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.

Sharks Shut-out Penguins 5-0; Jones stops all 30 Penguin shots

photo from sfgate.com: The San Jose Sharks goaltender Marty Jones (31) puts one of his 30 saves on the Pittsburgh Penguins Teddy Blueger (53) in the second period on Saturday night at SAP Center in San Jose

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks shut out the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-0 Saturday, extending the Penguins’ losing streak to six. Sharks goals came from Evander Kane, Timo Meier, Joel Kellman, Logan Couture and Joe Thornton. In all, nine Sharks players earned points in the game. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 30 saves for the win. Pittsburgh’s Tristan Jarry made 27 saves on 32 shots.

After the game, Sharks  captain Logan Couture said:

We know how it feels to be going through a tough time like that, when you get jumped on early. It really takes the wind out of your sails. So, that was our goal and I thought we did a very good job. You know, we started on time, we placed the puck in good spots and forced them to defend. With their skilled players they don’t like doing that was the big difference tonight.

The first period was scoreless until the 18:48 mark when Evander Kane took advantage of a turn-over in the neutral zone. He broke away form the pack and went right for the net. He moved right but then shot left to beat Tristan Jarry on the blocker side. Marc-Edouard Vlasic got the assist.

The shots were almost even at 11-10 Sharks. There was just one penalty, a tripping call against Mario Ferraro. The Penguins got three shots on the power play.

In the second period, penalties were called early and often. Each team had two penalties before the half-way mark of the period. Just 2:13 in, Evander Kane went to the box for a double-minor high-sticking against Chad Ruhwedel. Before that expired, Patrick Marleau was called for slashing Mario Ferraro. Less than a minute after that, Mario Ferraro was called for high-sticking Sidney Crosby. At 9:05, Marcus Pettersson was called for tripping Brent Burns. The Penguins got four shots during their time with the man advantage, while the Sharks got none.

Just seconds after that fourth penalty ended, Timo Meier added to the Sharks’ tally. Mario Ferraro held the puck in the zone and then, under pressure, got it to Marcus Sorensen. Sorensen made a quick pass to Timo Meier who was in the face-off circle. Meier took a shot that went under a defender’s stick and then through a hole against the post. Assists went to Sorensen and Ferraro.

At 14:15, Joel Kellman scored the Sharks’ third goal of the game. Marcus Sorensen carried the puck in along the boards, but had Schultz all over him. He dropped the puck to Kellman, who looked like he might pass to Radim Simek. Instead, he took the shot.

Radim Simek and Patrick Hornqvist added to the penalty tally with simultaneous minors at 14:56. A series of slashes around the Sharks net resulted in Simek challenging Hornqvist to fight but his invitation was declined. Simek went for roughing while Hornqvist went for slashing.

Logan Couture scored San Jose’s fourth of the game 8:01 into the third period. Ferraro took a shot from the blue line that Couture redirected under the goalie for his 16th of the season. Assists went to Ferraro and Kane.

Patric Hornqvist was called for interference at the same time as that goal, putting the Sharks on a power play. The Sharks got one shot on that power play.

Joe Thornton inadvertently scored the Sharks’ fifth goal. He tried to pass the puck to Timo Meier on the other side of the blue paint, but it went off a defender and into the net instead. Assists went to Meier and Tim Heed.

The final shot count was 32-30 Sharks. In the face-off circle, the Penguins won 57% of the draws.

Midway through the third period, Sharks defenseman Jacob Middleton and Penguins forward Dominik Simon left the game with injuries. Their injuries were not related but occurred at almost the same time in the game. Patrick Hornqvist pushed Middleton down in front of the net and Middleton seemed to get one leg in a bad position. “I just know Middsy went down pretty hard. I think it was his left ankle, he was screaming. It wasn’t good,” said Logan Couture after the game.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs in San Jose at 7:30 PM PT.

