Sharks Take Game 3, Beat Avs 4-2 with Couture Hat Trick

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By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks took a 2-1 series lead over the Colorado Avalanche, winning 4-2 in Denver Tuesday. Three of the Sharks’ goals came from Logan Couture, and one from Timo Meier. Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Nieto scored for Colorado. Martin Jones made 25 saves for the win, and Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves in the loss.

After the game, Martin Jones said of Logan Couture: “He’s clutch, I mean big games, big moments in games, he’s the guy that, every time, you can rely on. So, he was huge again tonight.”

The Sharks took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, but then saw the game tied 2-2 in the third period. Of the team’s response to this situation, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said:

I loved our response, it was even-keeled, there was no panic, you know, it was just ‘get out there and let’s get back at this.’ I think we knew, at that point it was 2-2, but, you know, we deserved to be in a different spot than that. We knew what was working for us and we just needed to get back to that.

Power plays were remarkably unproductive in the game. None scored and only one power play in the game generated more than one shot, Colorado’s in the second period. That one only got two shots.

Sharks defenseman Justin Braun said, of his team’s defensive success in the game: “I think it came down to the pk. You know, we did a really good job, they had a lot of good chances but we kept it out of the net.”

The Sharks had two power plays by the time the middle of the first period had gone by. They had few shots on those power plays that looked dangerous, but hit a lot of metal. The Avs had their first power play abbreviated as it overlapped with the Sharks’ second one. The power plays and the four-on-four added to the speed of the period, which didn’t generate any scoring until the last five minutes.

Logan Couture was able to score after a prolonged attack on the Colorado net, at 15:24. Grubauer made several saves before Couture put the puck past him with a reaching swipe at his own rebound. Assists went to Gus Nyquist and Timo Meier.

Timo Meier added another in the final minute of the period. Rushing in after intercepting the puck in the neutral zone, Meier blew past the unsuspecting defense and took the shot without slowing down. The puck rang the bar on its way in.

The shot count for the first period was 13-7 Sharks. The Sharks jumped right into the second with four shots in the first 90 seconds of the period. The Avs had two in those 90.

The Sharks had a great shift from the Couture-Meier-Kane line around the 3:20 mark. While the forwards kept the Avs locked in the defensive zone, defensemen Vlasic and Burns got some shots in to stir things up. A shot from Vlasic bounced up and over Grubauer, but managed to stay out. Before the 10-minute mark, the Sharks were on the power play and already had eleven shots to Colorado’s three.

The power play came from a high stick to Micheal Haley’s face. The Sharks did not score but the power play time kept the Avs on their heels. The teams traded penalties again as the period wore on but penalty killers were perfect in the second, technically.

Less than a second after the second Sharks power play expired, Ian Cole intercepted a stretch pass from Brent Burns. He got the puck right to Nathan MacKinnon as he flew off the bench and through the neutral zone. Burns was caught flat-footed as MacKinnon went around him and beat Jones with a quick shot. It was MacKinnon’s fifth of the playoffs. Cole got the lone assist.

The Sharks again outshot the Avs, 13-9 in the second. The Avs came out energized for the third, and got six shots in to the Sharks’ two in the first half of the period. The Sharks also took a too many men penalty at 6:02. Colorado got one shot in that power play, but there were signs of fatigue from the Sharks.

Erik Karlsson’s attempt to move the puck up the boards from behind the net was blocked by Tyson Jost and bounced harmlessly to the corner. That led to an extended attack from Colorado against Sharks, who had already been on the ice for too long. Samuel Girard’s shot came down from the blue line into traffic and went off of Matt Nieto, into the net at 11:45. It was Nieto’s fourth of the playoffs. Assists went to Girard and Cale Makar.

Despite appearances, the Sharks were not completely gassed yet, and they made their first significant push of the third into the offensive zone. After Gus Nyquist forced a turnover just inside the Colorado blue line, Logan Couture, who had been dawdling before leaving the zone, got the puck and had a clear lane to the net. With a couple of little moves, he avoided a defender’s stick and got Grubauer moving just enough to let the puck get by on the short side. It was Couture’s eighth of the playoffs. Nyquist got the assist.

Colorado finished the game on a power play, but they pulled their goaltender to add a sixth skater. Colorado could not really hold the zone and, after a few tries, the Sharks got an empty net goal. It was Couture’s for the hat trick.

