Sharks Preseason 2018: Comeback Flames Out

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks lost a second preseason game to the Calgary Flames at SAP Center on Thursday night. Despite scoring the first goal of the game and making a fervent push late in the game, the Sharks could not catch up after they gave Calgary a 4-1 lead. The 4-3 loss featured two goals from Sharks prospect Antti Suomela, who could very well show up on the opening night roster. Timo Meier also scored for the Sharks, while the Flames got goals from Mark Giordano, Elias Lindholm, Travis Hamonic and James Neal.

The Sharks got the first power play at 2:36 when Sam Bennett went to the box for slashing Melker Karlsson. The first power play unit was comprised of Erik Karlsson, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns. The Calgary defenders pushed them out of the zone and the Sharks changed their lines to Evander Kane, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Kevin Labanc, and Tomas Hertl, with Burns staying on for most of the power play. The Sharks came away from the man advantage without a shot.

About five minutes in, Suomela and Meier had a good chance after a takeaway in the offensive zone, but Mike Smith was up to the task and stopped shots from both. Calgary answered with a nice chance of their own, but after a scramble in the crease, Martin Jones shut them down.

A flurry in front of the Calgary net started as Joonas Donskoi pushed the puck to the net and Suomelo pushed it under Smith’s pads for the game’s first goal. Assists went to Kevin Labanc and Erik Karlsson. Time of the goal was 10:24.

A Thornton pass was intercepted by Mikael Backlund, who sent it to Mark Giordano, who tied the game with his fourth goal of the preseason at 11:30.

Calgary took the lead after Justin Braun was helped to the ice at the Sharks’ blue line, which allowed Elias Lindholm and Johnny Gaudreau into the Sharks zone, where Lindholm scored at 17:00.

At the end of the first, the score was 2-1 Calgary and the shots were 12-8 Calgary.

The Sharks started the second with a penalty at 1:14, a hooking penalty to Joe Thornton. It was Calgary’s first power play of the game. The Sharks’ penalty killers pushed Calgary out three times in less than a minute. The power play could not get any traction, but after the penalty expired, Calgary applied an excess of pressure and scored a third goal at 3:31. The goal was Travis Hamonic’s (his first of the preseason) with assists to Mikael Backlund and Derek Ryan.

The Sharks had a third power play at 9:19 when Matthew Tkachuk went to the box for cross-checking. That power play went nowhere, but a nice chance for Timo Meier after the penalty expired resulted in a fourth power play for San Jose at 11:21. The Sharks did not very much on that power play and almost as soon as it expired, James Neal went the other way and gave Calgary at 4-1 lead. That was his first goal of the preseason.

With Kane, Donskoi and Joakim Ryan around the net, Suomela deflected a Burns shot into the net at 18:00 of the second.

With the score 4-2 Calgary and the shots 19-18 Calgary, the second period came to a close.

To start the third period, Labanc was in for Meier with Couture and Hertl. Suomela was out on a line with Donskoi and Kane, while Meier turned up with Thornton and Pavelski.

Erik Karlsson took his first penalty as a Sharks at 5:12 of the third, called for interference on Gaudreau. The Sharks killed that off, keeping their penalty kill perfect.

That penalty kill had more practice at 8:49 when Labanc went to the box. The penalty killing unit did not look as one would expect, at least not after the first shift. Couture, Hertl, Burns and Braun were out as one unit. They were followed by Kane and Meier, who started in the neutral zone and went due north to score shorthanded. Meier got the goal, with assists to Kane and Braun.

At 14:02, Kane took issue with a hit he sustained at the Sharks’ blue line and put some people in the box. Calgary’s Sam Bennett got five for fighting, while Labanc sat in Kane’s place for a two-minute roughing penalty, and Kane himself was excused.

Despite pulling the goalie in the last minute, the Sharks could not find that fourth goal to tie the game and finished with the 4-3 loss to Calgary.

The Sharks’ next preseason game will be Sunday in Las Vegas against the Golden Knights in a 5:00 pm PT puck drop.

Sharks Fall 5-3 to Golden Knights, Trail in Series 3-2

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks fell behind in their second round playoff series with a 5-3 loss in Las Vegas Friday. Vegas took a 4-0 lead with goals from James Neal, Eric Haula and two from Alex Tuch. Jonathan Marchessault scored an empty-netter in the final seconds to seal the win. The Sharks’ three third period goals came from Kevin Labanc, Tomas Hertl and Mikkel Boedker. Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves for the win. In the Sharks’ net, Martin Jones made 27 saves before being pulled in the third period, and Aaron Dell finished the game with seven saves.