Sharks Fall to Capitals 5-4 in OT; Losers of seven of their last nine games

sfgate.com photo: Washington Capitals center Lars Eller (20), of Denmark, celebrates his winning goal in overtime of an NHL hockey game with defenseman John Carlson (74) as San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) skates away Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Washington

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks lost to the Washington Capitals 5-4 in overtime on Sunday. The Sharks dominated through most of the game, with a second period hat-trick from Evander Kane, and an empty net goal from Logan Couture in the third. But the Capitals came back with two goals in the final minute of the third to tie the game. Washington goals came from Jakub Vrana (2), Nic Dowd, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller. Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby made 25 saves in the win, while Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 24 saves in the loss.

An important bright spot for the Sharks was that they scored two power play goals. With their game going so well, the last-minute collapse was a shock. After the game, Sharks forward Joe Thornton summarized his team’s game as: “It looked good, it looked real good, then all of a sudden just disappeared, real quick.”

Sharks interim head coach Bob Boughner gave the Capitals some credit in the loss:

It’s tough to let that one get away, 4-2 with a minute to go. I mean, you know, third period we didn’t allow a lot five on five. Defensively, we were pretty tight. You could take a million great things out of this game for us but, you know, that’s why they’re leading the league. That’s why they’ve got the most points, because they find ways to win games. As disappointed as I am, I’m pretty content on the way our five-on-five game looks.

The first period was scoreless and penalty free, with the teams very close in shots at 13-10 Sharks. At 1:14 of the second period, Barclay Goodrow tipped a Timo Meier shot into the net. The goal was disallowed, as Goodrow’s stick was too high when he touched the puck.

The Sharks scored their first goal on the power play at 6:25. Joe Thornton picked up a rebound from an Evander Kane shot. He circled around by the boards and then gave the puck back to Kane for a quick shot to the far side of the net. Assists went to Thornton and Timo Meier.

The Capitals got that back at 7:29 when Nic Dowd skated to the net and got a pass from Brendan Leipsic. The Sharks were caught out of position defensively, allowing both Washington skaters to get a step on them. Assists went to Leipsic and Michal Kempny.

Another defensive breakdown by the Sharks left Martin Jones to make a save while Hathaway was tripping over him at 7:56. A slashing penalty to Evander Kane came out of that.

The Sharks killed that off and as soon as the penalty ended, Kane came out of the box and followed Logan Couture into the zone. Couture dropped the puck to him just inside the blue line. As Couture continued to skate to the net, he created a screen for Kane to shoot and score at 10:06. Assists went to Couture and Melker Karlsson.

Kane completed the second period hat trick with a second power play goal at 16:49. Radko Gudas was in the box for slashing Patrick Marleau as they competed for position in front of the net. Erik Karlsson took a shot right up the center and before anyone else could find the puck, Kane caught the rebound and knocked it in. Assists went to Karlsson and Timo Meier.

The Capitals got one back before the period ended, at 18:42. Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s attempt to send the puck around the boards was thwarted by an official’s skate behind the net. T.J Oshie gathered up the puck and sent it to the front of the net where Jakub Vrana was waiting to shoot it in.

The shots were close again in the second period, 12-11 Capitals.

The Sharks held their lead but did not extend it through most of the third period. The Sharks had killed off a Washington power play and failed to score on two of their own. Logan Couture scored into the empty net at 19:00, giving the Sharks the two goal lead.

Washington got one back just 13 seconds later. The Sharks couldn’t get the puck out, under siege from six Washington skaters. When Lars Eller went to center the puck, his pass went off of Mario Ferraro’s skate and to Jakub Vrana in a perfect shooting position. Assists went to Eller and Radko Gudas.

The teams sat for some time then, waiting for an issue to be resolved by officials.

When they got back to play, T.J. Oshie tied the game at 19:45. With their net empty again, and with a clear prevented by a bounce off of an official (again), the puck ended up in the face-off circle, on Oshie’s stick. Assists went to Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom.

The shots in the third period were surprisingly low but shocking for the Sharks, who had only three. The Capitals had six.

The Sharks had some good moments in overtime. Timo Meier broke up a pass to prevent a three-on-one goal at early, then he sent a pass to Brent Burns for a breakaway. Timo Meier had a shot go off of the goal post, and then Burns and Kane had a two-on-one that Holtby stopped. The Sharks got two shots on goal before it was over.

The Capitals responded with a two-on-one against Erik Karlsson. John Carlson carried the puck in and made a pass across to Lars Eller, who scored as Martin Jones slid across to follow the pass. Assists went to Carlson and Holtby. It was Washington’s only shot of the overtime period.

