Sharks Beat Blue Jackets 3-2; SJ puts two straight wins together

mercurynews.com photo: Columbus Blue Jackets’ Gabriel Carlsson, left, of Sweden, and San Jose Sharks’ Timo Meier, of Switzerland, battle for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio.

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. Shark goals came from Barclay Goodrow, Evander Kane and Kevin Labanc. Sharks goalie Aaron Dell made 21 saves in the win. Both Blue Jackets goals came from Zach Werenski and Elvis Merzlikins made 25 saves for Columbus.

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

I just like the way we’re playing as a 20-man unit. We’re all on the same page, and we’re doing some good things, we’re managing our game. It’s a little bit of a more mature game I think lately. And we’re giving ourselves a chance to win every night which is the most important thing.

This win was the second after the team’s abysmal loss to Detroit Tuesday. Asked whether the Sharks know what they need to do here at the midpoint of the season, Sharks forward Barclay Goodrow said:

We know how we have to play to win hockey games. You know, we’ve seen it throughout this year. When we’re not playing the way we should be playing then it’s not a good look for us and then we’re not a successful team. It’s just a matter of bringing that game every night.

The first period was scoreless, though Sharks forward Joel Kellman put the puck in the net. Kellman carried the puck across the line and took a shot past the defenseman, putting the puck over the goalie’s pad and into the net. Unfortunately, the goal was called back for offside.

The Sharks out-shot the Blue Jackets 11-9 in the first and each team killed a penalty.

The second period was much more eventful. The Sharks scored the first goal to count at 7:05 of the period. The Blue Jackets had just completed a power play when Barclay Goodrow came flying out of the box. He picked the puck up in the Blue Jackets’ zone and and had no one between him and the goalie. He used a little backhand shot to slip the puck past Merzlikins. It was Goodrow’s seventh goal of the season and Tomas Hertl got an assist.

The Blue Jackets tied it up at 8:50. They moved the puck around the offensive zone for a long shift before Zach Werenski took a backhand shot from the slot and beat Aaron Dell. Assists went to Boone Jenner and Nick Foligno. It was Werenski’s 12th goal of the season.

The Sharks took the lead back with a goal at 14:40. Timo Meier brought the puck across the line along the wall and made a pass to the center slot where Evander Kane had just arrived. Kane did not hesitate to shoot and he beat Merzlikins on the glove side. Assists went to Meier and Radim Simek. The goal was Kane’s 15th of the season, tying him with Hertl for the team lead in goals.

The Blue Jackets out-shot the Sharks 12-6 in the second period and had one power play.

Kevin Labanc scored the game winner at 16:59 of the third period. Erik Karlsson sent the puck up the ice where Marcus Sorensen chased it into the zone. He was knocked away from the puck around the face-off circle but Joe Thornton was right behind him to pick up it up and send it to the slot where Labanc was ready for the shot. Assists went to Thornton and Karlsson.

Zach Werenski narrowed the lead a few seconds later by shooting in a rebound that Sonny Milano created with a shot from the blue line. Assists went to Milano and Seth Jones.

The Sharks out-shot Columbus 11-2 in the third period. They had a good face-off game, winning 59% of them. Barclay Goodrow (14 draws) and Tomas Hertl (23 draws) both won more than 60% of their face-offs.

Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns led the Sharks in shots with four each, while Werenski led both teams with five. Neither team got any shots on net during the power play.

The Sharks next play on Sunday against the Washington Capitals in Washington DC at 9:30 AM PT.

Sharks Power Play Scores, Still Lose 5-1 to Panthers

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks lost 5-1 to the Florida Panthers Sunday at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. Panthers goals came from Keith Yandle, Aleksander Barkov, Mike Matheson, Brett Connolly and Frank Vatrano. Their goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky, made 30 saves for the win. The Sharks goal was scored by Kevin Labanc, the team’s first power play goal in 23 tries. Martin Jones made 28 saves in the loss.

