgeon appeared to score in overtime, but his touch came above the crossbar for a quick no-goal call on the ice…Evander Kane’s assist broke a tie for the team lead with Timo Meier. Both players had 15 entering play…Marleau centered the fourth line with Viel and Marcus Sorensen on his flanks….The Sharks didn’t commit a minor penalty in regulation and only went on the power play once…The Wild hadn’t gone to the shootout entering play Monday night…Prior to the game, the Sharks moved Matt Nieto to the IR. He hasn’t appeared in a game since March 19th.

Sharks Shut-Out Ducks 6-0

The San Jose Sharks celebrate one of their six goals against the Anaheim Ducks on Fri Mar 12, 2021 at the Honda Center in Anaheim (photo by AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks shut out the Anaheim Ducks 6-0 in Anaheim Friday. Sharks goals came from Tomas Hertl, Evander Kane, Erik Karlsson, Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Fredrik Handemark. Sharks goaltender Devan Dubnyk made 34 saves for the shut-out win. Friday was Devan Dubnyk’s third start in a row for the Sharks. Ducks goaltender John Gibson made 19 saves on 24 shots before being relieved by Ryan Miller, who made 2 saves on 3 shots.

After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner said:

“It was good to see the guys at the end of the game, still with the lead, playing hard and blocking shots and doing the things that we talk about. It was a great team win and Duby was our best player when we needed him.”

The Sharks scored the only goal in the first period. Just back from a COVID-19 protocol absence, Tomas Hertl scored on the power play at 7:57. Brent Burns faked a shot just below the blue line, then passed to Hertl at the side of the net. Hertl’s shot went off of a defender and in. Assists went to Brent Burns and Timo Meier, also just back from injury. Cam Fowler limped off the ice mid-penalty kill after blocking an Evander Kane shot with his skate. He did return to play.

The Sharks had just 5 shots in the period, to the Ducks’ 11. Each team had one power play in the period and just one power play shot each. In the face-off circle, the Sharks won 53% of the time. Just past the mid-point of the period, Kurtis Gabriel and Nicolas Deslauriers fought, evidently as a response to Gabriel’s hit on Jacob Larsson.

The second Sharks goal came early in the second period, from Evander Kane 37 seconds in. Brent Burns carried the puck through the neutral zone and down almost to the goal line before making a pass across to Kane as the forward skated to the net. Assists went to Burns and Kevin Labanc.

The Ducks out-shot the Sharks in the second period as well, 16-11. There was only one penalty called in the second, against Anaheim. The Sharks had no shots during that power play. In the face-off circle, the Ducks won 65% of them.

The third period was busier than the previous two with the Sharks scoring three more times. The first of those came on the power play at 5:58, from Erik Karlsson. His shot came right down the slot from the blue line about half-way into the power play. Assists went to Labanc and Logan Couture.

Timo Meier scored at 8:03. About half way up the boards, Meier dragged the puck around the Ducks defender and let the shot fly before Gibson could adjust. Assists went to Kane and Mario Ferraro.

Kevin Labanc scored his sixth of the season just over a minute later. The play looked a lot like Kane’s goal earlier, but this time with Kane carrying the puck deep into the zone and finding Labanc on the other side of the net. Assists went to Kane and Ferraro.

The Ducks pulled Gibson after that goal and put Ryan Miller in net to finish the game.

Fredrik Handemark scored his first NHL goal in his second NHL game at 14:59. No assists were awarded on the goal but Patrick Marleau skated in with Handemark, helping out by pressuring the nearest Ducks defender, Sam Steel.

The Sharks bounced back in the face-off circle for the third period, winning 53% again. They also out-shot the Ducks in the third, 11-7. They had just the one shot on their power play, the only one of the period.

The Sharks next play on Saturday, again in Anaheim against the Ducks at 7:00 PM PT.