The teams ended the game with 29 shots each.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday in St. Louis against the Blues at 5:00 PM PT.

Sharks Lose 2-0 to Red Wings, First Shut Out of Season

sfgate.com photo: San Jose Sharks right wing Timo Meier (28), of Switzerland, looses his footing against Detroit Red Wings defenseman Madison Bowey (74) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, in Detroit.

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks lost 2-0 to the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday, ending 2019 much the way they started this season. In December, they had two wins and 11 losses. The 2-0 loss to the NHL’s last ranked Red Wings had some disappointing firsts in it, for Sharks fans.

It was Detroit’s first shut out of the season and also the Sharks’ first time being shut out. It also ended a nearly three year stretch during which the Sharks got points in games where they allowed two or fewer goals. The goals were scored by Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Hronek. Jonathan Bernier made 34 saves in the win while Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 21 saves for the Sharks.

If there is anything good to take away from this game, it might be that the team only gave up two goals. That is an improvement over some of San Jose’s more spectacular losses this season. They also did fairly well in the face-off circle, winning 52% of them.

Those facts are not very encouraging, though, considering the opponent in Tuesday’s match. The Red Wings are not the worst face-off team in the NHL, just the ninth worst. They are the worst in the goal scoring department.

Sharks captain Logan Couture was asked to find some positives in the game: “Well, Joner was great, that’s a positive. Um, I’m trying to think of other things we can take from this one. But Joner played well, PK had some stops, power play needs to be better, offensively we need to be better. I thought for the most part, five on five we didn’t give them too much.”

Sharks interim head coach Bob Boughner also identified the goaltender as one of the only good parts of the game:

There were some bright spots to our game. I think the maybe power play generating a goal would have been nice. I think that Jonesy played well. It’s one of those games, we didn’t give up much on the road. Defensively we’ve been tightening it up in that area. You know, we just didn’t get our bounce early and the longer the game went I thought Bernier looked more comfortable. I thought we could’ve got more bodies in front of him. But, you know, we just didn’t capitalize, didn’t execute offensively.

The first goal came at 3:15 of the second period. Tyler Bertuzzi deflected Madison Bowey’s shot from the point, after bringing the puck into the zone, then rushing into position in front of the Sharks net. A second assist went to Dylan Larkin. It was Bertuzzi’s 15th of the season.

The second goal went into an empty net at 19:11 of the third period. Brent Burns’ shot was blocked and then went to Filip Hronek, who shot it all the way down the ice into the net. An assist went to Luke Glendening.

The Sharks had three power play chances to the Red Wings’ two. No power play goals were scored. The Sharks out-shot the Red Wings in the game and 14-4 in the third period.

The Sharks next play on Thursday in Pittsburgh against the Penguins at 4:00 PM PT.

Golden Knights Beat Sharks 3-1; San Jose takes ninth loss in ten games

photo from sfgate.com: Vegas Golden Knights center Paul Stastny (26) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks have lost a third game in a row, again. The 3-1 loss was to the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday. Vegas goals came from Paul Stasny, Shea Theodore and Jonathan Marchessault. Malcolm Subban made 37 saves for the win. Logan Couture scored the only Sharks goal and Aaron Dell made 34 saves in the loss.

The Sharks have earned the distinction of scoring the fewest goals(19) this December of any team in the NHL. Comparing the team’s performance in November to this abysmal December, Sharks captain Logan Couture said:

We’re finding ways to lose now whereas in November we were finding ways to win. That was the close games, you know. We were getting games to overtime, we were finding a way to score in overtime, we were getting to a shootout, win in a shootout. Now we’re giving up goals in the last ten minutes in a tie game in the third period and losing those games.

Sharks head coach Bob Boughner was not available for the post game press conference, but Associate coach Roy Sommer said: “Another one of those games where we were in it and end up tying it up and I thought positive things were going to come out of it. It’s kind of like you’re waiting for the other shoe to fall off and sure enough that’s what happened. I thought for the most part we battled.”

