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.

NHL Stanley Cup Final podcast with Joe Lami: Joe talks Sharks free agency plus Bruins-Blues, who’s the best?

photo from wbur.org: Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask stops a penalty shot by Columbus Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner during Game 4 of their second-round series.

On the Stanley Cup Final podcast with Joe:

#1 The San Jose Sharks’ season ended last week as the players cleaned out their lockers the discussion of free agency was turned up as the Sharks might shop or drop free agents, forwards, Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Joonas Donskoi, Michael Healy, and Gus Nyquist.

#2 The Sharks are also looking at their defensemen free agents who may not return next season — Erik Karlsson and Tim Heed

#3 Will restricted free agents Timo Meier and Kevin LaBanc be back?

#4 The Boston Bruins swept through the Stanley Cup Playoffs and made it look easy. Joe takes a look how easy it will be against the St. Louis Blues in the Final.

#5 The Bruins have home ice and had plenty much of a flawless postseason, going almost error free.

Listen for Joe Lami on the NHL Stanley Cup Finals podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs/San Jose Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa and Jerry Feitelberg: Sharks win! It’s off to round 3 with the Blues

Photo credit: @ESPNStatsInfo

On the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs/San Jose Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa and Jerry F:

#1 Getting an early jump in hockey is not such a bad idea, and on Wednesday night at SAP Center, it was a plan that worked together as the Sharks scored twice in the first period and followed up with a goal in the second. It was all they needed to get by the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 to move onto round three.

#2 Joe Pavelski, who missed most of the series due to a concussion from a game 7 crosscheck vs. Vegas, returned and scored a goal in Game 7 and all goals counted in this close one. Did it look like Pavelski never missed a step?

#3 Tomas Hertl has been a Godsend in this series. He had a game where he scored just enough goals for the Sharks win scoring two goals.  In Game 7 on Wednesday, he scored again. He has had a spectacular series against Colorado.

#4 Then there’s Joonas Donskoi, who also contributed with a goal in Game 7. Mary Lisa talks about the kind of series Donskoi had.

#5 It’s onto the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where the Sharks will play host to the St. Louis Blues on May 11th for Game 1. For the Blues, watch for Jaden Schwartz, the St. Louis left winger has scored 11 points and had eight goals in the postseason and Alex Pietrangelo, who leads the Blues in assists with nine.

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

Sharks Beat Avs 3-2, Advance to Western Conference Final

Photo credit: @NBCSSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — For the fifth time in their history, the San Jose Sharks are going to the Western Conference Final after defeating the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 Wednesday. Sharks goals came from Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, and Joonas Donskoi. Avs goals came from Mikko Rantanen and Tyson Jost. Martin Jones made 27 saves for the win, while Philipp Grubauer made 24 saves in a losing effort.

Sharks captain Joe Pavelski was a game-time decision Wednesday, and the final decision was to play.

After the game, Sharks forward Logan Couture said of Pavelski: “For a guy that missed playoff action for two weeks, to have the injury that he has, to come back, set up a goal, score a goal. I wish I could tell you what he’s gone through, from seeing it first hand, you wouldn’t believe that he’s playing right now, I’ll just say that. He played unbelievable.”

Due to Pavelski’s return, Joonas Donskoi was bumped down to the fourth line and then he scored the game-winning goal. Thus, the game-winners in both Sharks Game 7s were scored by fourth-liners, which was what Logan Couture said the team needed after Game 6. Couture was asked about that after Wednesday’s game. Couture said of Donskoi:

Donny was great, we needed something, I said it last time. We needed some other guys to step up and score goals and I thought they were very very good tonight. I thought Donny played excellent: he was all over the puck, created chances. They had a really good night when maybe my line, we didn’t create much and have too too many chances. So we needed it.

Nathan MacKinnon went down with a shoulder injury in the first two minutes of play. He returned around the 15-minute mark and appeared to be able-bodied again.

