Game 2 Blues: Sharks get outworked by the desperate Blues in 4-2 loss on home ice

By Morris Phillips

SAN JOSE — Want to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup? You’re going to need contributions from a variety of sources.

On Monday night, Robert Bortuzzo was the unlikely source that propelled the Blues in their 4-2 Western Conference Finals-tying win at the SAP Center. The veteran defenseman went the first 30 NHL playoff games of his career without scoring a goal, then in Game 2, turned slick skating opportunist in beating Sharks goalie Martin Jones late in the second period with the game winner.

“That was pretty smooth by him, but he’s got that in his arsenal,” Blues goalie Jordan Binnington said of Bortuzzo.

“He’s a big guy with a good set of hands so it’s nice to see him rewarded,” said Alexander Steen.

Bortuzzo jumped into the rush, slipping past an unsuspecting Joe Thornton, where Tyler Bozak’s pass put Bortuzzo in position for a point blank opportunity that he backhanded into the upper left corner. Ironically,  Bortuzzo was a healthy scratch in the final three games of the Stars-Blues series, but against the bigger Sharks, and likely to match up against Thornton, the defenseman was on the ice and his contributions were potentially series altering.

Bortuzzo scored just two regular season goals, and has lit the lamp just 16 times in 366 career regular season and playoff appearances. That paucity of scoring didn’t interfere with his star turn in Game 2.

“It’s not really my game, but (goal scoring is) definitely something that goes in the back of your mind,” said Bortuzzo. “It was just a rush of emotion.”

In the tense, third period Bortuzzo dropped to the ice, blocking Kevin Labanc’s high velocity slapper that could have drawn the Sharks even with 10:04 remaining. Instead, the Sharks failed to even the score as the Blues have held the opposition scoreless in all six third periods of their road, playoff wins.

The Blues, desperate not to return home down 2-0, blocked 20 shots in the game and delivered the majority of the impactful hits along the boards. Bortuzzo also set the tone, sending San Jose’s Marcus Sorenson careening into the boards midway through the first period.

Logan Couture enlivened the SAP Center with a pair of second period goals two minutes apart that wiped out a 2-0 deficit.  Couture’s first goal was shorthanded off a takeaway and seemed to lift the malaise that enveloped the home team. But coach Peter DeBoer drew a different conclusion.

“I thought Logan Couture was pretty good, a couple of other guys … It’s tough to win this time of year if you don’t have everybody going, and I thought they got contributions from everybody, like we did in the first night,” DeBoer explained.

Binnington continued his eye-catching maiden voyage on the roller coaster that is the NHL playoffs. The rookie net minder stopped 26 shots (11 in the third period) and won for the ninth time. Binnington is one win way from becoming just the 10th rookie goaltender to win 10 times in a single playoffs.

The Sharks have dropped Game 2 at home in each of their 2019 playoff series, after winning Game 1. The Sharks have split a pair in Game 3, winning in Denver to take a 2-1 lead on the Avalanche in the conference semis.

The series, tied 1-1, resumes Wednesday in St. Louis with the pivotal Game 3.

Sharks Start Round Two With a Win, Beat Avalanche 5-2

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks won 5-2 Friday, defeating the Colorado Avalanche in the first game of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Despite giving up the first goal, the Sharks roared back with three unanswered goals in the second period. The Sharks have scored five goals in four our of five playoff games this season. It has almost become a habit for them. Joe Thornton, Gus Nyquist, Kevin Labanc, Brent Burns and Timo Meier scored for the Sharks. Gabriel Bourque and Colin Wilson scored for the Avalanche. Martin Jones made 26 saves for the win, while Philipp Grubauer made 22 saves in the loss.

The Avs opened the scoring at 2:10 of the first period. Cale Makar put the puck on net with an awkward shot from the blue line. Jones stopped that, but left a rebound. Gabriel Bourque was moving across in front of the net as the rebound came out, so was able to sweep it around Jones near the post. Assists went to Makar and Tyson Jost. It was Bourque’s first of the playoffs.

