Sharks Fall to Lightning 3-0; fourth loss in six games

photo from sbnation: The San Jose Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell (30) under fire from the Tampa Bay Lightning as the Sharks get shutout 3-0 on Saturday night

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0 on Saturday at the SAP Center. Goals were scored by Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat. Curtis McElhinney made 30 saves in the shut-out win, while Aaron Dell made 32 saves in the loss.

It was the Sharks’ first game since Tomas Hertl’s most recent injury, which will keep him out for the rest of the season. Additionally, Joel Kellman was injured Saturday. As of the post game report, he was still being evaluated.

The Sharks recognized Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s 1000th NHL game with a silver stick ceremony. Vlasic is the first defenseman to have played all 1000 games with the Sharks.

In the first period, the Sharks had just two shots on goal to Tampa Bay’s 13. Tampa Bay had power plays at 3:32 (Dylan Gambrell for holding), and 8:51 (Erik Karlsson for hooking). The Sharks had one at 6:56 (Cedric Paquette for roughing against Melker Karlsson).

The teams played four on four at 15:56 when Brenden Dillon went to the box for hi-sticking Yanni Gourde and Yanni Gourde went for roughing back. Two of Tampa Bay’s shots came with the man advantage.

Joel Kellman went into the boards during the first, with some help from Kevin Shattenkirk. Kellman got up slowly, and only skated one shift in the second period before leaving the game.

The Sharks went on a power play just 53 seconds into the second period. Erik Karlsson drew a tripping penalty that put Ondrej Palat in the box. The Sharks got three shots on that power play. They went on to out-shoot Tampa Bay for the first half of the period 10-4.

Nonetheless, Steven Stamkos scored at 4:04, after a lengthy play in the Sharks zone and a cross-ice pass from Kevin Shattenkirk that went between two Sharks defenders. The puck found Stamkos right in his old hangout around in the faceoff circle, and the shot went by Brent Burns and Aaron Dell and into the net. Shattenkirk and Mikhail Sergachev got the assists.

The Sharks killed off another Tampa Bay power play at 8:29 when Marc-Edouard Vlasic was called for hi-sticking Stamkos. The Sharks had their third power play at 13:30, when Tyler Johnson went for slashing Evander Kane.

By the end of the period, the Sharks had outshot the Lightning 18-8.

The third period was penalty-free and Nikita Kucherov put the game away at 17:57 with a backhand off as he skated out of the slt in traffic. Assists went to Stamkos and Brayden Point.

The Sharks pulled their goaltender with almost two minutes left and Ondrej Palat scored an empty net goal at 19:43. An assist went to Anthony Cirelli.

The third period shot count was 14-10 Tampa Bay. The face-off edge in the game went to the Sharks, who won 54% of them.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday in Calgary against the Flames at 6:00 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 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 Lose 5th in a Row, Fall 5-2 to Canucks

photo from sfgate.com: Thatcher Demko (35) goaltender for the Vancouver Canucks goes into the defensive posture against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center in San Jose on Saturday night. Demko stopped 24 San Jose shots for the Sharks second consecutive home stand loss.

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks lost 5-2 to the Vancouver Canucks Saturday at the SAP Center. This was the first road win for the Canucks in San Jose since March 31, 2016, and it added a fifth to the Sharks’ second four-loss streak of the season. Canucks goals were scored by Brandon Sutter, Elias Pettersson, Jake Virtanen and Adam Gaudette. Vancouver goaltender Thatcher Demko made 24 saves for the win. The Sharks goals were scored by Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Evander Kane. Goaltender Aaron Dell made 23 saves for the Sharks.

After the game, Sharks captain Logan Couture talked about the question of confidence during a losing streak:

For a lot of us, we’ve done some really really good things in this league, we’ve been successful players in this league for a long time. I think we need to get that swagger, that confidence back that we’ve had here for so many years. You know, it’s tough when you’re losing, it is very very difficult to feel confident when you’ve got the puck to make that play when you’ve got the extra second.