After the game, Labanc said:

Today, we were working we just weren’t scoring so it sucks. Like I said, I mean we’re getting a ton of chances but we’re just not capitalizing on them. And… just… it’s all in the detail of the game and it’s not that they’re a better team than us it’s just that we’re making more mistakes.

Sharks forward Evander Kane, who sat out for a period’s worth of penalties, said: “I think we’re a little too relaxed right now. A couple games, that we’re off to bad starts and we didn’t really fight back and we didn’t really have much fight back after we got down so that’s really the most disappointing part.”

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer identified goaltending and special teams as the problem in Sunday’s game:

I thought we hung in there and, you know, kept fighting but you know it wasn’t enough. And, you know, their goalie was better, their special teams were better tonight than ours. That was probably the story. I thought five-on-five we probably carried a lot of the play but, those two areas, they were better than us.

The Panthers started the scoring on a power play at 4:15 of the first. Kevin Labanc was in the box for hooking. Jonathan Huberdeau’s pass up the boards found Keith Yandle for a shot from the blue line. Assists went to Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov.

Barkov scored the next one at 8:15, putting the Panthers up 2-0. The Panthers entered the zone three-on-two with Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic defending. With Karlsson covering Keith Yandle but letting Barkov slip by at the last moment. Evgenii Dadonov was the puck carrier and he sent the puck to the net for Barkov to tap in. Assists went to Dadonov and Huberdeau.

Kevin Labanc made up for his penalty with a power play goal at 10:13. Labanc took a pass from Erik Karlsson up near the blue line and took the shot from above the face-off circle. The puck went up over Bobrovsky’s shoulder as Timo Meier was blocking the goaltender’s view. Assists went to Karlsson and Evander Kane. The goal ended a scoreless streak 23 power plays long for San Jose.

The Panthers out-shot the Sharks 12-9 in the first period.

Florida scored again on the power play at 6:32 of the second period. With Brett Connolly in the goaltender’s eyes, Mike Matheson took a shot from the blue line that made its way all the way in. Assists went to Aaron Ekblad and Frank Vatrano.

Just 4:16 into the second period, Evander Kane was given multiple penalties for fighting, instigation and misconduct. That all resulted from his response to a hit from behind. The penalties put him out of play for the rest of the period and the start of the third. After the game, Kane was asked about the incident and said: “A guy hits me in the head and no call, you know, you gotta protect yourself. Nobody else is gonna protect you on the ice, not the refs, not the other team, so sometimes you gotta stick up for yourself.”

At the end of the second period, the Panthers took an interference penalty that put the Sharks on the power play for almost a minute of the third period. Seconds into the third, the Panthers took a delay of game penalty, giving the Sharks a brief two-man advantage. That was not enough and the Sharks finished those power plays still down 3-1.

Brenden Dillon went to the penalty box for four minutes, two for high-sticking and two for slashing. The penalties came shortly after a slash that Huberdeau delivered to Dillon earlier that was not called.

The score quickly became 4-1 on the next Panthers power play. Mike Hoffman’s shot from the blue line created a rebound that Connolly was able to put in the net despite losing his footing in front of Martin Jones. Assists went to Hoffman and Keith Yandle.

The Sharks pulled their goaltender with just over two minutes to go and Frank Vatrano put the puck in the net a little over 30 seconds later. Assists went to Mackenkie Weegar and Aaron Ekblad.

The Sharks continue their road trip with a game in Nashville on Tuesday against the Predators at 5:00 PM PT.

The Sharks will be without one of their regular defensemen, Radim Simek, for about two weeks as he is undergoing a surgical procedure.

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

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sharks Fall 4-1 to Maple Leafs

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks fell 4-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena Friday. Toronto goals came from Jake Muzzin, Morgan Reilly, Ilya Mikheyev and Auston Matthews. Goaltender Frederik Andersen made 15 saves for the win. The lone Sharks goal was scored by Kevin Labanc, while goaltender Martin Jones made 24 saves in the loss. It was Patrick Marleau’s 1500th game as a Shark.