In the scoreless first period, the Golden Knights out-shot the Sharks 13-7, and had two power plays. The power plays came at the start of the period, a 1:30 penalty to Evander Kane for tripping, and at the end, a 17:17 penalty to Erik Karlsson for sending the puck over the glass. Vegas got credit for four shots during those power plays.

Almost six minutes into the second period, the Sharks had just one shot on goal, taken by Joe Thornton during a breakaway. Vegas goaltender Subban got enough of that shot so that it rang off the outside of the post. By contrast, Vegas had five shots and Aaron Dell was busy in net.

The Sharks finally had a good shift in the offensive zone around a minute later. They added a couple of shots to their count and drew their first penalty of the game- another puck over the glass penalty. The Sharks applied some pressure during that power play but registered just one shot on goal.

About 90 seconds after the Sharks’ power play expired, they were on the penalty kill for an elbowing penalty to Brent Burns. Vegas came up with no shots on that power play.

Vegas broke the tie with just 2:29 left in the second period. Paul Stasny, guarded by Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Erik Karlsson both on the same side of the ice, took a shot that went off the post. It bounced out to the other side of the net and Stasny got to it again before either Sharks defenseman could get to him. He also had an open net to shoot at. Assists went to Alex Tuch and Valentin Zykov.

The final minute of the period was spent four-on-four with Brenden Dillon and Ryan Reaves in the box with matching roughing penalties.

Logan Couture tied the game back up at 3:54 of the third. Brent Burns carried the puck around behind the net and sent it through the blue paint across to the open shooter. Assists went to Burns and Tomas Hertl.

Vegas took the lead back at 8:05. William Karlsson had his pas intercepted by a Sharks skate as he moved into the Sharks zone. He turned as if to retrieve the puck but instead left it for Shea Theodore to collect, while Karlsson kept Patrick Marleau clear of Theodore. Theodore took a quick shot from above the face-off circle and beat Dell. Assists went to Karlsson and Nicolas Hague.

The Sharks had a third period power play after that, but could not score.

Vegas expanded the lead with a third goal at 16:35. Reilly Smith got the puck after a neutral zone face-off. He carried it over the blue line and out-skated Erik Karlsson before making a cross-ice pass to Jonathan Marchessault who was closing on the net. Dell could not get across quick enough to stop Marchessault’s shot. Assists went to Smith and William Karlsson.

As they have for three games in a row now, the Sharks closed out the game with a late third period power play and a six-on-four advantage with their goaltender pulled. As before, they did not score.

The Sharks will next play after the Christmas break, on December 27 against the Los Angeles King at 7:00 PM PT.

Sharks Best Canucks 4-2; Six game skid comes to an end

photo from sfgate.com: The Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes (left) tries to reach around on San Jose Sharks rightwinger Timo Meier on Saturday night at SAP Center.

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks celebrated Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s 1000th NHL game with a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks Saturday. The win ended a six-game losing streak and no doubt made Star Wars night more fun for the fans at the SAP Center. Sharks goals came from Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Evander Kane and Logan Couture. Aaron Dell made 33 saves in the win. Canucks goals came from Jake Virtanen and Bo Horvat with Jacob Markstrom making 23 saves in the loss.

After the game, Marc-Edouard Vlasic confessed that he did not keep the puck from his 1000th game: “No, that was for Bob. I’ll just pick up a random puck and tell everybody it’s 1000 games. Nobody’ll know the difference.” The win was also Bob Boughner’s first as head coach of the Sharks.

Boughner talked later about the work the team is doing: “We got a practice in yesterday so it was nice to get our lines together and work some offensive zone play that we’re trying to establish. I think that both ends of the ice really, we worked on a little different defensive structure.” He also gave credit to his goaltender:

Deller, you know, he was our best player. You know, he made some key saves at key times and, you know, really kept us in it when we were starting to take on water. And that’s what a goalie does in a win like that. I liked the way we played. We played with some poise. Second period we took on too much but, you know, I thought the third period we responded. Even though they were in our zone a little bit, we didn’t have too many let downs and so many break downs in the slot area.

The first goal of the game came at 10:50 of the first. Joe Thornton got the puck from Kevin Labanc and held it while Tomas Hertl went to the net. Vancouver’s Tyler Meyers dropped to block the pass but Thornton sent it behind him, between the prone defenseman and the goaltender to Hertl on the other side of the net. From there, Hertl had an open net to shoot at and he did not miss. It was Hertl’s 12th goal of the season.