Are the Sharks losing patience with each other in the midst of this lousy start? After the game, Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon warned that that was a danger, but then said: “It’s pretty easy to look at the guy next to you instead of looking at yourself. Again, we’ve got a lot of skill on this team, a lot of talent. Guys that have been here for a long time… know what it takes to win. I think everybody, if we can believe back in that and just get into that we’re going to be okay.”

Vancouver’s Brandon Sutter started the scoring at 4:17 of the first period. Josh Leivo took a shot from above the faceoff circle. Dell stopped that, but came out a ways to do so and then kicked out a rebound. Sutter picked up the rebound and got it in the net before Dell could get back in position. It was Sutter’s fourth of the season.

Elias Pettersson doubled up Vancover’s lead with a goal at 12:46. Brock Boeser’s pass came out to center above the hash marks, where Pettersson was ready for it. Dell and Brendand Dillon did not seem ready for it and Pettersson’s shot went right through them. It was Pettersson’s fifth of the season. Assists went to Boeser and Bo Horvat.

The Sharks’ penalty kill held the Canucks to one shot on their first period power play. Vancouver still outshot the Sharks 14-8.

Jake Virtanen added a third goal for the Canucks, just 45 seconds into the second period. His shot went right into Dell and then over his leg. Dell went down and had the puck in his legs, and the on ice official called it no goal. After an official review, the call was overturned. Assists went to Alexader Edler and Tyler Myers.

At 5:11, Adam Gaudette scored Vancouver’s fourth on a broken tic-tack-toe play that drew Aaron Dell and two defenders to the right side of the net, allowing the puck to get by on the left. The goal came during a delayed penalty against the Sharks. The puck seemed to be on its way to Troy Stecher as he closed on the net behind the mass of bodies to one side. Instead, it went off of one of those bodies and into the net.

The Sharks had two power plays in the second period, and got six shots with the man advantage. the teams were tied for shots in the second period at eight apiece.

At the end of the second, Joe Thorton was called for cross-checking Jay Beagle, putting Vancouver on the power play to start the third period. The Canucks did not get a shot during that power play. The Sharks had their own power play chance at 2:38, in which they got two shots, but no goal.

The Sharks finally got on the board with a short-handed goal from Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Barclay Goodrow. They broke away and were able to go in two-on-one and score at 10:51.

The Canucks power play turned into a two-man advantage not long after that, when Joe Thornton was boxed for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Sharks survived that, but after the first penalty expired, they gave up a fifth goal. It was Pettersson’s second of the night, with an assist to JT Miller.

Evander Kane added the Sharks’ second goal with just 22 seconds left in regulation. He skated into the zone with Tomas Hertl and went around the Canucks defense to shoot. His first shot came back as a rebound, but he picked it up and put it away. Assists went to Kevin Labanc and Erik Karlsson.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks at 7:00 PM PT in San Jose.

Lukas Radil was in Saturday, with Jonny Brodzinsky back out of the lineup.

Avalanche Force Game 7 with 4-3 OT Win Against Sharks

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The Colorado Avalanche defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-3 in overtime at the Pepsi Center Monday. The win means that the teams will come back to San Jose to play a seventh game in their second round playoffs series. Avs goals came from JT Compher (2), Tyson Jost and Gabriel Landeskog. Sharks goals came from Marc-Edouard Vlasic (2) and Brent Burns. Philipp Grubauer made 19 saves for the win, while Martin Jones made 22 saves in a losing effort.

Although the overtime game-winner was scored by the Avs team captain Gabriel Landeskog, Sharks forward Logan Couture said: “Their depth guys beat us tonight. We got beat by JT Compher, Tyson Jost, their second, third, fourth line.”

Similarly, two of the Sharks’ three goals also came from an unusual suspect, Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

After the game, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said: “We got three goals from our defensemen. I thought if there was one disappointing area, I thought our forwards could have found a way to do a little bit more. I thought, as a group, they have to be better for us if we’re going to move on here.”