The first goal of the game quieted any concerns about Joe Pavelski’s readiness to play. Tomas Hertl retrieved the puck in the corner and sent it back up the boards to Brent Burns. Burns had time to pick his spot and that spot was right on goal, through the Pavelski tip lane. Pavelski caught the puck with the bottom of his stick blade and sent it bouncing at the net, much lower than Grubauer was ready for. It was Pavelski’s third of the post season. Burns and Hertl got the assists.

The Sharks added another at 11:35. After Evander Kane sent the puck around behind the Avs net, Pavelski retrieved it and then brought it back the way it came. As he passed the net, he passed to an unguarded Hertl, right above the blue paint. Hertl knocked it in quick as a cat. Two defenders, intent on Pavelski’s movements, had not noticed Hertl back there. The one who did notice was not close enough to stop him. Assists went to Pavelski and Kane.

Mikko Rantanen scored with just seven seconds left in the first period, cutting the Sharks’ lead in half. Samuel Girard took a shot right down the slot from the blue line and Rantanen tipped it up into the net. A second assist went to Gabriel Landeskog.

Colin Wilson appeared to have tied the game near the eight minute mark of the second, but the goal was challenged by the Sharks for an offside play. Upon review, the goal was disallowed.

Joonas Donskoi came off the schneid with the Sharks’ third goal of the game. Picking up the puck near the corner, he carried it around behind the net, came out front and took a wrist shot at the near top corner. It was his first goal since January. Assists went to Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson.

The Avs scored again 51 seconds into the third period. Alexander Kerfoot’s shot came out as a rebound that Colin Wilson tried to push back in, but Vlasic got to that. Vlasic’s clearing attempt hit Hertl and bounced back toward the net. Tyson Jost was able to reach it before Jones or Vlasic could. Assists went to Wilson and Kerfoot.

The Avs pulled their goaltender with 2:10 left in regulation, but the Sharks and their goaltender held them off.

Game 1 of the Western Conference Final will be on Saturday the 11th at 5:00 PM PT. The Sharks will host the St. Louis Blues at SAP Center.

Sharks Win 7-4 Over Oilers: Two Karlssons score three goals

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks defeated the Edmonton Oilers 7-4 at the Rogers Place Saturday. Sharks goals came from Joonas Donskoi, Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture (2), Erik Karlsson and Melker Karlsson (2). Erik Karlsson, returning from his two game suspension, garnered four points in Saturday’s game. San Jose’s Martin Jones made 22 saves for the win. For the Oilers, goals came from Connor McDavid (2), Caleb Jones and Leon Draisaitl. Cam Talbot made 33 saves for Edmonton.

After the game, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said: “It was a good game for us, I think we took advantage of a team with some depth issues on defense and some young guys playing in key spots there. But, to our credit, we showed up and took advantage of what we needed to take advantage of. I thought we did a good job of playing in their end and putting some pressure on them.”

The Oilers scored first in Saturday’s game. It was a strange play, involving an early signal from the official, a review by the NHL, and a goal that came after the official had signaled a goal. At 6:26 of the first period, Ty Rattie took a shot that Martin Jones just barely stopped. While the official was waving a goal there and the goal horn was blaring, Connor McDavid knocked the puck in around Jones. The NHL reviewed the first shot to determine that it was not a goal but said nothing about the official’s gesturing before the whistle. Assists went to Ty Rattie and Leon Draisaitl. Time of the goal was 6:28.

Down 1-0, the Sharks carried on to score at 6:44. Joonas Donskoi went into the Oilers zone three on one with Erik Karlsson and Tomas Hertl. The three exchanges passes until Donskoi was almost at the goal line, when he took the shot and beat Cam Talbot over the pad. Assists went to Karlsson and Hertl.

The Sharks took the lead at 10:13 with a goal from Tomas Hertl. Hertl caught the pass from Burns, spun around in front of the net, looking like he might backhand it and drawing Talbot to the left side of the net. Instead, he kept turning and shot into the other side. Assists went to Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson.