Gus Nyquist tied the game, scoring his first of the playoffs in a remarkably similar fashion at 14:44. From an offensive zone face-off, Brent Burns got the puck and moved to the high slot for the shot. His shot deflected off of some traffic, but still got to Grubauer, who kicked out a rebound. Gus Nuquist was there to put it around the goalie and in. Assists went to Burns and Logan Couture.

The Avs had a goal called back due to a distinct kicking motion before the end of the period, so the teams went into the first intermission still tied at 1. Colorado outshot San Jose 13-9 in the first and won 47% of the face-offs.

Colorado got their first power play at 2:46 of the second. After a very good chance in the first minute, they scored in the second. Mikko Rantanen sent a hard pass from the boards to the slot, where Colin Wilson deflected it to the net through traffic. The puck touched another skate or stick before going under Jones. The goal went to Wilson with assists to Rantanen and Nathan McKinnon. It was Wilson’s third of the playoffs.

Moments after that goal, Brenden Dillon went to the box for four minutes after a high stick that drew blood from J.T. Compher. The Sharks were able to kill that off with good sticks that helped them get the puck clear a few times.

The Sharks tied it up not long after that kill. Marcus Sorensen blocked a shot in the Sharks zone, then took the puck the other way. Joe Thornton went with him, making it a two-on-one. Sorensen carried the puck well past the blue line and then sent it across to Thornton, who put it it away with a broad swipe of a shot. Sorensen got the assist. That was Thornton’s second of these playoffs.

Kevin Labanc gave the Sharks their first lead of the game at 16:02 with some nifty skating around the defense and a sharp wrister into the top corner. That was Labanc’s third of the playoffs. An assist went to Burns.

Marcus Sorensen provided a screen as he prepared to deflect a Brent Burns shot from the half boards. Cale Makar jostled him so he could not do that, but the shot went off of Makar instead. The puck went in on the far side of the net at 19:00. Assists went to Sorensen and Thornton, who had retrieved the puck from behind the net, sending it up the boards to Burns. It was Burns’ second of the playoffs.

The Sharks outshot Colorado 13-11 in the second, and won 43% of the face-offs.

The game finished with an almost scoreless, penalty-free third period. Colorado pulled their goaltender with a little more than two minutes to go but the Sharks held them off.

Timo Meier scored into the empty net at 19:31 to give the Sharks the fifth goal. A few seconds later, Matt Calvert and Brenden Dillon exchanged slashing penalties. Calvert got a double minor for that and Dillon just 2 minutes.

Game 2 will be Sunday at SAP Center in San Jose at 4:30 PM PT.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2019: Joe Thornton Suspended for Game 4

Photo credit: @Deadspin

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks will be down one more player for Game Four of their first round playoff series against the Vegas Golden Knights. Joe Thornton has been suspended by the NHL for one game after an illegal check to the head of Tomas Nosek in Game Three.

As Nosek came out of the corner after retrieving the puck in the defensive zone, he was pitched forward and his head was still down after defending the puck from Brenden Dillon. Thornton was coming out from behind the net and moving as if to help get the puck from Nosek. The collision occurred after Nosek got rid of the puck and while the play was starting to move the other way. Thornton’s shoulder made contact with Nosek’s head as they passed.

A minor penalty was called at 16:45 of the second period. Nosek did not skate again in the second period but did return for the third.

Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and forward Micheal Haley are both listed as day-to-day. Vlasic was injured blocking a shot in Game Two, so missed the rest of that game and Game Three. Haley was also injured blocking a shot early in the second period of Game Three and missed the rest of Sunday’s game.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2019: Golden Knights Beat Sharks 5-3; Tie Series 1-1

Photo credit: @GoldenKnights

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The Vegas Golden Knights defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-3 Friday, tying their first round NHL Playoff series 1-1. Vegas goals came from Cody Eakin, Colin Miller, Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone and William Karlsson. Sharks goals came from Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl and Joe Thornton. Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 34 saves in the win. Martin Jones made four saves on seven shots for San Jose, then Aaron Dell came in to replace him and made 14 saves on 16 shots.