The first period was marked by three penalties called in a bunch between 12:06 and 17:34. Two went against the Sharks, one on Kevin Labanc for holding, another on Joe Thornton for tripping Matt Nieto. A penalty against Colorado roughly 30 seconds into the second Colorado power play gave the teams 90 seconds of four-on-four. The Sharks only allowed one shot in those penalty kills, but got no shots during their very short power play. The Sharks only got credit for five shots in the first period, while Colorado got 11.

The second period made up for the lack of scoring in the first. The teams traded goals back and forth for four goals period.

Starting with a cross-ice pass in the neutral zone from Ian Cole to JT Compher, the Avalanche moved up the ice fast. Compher sent the puck back across the ice to Jost who was almost to the net, setting him up to shoot before Jones could get across. Assists went to Compher and Cole. The time of the goal was 6:04.

The Avs kept the pressure on for some shifts after that. A minute or so later, Brent Burns caught Mikko Rantanen with a hip check in open ice, sending Rantanen to the dressing room for a spell. The Sharks finally responded with some offensive zone time and after a couple of false starts, sustained pressure on the Colorado net.

They were rewarded with a goal at 14:36 from Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Timo Meier had just brought the puck in and tried to get a shot away as he fended off Cale Makar. The puck bounced harmlessly off of Grubauer, but Vlasic was trailing the play and time to lift the puck over the goalie’s pad. Colorado challenged the goal for goaltender interference, after Meier’s skate touched Grubauer’s pad. The goal stood up. Assists went to Meier and Gus Nyquist.

Colorado took the lead back at 18:44. A clearing attempt was thwarted by Alexander Kerfoot on the blue line. While Carl Soderberg carried the puck around the boards, Kerfoot moved to the net to provide a screen. With Vlasic pressuring him, Soderberg made a short pass to Compher, who was at the blue line. Compher’s shot whizzed by Jones unseen by the goalie. Assists went to Soderberg and Kerfoot.

The Sharks tied it again just over a minute later, with 10 seconds left in the period. Tmo Meier fought his way into the zone before losing the puck. Erik Karlsson was there to find it and make a pass to Brent Burns, who was just coming off of the bench. Burns skated in for the shot and beat Grubauer on the right side. Karlsson got the assist.

Through the second period, the teams were tied in shots as well as goals, with eight each.

JT Compher gave the Avs yet another lead four minutes into the third period. Colin Wilson got the puck across the line before he ran into the Sharks defense. Derick Brassard was coming into the zone too fast for the Sharks to adjust. He took the puck below the face-off dot for a bad angle shot that bounced off of Jones. Meanwhile, Compher had come down the other side and skated across in front of the net for a back hand shot over Jones’ pads. Assists went to Brassard and Wilson.

The Sharks had an astonishingly long offensive zone late in the period. A broken stick for Mikko Rantanen helped them out there. Rantanen got a new stick, but not before the Sharks had worn the Colorado defense to a frazzle. Finally, a shot from Marc-Edouard Vlasic tied it for the third time, at 17:32. Logan Couture made a short pass form behind the net to Vlasic. Vlasic didn’t have a shot, but he sent it through the blue paint, where Meier might have been able to knock it in. Instead, it went off of Nikita Zadorov’s skate and in. Assists went to Couture and Nyquist.

In the third period, the Sharks out-shot the Avalanche 8-5, and killed one more penalty during which they allowed not shots. Colorado dominated the face-off battle in the first period, winning 72% of them. As the game went on, the Sharks improved there, winning 52% in the second and 58% in the third.

Overtime did not last long. Colorado started the period with early pressure. The Sharks had a couple of good shifts in the second minute, but Colorado’s top line finally got on the board with the winner at 2:32. After the Sharks almost cleared the puck out of a battle in the corner, Cale Makar kept it in at the blue line and sent it back down. Gabriel Landeskog, who had dumped the puck in, then fought for it in the corner, was there in the slot to get the pass. The puck tried to bounce off of his stick but he reached for it and nudged it under Jones. Makar got the only assist.

Neither team has won two games in a row in this series. The last time the Sharks played in back-to-back seven-game series was 1994. Their next Game 7 will be on Wednesday at SAP Center in San Jose at 6:00 PM PT.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2019: Sharks Take Game One 5-2 Over Knights

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks beat the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2 in the first game of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs Wednesday. The Sharks goals came from Brent Burns, Tomas Hertl, Evander Kane, Joe Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Martin Jones made 24 saves for the win. Both Vegas goals came from Mark Stone and Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves against the Sharks.

