NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2019: Golden Knights Beat Sharks 5-3; Tie Series 1-1

Photo credit: @GoldenKnights

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The Vegas Golden Knights defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-3 Friday, tying their first round NHL Playoff series 1-1. Vegas goals came from Cody Eakin, Colin Miller, Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone and William Karlsson. Sharks goals came from Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl and Joe Thornton. Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 34 saves in the win. Martin Jones made four saves on seven shots for San Jose, then Aaron Dell came in to replace him and made 14 saves on 16 shots.

The Sharks had eight power plays in the game while the Golden Knights had just three. The Sharks scored one power play goal and Vegas scored one power play goal and two short-handed ones.

After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski talked about how the Sharks’ power play failed them: “We would get turned back and try to make the play up top and they would take that away and it would be out of the zone. It can be a little cleaner, a little quicker, a little bit more direct and we’ll go from there.”

The curse of the first five minutes reared its head again for the Sharks. Martin Jones had just saved a Max Pacioretty shot, which wound up behind the net. Following it as it came back around, Jones found himself screened by his own defensemen when Cody Eakin took a shot from the slot. An assist went to Pacioretty.

That was not the end of it. Before five minutes had elapsed, Vegas scored again. 2:10 into overlapping Sharks power plays, Colin Miller emerged from the penalty box to score short handed at 4:37.

Vegas added another at 6:11. Paul Stastny deflected a pass in the neutral zone, and Pacioretty picked it up. He carried the puck in just off the wall and took his shot before passing the face-off dot. The shot went by Jones on the far side and in. Stastny got the assist.

After that goal, Peter DeBoer replaced Martin Jones with Aaron Dell in net.

After the game, DeBoer said: “We were down three-nothing ten minutes in. I didn’t put it on Jonesy. We needed a shot in the arm to kind of change our momentum.”

The Sharks took some time to stem the bleeding. Once they had done that, they engaged their offense.

Logan Couture got the Sharks on the board at 16:59. The Sharks had just finished killing off a two-man advantage for Vegas, and were playing 4-on-4. Erik Karlsson made a pass across the offensive zone to Pavelski, who quickly passed it back across to Couture in front of the net. Couture put it carefully over Fleury and into the net. Assists went to Pavelski and Karlsson.

After the goal, the Sharks had a brief power play and scored again at 17:38. Couture passed the puck from the point along the blue line to Erik Karlsson, who had a long line of traffic between himself and the net. That traffic made an effective screen for Karlsson’s shot, and a deflection by Tomas Hertl made it all the more elusive. It was Hertl’s second of the playoffs. Assists went to Karlsson and Couture.

Joe Thornton completed the comeback at 19:08 of the period. The Sharks had just spent quite a while hemmed in their own zone when Logan Couture flipped the puck out of the zone. Evander Kane took off in hot pursuit though Pacioretty had several steps on him. Kane caught up and pushed Pacioretty off the puck, took it around behind the net and sent it back up to Brenden Dillon on the blue line. Dillon sent it back down to Thornton for a deflection. Dillon and Kane got the assists.

The second period started with another goal against the Sharks in the first five minutes, but only after the Sharks had a goal called back 51 seconds in. The goal did not count as it occurred just after Logan Couture was penalized for goaltender interference. The call was questionable as the contact came well outside the blue paint and appeared to be initiated by the goaltender. Nevertheless, the goal did not count.

On the ensuing power play, Vegas scored at 1:31. Mark Stone deflected a blue line shot from Shea Theodore. Dell stopped the deflection but the puck made its way back out to Stone, who was able to poke it through traffic and in. It was Stone’s third of the playoffs. Assists went to Stastny and Alex Tuch.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic finished his final shift of the game at 1:06, after the face-off for that Vegas power play, so the Sharks finished the game with five defensemen. Vlasic was injured blocking a shot.