Sharks Lose 3-1 to Golden Knights

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks lost their first game back in San Jose, a 3-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. Power play goals were scored by Jonathan Marchessault, Mark Stone and Chandler Stephenson. Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves for the win. Tomas Hertl scored the Sharks goal, and Martin Jones made 23 saves in the loss.

Despite some lackluster seasons, the Sharks have maintained a respectable penalty kill. Not since 2009 have the Sharks allowed three or more power play goals in consecutive games, as they did in their last two games. On the season so far, the Sharks are 21st in the league with a 76.9 penalty kill percentage.

After the game, Sharks defenseman Brent Burns talked about what the Sharks need for a better penalty kill:

“In a pk, when it’s successful, you’re just pressuring hard, working, things are hitting you, blocking, you’re just disrupting things and, you know, I think we gotta get a little bit of that back. Taking time and space away, within our system, and making it difficult for them to create stuff. I think it looked a little too easy for them in the last couple games.”

Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner talked about the Sharks’ game even-strength: “We won the five-on-five game. I liked our five-on-five game. I think, you know, obviously I’d like to score more than one but you know, on the other hand we didn’t give them anything five-on-five.”

At 13:13 of the first period, Jonathan Marchessault scored his team’s first power play goal of the afternoon. The puck was bouncing in front of Martin Jones, and went over his head. Marchessault managed to get a stick on it in the air and tap it in. Assists went to Chandler Stephenson and Alec Martinez.

The Sharks had two power plays in the first period, and had two shots in those power plays. In total, the Sharks outshot Vegas 11-7 and came out even in the face-off circle. Vegas had just the one power play and got three shots before scoring.

Mark Stone scored the second Vegas power play goal at 9:56 of the second. Stone was next to the net when Jones moved forward to try to cover a rebound. When it got away from him, Jones was too far out to get back and prevent the goal. Assists went to William Karlsson and Cody Glass.

Tomas Hertl scored his goal at 18:39 of the second. Rudolfs Balcers took a pass from Marc-Edouard Vlasic and carried the puck down the ice two-on-one with Hertl. Balcers made a tidy pass from one face-off dot to the other so Hertl could score with a one-timer. Assists went to Balcers and Vlasic.

The only penalty in the second was the one that led to the Vegas goal, a delay of game penalty for sending the puck over the glass. The Golden Knights again had three shots on the power play before scoring. Vegas edged the Sharks in the face-off circle 55%-45%, and on the shot clock 10-7.

Chandler Stephenson finished the scoring off of his skate at 6:45 of the third, again on a power play. The Golden Knights had just enered the zone and didn’t need to get set up when Alex Tuch’s pass across the slot hit Stephenson’s well-angled skate, sending the puck behind Jones and in. Assists went to Tuch and Martinez.

Each team had two power plays in the third period, with the Sharks giving up three shots and a goal, and Vegas giving up just two shots. The Golden Knights took over the face-off circle, winning 76% of the thirs period draws. Much of that success can be attributed to Chandler Stephenson and William Karlsson, who took the lion’s share of the draws for Vegas. Both of those players won more than 60% of the time. In the end, the Golden Knights won 59% of the draws on Saturday.

Sharks defenseman Radim Simek left the game early in the second period after being cross checked in the mid-section by Jonathan Marchessault. The Sharks shared no further information on his status after the game.

Erik Karlsson’s game also ended early, not playing in the final 11 minutes. After the game, Bob Boughner said “lower body. He’s on the trainer’s table now just getting working on. So I don’t think it’s anything crazy serious. I think he just tweaked something.”

The Sharks next play on Monday at 7:30 PM PT, in San Jose, against the Anaheim Ducks.

San Jose Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa Walsh: Sharks have lost three of last five games; team lacking offense try for win tonight at MSG

photo sfgate.com: New Jersey Devils teammate celebrate with left wing Jesper Bratt (63), center, after Bratt scored a game-tying goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the San Jose Sharks, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Newark, N.J. 