The Sharks got the first power play of the game at 13:35. They had a few moments of delayed penalty time with Jones out of the net but that did not last long. The penalty was to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare for tripping Micheal Haley.

The Sharks scored on that power play at 14:42. A Brent Burns blue line special went off John Merrill’s glove or stick, into Joe Pavelski’s face and into the net. For his pains, Pavelski got credit for the goal with the assist going to Burns. Pavelski went directly to the dressing room, did not even stop for the celebration.

In the last two minutes of the first period, Timo Meier had to leave for repairs after being hi-sticked behind the net.

The Sharks outshot the Golden Knights 8-5 in the first, and won 60% of the face-offs. Vegas out-hit the Sharks 25-17.

Pavelski returned for the second period with a lower face shield. Timo Meier, fresh from his facial repairs, also returned and spoke briefly with an official as the period got under way. 20 seconds in, Meier was called for tripping Jonathan Marchessault. The Sharks killed that penalty off.

Evander Kane and Deryk Engelland exchanged blows after a scuffle in front of the net, as did Brenden Dillon and Jonathan Marchessault. Only Dillon and Marchessault were sent to the box, and for just two minutes. While the teams were playing 4 on 4, Tomas Hertl drew a hooking penalty and gave the Sharks a 4 on 3 power play. That turned into a 3 on 3 when Joe Pavelski was knocked down near the crease and Nate Schmidt tripped over him. Pavelski was called for tripping Schmidt.

The Sharks were unfazed by that noise. Erik Karlsson got the puck across the blue line and to Brent Burns, who carried it around a couple of defenders and shot it past Fleury with calm precision. Assists went to Karlsson and Hertl. Time of the goal was 6:59.

The Sharks followed up with good pressure around the net, leading to a sneaky goal-line pass from Joe Thornton to Marc-Edouard Vlasic as he skated down from the blue line. Vegas was not ready for that and the shot went right by Fleury on the blocker side at 7:44. Assists went to Thornton and Evander Kane.

Vegas responded with a goal at 8:32. Pacioretty’s shot hit Paul Stasny’s skate to the left of Jones, and bounced across the goal mouth to Mark Stone, who was camped out to Jones’s right. Thus flanked by opponents, Jones could not stop the puck. Assists went to Stasny and Pacioretty.

The Sharks went back on the power play at 8:55 after William Carrier was called for tripping Logan Couture. Tripping was a popular penalty in Wednesday’s game.

The Sharks scored again with 18 seconds left in the second. Erik Karlsson’s blue line shot went between a defender’s legs and then was neatly deflected by Evander Kane over Fleury’s glove.

The Sharks increased their shot advantage in the second, winning that contest 14-5. Their face-off success flagged, though. Vegas won 58% of the second period face-offs. Paul Stasny and William Karlsson defeated nearly all comers in the second.

Nearly six minutes into the third, Jon Merrill pushed Micheal Haley down in the crease, right on top of Fleury. As the puck went the other way for what may have been a good chance, Fleury spent some time thumping on Haley with the help of a team-mate. The whistle stopped play for roughing calls all around. Haley went to the box and Paul Stasny went in Fleury’s place.

As that four-on-four got started, the Sharks played a little like it was three-on-three, holding onto the puck as if killing time more than trying to score. But it was early for that. Not long after the four-on-four expired, the Sharks had a power play that killed more time without scoring. Vegas had a turn on the scoreless power play at 11:44 after Barclay Goodrow went for slashing Shea Theodore.

Vegas got another power play at 15:11 when Kevin Labanc went for hooking Tomas Nosek. Mark Stone cut the Sharks lead in half with a goal at 15:26. His shot made best use of what little traffic there was in front of Jones to get the puck over the glove and into the net. Assists went to Shea Theodore and Max Pacioretty.