Vegas scored a second short-handed goal at 7:35 of the third period. William Karlsson broke away as Reilly Smith was collecting the puck in the defensive zone. The pass got to him on the center line when he was already up to speed. He faked a shot as he approached the net and then put it away with a back-hand over a prone goaltender. Assists went to Smith and Tuch.

That goal came on Vegas’s first shot of the period. They did not have another shot until 13:53 of the period. In total, they only had four shots in the period but that was enough for them.

The Sharks pulled their goaltender with over two minutes to go for an offensive zone draw. The Sharks had a total of 15 shots in the period but could not beat Fleury again.

Through the first two periods, the Sharks won over 60% of the face-offs, but in the third won just 33%. The Golden Knights put Colin Miller in for Nick Holden on their blue line Friday. The Sharks made no roster changes, but may have to for Sunday, if Vlasic is not available.

Game 3 will be in Las Vegas on Sunday at 7:00 PM PT.

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

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sharks Beat the Canadiens 3-1 in Montreal

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks finished the road trip with a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Sunday. It was the Sharks’ first road win since October 28. Sharks’ goals came from Justin Braun, Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski. Jeff Petry scored the Canadiens’ lone goal. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 39 saves for the win, while Canadiens goalie Carey Price made 26 saves in the loss.

After the game, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said:

We had a little bit of desperation to our game. We got the first goal, I think, which relieved some pressure. I thought we had a pretty good start in Ottawa and couldn’t find a goal early and got behind. We’ve been chasing the game a lot on this trip. So, you know, we were in front. And I thought the only thing I would have liked to have done better was extend it in the second. We had three or four chances to maybe extend that lead by one and make the third maybe a little bit easier on ourselves. But, a lot of good stuff.

Justin Braun opened the scoring at 2:55 of the first, giving the Sharks that early lead. He intercepted a pass to Michael Chaput near the Montreal blue line, took a couple of strides into the zone and let fly a long shot at the net. It beat Price for an unassisted goal, Braun’s first of the season.

The second goal came from Brent Burns, a power-play goal at 10:29. The Sharks were playing with a two-man advantage after Mike Reilly cross-checked Barclay Goodrow, and then Michael Chaput caught Logan Couture with a high stick just under a minute later. Erik Karlsson sent the puck to Joe Pavelski who was down by the goal line. Pavelski sent the puck quickly back to Burns in the slot. Burns took a moment to line his shot up and sent a missle into the top corner. It was Burns’ fourth goal of the season, with assists to Karlsson and Pavelski.

Over the course of the first period, the shot count was nearly even, with the Sharks leading 11-9.

Jeff Petry got one back for Montreal 12:15 into the second period. The Canadiens entered the zone three-on-two but the Sharks’ defense pushed them back to the outside. The Canadiens regrouped. On a broken play with a failed pass, Petry found the puck in front of the net and put it by Jones’ glove. Assists went to Jonathan Drouin and Andrew Shaw. Logan Couture got the puck below the goal line and sent it up the boards to Brent Burns, who found Joe Pavelski in the slot for a quick shot through on short side. It was Pavelski’s 17th of the season with assists to Burns and Couture.

During the second period, the shots were again very close, with the Sharks leading 11-10. During the third period, the Canadiens outshot the Sharks 22-7, but Martin Jones was up to the task.

After the game, Jones said: “I thought we played a way better game, despite the shots, it’s the two-on-ones and the odd man rushes that have been hurting us. So I thought we did a great job tonight.”

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

Sharks Fall to Leafs 5-3, Matthews Scores Two In Return

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks were defeated 5-3 by the Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

Leafs goals came from John Tavares (2), Patrick Marleau and Auston Matthews (2). It was the first game back from injury for Matthews after a 15-game absence.

Sharks goals came from Tomas Hertl, Joe Pavelski and Melker Karlsson. Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen, made 38 saves for the win, while Sharks goalie Aaron Dell made 24 saves in the loss. Both teams did well on the power play, with Toronto scoring three times in four tries, and the Sharks scoring twice in three power plays. The Sharks dominated on the shot clock 41-29, but the Leafs won in the faceoff circle, winning 60% of them.