The Sharks had to kill five penalties in the game, and only had one power play. Captain Logan Couture talked about how the team handled this second game in two nights, and third in four days:

I thought we put ourselves in a position to win a game. Obviously too many penalties, but the kill was great, kept us in it. Joner made big saves when we had breakdowns on it. You’re gonna have nights like tonight when, you know, you’re not feeling it and you’re not getting much offensively. We were close to pulling out a point there. It’s tough we couldn’t get one but I liked our kill and I liked our defensive, I guess, desperation.

The penalty problem was something the Sharks had discussed before the game. Head Coach Peter DeBoer said:

I think we talked coming in, in 3 in 4 and a back-to-back, that we needed to do a few things and one of them was stay out of the penalty box. You know, you can’t, you got a little bit of a tired team, we took, what, five minors? It’s hard and I thought we ran out of gas in the third killing all those penalties. Made it tough on ourselves with the penalties.

Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon was asked about a hit he made on Auston Matthews during the game: “Obviously you want to be physical on the good players but I never want to see a guy get injured like that. I saw him leave, I was happy to see him come back in the third. Kinda said, you know, didn’t mean to catch him like that but at the same time, you know, you gotta be hard on those guys, they’re such good players.”

The Sharks started the scoring midway through the first period. Tomas Hertl made a quick play up the boards to Brent Burns at the blue line and Burns took a shot at the net. Kevin Labanc got a piece of it as it went in the net for his fourth of the season. Burns and Hertl got the assists.

Through the second period, the Sharks successfully killed two penalties but only managed three shots on goal. The score stayed 1-0 until the final minute of the second.

Jake Muzzin scored for Toronto with just 3 seconds left in the period. As Muzzin skated to the net, the puck came to him from the corner off of Jason Spezza’s stick. Assists went to Spezza and Ilya Mikheyev.

Toronto took the lead in the third period with a goal from Morgan Reilly at 14:31. William Nylander, Alexander Kerfoot and Cody Ceci entered the zone at speed, drawing the attention of the Sharks defense. Morgan Reilly trailed and Nylander found him as he came across the line. Reilly had also started the play with the first pass in the defensive zone.

Two more goals came from Ilya Mikheyev and Auston Matthews in the final minute of the third. Mikheyev’s goal was into an empty net, with and assist to Mitch Marner. Marner also got an assist on the Matthews goal.

The Sharks next play on Sunday against the Ottawa Senators at 4:00 PM PT.

Sharks Put Out the Flames to Win 3-1

sfgate.com photo: San Jose Sharks center Dylan Gambrell, top, reaches for the puck behind Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane during the third period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019.

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks defeated the Calgary Flames 3-1 at the SAP Center Sunday. It was San Jose’s first home win of the season. Sharks goals came from Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc, and Tomas Hertl. Martin Jones made 30 saves for the win. Elias Lindholm scored the lone goal for Calgary. Cam Talbot made 17 saves for the Flames.

The final score drew an eerie parallel to Patrick Marleau’s last regulation home game as a Shark in 2017, which was also against Calgary and was also a 3-1 Sharks victory. Though Marleau did not score Sunday, it is hard to ignore the impact his return has had on the team. After the game, Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer said:

I don’t think it’s an accident that we’ve won the last two and he’s been in the lineup. I think that’s a piece for sure. He just plays the right way, he does the right thing when he’s out on the ice, you know, all the time. It’s really helped solidify our lineup a little bit.

That solidification is evident to the players as well. Team captain Logan Couture said:

I thought Dylan Gambrell has played two really really good games now in a row. That’s something that we need. He’s been given an opportunity and I think these last few games he’s shown what he’s capable of. So, when we have that line playing well and the other three rolling over, we’re a tough team to beat.

The Sharks took an early 1-0 lead with a goal from Timo Meier at 3:04. Logan Couture carried the puck in around the Calgary defense and then paused at the red line before finding Meier right in front of the net. Assists went to Couture and Patrick Marleau.

San Jose added to their lead at 10:13 when Kevin Labanc skated through the neutral zone, handed the puck off to Tomas Hertl at the blue line, then got it back as he went flying into the zone. His wrist shot beat Cam Talbot glove side. Assists went to Hertl and Erik Karlsson.