Toms Hertl scored into the empty net at 18:11 to stop the late game push from Vegas. Assists went to Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

By the end of the game, the Sharks had rebalanced the face-off results to 50-50. The shot count for the game was 33-26 Sharks.

Game 2 will be in San Jose on Friday at 7:30 PM PT.

Sharks Break Bad Streak, Beat Knights 4-3 in OT

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks ended their seven game losing streak Saturday, beating the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 in overtime. It was a good preview of the playoffs, possibly even a playoff matchup if the standings remain as they are. Each team got credit for 40 hits. Between hits, a lot of goals were scored too. For San Jose, goals came from Tomas Hertl, Evander Kane, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Brent Burns. Las Vegas goals came from William Karlsson, Cody Eakin and Shea Theodore. Martin Jones made 23 saves in the win while Vegas goaltender Malcolm Subban made 30 saves in the loss.

Vegas scored first at 3:54. The Sharks had just thwarted a nice play by Vegas, turning what could have easily been a goal into a puck behind the net. Unfortunately, Vegas had control of that puck and Jonathan Marchessault made a pass from below the goal line to the slot, where William Karlsson was open with a clear view of Martin Jones. It was Karlsson’s 24th of the season. Assists went to Marchessault and Reilly Smith.

The rest of the period was littered with matching penalties. An interference penalty to Marcus Sorensen was matched by an embellishment penalty to Colin Miller. Joe Thornton’s high-sticking penalty was matched by a roughing penalty to Ryan Reaves. Reaves also got a misconduct on that one.

The Sharks tied the game just under a minute into the second period. Tomas Hertl caught a stray rebound from a Joonas Donskoi shot. Hertl then wove his way around a defender and poked the puck between skaters and shot it past the Malcolm Subban. It was Hertl’s 35th goal of the season. Assists went to Donskoi and Timo Meier.

Just before a fight between Barclay Goodrow and William Carrier (at 3:01), Brenden Dillon was called for cross-checking, so the crowd was presented with the odd sight of a power play coming out of a fight. It did not change the score but took a little explaining.

That power play probably did set the Knights up to score at 5:30, moments after it expired. Cody Eakin was right in front of the blue paint when Deryk Engelland’s shot came in and dropped dead off of Jones’s pads. Eakin was able to gather it up and put it in the net. Assists went to Engelland and Ryan Carpenter.

The Sharks tied it again at 7:22 of the third. Tomas Hertl burst into the Vegas zone trailing one defender and slipping around another on his way to the net. He didn’t get a shot off but drew all the attention his way as he went behind the net and sent the puck forward for one of several Sharks to take a shot. Two couldn’t catch it but Evander Kane was coming in as the trailer and he found the rebound for a quick shot into an empty net. Subban was stuck in traffic to the side of the net, unable to get back for the save.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic gave the Sharks their first lead of the night at 11:26 with a slap shot off an offensive zone faceoff. Logan Couture got the assist. It was Vlasic’s third of the season.

That lead only lasted for 38 seconds. Shea Theodore did almost exactly what Vlasic did, taking a shot off an offensive zone faceoff win by William Karlsson. It was Theodore’s 12th of the season.

The end of the third was spent mostly in penalties. First, matching roughing penalties were assigned to Timo Meier and William Carrier at 16:10. At 10:05, almost a minute after the four-on-four ended, Colin Miller was called for hooking.

That power play carried over into the extra period, right up to Brent Burns’s game winner 22 seconds into overtime. That shot came off of Couture’s pass along the blue line. A secondary assist went to Kevin Labanc.

The Sharks next play on Sunday at 5:00 PM PT against the visiting Calgary Flames.

Sharks Down Jets 5-4, Win Streak at 6

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks defeated the Winnipeg Jets 5-4 Tuesday at the Bell MTS Center in Winnipeg. That puts San Jose’s current win streak at six in a row. Two goals came from Gustav Nyquist, with three more from Marcus Sorensen, Joe Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Martin Jones made 21 saves in the win, while Connor Hellebuyck made 31 saves for Winnipeg. Jets goals came from Andrew Copp, Bryan Little, Mathieu Perrault and Kyle Connor.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic started the scoring in the first with a goal at 8:05. Vlasic took a shot from just below the blue line, then followed it to the net and shot his rebound in. Assists went to Joe Thornton and Marcus Sorensen.