#1 The Sharks lost in very narrow game to the New Jersey Devils Thursday 2-1 it was the Sharks third loss in five games

#2 Tim Heed was the only player to score a goal from the Sharks on Thursday the offense was simply shut down by New Jersey

#3 How much of an impact were the season ending injuries for defenseman Erik Karlsson and forward Tomas Hertl?

#4 The suspension of Evander Kane has taken away a chunk of the offense the Sharks can just get over the hump right now.

#5 Sharks face the New York Rangers tonight at MSG New York could this be another handful for San Jose

Mary Lisa does the Sharks podcasts each Saturday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NHL podcast with Daniel Dullum: Did the Wild get it right firing coach Boudreau?; Sharks Karlsson out for season and Kane suspended; plus more

gamingtoday.com photo: Ex Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau watches from the Wild bench just before he was canned by the team this weekend

NHL podcast with Daniel Dullum with this week’s latest

1 Wild, 3 points out of a playoff berth, fire coach Bruce Boudreau

2 Sharks’ Erik Karlsson out for remainder of season with broken thumb; Sharks’ Evander Kane upset with NHL over suspension

3 Blues’ D Jay Bouwmeester undergoes successful surgery after mid-game collapse

4 Coronavirus outbreak raises concerns about a possible hockey stick shortage

5 Jeremy Roenick won’t return to NBC after suspension for ‘inappropriate remarks’

Join Daniel each Sunday for the NHL podcast at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Sharks, Jones, Shut Out Wild 2-0; Sharks win four out of last five

photo from nbcsports.com:

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks shut out the Minnesota Wild 2-0 Saturday at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul. It was Martin Jones’ first shut-out of the season. He made 39 saves in the win, with goals from Dylan Gambrell and Melker Karlson. Alex Stalock made 19 saves on 20 shots in the loss.

After the game, Sharks interim head coach Bob Boughner said:

I think you have to give credit to the players. Facing the injuries that we were facing, and, I think, a little bit of adversity, and Jonesy coming in there and doing the job. I know they wanted to play hard for him. I thought we really defended well. You know, we gave up 39 shots and they threw a lot at us but I thought we played hard and I thought Jonesy made the saves that he had to.

Asked about Dylan Gambrell’s goal, he said: “That whole line, the True line, I think they did their job. I had to put Dylan out there as a right-hand shot on a couple of key face-offs against some really good players and he did a really good job. And they chipped in with a goal 5-on-5 and that always helps, if you’re getting some depth scoring. And a lot of our skill is out and guys like that have to step up.”

The Sharks went into Saturday’s game in Minnesota down two more players as well as Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture. Evander Kane received a three-game suspension for an elbow in Friday’s game against the Jets. Kane’s comments on the NHL’s decision can be found on Twitter. The NHL may have a public response to those comments but they have not made one yet.

Erik Karlsson injured his hand in the same game and the team declared the defenseman out for the rest of the season. The Sharks filled out the roster with Antti Suomela and Tim Heed, who have both played with the Sharks this season. Heed last played on January 16 and Suomela played on February 1.

The Wild out-shot the Sharks in the first period 10-8, though the Sharks had two plus power plays, including a two man advantage for 1:52. They had four shots in those combined power plays. The Sharks also had to kill one penalty, allowing one shot to Minnesota’s top-ranked power play. The Sharks did very well in the face-off circle, winning 74% of them.

The shot disparity continued in the second period, with the count at 14-6 Wild. There was a single penalty in the second, an illegal stick penalty to Kevin Labanc. Labanc lost his stick in a collision along the boards and Timo Meier pushed it back to him with his own stick. The move by Meier made it illegal for Labanc to use that stick. the Wild got credit for one shot on that power play.

The face-off contest went to Minnesota in the second, with the Wild winning 67% of them.

The Sharks scored at 3:08 of the third when Brent Burns’ shot went off of Dylan Gambrell in front of the net. It was Gambrell’s third of the year with Burns and Antti Suomela getting the assists.