Each team took one penalty and killed one in the first period. Calgary outshot San Jose by 11-6.

Calgary got one back at 6:43 of the second period. Calgary won an offensive zone draw and got the puck right to TJ Brodie at the blue line. He gave the ice a quick look and then took a shot right up the middle. Elias Lindholm tipped it mid-slot and past Jones glove side. Austin Czarnik was screening Jones until the lest second. An assist went to Brodie.

The Sharks reclaimed their two-goal lead at the end of the second period with a short-handed goal from Tomas Hertl. Brent Burns was in the box for tripping Michael Frolik. Logan Couture cut off a Calgary pass in the defensive zone, carried the puck all the way to the Calgary zone, then found Hertl just as he came into the zone. Hertl took a quick shot past Talbot for his first of the season.

Each team took a penalty in the second period, but neither scored on the power play. The teams were tied with 11 shots each in the second.

Calgary pulled their goaltender with almost three minutes to go in the game but could not alter the score. The final shot count was 33-20 Calgary.

The Sharks next play on Wednesday in San Jose against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes at 7:30 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

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.

Sharks Win 5-4 in Game 7 OT, Goodrow’s GWG Moves Sharks to Second Round

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The Sharks will advance to the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs after a 5-4 overtime win over the Vegas Golden Knights Tuesday. The win represents comebacks from being down 3-1 in the series and being down 3-0 in the third period of Game 7. Sharks goals came from Logan Couture (2), Tomas Hertl, Kevin Labanc and Barclay Goodrow. Golden Knights goals came from William Karlsson, Max Pacioretty, Cody Eakin and Jonathan Marchessault. Martin Jones made 34 saves in the win, while Marc-Andre Fleury made 43 saves in the loss.

Do it for Joe x2?
Much has been made of the Sharks’ desire to succeed for the sake of Joe Thornton, whose career is in its sunset years. Then, halfway through the third period, there was an injury to their captain Joe Pavelski.

Like blood in the water, Pavelski’s blood on the ice galvanized the Sharks into a scoring frenzy in the third period. They were down 3-0 when their captain was helped off of the ice. They scored twice in the first minute of that 5 minute major, then twice more before the penalty expired. It was the first lead change in a game in this series. Logan Couture scored the first and the third, Tomas Hertl scored the second and Kevin Labanc scored the fourth. All of those goals in 4:01 of playing time.

That was all very surprising, bombarding the audience with stunning mix of emotions.

The Golden Knights scored first Tuesday, at 10:10. After an offensive zone face-off, Reilly Smith took a shot from the wall. The puck went off of Jonathan Marchessault, who was in front of Brenden Dillon, who was in front of Martin Jones. The puck veered to the right, where William Karlsson reached around to put the puck past all of the bodies and into the net. Assists went to Marchessault and Smith.

The Sharks had two scoreless power plays early in the first, one at 1:56 when Colin Miller went for hooking Kevin Labanc, and one at 4:15 when Brayden McNabb went for cross-checking Tomas Hertl. Tnd the Golden Knights had one at 12:36 when Erik Karlsson went for tripping Brandon Pirri. The Golden Knights had theirs cut short when Alex Tuch was called for interference on Justin Braun. That left the Sharks with some power play time after all that, but they couldn’t make much of it and spent too much time trying to get throught thethe neutral zone. In all, the Sharks power play generated six of their eleven first period shots. The Golden Knights got no shots on their partial power play but had four in the period.

The Sharks had good chances in the first minutes of the second, but hit the post at least twice. They earned a power play at 6:22, when Ryan Reaves tripped Martin Jones, who was outside of the net trying to retrieve the puck. San Jose had a few moments of good puck movement, but just one shot on goal.

Near the midpoint of the second, the Golden Knights outshot the Sharks 5-2. At the exact midpoint, Cody Eakin put the puck in the net for Las Vegas. The goal was reviewed for a high stick, and was upheld by the NHL. Assists went to Brayden McNabb and Shea Theodore.