Winnipeg responded 32 seconds later. Andrew Copp deflected Ben Chiarot’s shot from the blue line. A second assist went to Matthieu Perrault.

They scored another 33 seconds after that. Bryan Little’s shot went off of Justin Braun and in.

The Sharks drew even again at 16:04. Tomas Hertl carried the puck through the neutral zone, weaving between defenders and finally making a drop pass in the slot to Gustav Nyquist. Nyquist put the puck in the net without hesitation. Assists went to Hertl and Joonas Donskoi.

The first period shot count was 12-10 Sharks, with the Jets winning 59% of the face offs.

In the first minute of the second period, the Jets scored on a power play. Patrik Laine passed the puck to Kyle Connor, who was below the goal line. Connor moved over the line and looked like he was searching for a passing lane. Instead, he took a quick back hand shot over Dell’s pad. Assists went to Laine and Blake Wheeler.

Nyquist tied it back up for the Sharks at 10:33 of the second. Vlasic took a quick shot off of another rebound, this one created by Tomas Hertl. Vlasic’s shot went into a crowd at the net, off of Nyquist and in. Vlasic and Hertl got the assists.

The second period shot count was 13-11 Sharks, with 52% of the face offs going to the Jets.

The Sharks took the lead back two minutes into the third with a goal from Marcus Sorensen. Joe Thornton brought the puck out from behind the Winnipeg net and found Sorensen out above the blue paint. A bang-bang play put the puck in the net. Assists went to Thornton and Kevin Labanc.

Winnipeg tied the game at 16:22 with a goal from Mathieu Perrault. The goal came soon after a failed Sharks power play, which included an excellent save by Dell on a short-handed attempt by Winnipeg. This shot came from Tyler Myers on the blue line for the deflection by Perrault. Assists went to Myers and Brandon Tanev.

The game looked sure to go to overtime as the final seconds ticked down, with play in the Sharks zone. Vlasic broke up a pass and sent the puck rocketing out of the zone. Timo Meier was right on it and Pavelski chased caught him in the neutral zone so they went in two on one against Dmitry Kulikov. Meier waited for the right moment and made the pass across to Pavelski for the game winner at 19:54. Assists went to Meier and Vlasic.

The win puts the Sharks three points ahead of Calgary, who were still playing in New Jersey against the Devils when the Sharks game ended. The Sharks next play on Thursday against the Florida Panthers in San Jose at 7:30 PM PT.

Injury notes:

Early in the first period, Radim Simek went down after a collision with Winnipeg’s Andrew Copp. The injury appeared to be to his lower leg. He did not return to the game.

On the subject of how well Simek has played with Brent Burns, Burns said after the game: “He just makes great reads. He’s aggressive. I think we read off each other well. Don’t understand him but he can make good reads out there so, I don’t know, it’s been fun.” If Simek is not available for the next game, Joakim Ryan could come back in as Burns’s partner.

Blake Wheeler also left the game early in the third. First, he had a collision in the corner with a referee’s elbow. Not long after, he fell while trying to check Couture. He left near the 11-minute mark.

Evander Kane and Erik Karlsson remain out of the Sharks lineup.

Sharks Fall to Lightning 6-3

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks lost 6-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Saturday’s road game at Amalie Arena. Tampa Bay got goals from Steven Stamkos (2), Yanni Gourde, Mathieu Joseph, Alex Killorn, and Victor Hedman. Two Sharks goals came from Evander Kane and one from Marcus Sorensen. Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves for the win, while Martin Jones made 20 saves in the Sharks’ loss. The Sharks power play went 1-3, while their penalty kill was 2-4.

The Sharks were once again missing some significant players from their blue line. Erik Karlsson skated during warm-ups, but then there was a last minute scratch Saturday. Marc-Edouard Vlasic continues to be out, missing his eighth game since January 2. It is not certain whether either player will return before the NHL All Star Game.