The Sharks had eight power plays in the game while the Golden Knights had just three. The Sharks scored one power play goal and Vegas scored one power play goal and two short-handed ones.

After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski talked about how the Sharks’ power play failed them: “We would get turned back and try to make the play up top and they would take that away and it would be out of the zone. It can be a little cleaner, a little quicker, a little bit more direct and we’ll go from there.”

The curse of the first five minutes reared its head again for the Sharks. Martin Jones had just saved a Max Pacioretty shot, which wound up behind the net. Following it as it came back around, Jones found himself screened by his own defensemen when Cody Eakin took a shot from the slot. An assist went to Pacioretty.

That was not the end of it. Before five minutes had elapsed, Vegas scored again. 2:10 into overlapping Sharks power plays, Colin Miller emerged from the penalty box to score short handed at 4:37.

Vegas added another at 6:11. Paul Stastny deflected a pass in the neutral zone, and Pacioretty picked it up. He carried the puck in just off the wall and took his shot before passing the face-off dot. The shot went by Jones on the far side and in. Stastny got the assist.

After that goal, Peter DeBoer replaced Martin Jones with Aaron Dell in net.

After the game, DeBoer said: “We were down three-nothing ten minutes in. I didn’t put it on Jonesy. We needed a shot in the arm to kind of change our momentum.”

The Sharks took some time to stem the bleeding. Once they had done that, they engaged their offense.

Logan Couture got the Sharks on the board at 16:59. The Sharks had just finished killing off a two-man advantage for Vegas, and were playing 4-on-4. Erik Karlsson made a pass across the offensive zone to Pavelski, who quickly passed it back across to Couture in front of the net. Couture put it carefully over Fleury and into the net. Assists went to Pavelski and Karlsson.

After the goal, the Sharks had a brief power play and scored again at 17:38. Couture passed the puck from the point along the blue line to Erik Karlsson, who had a long line of traffic between himself and the net. That traffic made an effective screen for Karlsson’s shot, and a deflection by Tomas Hertl made it all the more elusive. It was Hertl’s second of the playoffs. Assists went to Karlsson and Couture.

Joe Thornton completed the comeback at 19:08 of the period. The Sharks had just spent quite a while hemmed in their own zone when Logan Couture flipped the puck out of the zone. Evander Kane took off in hot pursuit though Pacioretty had several steps on him. Kane caught up and pushed Pacioretty off the puck, took it around behind the net and sent it back up to Brenden Dillon on the blue line. Dillon sent it back down to Thornton for a deflection. Dillon and Kane got the assists.

The second period started with another goal against the Sharks in the first five minutes, but only after the Sharks had a goal called back 51 seconds in. The goal did not count as it occurred just after Logan Couture was penalized for goaltender interference. The call was questionable as the contact came well outside the blue paint and appeared to be initiated by the goaltender. Nevertheless, the goal did not count.

On the ensuing power play, Vegas scored at 1:31. Mark Stone deflected a blue line shot from Shea Theodore. Dell stopped the deflection but the puck made its way back out to Stone, who was able to poke it through traffic and in. It was Stone’s third of the playoffs. Assists went to Stastny and Alex Tuch.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic finished his final shift of the game at 1:06, after the face-off for that Vegas power play, so the Sharks finished the game with five defensemen. Vlasic was injured blocking a shot.

Vegas scored a second short-handed goal at 7:35 of the third period. William Karlsson broke away as Reilly Smith was collecting the puck in the defensive zone. The pass got to him on the center line when he was already up to speed. He faked a shot as he approached the net and then put it away with a back-hand over a prone goaltender. Assists went to Smith and Tuch.

That goal came on Vegas’s first shot of the period. They did not have another shot until 13:53 of the period. In total, they only had four shots in the period but that was enough for them.

The Sharks pulled their goaltender with over two minutes to go for an offensive zone draw. The Sharks had a total of 15 shots in the period but could not beat Fleury again.