The Sharks had one more penalty to kill in the third, and again they allowed just one shot on goal.

The Wild pulled Stalock from the net for the extra skater with 1:36 to go in the third. Melker Karlsson and Patrick Marleau had shots at the empty net but the Wild defense was there to prevent those goals. Karlsson and Barclay Goodrow had another chance, this time as a two-man breakaway. Goodrow gave the puck to Karlsson for the shot and Karlsson took it. Goodrow got the assist.

The third period face-off battle went to the Wild as they won 62% of them. The shot count was also in their favor 15-7. The lion’s share of the Sharks face-offs were taken by Joe Thornton (won 13 of 19) and Barclay Goodrow (won 9 of 22).

The Sharks will next play on Monday in San Jose against the Florida Panthers at 1:00 PM PT.

Sharks Give up Lead, Lose 3-2 to Kings in OT

photo from sfgate.com: Los Angeles Kings Jeff Carter (77) scored the game winning goal in overtime at 1:31 to get the Kings the victory on Friday night over goalie Aaron Dell (30) and the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center in San Jose

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks lost 3-2 to the Los Angeles Kings in overtime Friday night at SAP Center. Sharks goals were scored by Erik Karlsson and Joe Thornton. Aaron Dell made 35 saves in the loss. Both regulation goals for Los Angeles came from Martin Frk, while Jeff Carter scored the overtime winner. Jack Campbell made 22 saves in the win.

The teams played a scoreless first period, trading power plays and finishing close in most respects, shots 10-8 Kings, five blocked shots each, hits 9-6 Sharks. In the face-off circle, though, the Kings walloped the Sharks, winning 71% of them. Tomas Hertl and Anze Kopitar took the lion’s share of those.

The Sharks took a lead at 6:16 of the second period with a shot from Erik Karlsson just below the blue line. He got the puck just off of an offensive zone face-off, and he held on to it until he saw his chance. A screen created by several skaters, including Patrick Marleau, blinded Campbell to the shot. Assists went to Marleau and Joe Thornton.

Joe Thornton scored his first of the season at 11:39 of the period. Marcus Sorensen carried the puck across the blue line and dropped it to Thornton on the left side. Thornton passed it across the ice to Marleau, who moved it closer to the center of the ice with a pass to a speeding Radim Simek. Simek made a back-hand pass just as he approached the blue paint, finding Thornton open while attention was drawn to Simek. Assists went to Simek and Marleau.

The teams finished the second period with 11 shots each. The Sharks narrowed the face-off gap a bit, winning 44% of them.

The Kings scored at 1:30 of the third period. Jeff Carter took a hit from Mario Ferraro in order to send the puck around behind the net to Nikolai Prokhorkin. Prokhorkin sent it post-haste to the front of the net where Martin Frk was arriving fast. Frk took a diving shot and beat Dell for his first goal of the season.

Near the mid-point of the period, the Sharks still had no shots on goal, while Los Angeles had five. In the final minutes, the Sharks had all of three shots on the period, and they were dumping the puck in during the final two minutes when the Kings broke through the neutral zone.

Prokhorkin knocked Erik Karlsson off the puck in the corner, Jeff Carter took the puck and lifted it over a Sharks stick to Frk in the slot. Frk scored his second of the game. The goal sent the game to overtime.

The Sharks had recovered in the face-off circle during the third period, but obviously winning 69% of those did them little good. Being out-shot 15-4 may also have contributed to letting the Kings tie it up.

In overtime there were only three shots recorded, two for Los Angeles and one for San Jose. 1:31 in, the Sharks lost track of the puck behind their net and the Kings found it while Aaron Dell was diving for it. With the goalie down and out and no one else covering, Jeff Carter scored the game winner into an open net. Alex Iafallo got the assist.

The Sharks next play on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers at 7:30 PM PT.