After the game, Sharks Captain Joe Pavelski described the team’s sense of the game:

It felt like the game was there at all times. When that score was within two or three, you feel in it. And we knew we had to get in there and create a little bit more. But, game went to four, Deller went in, all of a sudden we bang in one or two and you know it’s still there. So I don’t know, did we fell in it? We thought we had a chance for sure. Were we playing good enough? Not at some moments for sure, but the game got better at the end. So that needs to continue now, it doesn’t matter what we felt.

“We have to play harder for a longer stretch than we did tonight. We didn’t play hard enough for long enough and that’s why we lost,” said Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer. Each team killed three of four penalties. Vegas outshot the Sharks 39-30, with the biggest difference in the first period. Vegas also edged the Sharks in faceoffs, winning 51% of them. The hit count favored the Golden Knights by a big margin at 53-35.

The Golden Knights outshot the Sharks 15-7 in the first period, but Sharks goaltender Martin Jones held them off the board until the final minute. James Neal scored with just three seconds left off a rebound created by Shea Theodore’s shot from the blue line. Theodore and David Perron got the assists.

The Sharks started the second period with an early power play but could not score. They had only two shots on goal and Vegas came back with a power play of their own just 12 seconds after the Sharks power play expired.

The Vegas power play did not last long, as Alex Tuch scored at 4:52, again off a rebound. This one was created by a close in shot from Reilly Smith. It was not much of a rebound but Tuch was right on the doorstep to knock it in. Assists went to Reilly and Jonathan Marchessault.

The third Vegas goal came from Erik Haula at 8:59. Haula caught a pass from David Perron almost at the goal line. His bad angle shot squeezed under Jones’ pad on the short side. Assists went to Perron and Ryan Carpenter.

Just shy of the half way mark, Marc-Andre Fleury thwarted an excellent chance for San Jose. Marcus Sorensen skated in fast and followed his shot up by crashing the net. He knocked Fleury across the goal mouth and off his skates. The puck was cleared away to the boards, where Brent Burns was on top of it. Fleury got back in position in time to stop the blast from Burns as well.

Vegas had a second power play at 11:02 after Justin Braun was called for tripping. The Sharks started the penaly kill with a good short-handed chance from Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl, but they did not beat Fleury. They had a couple more short-handed excursions into the Vegas zone and killed off the rest of the penalty.

The Sharks’ fourth line had an excellent shift in the final three minutes of the period but that was followed by another Vegas power play. After a line change, Joe Pavelski was called for roughing after a tussle in front of the Vegas net. The Sharks spent most of the rest of the period killing that off.

The Sharks’ second power play came early in the third period after Shea Theodore was called for cross-checking Tomas Hertl. Vegas killed that off, but Theodore was back in the box at 4:11, this time for slashing Hertl. The Sharks were unable to take advantage of either penalty.

Alex Tuch scored his second of the game at 8:36 of the third. The Sharks had just finished an excellent shift in the o-zone, ever frustrated by Fleury. After the offensive zone draw, the Sharks lost the puck to Oscar Lindberg, who got it out of the zone. Alex Tuch carried it across the line and passed it to Cody Eakin. Eakin sent it right back for Tuch to shoot.

Pete DeBoer pulled Martin Jones after that goal and put Aaron Dell in.

The team responded with a a quick power play goal from Kevin Labanc. James Neal was called for slashing at 9:06. 29 seconds into the power play, Logan Couture found Labanc in the slot for a clean shot over Fleury’s left pad. Assists went to Couture and Hertl.

Just over two minutes later, Tomas Hertl scored to cut the Vegas lead in half. Mikkel Boedker made a fast move behind the net and just as he had the puck coming around the post, Hertl was there to knock it in. Assists went to Boedker and Couture.

Boedker added to the Sharks’ tally with a quick shot close in after the puck popped out of a scramble in front of the Vegas net. The time of the goal was 15:44, with an assist to Logan Couture.

With 2:21 and an offensive zone draw for the Sharks, DeBoer pulled Dell for the extra skater. The Sharks spent some precious time defending that empty net before getting the puck back into the Vegas zone for a moment. But with 1:21 left, Jonathan Marchessault got control of the puck and took a shot all the way down the ice for the empty-net goal.

Game 6 will be in San Jose on Sunday at 4:30 pm PT.