Through the first two periods, the Sharks won over 60% of the face-offs, but in the third won just 33%. The Golden Knights put Colin Miller in for Nick Holden on their blue line Friday. The Sharks made no roster changes, but may have to for Sunday, if Vlasic is not available.

Game 3 will be in Las Vegas on Sunday at 7:00 PM PT.

Sharks Pulled Down By Predators 4-2

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks lost 4-2 to the Nashville Predators at SAP Center Saturday. The loss was the second home game in a row in which the Sharks failed to clinch their 2019 playoff spot. The Predators got goals from Viktor Arvidsson (2), Filip Forsberg and Colton Sissons. Juuse Saros made 24 saves in the win, while Martin Jones made 26 saves in the Sharks loss. Sharks goals came from Joe Thornton and Timo Meier.

Nashville scored first and early, just 1:07 into the game. Craig Smith, Colton Sissons and Calle Jarnkrok went into the Sharks zone 3-on-2, with Smith was well away on the right wing and the Sharks defense focussed on Sissons and Jarnkrok. Jarnkrok pulled up at the blue line and made a pass to Smith. Smith carried the puck in and took a shot but it came back out and Sissons had to clean it up.

No one reviewed or challenged the goal, but after his shot Smith did skate into the blue paint and fall backwards over Martin Jones. Jones was certainly prevented from doing anything to stop the Sissons shot.

Micheal Haley and Wayne Simmonds fought at 5:59. The cause of the dispute was unclear, though the invitation came from Haley. Barclay Goodrow took a roughing penalty at the same time, putting the Predators on a power play. That power play did not last long as Ryan Johansen was called for slashing Joe Pavelski less than 20 seconds into it. No goals came from any of that.

The Sharks spent the last couple of minutes of the first evicting the Predators from their territory, but Team Teal did not muster much in the way of offense. An exception was a shift from Logan Couture and Timo Meier that did lead to some shots on Saros.

By the end of the period, the Predators were outshooting the Sharks 14-11. In the face-off circle, the Sharks had improved through the period from winning just 25% early to winning 53% by the first intermission.

The Sharks tied it briefly at 4:09 of the second. Logan Couture made a short backhand pass to Joakim Ryan on the blue line. With Couture slightly screening the shot, Ryan sent it in. Saros stopped it but kicked a rebound out for Joe Pavelski. Pavelski took the shot, which Saros stopped as well, but Meier was there on the other side of the goal mouth to put that rebound away. Assists went ot Pavelski and Ryan.

That tie lasted all of 24 seconds, before Viktor Arvidsson gave Nashville the lead again. Filip Forsberg got an assist.

The Sharks had a power play at 7:09 after Sissons went for slashing Hertl. That power play generated a couple of good chances but no goal for San Jose.

The teams played 4-on-4 after Colton Sissons and Joe Thornton exchanged cross-checks at 12:59 of the second. they played 4-on-4 against at 16:36 after Roman Josi was called for interference against Timo Meier and Meier was called for unsportsmanlike conduct (embellishment?).

During that 4-on-4, Brent Burns joined the rush and received a subtle little pass from Thornton. Burns bulled his way into the zone, but instead of shooting, he veered off at the last and dropped a pass to Thornton, who was in front of the blue paint. Thornton touched the pass just enough to put the puck over Saro’s pad and in the net. The assists went to Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

At the end of the second, with the score tied, the Sharks had taken a small lead in shots 21-20. They slipped a little on the face-off dot, down to 49% after two periods.

7:04 into the third, Filip Forsberg gave the lead back to the Predators. His wrap-around shot went off of Tim Heed’s stick as Heed tried to stop the shot. Martin Jones was a slow getting back across the net after losing his balance on a stop moments before. Assists went to Matt Irwin and Ryan Johansen.

Shortly after the 10-minute mark, Logan Couture and Timo Meier collided and hit each other up high. Couture went to the bench but neither player left the game. Kevin Labanc cross-checked Roman Josi at 11:00, giving the Predators a power play. The Sharks killed that off.