The second period was scoreless with Vancouver out-shooting San Jose 12-7. San Jose had two unsuccessful power plays and one successful penalty kill.

A nice outlet pass from Erik Karlsson found Timo Meier in the neutral zone. Couture, Kane and Meier went into the zone three on two. Meier made a pass to Lane, who passed it right back. Meier wound up taking the shot from just above the goal line and it went in off of Markstrom. Assists went to Kane and Karlsson.

Less than a minute later, Adam Gaudette skated through the neutral zone with the puck, found his way around the Sharks defense and managed to make a quick pass to Jake Virtanen in the slot. Virtanen carried it a few strides before taking the shot and beating Dell on the far side. Assists went to Gaudette and Christopher Tanev.

The third San Jose goal came from Evander Kane at 18:39 of the third. After he missed the empty net twice, his team-mates held the zone and got the puck back to him for a third try. He got that one but did not celebrate. Assists went to Logan Couture and Barclay Goodrow.

The Canucks gave some extra weight to that empty net goal at 19:31 with their goaltender pulled again. Quinn Hughes took a shot from the blue line. Dell stopped that but gave up a trickling rebound. Bo Horvat was there to tuck it in the net. Assists went to Hughes and Brock Boeser.

The Canucks pulled their goalie again. A few seconds later, Marc-Edouard Vlasic stole the puck at the Sharks blue line and found Logan Couture with a pass for another shot into the empty net. The time of that goal was 19:52.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday against the Arizona Coyotes at 7:30 PM PT in San Jose.

Sharks Beat LA 4-1

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 Friday afternoon at the SAP Center. Sharks goals came from Patrick Marleau, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Noah Gregor and Logan Couture. Martin Jones made 33 saves for the win. The lone Kings goal came from Kyle Clifford and Jonathan Quick made 18 saves in the game. Friday’s win came after an ugly 5-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday.

The Sharks’ ability to rebound from losses has improved recently.

After the game, Sharks goaltender Martin Jones said: “Based on our record, I’d say yes. You know, we’ve got a lot of veteran guys in here, it’s nothing new. You go through it every year, tough stretches. It’s pretty important to get it turned around as quickly as you can, not let it spiral.”

One of the Sharks goals was a career-first.

Joe Thornton talked about Noah Gregor scoring his first NHL goal: “It changes your mindset when you get that first one. Confidence is such a big part of sports and you could see after he scored that, confidence just grew and hopefully it can grow from there.”

“It felt was awesome,” said Gregor. “It took, I think this is game 11? It took a bit but it was awesome to see the puck go in the net for the first time.” Of what the coaches have asked from him over this season, he said: “Just try to stay consistent in my game. Bring that speed. I think the speed is my biggest attribute, just try to bring that every single night. Also, my defensive game, always trying to improve it, be a little harder on pucks and plays a little bit quicker.”

The first goal came shortly after a Sharks power play, at 7:26 of the first period. Joe Thornton wrested control of the puck by the Kings net, carried it out to center and then found Marcus Sorensen on the wing. Sorensen convinced everyone that he was about to shoot, drawing defensive attention to him, and making Jonathan Quick come out to stop the shot. Instead, he sent a pass across the ice to Patrick Marleau, who was skating toward an open net. It was Marleau’s sixth of the season. Assists went to Sorensen and Thornton.

The second goal came from Marc-Edouard Vlasic at 13:14 during a delayed penalty. With two skaters lined up in front of Quick, Vlasic shot it in the short side, sneaking over Quick’s pad and through a narrow gap by the post. Assists went to Erik Karlsson and Timo Meier.

The Kings out-shot the Sharks 8-4 in the first period.

The Sharks resumed their scoring ways at 2:58 of the second period. Noah Gregor broke away through the neutral zone. He passed two Kings before catching a pass from Brenden Dillon and shooting on the fly. It was Gregor’s first NHL goal, in his 10th NHL game. Assists went to Dillon and Martin Jones.