The Sharks almost evened the shot count by the end of the second, but still had not scored. Their face-off percentage, which had been near 50% through the first, dropped to 40% in the second. Las Vegas definitely had the upper hand in the middle frame.

Max Pacioretty scored a third for Las Vegas at 3:36 of the third. After some good zone time for San Jose, and another post, Vegas pushed back and the Sharks were trying to clear the puck out. Mark Stone took the puck away from them and passed it across the slot to Pacioretty. Pacioretty was able to hold it for a beat and when he took the shot, there was no one between him and Jones. The puck went by Jones on the blocker side. An assist went to Stone.

At 9:13, Cody Eakin cross-checked Joe Pavelski right off of a face-off. As Pavelski stumbled backward, Paul Stasny skated into him from the side. Pavelski went backward over Stasny’s knee, and could not get his hands up to protect himself in time. He landed on the side of his head and bled onto the ice. After Pavelski was helped off the ice, Eakin was given a five-minute major. Then the Sharks started scoring. Their goals came from everywhere: both faceoff circles, a deflection in the slot, a shot from the slot.

The Golden Knights pulled their goaltender and at 19:13 they tied the game. Mark Stone moved the puck behind the net to Reilly Smith. Smith moved it quickly back above the blue paint, where Marchessault knocked it past Jones. Assists went to Smith and Stone.

The Sharks won 62% of the face-offs in the third period.

Both teams struggled with fatigue and what appeared to be bad ice in overtime. Passes missed the mark, any long-distance puck movement seemed to wobble. Both goaltenders were still alert and the period crept closer and closer to a fifth period.

Barclay Goodrow only had two shifts in the fourth period, but on his second, he ended the game. Erik Karlsson carried the puck over the blue line and Goodrow came across right behind him. Goodrow took the wide track close to the boards and Karlsson passed the puck ahead to him. Goodrow veered away from the boards and cut across in front the goal. Fleury could not stay in front of him and Goodrow slid the puck around the goaltender and into the net at 18:19.

The only roster change before Tuesday’s game was the replacement of Joonas Donskoi by Lucas Radil. Though Donskoi finished the game Sunday, he did take a big hit in overtime. He did not skate in the morning practice Tuesday, but there was no specific mention of injury. Joakim Ryan, who did not skate after the second period on Sunday, skated four shifts in the first and four shifts in the third, and then skated in overtime Tuesday.

After the game, there were no updates about Pavelski’s condition.

The second round against Colorado will start Friday in San Jose.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2019: Golden Knights Take 2-1 Series Lead with 6-3 Win Over Sharks

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The Vegas Golden Knights defeated the San Jose Sharks 6-3, scoring a first-minute goal in all three periods. Three Vegas goals came from Mark Stone, two from Paul Stastny and one from Max Pacioretty. For the Sharks, goals came from Kevin Labanc, Logan Couture and Timo Meier. Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves for the Vegas win, while Martin Jones made 34 saves in the Sharks loss.

After the game, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer talked about the high-scoring line of Stastny, Stone and Pacioretty:

They’ve eaten us up here this series so far, so, we haven’t had an answer for them. What do they do well? I mean you’ve got three very good players that are playing at a really high level right now. So, you know, that is part of the issue. We’ve got to find an answer to slow those guys down.

Sharks captain Joe Pavelski talked about the impact of early goals against, summarizing it as: “It’s tough to keep it going or get it back when you do that at the start.” Forward Logan Couture also talked those period starts, saying “they made some nice plays but we’ve got to be ready to start periods.”

On his goaltender’s performance, Couture said: “I think he made a lot of saves. I mean, you look at that game, their power play chances, their chances in the slot, he made a lot of big saves. They could have had eight tonight. Some of their goals, you can’t give up breakaways, two on ones, and let a guy walk past the half way mark in the crease. You’re just asking for trouble.”

Yet again, Vegas scored early the game, putting the Sharks down by one just 18 seconds in. Right off of the opening face-off, Erik Karlsson’s pass missed its mark and ended up on Mark Stone’s stick. Stone charged into the zone, pursued by Sharks, and scored with a back hand. Assists went to Nate Schmidt and Deryk Engellund.