The Sharks pulled Jones for the extra skater with a little more than one minute left in regulation. Nick Bonino quickly intercepted a pass and sent it out. Viktor Arvidsson skated after it to score into that empty net.

The Sharks will next play on Monday, in San Jose, against the Vegas Golden Knights at 7:30 PM PT.

Sharks Beat Blues 3-2 in OT, Move to 1st in West

Photo credit: @fntsyhky

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks defeated the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in overtime at SAP Center Saturday. The win nudged the Sharks up to first place in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference. Two goals came from Timo Meier and the overtime winner came from Kevin Labanc. St. Louis goals came from Pat Maroon and Brayden Schenn. The Sharks’ Martin Jones made 17 saves, while the Blues’ Jake Allen made 30 saves in the loss. Joe Thornton tied Stan Mikita on the NHL’s all time points list with his assist on Timo Meier’s first goal of the game. Meier also set a record for the most NHL goals in a season by a Swiss-born player.

After the game, Meier said:

It took us 60 minutes and some extra to win this game but our team, full four lines, all the guys showed up today. It was a tough battle, you know, they didn’t give us a lot of room out there. They’re a good forecheck team so it took our full lineup tonight and our best game to win this one.

Speaking of how the team has been performing, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said:

It’s that time of year, there’s 15 games left or less, we’re trying to catch Calgary, we’re trying to win the division and important games. I think everyone has adversity, we’ve had some flu, and some injuries and things but guys have taken it as a challenge and really stepped up. I think we’ve had some gutsy wins here.

Both teams were missing significant pieces from their lineups. The Sharks were still without Erik Karlsson and Evander Kane, while the Blues were missing their leading goal scorer Vladimir Tarasenko.

The Blues scored first with a power play goal. Pat Maroon was in the right place to take advantage of a puck that came off the glass and landed by the goal post. It was his fifth of the season. Assists went to Colton Parayko and Vince Dunn.

The Sharks answered with their own power play goal at 16:23. With the power play winding down, Meier caught a pass from Joe Thornton and took a shot behind him. The puck went under goalie Jake Allen for Meier’s 25th of the season. Thornton and Tim Heed got the assists.

Meier added another in the final minute of the first period at 19:33. Logan Couture was in the corner when he made a backhand pass to Meier right in front of the net. Meier found an opening and put it away. Assists went to Couture and Tomas Hertl.

The Sharks led in shots in the first 10-8. Each team scored on a power play and each team killed one penalty. The Sharks had the edge in the face off circle as well, winning 53% of the time.

The second period was almost uneventful, up to the final two minutes. The Blues got a power play when Tomas Hertl was called for hooking. They tied the game at 19:57 of the period. Barclay Goodrow had the puck on his stick and was about to move it away from the goal mouth. Instead, Brayden Schenn came in and knocked it off of Goodrow’s stick and into the net. It was Schenn’s 13th of the season.

The Sharks lost their edge in face offs in the second. The Blues won an impressive 73% of them. The teams were even with six shots each.

Neither team scored in the third, but the Sharks outshot the Blues 15-4. The Blues won 60% of the face offs. The Blues continued to win those face offs in overtime.

Kevin Labanc scored the overtime winner with the team’s second shot of the period. Tomas Hertl gave him the puck in the neutral zone and, after carrying it across the line, Labanc passed it to Couture on the left wing. Couture gave it back quickly, just as Allen moved to block a shot from Couture. Labanc was able to get the shot off before Allen could move back across. The assists went to Couture and Hertl.

The Sharks next play on Monday in St. Paul, Minnesota against the Wild at 5:00 PM PT.