The Sharks added to the lead at 6:39 of the third period. Logan Couture pulled the puck off the boards away from McDavid, who was tangled up with a prone and sliding Joe Pavelski. He found Joe Thornton behind the net with a pass. Thornton held the puck there until Couture was in a good shooting position above the goal line. Couture’s shot slipped under Talbot and trickled over the line after a short delay. Assists went to Thornton and Pavelski.

Erik Karlsson added another goal and his third point of the game at 18:45 of the second. The Sharks had just completed a distinctly lackluster power play and the Sharks were having a heck of a time holding the zone. They pulled themselves back together after disorderly spell. Joonas Donskoi was in the offensive zone with Barclay Goodrow and Marcus Sorensen. The trio caused some havoc around the net and Goodrow got the puck to Karlsson at the point. Donskoi was battling with Caleb Jones in front of the goalie, creating a good screen for Karlsson’s shot. Assists went to Goodrow and Donskoi.

Melker Karlsson scored the Sharks’ fifth goal at 2:41 of the third period. He tipped a Brent Burns shot from the point, with Goodrow creating a screen in front of Talbot. Assists went to Burns and Kevin Labanc.

Couture added a sixth goal, this one short-handed, at 8:25. Timo Meier was in the box for high-sticking. Evander Kane beat the Oilers defense to the puck and took it away from the goalie, who was up at the half-boards. Kane carried the puck around behind the net (tended by Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse) and found Couture coming to the net. Couture’s shot went under Talbot as he was getting back into position.

The Oilers got one back as Caleb Jones scored his first NHL goal at 10:40. Ty Rattie made a pass around a sliding Brenden Dillon to get the puck in front of the net, where Jones was ready to take the shot. He put the puck past Martin Jones as he slid across to follow the pass. Assists went to Rattie and Drake Caggiula.

Melker Karlsson scored a second time at 14:09. Erik Karlsson took the puck off the faceoff and carried it at high speed behind the net. Instead of going around the net, he made a last-second pass to the front of the net, where Melker Karlsson was waiting to knock it in. Assists went to Karlsson and Goodrow.

Leon Draisaitl scored the Oilers’ third goal at 16:53. Draisaitl carried the puck through the neutral zone, skating around Justin Braun and beating Martin Jones over the shoulder. An assist went to Milan Lucic.

Connor McDavid added a fourth goal for the Oilers at 19:54. McDavid tipped a shot from Chris Wideman and it bounced up in a high arc over Martin Jones. Assists went to Wideman and Rattie.

During the second period, Marcus Sorensen took a high hit that went unnoticed by the officials, even though he was pushed into one official in the process. He left the game for a time but did return. He sat during the final five minutes of the game as well, for precautionary reasons per Coach DeBoer.

The Sharks will next play on Monday, New Year’s Eve, in Calgary against the Flames at 6:00 PM PT.

In Division ranking, the Sharks are currently tied at 49 points with first-place Calgary, but the Flames have two games in hand. Those 49 points are good for third in the Western Conference right now, behind Calgary and Winnipeg.

Sharks Douse Flames for 3-1 Win

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks started a six-game homestand with a 3-1 win versus the Calgary Flames. Sharks goals came from Evander Kane, Joonas Donskoi and Joe Pavelski, who were on the same line. For San Jose, Martin Jones made 29 saves for the win. For Calgary, Mike Smith made 26 saves and their lone goal came from Sean Monahan. It was Logan Couture’s 600th NHL game.

50 seconds into the game, Joe Pavelski picked up a wandering puck as it made its way out of some confusion along the Calgary blue line. He turned with it and found Kane moving into the zone. Kane took his time and then the shot zipped over Smith’s outstretched glove. Assists went to Pavelski and Donskoi. That was Pavelski’s first assist of the season.