Sharks Streak at Six, Beat Red Wings 4-3 in Shoot-Out

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Sharks won their sixth in a row, defeating the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 in a shoot-out Saturday. Sharks goals came from Kevin Labanc (one in regulation and the shoot-out winner), Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Erik Karlsson. Martin Jones made 25 saves for the win. Detroit goals came from Andreas Athanasiou (2) and Taro Hirose. Jimmy Howard made 16 saves for the Red Wings.

After the game, Sharks captain Logan Couture said: “It’s nice to win. It’s a lot more fun playing hockey right now than it was three weeks ago. So we’re having a good time.”

Couture also talked about the way the team has been winning lately, compared to expectations at the start of the season:

It feels like we’ve been scoring enough goals lately to win. It’s weird, I mean we said at the start of the year we weren’t going to win 5-4, 4-3 games but that’s what we’ve been doing. So if we’re finding ways to score goals right now and that’s why we’re winning, I still think we can be tighter defensively, give up less odd-man rushes. But it’s nice winning.

The win brought the team’s record to even at 10-10-1.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer talked about the significance of that: “It’s been a lot of work to scratch back into this race. We’ve got a lot of work left to do. But it’s nice to win that game. I think we would’ve walked out of here with only one point tonight, you know, we would’ve been disappointed.”

Kevin Labanc gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead in the final minute of the first period. Entering the zone with Logan Couture and Evander Kane 3 on 2, he took the shot from the middle of the slot, but Howard stopped it and fell forward to cover it. He didn’t quite have it and it trickled out to the side, where Labanc found it again and lifted it over the prone goaltender. Assists went to Logan Couture and Radim Simek.

At the end of the first, the shots were 9-8 San Jose and the Red Wings had won 56% of the face-offs.

Just 1:11 into the second period, the Sharks extended their lead with a blast from Marc-Edouard Vlasic at the point. His shot hit Howard on the inside of the arm and went in. Assists went to Logan Couture and Kevin Labanc.

Detroit got one back 13 seconds later when Andreas Athanasiou scored his fourth of the season. After helping to thwart the Sharks in the neutral zone, Athanasiou skated into the o-zone and around the Sharks defense to put a backhand shot under Jones and into the net. Assists went to Robby Fabbri and Joe Hicketts.

An impressive push from Detroit followed that goal, but it was halted by a penalty to Anthony Mantha for goaltender interference at 5:41. While it slowed the Red Wings, the power play did nothing else for the Sharks. They did not register any shots with the man advantage. Detroit had their own shotless power play at 8:21 after Melker Karlsson was called for high-sticking.

Detroit did tie it at 11:34 when Taro Hirose scored his first of the season. Brendan Perlini found Hirose in the slot right in front of Jones while the Sharks defense seemed not to see him at all. Hirose had room and time to pick his shot but he did so quickly. Assists went to Perlini and Madison Bowey.

The Sharks retook the lead just under a minute later. After shots from Couture and Labanc in the face-off circles could not get by Howard, Labanc skated down the slot and made a backward pass to Karlsson. Karlsson sent the puck right back to the net and in. A mass of bodies screened Howard from seeing what was coming in time. Assists went to Labanc and Couture.

Detroit had another power play at 16:27 when the Sharks were penalized for too many men on the ice. The Red Wings got two shots, but no more in those two minutes.

Athanasiou forced overtime by scoring his second of the game at 15:46 of the third period. Valteri Filppula and Athanasiou broke fast through the neutral zone and went in two-on-one against Radim Simek. Filppula made a cross-ice pass and Athanasiou took the shot. Assists went to Valtteri Filppula and Robby Fabbri.

After a fast-moving overtime, including a penalty kill for the Sharks, Kevin Labanc was the only shooter to score in the shoot-out. Martin Jones stopped Frans Nielsen, Andreas Athanasiou and Dylan Larkin. Jimmy Howard stopped Logan Couture.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers at 7:30 PM PT in San Jose. If that sounds familiar, it is because the Sharks played the Oilers last Tuesday as well, also in San Jose.