San Jose Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa Walsh: Sharks start four-game roadie with Pittsburgh tonight

sfchronicle.com photo: The Boston Bruins Charlie McAvoy (73) is jubilant after scoring go ahead goal against the San Jose Sharks on Monday night at SAP Center

On the Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa:

#1 The Sharks Joe Thornton scored a hat trick against his old team the Boston Bruins on Monday night at SAP Center the Bruins no easy customer

#2 The Bruins despite Thornton’s hat trick got a game winning goal from extra skater Charlie McAvoy with 1:01 left for the 6-5 win

#3 The Bruins swept all three California teams on this last road trip Kings, Ducks and Sharks

#4 Joe Pavelski had three points and Logan Couture picked up two in the loss. Neither San Jose’s Martin Jones (14 saves)

#5 The Sharks have lost two out of their last three games and open a four game road trip tonight in Pittsburgh Mary talks about how she sees this game

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

Thornton’s Historic Night Leads Sharks to 7-2 Win

By: Joe Lami and Marko Ukalovic

VANCOUVER, BC–Jumbo Joe Thornton made history on Monday night passing Gordie Howe for ninth all-time in assists notching the 1,050th of his career in Vancouver as part of San Jose’s 7-2 blowout of the Vancouver Canucks.

The record-breaking pass came at 17:30 of the second period, as Thornton led a 2-on-1 breakaway finding Kevin Labanc, who slapped it past rookie goaltender Mike DiPietro making it 6-1. On the play, Jumbo Joe also tied Teemu Selanne for 15th in all-time points in the same game he moved into 15th all-time in games played with 1,540.

“There’s no words to describe being in a dressing room with a guy that’s ahead of Gordie Howe now. It’s pretty crazy, he’s a special player” said Logan Couture.

“When you pass Gordie Howe on any list, I don’t care what list it is, that’s the story of the night. It’s an unbelievable accomplishment, unbelievable career and that’s something that should be celebrated, and our whole group is excited to be here to witness it” added Peter DeBoer.

The pair of Thornton and Labanc has been incredible of late as the two have connected for three of Labanc’s four goals in the last two games.

With the win, the Sharks have swept Western Canada and have extended their win streak to six games jumping into first place in the Pacific Division.

The Sharks dominance of Western Canada continued early, as they quickly went up 3-0 on Vancouver before the Canucks could even get a shot on net halfway through the first period.

Timo Meier welcomed DiPietro to the NHL by scoring on the first shot he would see for his 20th goal of the season. Meier became the fifth Shark to hit 20 goals this season, making San Jose the only team in the NHL to have five 20-goal scorers. In just their 57th game of the year, it’s the fastest San Jose has reached the mark in franchise history.

“Tonight, we knew they were in a tough spot starting [DiPietro] and we wanted to jump on him early. We scored on the first couple of shifts and were in control all night” mentioned Couture.

The Sharks continued their dominance with Evander Kane and Melker Karlsson finding the back of the net before the halfway mark. Kane’s 25th of the season came on a fluttering puck from the right point off the backhand that hit Ben Hutton before going in. Karlsson tipped a Brent Burns wrist shot at 8:48 to make it 3-0.

Vancouver finally got their legs going late in the first and registered their first shot at the 12:24 mark. They made it 3-1 right before the final buzzer thanks to a fantastic play by rookie sensation Elias Pettersson who gained the zone and threw a no-look pass to the top of the right circle finding Bo Horvat for an easy one-timer goal with six seconds remaining in the period. Horvat slapped his 20th of the season to the top right corner of the net.

The Sharks didn’t let the late first period goal come back to bite them as they completely dominated the rest of the way. With no backup available for Vancouver, they continued to pound the puck past the 19-year old with Kane scoring his second, Tomas Hertl, Labanc, and Joe Pavelski all jumping in on the scoring.

Vancouver jumped on the board once again in the third to make it 6-2, as Derek Pulliot slotted his third goal of the season thanks to a beautiful pass from Zack MacEwen, recording his first point in his first NHL game.

Pavelski netted his 30th of the season on a deflection play late in the third to make it 7-2. It’s the fifth time in his career Pavelski has hit 30 goals, as the captain continues his career pace.

Most impressively, the Sharks saw all four lines get on the scoring sheet as they dominated five-on-five. Their powerplay was the one weak spot going 0-for-3 and only generating three shots.

