Sharks Fall 4-3 to Avalanche, Couture Leaves Game With Injury

NHL on ice official Bob Meier (34) takes a look over San Jose Shark Logan Couture (39) after taking a deflected pass off his cheek in the first period Sunday night at SAP Center (photo sfgate.com)

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE– The San Jose Sharks fell to the visiting Colorado Avalanche 4-3 Sunday. The loss extended the Sharks’ current losing streak to three. Colorado goals came from Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Vladislav Namestnikov and Joonas Donskoi. Avalanche goaltender, Pavel Fracouz made 22 saves in the win. Sharks goals came from Joe Thornton, Melker Karlsson and Noah Gregor. Martin Jones made

Before anyone scored a goal, Logan Couture took a deflected puck to the face. After the game, Sharks forward Timo Meier explained what he had seen of the incident: “Unlucky play. I was trying to make a pass and it got deflected. He didn’t see it coming and I’m not sure where it hit him. Very unfortunate, I hope he’s doing well. A big part of our team, a big leader so I hope he’s recovering quick.”

Coach Bob Boughner said “I believe it was his cheek and he went under concussion protocol with the NHL. I think it was just precautionary, that we didn’t want to throw him back in there. But I don’t think it’s anything serious, I think he’s going to be fine.” Additionally, Boughner did not rule Couture out for the next game.

While Couture was being injured, Vladislav Kamenev was being called for interference against Joe Thornton. During the resulting power play, the Sharks started the scoring at 11:16. Timo Meier sent the puck from high in the slot to the net. Evander Kane was there to receive it but it went off of Erik Johnson’s skate and followed an unexpected trajectory. Kane reached for it and just pushed it across the goal mouth. Joe Thornton was right where he needed to be to gather the stray puck and put it in the net. Assists went to Kane and Meier.

Nathan MacKinnon tied it up with a power play goal for Colorado at 16:17. The Sharks had just stopped a shot by JT Compher but it rebounded up the slot to Gabriel Landeskog. He made a quick pass to MacKinnon who was waiting in the face-off circle to take the shot.

At the end of the first period, the shot count was 8-7 Colorado and the Avalanche won 69% of the face-offs.

Landeskog gave his team a lead early in the second period, just 1:59 in. A turnover in the neutral zone left Radim Simek facing a two on one of Landeskog and MacKinnon. MacKinnon took the shot and Jones stopped it but Landeskog was trailing just enough to put the rebound in the net. Assists went to MacKinnon and Vladislav Namestnikov.

Melker Karlsson tied it back up again less than two minutes later. Getting a jump on traffic through the neutral zone, Karlsson caught a pass from Marcus Sorensen near the Sharks blue line and skated the other way all alone. He went right up the middle and beat Pavel Francouz with a quick wrist shot. Sorensen got the assist.

Vladislav Namestnikov completed the goal set for his line at 8:41 of the second. Landeskog made a pass around the Sharks defenders and Namestnikov caught it but not in a great shooting position. He had to spin and shoot it back behind the goaltender to get the goal. Assists went to Landeskog and MacKinnon.

The Sharks had to kill a lengthy power play between 15:35 and 18:53, with a little under 40 seconds of five-on-three. Melker Karlsson went to the box for slashing, and then Timo Meier was called for hooking. The Sharks allowed just one shot during those penalties.

In the second period, the shot count was 10-7 Colorado and the Avalanche also won 60% of the face-offs.

A couple of things went unnoticed by the men in stripes during the third period. Colorado got away with too many men on the ice around the 10 minute mark, and then Timo Meier got whacked on the hands without any official noticing. The audience saw enough of both incidents to object loudly.

Joonas Donskoi made it 4-2 Avalanche after J.T. Compher found him with a backhand pass off the rush. It was a very nifty play, reminiscent of Donskoi in teal. Assists went to Compher and Erik Johnson.

With just under two minutes left, Evander Kane was felled with a high stick, putting the Sharks on a short power play. Kane appeared none the worse for wear during the power play.

With the Sharks goalie pulled, Noah Gregor scored his second goal of the season with 44 seconds left in the period. Assists went to Meier and Kevin Labanc.

The third period shot count was 11-6 Sharks, with the Avalanche winning 52% of the face-offs.

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

Avalanche Tie Series with 4-3 Win Over Sharks

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The Colorado Avalanche edged the San Jose Sharks in Game 2 with a 4-3 win at SAP Center Sunday, tying the second round playoff series at one apiece. Avs’ goals came from Gabriel Landeskog, Tyson Barrie, Matt Nieto and Nathan MacKinnon. Sharks’ goals came from Evander Kane and Brent Burns (2). Philipp Grubauer made 31 saves for Colorado, while Martin Jones made 28 saves on 31 shots for San Jose.

After the game, Sharks forward Evander Kane said: “I thought we did a good job early on, we just let them hang around too long.”

Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson elaborated on the same theme:

I think that we played well, we did a lot of good things out there. Just couldn’t find a way to score goals and got a little frustrated as the game went along and started doing our own thing a little too much. We know that doesn’t work in here and you know we should have learned by now but we didn’t. They capitalized on the chances they got and made us play from behind.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer pointed to the Sharks’ net-front presence as an issue: “I thought it was a pretty even game. I thought we didn’t get to their net enough. We had some real good looks where he made a couple big saves but I thought we could have made it a little tougher on him traffic-wise on our point shots. And I thought we could have done a better job in front of Jonesy, you know, on their point shots.”

Evander Kane started the scoring at 7:57 of the first. Kane was in front of the net and got behind Cale Makar as a blueline shot from Brent Burns came in. With a couple of strong moves, he fended off Makar and put the puck past Grubauer. Assists went to Brent Burns and Tomas Hertl. It was Kane’s second of the playoffs.

Colorado tied it up at 8:21. Tyson Barrie took a shot from the blue line into traffic and it went off of Gabriel Landeskog right on the edge of the blue paint. It was Landeskog’s second of the playoffs. Assists went to Barrie and Nathan MacKinnon.

The Avalanche got a lead on a goal from Tyson Barrie at 16:31. The play could have easily been called an icing, as Marc-Edouard Vlasic was the first to the hash marks, but the officials did not call it and play continued on.

After the game, Vlasic said “I’ll take the high road and wait for the League’s apology tomorrow.”

Barrie’s shot came from above the face-off circle when the puck emerged from a battle by the other side of the net. Jones was coming across from that and could not stop Barrie’s shot. Assists went to Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen.

Colorado’s lead expanded at 10:10 of the third. Martin Jones looked like he thought he had the puck frozen under him but it was slowly moving behind him. Brenden Dillon got his stick in there to push it away from the goal line but he hit it a little too hard and it bounced off of Jones back into the net. The goal went to Matt Nieto, his third of the playoffs. Assists went to Matt Calvert and Barrie.

The Sharks had some good luck in the form of Alexander Kerfoot’s broken skate, which left Brent Burns free to move and shoot without Kerfoot getting in his way. Burns did just that and brought the Sharks within one at 15:26. Assists went to Erik Karlsson and Marcus Sorensen.

That Sharks momentum was shattered when, moments later, Timo Meier allowed his stick to get into Nathan MacKinnon’s skate and that put the Avalanche on a power play. The Sharks killed off the penalty, but had little time to get the tying goal. With just over a minute to go, they pulled their goaltender for the extra skater. Nathan MacKinnon got control of the puck and put it in the empty net at 18:58. Assists went to Calvert and Philipp Grubauer.

The Sharks did get that third goal, in a 17-second power play at the end of the game. Four skaters battled for puck in the slot, but Tomas Hertl got to it first and tapped it ahead to Burns, who was moving through the outside of the face-off circle. He had a clear shot and he took it. Assists went to Hertl and Kane. That left the Sharks 10 more seconds to tie it with a fourth but they couldn’t get that done.

Melker Karlsson left the game late in the third period after being crushed against the glass by Derick Brassard.

Game 3 will be Tuesday at the Pepsi Center in Denver at 7:00 PM PT.

2019 NHL All-Star Game: Central Division Eliminates Pacific 10-4

Photo credit: @NHL

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE- The First round of the All-Star Game was between the Central and the Pacific Divisions, with the Central Division winning 10-4. The Pacific Division was coached by Bill Peters from the Calgary Flames, while the Central Division squad was coached by Paul Maurice of the Winnipeg Jets. The coaches came from the teams with the best record up to the All-Star break.

The All-Star Game was broken into three parts, two Conference contests and a third between winners of those. The games were made up of two ten minute periods of three on three play.

The Central Division scored first, with goals from Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog against Anaheim’s John Gibson. Both were assisted by St. Louis’s Ryan O’Reilly.

San Jose’s Erik Karlsson got one back for the Pacific Division at 4:51 in a breakaway against Nashville’s Pekka Rinne. John Gibson got an assist on that one.

Nashville’s Roman Josi scored a third for Central, followed seconds later by a fourth goal from Chicago’s Patrick Kane. Kane assisted on Josi’s goal and Josi assisted on Kane’s.

A fifth goal came from Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele, assisted by O’Reilly. Gibson gave up a sixth goal to Rantanen, his second of the game. Patrick Kane also got a second goal, the Central’s 7th. That was 8:11 into the first period.

For the second period, the teams changed ends and goaltenders. Las Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury took over for the Pacific Division and Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk took the Central Division net.

Colorado’s Landeskog scored a second goal to start the second half, less than a minute into the period. He was assisted by Roman Josi. Fleury made a number of valiant saves before Ryan O’Reilly took the puck away from Brent Burns in the neutral zone. Fleury came way out of his net as if to steal the puck. He did not and O’Reilly went around him to score.

Yet another Central goal came from Landeskog, his third with about five and a half minutes left. Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler got an assist.

The Pacific Division got one back courtesy of Johnny Gaudreau with an assist to Connor McDavid at 4:47. They got another courtesy of two Sharks, Erik Karlsson assisted by Joe Pavelski. San Jose’s Brent Burns added a fourth goal for the Pacific Division at 5:52. Pavelski also got the assist on that one.

The Central Division squad went on to the second round.