Gus Nyquist was able to make it to the game even though he did not travel with the team. He stayed behind with his wife while she delivered their first child, a daughter named Charlotte.

After the game, Nyquist said: “It’ll be nice to lay down in bed tonight and think about a few good days.”

Game 4 will be Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver at 7:00 PM PT.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs/San Jose Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa Walsh: Lucky bounces or rejuvenated? Sharks fired up for second round after Vegas

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

On the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa:

#1 There is little doubt that after the Sharks’ Joe Pavelski got laid out on a cross check, The Sharks got fired up and rallied in the third period to force a comeback tie with the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night.

#2 After being down 3-1, Sharks goals came from Logan Couture (2), Tomas Hertl, Kevin Labanc and Barclay Goodrow to tie up the contest. After the Pavelski cross check, the Sharks did it for their team captain.

#3 Down 3-1 in the series and home ice, the Sharks are a team noted for coming back when the chips are down.

#4 After some inspiration, the team seems rejuvenated and after Tuesday’s game seven, said they’re fired up about moving onto the next round against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night.

#5 For Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer, how does a coach get a team up for a third period after being down 3-1 in the series? Tell us the kind of job DeBoer had to go through to come back from being down 3-1.

Mary Lisa does the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs podcast each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Sharks Force Game 7 With 2-1 Win Over Golden Knights in 2OT

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks won 2-1 in the second overtime of Game 6 of their playoff series against the Vegas Golden Knights Sunday. Martin Jones was hands down the star of the game, making 58 saves to Marc-Andre Fleury’s 27. Those 58 saves set a record for Jones and also the franchise. Regulation goals came from Logan Couture for the Sharks and Jonathan Marchessault for the Golden Knights. The teams will return to San Jose for Game 7 on Tuesday.

The Sharks got off to a fast start in the game, taking a significant lead in shots until the middle of the period. That was the last such lead they would have in the game. In the first period, they fell behind by one shot, 10-9. In the second period, Las Vegas outshot them 17-7 and in the third period the Golden Knights won the shot contest by a whopping 17-4. On top of that, the Sharks blocked 34 more shots. This was the onslaught that Sharks goaltender Martin Jones faced Sunday.

After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said:

Yeah, we knew Joner was on, you could feel it, for sure. You know, you’re looking at the scoreboard and the shots are saying what they are. But the way Joner was moving, seeing the puck, you know, it wasn’t two-on-ones, breakaways, guys weren’t getting behind us. It was still a pretty tight-knit group out there and guys were blocking some shots and hanging in there.

Martin Jones said “It was a good game, obviously. We stuck with it the whole night. Give our guys a lot of credit, some huge penalty kills in overtime and the third. Yeah, everybody chipped in with stuff today.”

The officials seemed to have put their whistles away for overtime, ignoring some fairly obvious penalties from tripping to holding on both sides. They ignored it all until Barclay Goodrow slashed the stick out of Brayden McNabb’s hands at 10:46 of the second overtime. The Sharks still had no shots on goal in the period.

The penalty appeared to be the death knell for the Sharks. Instead, Marc-Edouard Vlasic cleared the puck from the front of the net up to Tomas Hertl in the middle of the blue line. Hertl took off as fast as skaters are able to halfway through the fifth period. He barely stayed ahead of Shea Theodore, then slowed and took a shot from inside the face-off circle. Fleury couldn’t stop it. The Sharks won the game short-handed with their first shot of the period.

The first goal of the game did not come until the final 10 seconds of the first period. While Timo Meier fought Deryk Engelland for the puck in the neutral zone, Logan Couture skated up and plucked the puck away from them. He kept skating into the slot and veered away into the face-off circle while taking a shot that got by Marc-Andre Fleury. Timo Meier got the assist. It was Couture’s fourth of the playoffs.

The Sharks had one power play in the first period, a penalty to Shea Theodore for tripping Tomas Hertl. They had just one shot in that power play.

The second goal of the game came in the middle of the second period, from Joathan Marchessault for the Golden Knights. Shea Theodore took a shot from the blue line into some traffic and Jones stopped that one, but there was a small rebound that Marchessault got to. He pulled it around the prone goalie and put it in the net. It was Marchessault’s third of the playoffs. Assists went to Shea Theodore and William Karlsson.

Each team had a power play in the second period. Las Vegas had a power play at 14:26 after Timo Meier was called for tripping William Karlsson. Las Vegas had no shots on that power play.