Martin Jones was steady in net for the Sharks stopping 25 of the 27 shots sent his way. He continues to lead all goaltenders since the start of December with a record of 18-5-1 and has allowed two goals or less in ten of his last 15 starts.

San Jose returns home as one of the hottest teams scoring at least five goals in the last three games, including four of the previous six. They host the Washington Capitals on Thursday to kick off a three-game homestand.

Sharks Win 5-2 in Edmonton, Thornton Ties Howe

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks defeated the Oilers 5-2 win in Edmonton Saturday while adding a couple of milestones. Joe Thornton earned his 1,048th and 1,049th assists to tie Gordie Howe for ninth in the NHL. That last point came on Kevin Labanc’s third goal of the game for his first NHL hat trick. Two more Sharks goals came from Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl. Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell made 21 saves on 23 shots. Edmonton got goals from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zack Kassian, while goaltender Cam Talbot made 26 saves on 31 shots.

Of their success in Edmonton this season, and of Labanc’s hat trick, Sharks Captain Joe Pavelski said:

Yeah, first one, that’s awesome, they were nice goals too. He shot the puck really well tonight, you know, quick, accurate, hard. He made some good plays out there. It was big for us. That’s what I was talking about, up and down the lineup, when we’ve come in here we’ve had guys step up and have big nights and, you know, Kevin had a good one for us tonight.

Kevin Labanc gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead 10:39 into the first. Catching a pass from Joe Thornton as he came into the zone at a good clip, Labanc took a quick shot that went off of an Edmonton skate and into the net. Assists went to Thornton and Marcus Sorensen.

Evander Kane added to that lead at 12:15. Tomas Hertl carried the puck over the blue line, then made a backwards pass to Joonas Donskoi who had just entered the zone behind him. Donskoi found Kane as he arrived in front of the net, undefended. Kane did not hesitate and put the puck by Talbot on the near side. Assists went to Donskoi and Hertl.

The teams skated four-on-four after Barclasy Goodrow and Leon Draisaitl exchanged penalties, crossing-checking for Goodrow and interference for Draisaitl. Neither team scored.

At the end of the first period, the Sharks led 2-0 and 12-5 in shots.

The Sharks had an early power play in the second period, when Zack Kassian went to the box for tripping Evander Kane. With 22 seconds left in that penalty, Adam Larsson was called for delay of game after the puck went out of play.

The two man advantage had expired before the Sharks scored again. Evander Kane moved as if to carry the puck behind the net but instead sent the puck to the front. Timo Meier was there but he could not get his stick on it. The puck went off of his skate and out to Labanc who was at the edge of the faceoff circle. He dragged the puck closer to the slot, encouraging the goalie to move off the post. As Talbot started to move across, Labanc took the shot. Assists went to Meier and Kane.

The Sharks got another chance at 9:06 with Oscar Klefbom in the box for interference against Tomas Hertl, but that was cut short by half a minute when Timo Meier was called for tripping Brandon Manning. The Sharks penalty had 28 seconds left in it when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored for Edmonton. Aaron Dell had fought off a couple of shots and was down when the puck popped out to Nugent-Hopkins away from the net crowd. Nugent-Hopkins took the shot and it went through traffic and in at 12:00 of the second. An assist went to Alex Chiasson.

At the end of the second period, the Sharks led 3-1. Despite the power play time for San Jose, Edmonton still had 13 shots to the Sharks’ 7 for the period. Whatever accounted for that imbalance, it did not go unnoticed by the Sharks during intermission. They came out with renewed energy to start the third period.

Kevin Labanc completed his hat trick just 1:36 into the final frame. Much like his first goal of the game, he took a pass from Joe Thornton off the rush and his shot went through traffic. This time, it did not hit anything and went into the net clean as a whistle. Assists went to Thornton and Brenden Dillon.