After the game, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer identified special teams as the story of the game:

The story was the three power play goals. I mean they went three for four. So, you’re not going to win on the road giving up two power play goals, never mind three. Our attention to detail on the P.K. is as good as anybody in the league. You know, it wasn’t tonight. You’ve got to give them credit, they’ve got a pretty potent power play and they executed and they stuck it in the net.

Sharks forward Timo Meier was out with an injury Wednesday. Asked how that changed things, DeBoer said: “It changes, you know. But guys gotta get the job done. I thought it’s an opportunity for some other guys to jump in and do the job. I didn’t feel like we could play four lines tonight and that’s unfortunate because you want guys to grab opportunity.”

The first period was fast and furious for both teams. The neutral zone saw a lot of traffic and puck possession was hotly disputed. The first goal came just 3:38 in on a Toronto power play with Kevin Labanc in the box for tripping Mitchell Marner.

The Sharks penalty kill started pretty well, with Tomas Hertl keeping the puck behind the Toronto net so that the Leafs didn’t get set up in the Sharks zone for almost 30 seconds. Once in, however, it only took Toronto about 15 seconds to score. The play started with a point-to-point pass between Morgan Reilly and Mitchell Marner. Marner made a cross-ice pass to Auston Matthews in the faceoff circle, who passed it to John Tavares in front of the net. No one was there to give Tavares any grief and he tapped it in. It was Tavares’ 16th of the season, with assists to Matthews and Marner.

The Sharks responded with their own power play goal at 10:40, after Andreas Johnsson was called for interference on Joonas Donskoi. The Sharks had a couple of good chances before finally scoring. Tomas Hertl had already spent a lot of time fighting his way to the front of the net when Logan Couture found Kevin Labanc near the boards. Labanc moved the puck quickly to Hertl who was able to put it away neatly. It was Hertl’s 6th of the season, with assists went to Couture and Labanc.

Less than 30 seconds later, Toronto took the lead again with another power play goal. The penalty was to Barclay Goodrow for holding Auston Matthews. This time the shot came from Auston Matthews, almost the top of the faceoff circle. The puck had moved from behind the Sharks net to the point and back down to Matthews for the shot. Assists went to Reilly and Marner.

John Tavares scored his second of the game with just 18 seconds left in the period. The Leafs came through the neutral zone at speed three-on-two, making two cross-ice passes before Tavares took the shot. Assists went to Marner and Zach Hyman.

Toronto lost no momentum going into the second period and got a power play just 54 seconds in. It was Kevin Labanc’s second tripping penalty of the game. Patrick Marleau made them pay with a goal at 1:53. Gardiner’s shot from the blue line touched the stick of Tyler Ennis and turned into a pass from Andreas Johnsson away from the net. That pass went to Marleau in the faceoff circle. Marleau had an open net and did not miss. It was his first goal against his former team. Assists went to Ennis and Johnsson.

Moments later, the Sharks were back on the power play, this time a tripping penalty to Travis McDermott against Melker Karlsson. Toronto had a little short-handed time but spent it on a quick shot that Dell stopped. With the faceoff in the defensive zone, the Sharks had to make their way through the neutral zone. That gave them some trouble, once interrupted by an off-side call. Once they did get in the zone, they took their time moving the puck around the outside until finally Joe Pavelski saw an opening from the below the faceoff circle. He took a quick shot and beat Anderson to the short side. Assists went to Brent Burns and Logan Couture.

That was it for goals and penalties for the second period.

The Maple Leafs were back on the power play just 33 seconds into the third, when Justin Braun went for holding Zach Hyman. The Sharks killed that off, their first successful kill of the game. Evander Kane had a good breakaway chance near the midpoint of the period, but two Leafs caught up with him and hauled him down before he could shoot.