The Sharks outshot the Flames in the first period 12-8. The Sharks had one power play in the first, and it carried over into the second period without generating a goal.

At 1:28 of the second period, the same line of Kane, Donskoi and Pavelski scored again. Kane held the puck behind the Calgary net long enough for Donskoi to get to the front of the net, then made the pass to Donskoi under Mikael Backlund’s stick. It was Donskoi’s fourth goal of the season. Assists went to Kane and Pavelski.

Calgary struck back at 6:02 of the middle frame with a goal from Monahan. Erik Karlsson lost his footing just above the Sharks blue line, giving the puck up to Mark Jankowski, who was headed into the Sharks’ zone with Monahan right behind him. Monahan overtook him and Jankowski passed the puck up to him for an unobstructed shot. The lone assist went to Jankowski.

After that goal, Timo Meier left the ice with what appeared to be a cut on his leg. Kevin Labanc stepped into his spot with Couture and Hertl. Meier was not gone long and only missed the one shift.

The Sharks put a lot of pressure on the Flames late in the period. Marcus Sorensen had a nice breakaway with just under six minutes left in the second, but Mike Smith stopped his shot. The Sharks followed up with a two on one moments later, but couldn’t convert. With 2:45 left in the period, Evander Kane carried the puck in with Donskoi on a two on one. Kane passed and Donskoi shot, but Smith got across for a great save.

At the end of the second, the Sharks again led in shots, this time 11-8 for the period.

Just over three minutes into the third period, the teams played four-on-four after Sean Monahan was called for tripping Meier and Meier was called for embellishment. Neither team scored but the Sharks did put some pressure on the Flames, who were outshooting them 4-0 in the opening minutes of the period.

The Sharks got credit for their first shot of the period at 6:38. The shot came during a delayed penalty on Calgary, which sent Mark Giordano to the box for hooking. The Flames killed that penalty off just as they had the two previous Sharks power plays.

At 8:22 of the third, Martin Jones had to preserve the Sharks’ lead against a penalty shot awarded to Sam Bennet. Bennet was awarded the shot after Brenden Dillon was called for holding during Bennet’s breakaway chance.

As the clock ticked past the 15-minute mark of the third, the Flames were outshooting the Sharks 12-4. Logan Couture went to the locker room in the second half of the period with an injury.

With under a minute left, Pavelski scored into an empty net, securing the win despite the lack of effective Sharks’ offense in the third period. Hertl got an assist on the goal.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday against the visiting Nashville Predators at 7:30 PM PT.

Sharks Rout Islanders 4-1

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks defeated the visiting New York Islanders 4-1 Saturday night. Sharks’ goals came from Timo Meier, Joonas Donskoi, Brent Burns and Logan Couture, while Tomas Hertl earned three assists. Sharks goalie Martin Jones made 22 saves for the win, while Islanders goalie Robin Lehner made 37 saves on 41 shots in a losing effort.

The lone Islanders goal came from Brock Nelson. The Islanders did not take the loss quietly. As if in tribute to the Elton John tune, the game devolved into numerous fights and skirmishes before it was over.

The Sharks scored first as Timo Meier notched his fourth of the season at 7:59. Despite two Islanders crowding him, and eventually helping him fall to the ice, Tomas Hertl got the puck to Logan Couture at the top of the faceoff circle. Couture sent a quick pass to Meier, who was right at the edge of the blue paint. Lehner stopped Meier’s first shot but Meier was able to pick the puck back up and put it over Lehner’s outstretched pad. Couture and Hertl got the assists.

After a busy but unsuccessful power play at 16:59, San Jose gave up a goal with just 33 seconds left in the period. Josh Bailey skated into the Sharks’ zone and neatly avoided Justin Braun to make a pass to Brock Nelson. Nelson had avoided Burns and wound up with a clear shot at the net, which he took and hit his mark. Assists went to Bailey and Anders Lee.