The second goal of the second period came from Logan Couture at 14:42. Erik Karlsson sent a shot right down the slot. First it hit Barclay Goodrow’s stick, then Logan Couture’s right on the edge of the paint. Goodrow and Karlsson got the assists.

The Kings out-shot the Sharks 13-9 in the second period.

At 12:54 of the third, Antti Suomela collided with Kurtis MacDermid and had to leave the game. MacDermid was given a match penalty but after an official review that was downgraded to a minor interference penalty.

The Kings broke Martin Jones’ shutout bid with a couple of minutes left in the game. Matt Luff found Kyle Clifford in the slot with a pass from the boards. Clifford sent it in without hesitation and it went right by Jones.

The Kings out-shot the Sharks 11-8 in the third period. the Kings won 54% of the face-offs in the game.

The Sharks next play on Saturday in Glendale, Arizona against the Coyotes at 5:00 PM PT.

Sharks Sink Islanders 2-1 in OT; Loss Snaps Isles’ 5-game Win Streak

photo from sfgate: San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture, right rear, is congratulated by left wing Evander Kane (9) and defenseman Brent Burns, front right, after scoring against the New York Islanders during overtime in an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. The Sharks won 2-1.

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks beat the New York Islanders 2-1 in overtime Saturday. Marcus Sorensen and Logan Couture scored for San Jose, while Martin Jones made 27 saves for the win. Casey Cizikas scored for New York and Semyon Varlamov made 24 saves in the loss.

“We didn’t help ourselves tonight by getting in the box but we still found way and I thought it was a pretty gutsy effort,” said Sharks Head Coach Peter DeBoer. That was in reference to the six penalties in a row that the Sharks had to kill for the win. Sharks forward Evander Kane said: “We killed a lot tonight, let’s be honest. I mean we did a great job with the penalty kill and Joner was fantastic in stopping, some key saves there in some real dangerous scoring areas.”

The New York Islanders are one of the hottest teams in the league right now, with just one road loss before Saturday’s game. Asked whether that added value to the win, Logan Couture said: “The big thing was, I mean we saw all the teams around us before the game, they won. So we wanted to keep pace. You know, we’re right in it now, after a horrendous start. We’ve given ourselves an opportunity to make a push here and collect some more points. I think that’s enough motivation right there.”

A scoreless first period was marked by speed and offense from the Sharks as they out-shot the Islanders 8-1 in the first seven minutes of play. By the end of the period, the Sharks had an advantage in shots 13-7 and had won 73% of the face-offs. Barclay Goodrow won five of those face-offs and lost none. Each team took a penalty, each team killed one. The Sharks had four shots during their power play, the Islanders had none.

The second period started with a fight 37 seconds in, between Brenden Dillon and Casek Cizikas after a hit on Mario Ferraro.

Almost seven minutes in, Martin Jones had to make a save on a breakaway by Brock Nelson before the rest of his team arrived to help defend the zone. They made quick work of that and went the other way with Mario Ferraro and Marcus Sorensen attacking two on one. Ferraro’s pass bumped almost gently off of Sorensen’s stick and around Semyon Varlamov. Assists went to Ferraro and Joe Thornton.

Less than 30 seconds later, New York tied it up with a goal from Casey Cizikas. Adam Pelech’s shot went off of Cizikas’s body as he fought Brent Burns for position in front of the net. Assists went to Pelech and Ryan Pulock.

The Sharks challenged the goal for goaltender interference. The replay did look a good deal like the disallowed goal in Las Vegas Thursday, but the only contact with Jones was Brent Burns’ stick as Cizikas pushed his way through it. The goal was upheld and the Sharks were shorthanded but killed the penalty. They killed another at 12:08 when Lukas Radil was called for tripping Scott Mayfield. And another at 16:42, when Kevin Labanc was called for slashing Anthony Beauvillier. Over the course of those four power plays, the Islanders got credit for four shots.

Over the period, the Islanders had ten shots and the Sharks had only six. In the face-off circle, their dominance dwindled to 58%.

The Islanders were back on the power play early in the third period. This time it was Patrick Marleau in the box for tripping Scott Mayfield. This time the Islanders brought some real pressure to bear, getting three shots on goal and spending very little time retrieving the puck in their own end. The Islanders had another chance at 12:26, their sixth power play in a row, when Kevin Labanc went to the box for tripping.