After the game, Sharks Captain Joe Pavelski was asked about these roster challenges, and he said: “We were all right at times, we had a lot of chances. You can’t give up six, but it gets a little bit away from us there at the end. And five on three goal and a couple of those things. We definitely had a chance in this game I think.”

Of Erik Karlsson’s absence in particular, Sharks forward Evander Kane said: “No matter who it is, it’s always next man up. We’ve played without a lot of our top D through the course of the season, played well. I mean we played with three guys that are normally out of the lineup against these guys at home and beat them. So obviously it’s a loss but it’s not an excuse.”

The Lightning struck first, 3:32 into the game. Mathieu Joseph dumped the puck in from just over the center line and then followed the puck to the corner. JT Miller sped into the corner as well and centered the puck on net. Anthoney Cirelli was in front of the net to take the shot, but Jones kicked the puck back out. He did not kick it far enough, as Joseph was right there to put the rebound in the net. It was Joseph’s 12th of the season, with assists to Cirelli and Miller.

Tampa Bay doubled their lead at 17:51. In a flurry of activity at the Sharks net, Marcus Sorensen poked the puck away from Brayden Point. unfortunately, Alex Killorn was coming down the slot and the puck came right to him with traffic to screen Jones’s view. It was Killorn’s 11th of the season.

Evander Kane got one back for the Sharks on the power play at 19:39 of the period. With 44 seconds left in the power play and less time left in the period, Joe Thornton made a pass to Timo Meier at the side of the net. Instead of taking the shot, Meier found Kane arriving on the other side of the blue paint and sent the puck to him. Kane had an open net as Andrei Vasilevskiy was coming across. It was Kane’s 18th of the season, with assists going to Meier and Thornton.

The Sharks led the period in shots 16-7, while Tampa Bay led in faceoff wins 59%-41%.

Evander Kane added another goal to tie the score just 58 seconds into the second period. Kane caught a pass from Joonas Donskoi just as Kane reached the Lightning blue line. He skated into the slot and took a shot that went wide of the net and came off the backboards. It came off the boards just so that as Kane reached the net, the puck slid by the post and was in position to be knocked in. Assists went to Donskoi and Radim Simek.

It took the Lightning some time to retake the lead, but they did at 7:29 with a goal from Yanni Gourde. Steven Stamkos shot the puck behind the net and off the boards, where it found Gourde skating, then diving to reach it and put it in the net. It was Gourde’s 12th of the season, with assists going to Stamkos and Ondrej Palat.

Tampa Bay got their lead back to two at 12:01, on a power play caused by a tripping penalty to Logan Couture. That penalty was taken in the final seconds of a penalty to Kevin Labanc, so the Sharks were just finishing a 3-on-5 kill. Victor Hedman skated by three Sharks to get the shot under Jones and into the net. It was Hedman’s seventh of the season. An assist went to Nikita Kucherov.

The shot count was even in the second period at 13. By the end of the second, the Sharks had improved their faceoff percentage to 50%.

Steven Stamkos gave the Lightning a 5-2 lead at 5:08 of the third period. Kucherov skated around Simek along the boards, then passed the puck to Stamkos in the middle of the ice. Stamkos got around Donskoi and took a shot through traffic for his 25th goal of the season. Kucherov and Ryan McDonough had the assists.

Stamkos scored again at 14:15, this time from his usual spot high on the faceoff circle, and on the power play. Evander Kane was in the box for roughing against Erik Cernak. Asists went to Hedman and Point.

Marcus Sorensen scored to make it 6-3 with a slap shot in the final minute of the game. Assists went to Tim Heed and Kevin Labanc. Despite the score, Vasilevskiy was very agitated about giving up that goal and took it out on his stick and blocker.

The final shot count was 39-26 Sharks, and the Sharks won 53% of the faceoffs.

The Sharks next play on Monday in Florida against the Panthers at 4:00 PM PT.