At the end of the period, the Sharks had a slight lead in shots, 11-6, but a significant advantage in the faceoff circle at 67%-33%.

Evander Kane and Timo Meier both had good chances early in the second, but it was Joonas Donskoi who got the first second period goal at 4:59. Antti Suomela rushed the net and took a shot that was blocked by a sliding Scott Mayfield and Lehner’s stick. Suomela was too far beyond the goal line to get a good shot, so he sent it in front of the net. Donskoi was there in a flash to tap it over the line. Suomela got the only assist.

Just past the halfway mark, a scuffle followed a collision with Lehner in the Islanders’ net. After it was sorted out, Kane went to the box for roughing and Mayfield went to the box for cross-checking Kevin Labanc. The teams played four-on-four for two minutes. With three seconds left in that, Brent Burns took the puck and skated away from Jordan Eberle on the boards, and then took a shot around Tomas Hickey and Lehner to give the Sharks a 3-1 lead. Assists went to Hertl and Donskoi.

With 3:50 left in the period, Barclay Goodrow and Scott Mayfield engaged in some fisticuffs, then left for intermission early.

The Islanders got a late power play when Kane was called for slashing at 17:29. The Sharks’ penalty killers did an exceptional job in the first 1:15 of the penalty, spending a lot of time in the Islanders’ zone. That was thanks in large part to Hertl getting the puck across the line and carrying it all the way down and around the offensive zone.

At the end of the second period, San Jose had the 3-1 lead, a shot advantage of 26-14 and were still ahead in the faceoff circle, winning 61% of the draws.

Hertl helped Couture score the Sharks’ fourth goal. Hertl bounced the puck off of the back of the net while he made a quick reversal to lose an Islanders defender. Free of that burden, he was able to get back in front of the net and took a shot that went under Lehner and out the other side. Couture was there waiting for it and put it over the line. Assists went to Hertl and Joakim Ryan.

At 9:52 of the third, Kane was given a four minute roughing penalty after being taken down at the blue line and objecting strongly. His objection drew like responses from Lee and Mayfield, who each got two minutes for roughing against Kane.

At 12:08, a Cal Clutterbuck hit inspired just about everyone on the ice joined in to the fighting/roughing club: Clutterbuck, Burns, Matt Martin and Casey Cizikas all received misconducts. Burns also got a tripping penalty. Martin and Clutterbuck also got roughing penalties.

The sum total of the penalties put the Sharks on a power play, but it did not produce any more goals.

Shortly after Kane’s penalties expired, Kane was back on the ice and challenged Lee to fight right off the next faceoff.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday in Nashville against the Predators at 5:00 PM PT.

Sharks Lose 3-2 in Overtime to Rangers

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks lost 3-2 in overtime to the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden on Thursday. Despite having the lead for most of the game, Sharks’ goals from Marcus Sorensen and Joonas Donskoi were not enough for the win.

The Rangers got goals from Brett Howden, Brendan Smith and Brady Skjei. Sharks goalie Aaron Dell made 24 saves, while Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist made 41 saves for New York’s first win of the season.

With this overtime loss, the Sharks are 2-1-1 on this road trip.

After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said:

We like to be a detailed team, we don’t like to give up a lot of chances, but we generated a lot of chances, you know, throughout the night. And we’ll have to really look at it to see how it is. It felt like we had the puck a lot, it felt like we had a lot of grade as. Just got to stick some in the net, and I’ll take part of the blame on that. I got some looks that just gotta go.

The first period started out well, with the Sharks dominating play right out of the gate. Less than five minutes in, Evander Kane was called for closing his hand over the puck as he stopped it from going into the bench. During the penalty kill, Sorensen made a beautiful play, stick-handing twice around Brady Skjei before scoring with a wrist shot into the far corner. Assists went to Timo Meier and Brent Burns.