Tomas Hertl made it 5-1 at 4:24 of the third. He carried the puck into the zone, looked away like he was going to pass across the ice, snatched the puck away from an Edmonton stick, then shot it through the short side. Talbot was unable to predict that.

Zack Kassian got one back for Edmonton at 4:03 of the third. His shot from the blue line bounced off of a skate and went up in their over Dell before landing across the line. Adam Larsson got an assist.

In the end, the Sharks got one power play goal in five chances, and the Oilers scored on their only power play of the game. The Sharks won 60% of the faceoffs.

At 4:57 of the first period, San Jose’s Melker Karlsson carried the puck into the zone and attempted to protect it against Milan Lucic and Kevin Gravel behind the Edmonton net. Gravel pushed Karlsson into the boards and he started to loose his footing. As he started to fall, Gravel pushed him again and Karlsson went down with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Karlsson left the game.

In the final seconds of the first period, Edmonton’s Ty Rattie blocked a Tim Heed shot with his ankle and he left the ice with assistance. He did not return.

The Sharks next play on Monday in Vancouver against the Canucks at 7:00 PM PT.

Sharks’ Win Streak at 6, Beat Senators 4-1

Photo credit: @NBCSSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks extended their win streak to six games with a 4-1 win against the Ottawa Senators Saturday. The game was scoreless through almost two periods, but starting with a goal at the end of the second, the Sharks found their scoring touch. Sharks goals came from Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns, Joe Thornton and Melker Karlsson. Martin Jones made 27 saves in the win. Ryan Dzingle scored the lone goal for Ottawa, while goalie Anders Nilsson made 28 saves.

Sharks defenseman Justin Braun was back in the lineup after missing a few games due to injury. With Radim Simek also back recently, only Marc-Edouard Vlasic is still out from the Sharks’ blue line. Early in the first period Saturday, though, forward Joonas Donskoi was injured. Donskoi did not return after a collision with Mark Borowiecki. After the game, their was little news about the injury apart from the fact that it was an upper body one.

All these lineup adjustments have not slowed the Sharks down as they made their way through this winning streak. After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski credited the team’s structure for their resilience: “We’ve got a good structure. I think the group understands what we’re trying to do. Guys are able to slot in, just playing hard, doing things the right way. You need that, for a stretch like this right now, against some good teams.”

The game was scoreless for most of two periods Saturday. The Sharks took and killed two tripping penalties in the first two periods but that was it for the score sheet until late in the second.

The Sharks scored the first goal with just over two minutes left in the second period. Joe Pavelski caught a pass a little awkwardly as he skated into the zone. As soon as he had the puck settled, he took the shot and beat Anders Nilsson with a shot to the top corner. Assists went to Tomas Hertl and Brenden Dillon.

The Sharks scored again at 6:17 of the third period. Brent Burns took a shot from the boards and it went off of Nilsson and then Christian Jaros and in. Kevin Labanc and Justin Braun got assists on the goal.

The Senators got one back 21 seconds later from Ryan Dzingle. The Senators intercepted a clearing attempt by the Sharks and Bobby Ryan found Dzingle on his way across the slot. His shot got past Jones’s glove and went in. Assists went to Bobby Ryan and Zach Smith.

The Sharks had another penalty to kill at 9:44 of the third. Joe Pavelski was called for slashing Chris Tierney after Pavelski’s stick got tangled up in Tierney’s legs. Painful as the result was for Tierney, it did look closer to another trip than a slash.

The Sharks got their first power play at 13:26 of the third, a holding penalty to Jaros. The Sharks did not score on the power play but they did score just after it expired. A blue line shot from Timo Meier hit an Ottawa defender and then went under Nilsson’s pad and in. Joe Thornton helped the puck make its way in for his ninth goal of the season. Assists went to Timo Meier and Brent Burns.

Melker Karlsson added an empty-net goal at 18:39.

The shot count was close throughout the game, and in the end the Sharks held a small edge at 32-28. In the face off circle, the Sharks prevailed 65% of the time.

The Sharks will next play on Tuesday against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins at 7:00 PM PT.