Max Pacioretty gave Vegas a 2-0 lead at 12:16 with a power play goal. Evander Kane was in the box for a four-minute high-sticking penalty. Pacioretty’s shot was the first of the power play and only took five seconds. The face-off was still dispersing when Pacioretty shot from near the point. His shot went through some traffic and between Justin Braun’s legs. Assists went to Shea Theodore and Paul Stastny.

The Sharks got one back late in the period at 15:16. Joe Thornton got to the puck behind the net and made a quick back hand pass up to Kevin Labanc as Labanc skated to the net. Labanc took the shot some feet from the blue paint, then collided with Colin Miller in front of Marc-Andre Fleury. The Golden Knights challenged the goal for goaltender interference but the goal was upheld. Assists went to Thornton and Marcus Sorensen.

The Golden Knights outshot the Sharks 20-12 in the first period, and won 59% of the face-offs.

Paul Stastny restored the Golden Knights’ two-goal lead 21 seconds into the second period. Pacioretty took a shot from the slot and the rebound went to Stastny out beyond the traffic around the net. He took a shot from above the face-off dot and it went by two Sharks defenders and under their goaltender. Assists went to Pacioretty and Stone.

The Sharks got their first power play at 10:02 of the second period. The Golden Knights had already had three.

Stastny added another goal at 16:04, on the sixth Vegas power play. This time, it was Kevin Labanc in the box for interference against Ryan Reaves. The Sharks had killed off most of the penalty when Mark Stone made an impressive pass across the slot, evading skates and sticks, right to Stastny for the shot. Jones was still trying to get across when the puck went in. Assists went to Stone and Theodore.

Las Vegas outshot San Jose 10-7 in the second period, but only won 40% of the face-offs.

The Sharks made some line changes for the third. Gus Nyquist moved to Logan Couture’s line with Timo Meier. Joe Pavelski moved to Tomas Hertl’s line with Evander Kane.

The Golden Knights scored a third first-minute goal in the third, this time 36 seconds in. Mark Stone’s pass to Jonathan Marchessault became a rebound that Stone was in a perfect spot to tap in. Assists went to Marchessault and Stastny.

At 4:57, the Sharks scored on their third power play. William Karlsson was in the box for slashing Tomas Hertl. Early in the power play, Marc-Andre Fleury lost his glove while on his back after a shot almost went in. The whistle went and the delay allowed conflict to erupt, resulting in matching roughing penalties for Brent Burns and Tomas Nosek.

Erik Karlsson’s neutral zone pass found Logan Couture just above the blue line. Couture carried it down the side past the face-off dot and sent the puck to the net where Pavelski was arriving for a deflection. The puck never reached Pavelski as Brayden McNabb’s stick got in the way and directed the puck past his own goaltender. The goal went to Couture with assists to Karlsson and Martin Jones.

Timo Meier scored a third goal for the Sharks at 5:51. Gus Nyquist took a shot from in close created a rebound that went right to Meier in the slot. Meier’s shot was just too quick for Fleury to catch. Nyquist got the assist.

Those two quick goals were followed by a lull in scoring, until Mark Stone got his third of the game at 13:57, restoring the three-goal lead for Vegas. A neutral zone interception sent Stone and Stastny into the Sharks zone. Stastny sent the puck off the boards to Stone, who skated to the net, faked to the right and shot to left with a backhand. Assists went to Stastny and Theodore.

Vegas outshot the Sharks 40-28 in the game and won 53% of the face-offs.

Sharks forward Micheal Haley was injured blocking a shot in the second period and did not return. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, injured the same way in Friday’s game, was not in the lineup Sunday and was replaced by Tim Heed.

Game four will be on Tuesday in Las Vegas at 7:30 PM PT.