The Rangers tied it in the final five minutes of the first. Brett Howden got the puck to Mats Zuccarello from behind the net, then got to the front of the net. Zuccarello took the shot, but Dell kept that out. Now close to the blue paint, bumped it back between his legs and under Dell. Assists went to Zuccarello and Kreider.

The Sharks challenged the play as an off side. After a lengthy review, the officials upheld the goal. While the puck carrier’s skates did cross the line before the puck did, he had touched it before crossing the line and appeared to be in control of it. There was one skater on the other side of the ice that the Sharks felt had crossed the line before the puck, but the officials could not verify that he had done so.

The Sharks outshot the Rangers 17-6 during the first, and each team killed two of two penalties.

The Sharks took the lead back with a goal from Joonas Donskoi at 4:59 of the second period. Burns cleared the puck out of the Sharks zone with a backhand off the boards. Antti Suomela picked it up in the neutral zone and took off with Donskoi and Sorensen three-on-one. Suomela was patient before making the pass to Donskoi, who put the puck in with a last moment shot just above the goal line. Assists went to Suomela and Burns.

That was the only goal of the second period. There were no penalties called and the shot count was slightly less lopsided at 16-9 Sharks.

Kane drew an interference penalty from Tony DeAngelo at 5:30 of the third period. The Sharks power play started in the offensive zone with Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson and Logan Couture. They had one shot blocked, two shots saved and one missed shot. When Lundqvist stopped the puck, the second unit came out for almost a minute, including Vlasic, Kane, Meier, Donskoi and Labanc. They could not hold the zone or get any shots. At the very end of their shift, trouble in the neutral zone resulted in a breakaway by Vinni Lettieri. Dell stopped his shot with a flourish.

Moments later, Hertl left the ice and went to the dressing room, leaving his helmet and gloves behind on the ice. He appeared to have an abrasion below his left eye.

The Rangers stayed neck and neck with the Sharks in terms of shots for the rest of the period. The shots were tied at 10-10 when the Rangers tied the game at 17:21. Pavel Buchnevich made a backhand pass from the right goal post to Brendan Smith who had three Sharks between him and the net. He took the shot just as he fell. Assists went to Buchnevich and Jesper Fast.

Hertl returned to the ice in the final frantic minutes, but Donskoi was hobbled by a Karlsson shot in the final minute. The Rangers held the zone for most of that minute, keeping the Sharks on their heels.

The Sharks started overtime with Karlsson, Hertl and Couture on the ice. Hertl won the faceoff to give the Sharks’ possession. That was the only Sharks line used in overtime. A passed from Karlsson to Hertl failed and 76 took the puck. He carried it all the way down and then scored with a shot over a prone Couture.

The Sharks will finish up the road trip against the Devils on Sunday at 10:00 am PT.

Evander Kane Scores Four Goals and Nets First Career Hat Trick, Sharks Douse Flames 7-4

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks defeated the Calgary Flames 7-4 at the Scotiabank Saddledome  on Friday night. The Sharks scored seven goals compared to the Flames’ four goals. New Sharks left wing Evander Kane scored four of those goals, tying the Sharks’ record for most goals in a game. The other Sharks who scored that many goals were Owen Nolan, Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau.

Hertl, Kevin Labanc and Eric Fehr scored the remaining balance of goals for San Jose. Johnny Gaudreau, Troy Brouwer, Mark Jankowski and Michael Ferland scored for Calgary.

After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said this about Evander Kane:

It’s always a special night when someone can score three, and then for him to get that fourth, you know, it’s pretty cool to see. He’s definitely made a huge impact on us as a team, on his teammates. And, you know, he’s been one of those guys driving the bus here for the last week or two and he came through big for us tonight.

The Sharks started the game on the right foot. Just five minutes in, Timo Meier seemed to have scored, but his stick was above the crossbar when he touched the puck.

Undeterred, Kane scored only a minute later. Kane took a rising wrist shot from just below the blue line as he raced into the zone. Mike Smith missed the puck with his glove as it fell toward the goal. Jannik Hansen got the lone assist.