In the third period, the Islanders out-shot the Sharks 11-5 but the game remained tied. The Sharks had some time to recover from the endless penalty kills during the pre-overtime break.

Exactly half way through overtime, Evander Kane picked up a drifting puck that Brent Burns left behind. He had to battle for possession but he got it and eventually found Logan Couture in front of the net for a game-winning shot.

The Sharks finished the game with a 53% winning percentage and the Islanders had 28 shots to the Sharks’ 26.

The Sharks next play on Monday in Los Angeles against the Kings at 7:30 PM PT.

Sharks Tough It Out, Beat Golden Knights 2-1 in OT

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 in overtime Thursday, in Vegas. Sharks goals came from Timo Meier and Logan Couture. Aaron Dell, making his first start in three weeks, made 37 saves for win. The lone Vegas goal came from Brayden McNabb and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves.

Aaron Dell last played on November 2, seven games ago for the Sharks.

After the game, Sharks forward Timo Meier said: “He was incredible, he made some really big saves for us, he was steady all game in net. And that’s a big win and he definitely was a huge part of that.”

In his first game of the season, Antti Suomela seemd to scored the first goal. From high in the face-off circle, he tipped Brenden Dillon’s shot from the point at 6:08. Las Vegas challenged it for goaltender interference by Timo Meier. Merrill had given Meier a push as he hit Fleury’s glove while skating around him at the edge of the crease. The officials did not consider the push to be relevant and the goal was disallowed.

The Sharks started Thursday’s game without Tomas Hertl and Dalton Prout,  and Melker Karlsson and Radim Simek both left the game early with injuries. No injury details were forthcoming after the game but Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said:

It was a big character win for us, was a lot of thing stacked against us with some of the injuries in the lineup, obviously coming into this building and what happened the last couple times we’ve been in here. So, I thought our guys dug deep, I thought we got contributions from everybody. I didn’t think we had any passengers tonight and obviously Deller gave us a big game.

The Sharks took the only penalty of the first period, and that was to Logan Couture for tripping Reilly Smith. The Golden Knights had two shots on that power play and 14 shots in the period to the Sharks’ 6.

When Timo Meier scored at 1:26 of the second period, it counted. Skating through the neutral zone, Meier caught a pass from Dylan Gambrell and went tearing into the Vegas zone. Nate Schmidt had a step on him, but a stutter step got him around the defenseman and a hard stop by the goal sent Schmidt into the post as the puck went into the net.

By the middle of the period, the Sharks were being out-shot 8-2, and that was before they took a penalty for too many men on the ice at 9:12. Vegas got two shots on that power play as well.

The Sharks’ first power play came at 13:14 of the second, a tripping penalty to Marc-Andre Fleury against Marcus Sorensen. The Sharks got one shot early in the power play, but spent a lot of time stuck in the defensive zone after that, being turned back in the neutral zone again and again. They finished with two shots in that power play. The Sharks were out-shot in the second period 14-11.

The Sharks took their third penalty of the game at 4:18 of the third period when Brenden Dillon was called for interference on Cody Eakin. The Sharks had a couple of scares during that one, but their goaltender was up to the challenge and bailed them out. Vegas only had one shot in that power play.

Vegas tied it up at 10:18 of the third when Brayden McNabb took a shot from the top of the face-off circle. The puck found its way into the net through traffic. William Carrier got the assist.

The Sharks were on the power play at 11:17 when Cody Eakin was called for slashing Timo Meier. The Sharks had three shots in that power play. The Sharks had six shots for the period, as did Vegas.

In overtime, the shots were 6-4 Sharks after Logan Couture ended it at 3:20. His breakaway was made possible by a pass-interrupting tip from Marc-Edouard Vlasic in front of the Sharks net. Fleury stopped Couture’s initial shot, but Couture closed on the net and poked the puck under the goaltender before any defenders could catch him.

The three stars went to Logan Couture, Brayden McNabb and Ryan Reaves, likely for the 12 hits he got credit for.

The Sharks next play on Saturday back in San Jose against the New York Islanders at 7:30 PM PT.

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.