Sharks Preseason 2018: Vegas Beats Sharks 5-2 With 3 SHG

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

With a 5-2 loss Sunday to the Vegas Golden Knights, the San Jose Sharks finished the 2018 preseason with four losses in a row. Vegas goals came from Nick Holden, Reilly Smith, Tomas Nosek (2), and Max Pacioretty. Those last three mentioned goals were short-handed. For San Jose, Erik Karlsson and Kevin Labanc scored, both on the power play.

Both teams had their starting goaltenders in net, with Martin Jones for the Sharks and Marc-Andre Fleury for the Golden Knights. The rest of the lineup for the Sharks looked much as it might for Wednesday’s opening game, including Finnish newcomer Antti Suomela. Jones stopped 22 of 27 shots for the Sharks, while Fleury stopped 33 of 35 for the win.

The first goal came late in the first period. Joakim Ryan tried a pass behind the net to Brent Burns, but Jonathan Marchessault was right behind him to snatch the puck away and get it to Holden, who had just pinched in from the blue line. The shot went over Jones’ glove and in at 18:44.

The Sharks responded early in the second period during a power play. Ryan Reaves was in the box for throwing a broken stick into Joe Pavelski’s path. It was either subtly done or accidental, but the whistle blew nonetheless. The Knights’ penalty killers pushed the Sharks out after a couple of shots and then stopped them at the blue line as they tried to re-enter, twice in quick succession. Finally, the Sharks got their power play set up and Labanc played catch with Karlsson a little before Karlsson was able to score from just above the goal line at 5:41. Labanc and Timo Meier got the assists.

At 12:58 of the second, Marc-Edouard Vlasic went to the Sharks’ room after being called for unsportsmanlike conduct. Kevin Labanc served the minor penalty in Vlasic’s place. Vlasic did not return until the start of the third period.

The Sharks killed off the Vlasic penalty but Vegas pushed back hard in the middle minutes of the period, leaving the Sharks’ special teams in a shambles.

Pacioretty broke Evander Kane’s stick with a slash, cutting their own power play short by some seconds. The Sharks power play was at work in the o-zone when Burns tripped along the blue line. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare picked up the loose puck and got it to a breaking Nosek. Now two-on-none with Bellemare, Nosek carried it in and beat Jones under the blocker at 9:39.

Vegas scored just seven seconds into a power play at 11:25. Joe Pavelski was in the box for hooking. The puck came high out of the corner, William Karlsson’s pass ramping off of Brenden Dillon’s stick. If fell to Reilly Smith in front of the net and he put it by Jones without hesitation. Assists went to William Karlsson and Ryan Miller.

With under five minutes left in the second period, the Sharks started a power play after Marchessault went to the box for slashing Marcus Sorensen. The power play went pretty well for the first minute, with the Sharks entering the zone without too much trouble. They were retrieving the puck after shots and moving around well. In the second minute, the puck got by Erik Karlsson at the blue line and the Sharks had to retrieve it. Vegas was doing an excellent job of keeping them out and the Sharks were on their second try when Pacioretty stripped the puck from Hertl who was already being pressured by Paul Stastny. Pacioretty skated to the Sharks’ net with Meier and Burns closing in on him. He got a shot off close to the blue paint, then tapped his own rebound around Jones’ skate. The short-handed goal was unassisted at 17:10.

The Sharks had another power play 1:25 into the third period. Just 16 seconds into that, Nosek and Bellemare struck again. Bellemare broke up a play and knocked the puck out of the zone and chased it down in the Sharks zone. While Couture and Burns closed in on him, he sent the puck out to the zlot where Nosek was moving in. Nosek put the puck over Jones’ blocker. Karlsson had spotted Nosek, but did not catch him quickly enough to stop the shot.

The Sharks survived two more power plays and a penalty kill in the third, without giving up another goal. At 14:33, Collin Miller was called for tripping and the Sharks started their fifth power play of the game. The second unit was on the ice, with Labanc, Kane, Hertl, Meier and Vlasic. With six seconds to go in the power play, Labanc was just above the goal line, almost at the wall when he drove the puck through the short side. Assists went to Vlasic and Hertl.

The Sharks will play their season opener on Wednesday in San Jose against the Anaheim Ducks at 7:30 PM PT.