The Sharks had a power play after Mikkel Boedker was tripped up on a breakaway 37 seconds after the goal, but they did not get a shot on goal.

Gaudreau left the ice briefly after a collision with two Sharks players, seeming to severe  his arm or hand, but nothing was wrong and he quickly returned to the ice.

Brouwer tied it up with 3:18 left in the period. Sharks goalie Martin Jones had come out to handle the puck, but he was back in the net before Brouwer took his shot from the slot. Curtis Lazar made the pass to Brouwer from below the goal line. Assists went to Lazar and Matt Stajan.

The Flames took the lead at 2:10 of the second period. Mark Jankowski was high in the faceoff circle when Meier pulled the puck out of a crowd and tried to pass it to some Sharks defensemen in the middle of ice. Jankowski intercepted it and took a quick shot that went over Jones’ shoulder. A lone assist went to Garnet Hathaway.

The Sharks’ Melker Karlsson drew a holding the stick penalty that gave the Sharks their second power play at 2:45. This time, they did get a shot on goal, but they also gave up a two-on-one short-handed chance.

After the power play, Tierney was moved to the top line with Pavelski and Kane. With that line on the ice, Dylan DeMelo took a shot from the blue line and Kane tipped it in to tie the game again at 6:29. DeMelo and Brenden Dillon picked up the assists.

Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer made another line change, putting Fehr, Karlsson and Meier together. They created a good chance almost eight minutes into the second, getting two shots on goal.

The Flames took the lead again at 10:16. Gaudreau skated in with the puck, handled it around two Sharks players near the boards, then darted to the slot before taking the shot. Assists went to Ferland and Michael Stone.

Labanc tied it again at 11:42, with a wrist shot from the left side, using a Calgary defenseman as a screen. Brent Burns got the lone assist.

The Sharks found themselves on the wrong side of two penalties close together, starting at the 12:24 mark. They had to defend 45 seconds of five-on-three after Kane joined Tierney in the box. The Sharks killed all of that off, but they seemed to have burned some fuel doing so.

With a little over three minutes left in the second, Tierney got control of the puck behind the net after Pavelski pushed it through a board battle. Tierney found Kane in front of the blue paint with a quick pass. Kane took a shot, then caught the rebound and took another shot to net his first NHL hat trick.

The Sharks extended their lead with only 1:58 left in the second period. Justin Braun carried the puck in along the boards and sent the puck to the net. Hertl was right there at the crease to tap the puck under the goaltender. Assists went to Braun and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

The third period went all wrong for the Flames. Pavelski took a shot from the blue line just as Mike Smith was getting settled after a trip behind his net to retrieve the puck and play it not very well. Kane was standing by to deflect it in for his fourth of the game, just 1:02 into the period. With that goal, Kane tied the Sharks record for most goals in a game.

That was it for Mike Smith. David Rittich came in to replace him.

Calgary coach Gen Gulutzan decided to pull his goaltender for the extra skater with almost six minutes still to go. The move paid off with Micheal Ferland parked in front of the net while the Flames moved the puck relentlessly around the Sharks’ zone. When the shot finally came, Ferland put the puck in with a backhand shot from a tight angle.

Fehr scored the Sharks’ seventh goal into the still empty net at 16:02. Hertl got an assist on that one.

The Sharks next play on Saturday in Vancouver at 7:00 pm PT.

After being injured Wednesday in Edmonton, Joonas Donskoi remained out and was replaced by Jannik Hansen for tonight’s game. There was no timetable for Donskoi’s return yet.

Blue Jackets move into second wild card as they snap Sharks’ winning streak with 4-2 win

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The Columbus Blue Jackets beat the San Jose Sharks 4-2 at SAP Center on Sunday night.