Sharks Beat Avalanche 5-2, Erik Karlsson Returns

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks finished the 2018-19 regular season with a 5-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche at SAP Center on Saturday night. The win was Peter DeBoer’s 400th as an NHL Head Coach and Gus Nyquist’s 500th NHL game. Evander Kane scored his 30th of the season bringing the Sharks tally to four players with 30 or more goals this season. The Sharks’ 101 points earned them second place in the Western Conference. It was a good final game of the regular season. Sharks goals came from Brent Burns, Evander Kane, Kevin Labanc, Gus Nyquist and Micheal Haley. Martin Jones made 28 saves in the win, while Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov made 25 saves in the loss. Colorado goals came from Tyson Jost and Nathan MacKinnon.

After the game, Sharks forward Evander Kane said: “It was good to close the season out with a win, and have another 100 point season here. I think it’s nice to have a victory like that and to have everybody feeling good about their games heading into next week.”

Sharks fans got some good news on the injury front Saturday. Erik Karlsson was back in the lineup though Timo Meier was not, after an injury sustained in Thursday’s game against Edmonton. Meier is expected back for the playoffs and Karlsson had the second highest ice time Saturday.

After the game, Pete DeBoer said of Karlsson’s performance Saturday: “We went into the game and we didn’t really have a plan other than we wanted to play him normally until there was either red flags or he started to fatigue or the trainers thought that was enough. Really, he felt good, you know, deep into the third period so that was good.”

Colorado struck first, just 2:56 into the game. A Colorado shot was blocked high in the slot and the puck wandered in a crowd before being controlled again, by Tyson Jost. The shot went past a number of skaters before getting by Jones. Assists went to Samuel Girard and Erik Johnson.

Evander Kane had a nice breakaway chance, which led to an offensive zone face-off for the Sharks. Right off of that face-off, Brent Burns scored with a blast from the blue line. Tomas Hertl got the assist.

A few minutes later, Evander Kane gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead at 11:15. Kane was in front of the net battling two Colorado defenders when Gus Nyquist got the puck to the net with a spinning pass. Kane shrugged off the two defenders to find the puck and nudge it under Semyon Varlamov. Assists went to Nyquist and Brenden Dillon.

The Sharks were out-shot by the Avalanche 12-10 in the first period, but overwhelmed them in the face-off circle, winning 74% of them. The bulk of those face-offs were taken by Thornton, Goodrow and Hertl.

The Avalanche scored another early goal in the second period, this one at 1:29. Nathan MacKinnon scooted between Sharks defenders while catching a pass from Gabriel Landeskog. He stayed ahead of the Sharks just long enough to get a quick shot off, beating Jones on the glove side. Assists went to Landeskog and Samuel Girard.

Kevin Labanc scored at 6:57, giving the Sharks their lead back. Joe Thornton brought the puck into the zone and then waited for his line-mates to get into position. Labanc received the pass and seemed to be trying to pass it to Sorensen who was almost at the blue paint. Instead, the puck went off of an Avalanche stick and up and over Ian Cole and Sorensen, landing behind Varlamov. Assists went to Thornton and Sorensen.

The shot count tilted slightly in the Sharks’ favor in the second, ending up 12-9 for the Sharks. San Jose maintained their face-off success, still at 73% by the end of the second.

The Sharks did not give up a goal in the first five minutes of the third period. Instead, they scored again at 14:15. Evander Kane retrieved the puck in the corner and sent it away from the boards, where Nyquist picked it up on his way through the face-off circle. He picked the near corner of the net and sent the puck over Varlamov’s shoulder. It was Nyquist’s 22nd of the season. Assists went to Kane and Tomas Hertl.

The Avalanche pulled their goaltender with over three minutes to go. Joe Pavelski put the puck into that empty net with 3:01 left in the game, but it was challenged as off-side. Joonas Donskoi tried to straddle the blue line while the puck crept across but he couldn’t keep his back skate on the ice. The goal was called back.

A little over a minute later, Micheal Haley was able to break away and score in the empty net to make it 5-2. Brent Burns got the assists on that one.

The final shot count was 30-30, and the Sharks won 69% of the face-offs. Barclay Goodrow took 14 of the face-offs and won 86% of them.

The playoff schedule will be announced shortly. The Sharks will start at home next week, against the Vegas Golden Knights.