The Sharks had one shot on their second period power play, the result of a penalty to Marchessault for slashing Logan Couture.

In the scoreless third period, the Golden Knights had the only power play, due to a goaltender interference penalty to Melker Karlsson. They had one shot on that power play.

Labanc and Thornton had a good chance near the middle of the first OT period, and Labanc’s shot may have gone under Fleury and back out just on the outside of the net.

With about three minutes to go, the teams exchanged wild scrambles at the net, with defensemen piled up, at Fleury’s end, he had two of his own defensemen spreadeagled on top of of each other in the blue paint after a puck got by Fleury. It was so close to the line that the NHL reviewed the video.

By the 10-minute mark of the first OT, the teams were tied with two shots each. Then the NHL changed that to a 3-1 lead for the Golden Knights. Eventually, it evened out to 7-6 for the Golden Knights in the first OT.

Approaching the midpoint of the second OT, the Golden Knights had seven shots and the Sharks had none on the books. And then Hertl scored.

The Sharks played more than two periods with only five defensemen. Joakim Ryan did not skate after the second period.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs podcast with Daniel Dullum: Sharks-Knights draw down in Game 6; Av’s and CBJ’s upsets to advance; plus more

Photo credit: @newsvire1

On the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs podcast with Daniel:

1 Sharks stay alive; series shifts to Las Vegas for Game 6

2 First round upsets: Blue Jackets stun Lightning; Av’s oust Flames, Stars stun Preds in Nashville

3 Blues eliminate Jets in six; Caps rout Carolina, Islanders waiting for second round

4 Leafs try to close out Bruins

5 Todd McLellan finds work, hired by LA Kings; Yzerman heads home to take over Red Wings

Daniel does the NHL podcasts each Sunday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs podcast with Matt Harrington: Kate Smith’s racist songs of the past takes top story in the NHL; Avalanche go right through Flames like butter; Kapanen gets crucial game-winner for Leafs

photo from azcentral.com: A worker covers a statue of singer Kate Smith near the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

On the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs podcast with Matt:

#1 Matt, the banning of Kate Smith’s version of God Bless America at Philadelphia Flyers games, has taken forefront in NHL news today with the uncovering of her singing racist songs in the 1930s the NHL stated they wanted no part of Smith and those songs and the Flyers will no longer play God Bless America by Kate Smith at their games. Matt shares his thoughts on this story that has dominated news in hockey this weekend.

#2 The Colorado Avalanche went through the Calgary Flames like butter to advance to round two. What made it a breeze for the Avalanche to win the first round?

#3 The Avalanche in Game 5 to advance got a convincing four-goal win over the Flames 5-1. The Avalanche’s Colin Wilson and Mikko Rantanen each had huge night scoring twice and each with an assist.

#4 The Toronto Maple Leafs have a 3-2 lead on the Boston Bruins after getting a narrow 2-1 win on Friday night in Boston. The Bruins needed that game they had home ice and now head back to Toronto for an elimination game.

#5 The Leafs’ Auston Matthews broke the 0-0 deadlock with a goal in the third period and the Leafs’ Kasperi Kapanen scored another goal that pushed the Leafs past the Bruins for the win.

Matt Harrington does the NHL podcasts each Saturday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs/San Jose Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa Walsh: Sharks have home ice; They’ll need to key in on Knights tonight

Photo credit: @NHL

On the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and SJ Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa:

#1 Down 3-1 in the series, the Sharks are in a must-win situation or face elimination in tonight’s game at SAP Center against the Vegas Golden Knights. The Sharks’ only major advantage now is having home ice tonight.

#2 In the last three games, the Sharks’ defense has not been a mystery, getting beat by scores of 5-3, 6-3, and in the last game, 5-0.

#3 The Sharks would have been swept if it had not been for their Game 1 win at home 5-2. If the Sharks can make it a 3-2 series, they still have a mountain climb with another trip back to Vegas on Sunday night for a possible Game 6 if they get that far.

#4 Has Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer’s theme been keying in on some of the Knights scorers from Game 4 — Max  Pacioretty scoring twice, Shea Theodore, Alex Tuch, and Jonathan Marchessault?

#5 Game 5 tonight at SAP Center. It really all boils down to this game for the Sharks tonight. They have to almost play perfect hockey to come away from this to keep the series alive.

Mary Lisa is a San Jose Sharks beat writer and does the Sharks podcast each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com