So far, the Blue Jackets were having a disappointing California road trip, losing in Anaheim and Los Angeles. Two of the Blue Jackets’ goals came from Artemi Panarin, with one from Nick Foligno and one from Sonny Milano. Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky had an outstanding game, making 33 saves for the win. For the Sharks, Martin Jones made 10 saves on 13 shots before Aaron Dell came in and made 14 saves on 14 shots. Sharks’ goals came from Joonas Donskoi and Evander Kane.

The first period was an odd one. The Sharks had three chances on the power play, outshot the Blue Jackets for most of the period, yet gave up two goals. Both goals came right at the end of power plays.

Sharks forward Logan Couture described the trouble the Sharks had in the first period: “They broke out too easy and we didn’t. They forechecked harder than us and we were a little slow getting to pucks. Just didn’t look like our quick selves. We’ve been playing fast the last few games, we were a little slow tonight.”

Ten seconds after the first power play expired, David Savard got by Kevin Labanc, causing something of a distraction in the middle of the Sharks’ zone. As the Blue Jackets closed on the net, they seemed to outnumber the Sharks. Nick Foligno’s shot touched Jone’s sleeve on its way by. Assists went to Matt Calvert and Jack Johnson.

The Blue Jackets’ second goal came after another breakdown just under a minute after the Sharks’ third power play. Near the Sharks’ blue line, a puck came away from the boards, just out of reach of Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s stick.

Right as the puck floated free, Boone Jenner skated in and carried it over the line. Dylan DeMelo tried to come across to help Vlasic out, but Sonny Milano was coming around behind him to catch Jenner’s pass across the slot. Jones could not get across in time. Assists went to Jenner and Oliver Bjorkstrand.

The third Columbus goal came 5:32 into the second, this time nowhere near a power play. Artemi Panarin tipped an Ian Cole shot from the blue line. No one was directly screening Jones, but the change of direction tricked him. Assists went to Cole and Cam Atkinson.

Sharks coach Pete DeBoer made the decision to switch goaltenders at that point and brought in Aaron Dell. The change gave the Sharks time to reset and their play improved significantly. After the game, Forward Evander Kane shared some thoughts about how the Sharks’ game improved later in the game: “We put pucks in the right place, we broke down their defense by getting pucks towards the net, and you know you saw the result. So I think if we come out and do more of that early on we’ll have more success.”

The Blue Jackets had their first power play at 7:26 of the second. The Sharks did not allow any good shots on goal during that penalty, though one shot did hit a post.

The Sharks finally got on the board in the final two minutes of the second period. Dylan DeMelo took a shot from the blue line that looked like it would have gone well wide it Joonas Donskoi had not tipped it in. It was a tricky shot to make, evidently the sort of shot the Sharks needed to beat Bobrovsky. A second assist went to Evander Kane.

After another power play and another penalty kill, the Sharks squeezed a second goal out of the third period. 10:04 in, Joe Pavelski picked up the puck after it bounced off an official’s torso in front of the benches. He carried the puck over the blue line and found Evander Kane in the middle of the ice. It was Kane’s first goal as a Shark since being acquired on February 26.

The Sharks made a final push at the end of the third, pulling their goalie for the extra man. But the Blue Jackets–who appeared more energized throughout the game–escaped their zone and Artemi Panarin scored an empty-netter to make it 4-2 with 53 seconds left in regulation.

Sharks forward Tomas Hertl talked about how disappointed he was with his own performance. While coming back from an injury poses some challenges, he said he feels fine, but he is still trying to get his game back after missing several. Of being moved down the lineup mid-game Sunday, he said: “It’s tough because I wasn’t there for the guys today, you know I [lost] a couple easy pucks. After [the] change they looked a little bit better.” Hertl even said that he felt he deserved to be benched in the third for his poor play, before explaining that he now has three days to refresh and find his game again.

Presumably, he is not the only Sharks player thinking that.

Up Next: The Sharks next play on Thursday at 7:30 pm PT as they host the St. Louis Blues.