At 10:59, Auston Matthews scored again to give the Leafs their three-goal lead back. Aaron Dell had just fought off a deflection on a shot from the blue line. The puck went back to the blue line, where Jake Gardiner caught up to it and sent it back below the goal line for Kasperi Kapanen. Kapanen brought it out the other side of the net and passed it to Johnsson, who took a shot that hit Matthews on the way in, beating Dell over his left shoulder. Assists went to Johnsson and Kapanen.

The Sharks tightened up the score in the final two minutes with a goal from Melker Karlsson at the 18-minute mark. Evander Kane’s pass found Joonas Donskoi just as he crossed into the offensive zone with Melker Karlsson steps behind. Karlsson went to the net and Donskoi’s pass hit his stick just as he arrived. It was Karlsson’s second goal of the season, with assists to Donskoi and Kane.

The Sharks next play on Saturday in Ottawa against the Senators at 10:00 AM PT.

Golden Knights Sink Sharks 6-0; Game Misconducts for DeBoer, Kane

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks lost 6-0 to the Vegas Golden Knights at the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday night. This was a stunning reversal following a good homestand that included two 4-0 wins for Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell. Goals came from William Karlsson, Colin Miller, William Carrier and Max Pacioretty (2). Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 33 saves for the win, with Dell making 30 saves in the loss. Sharks’ Evander Kane and Barclay Goodrow were both ejected from the game as well as the team’s head coach Peter DeBoer.

On the Kane expulsion, DeBoer said after the game: “Just absolutely no feel. You’ve got a team down five-nothing, already short on the bench with Couture hurt, you’re going to kick a guy out for arguing a call ’cause emotions are high. Have a little feel for the game.” As for his own eviction, he said: “I just asked… I didn’t even swear, I just asked him ‘did that feel good, kicking Evander out under these circumstances.’ I guess that was enough, I guess he wanted another victim.”

Discussing the game in a more general sense, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said: “It was a tough night. They were obviously… it was one of the better they’re going to play I think and we weren’t ready, you know, by any means. But we would have liked to have been a little bit better. It happens, it’s a good lesson at this time of year I guess. So, I don’t know, it was just a tough night.”

When pressed on the idea of not being ready, Pavelski said:

It felt like we were ready, we were ready to go and it didn’t happen. It snowballed on us and one thing leads to the other. You know, they get a bounce on that first goal and… You know, I’m not saying guys weren’t ready. Just, you’ve got to understand that’s a heavy team over there and they play hard and they’re really good at home. And this has happened to us a couple times now when we’ve come in here.

The Sharks had an abysmal first period. The Golden Knights took control from puck drop, knocking the puck into the Sharks’ zone. Dell went behind the net to retrieve it, but even with his help there the Sharks could not get control of it. Brayden McNabb took a shot from the blue line that first touched Timo Meier, then William Karlsson before bouncing past Dell. That came 14 seconds in. The goal went to Karlsson, with assists to McNabb and Jonathan Marchessault.

Vegas scored again at 4:40. Colin Miller took three shots on his shift, one of which hit Logan Couture and put him in distress. Couture was still down but trying to move the puck when Miller got it away from him and put it past Dell. An assist went to Reilly Smith.

The third and fourth Vegas goals of the first came from Pacioretty. Near the midpoint of the period, with Karlsson in the penalty box for holding, the Sharks’ penalty killers had just cleared the puck and gotten fresh legs on the ice. Smith was moving down from the blue line, looking like he might shoot. Instead he sent it behind Tomas Hertl to a waiting Pacioretty in the slot. Pacioretty sent it in past Dell’s glove. Assists went to Smith and Miller.

Pacioretty’s second goal came right after Dell had poke checked the puck away from Alex Tuch. Pacioretty was there to clean it up and put the puck past Dell while he was trying to get reset.

The second period started less badly because the Sharks only gave up the one goal. The Sharks started with some good pressure, but that fizzled into a hard-to explain breakaway for Carrier, as there were a number of Sharks around him in the neutral zone. None of them moved quickly enough and his shot slipped by Dell. Ryan Reaves got an assist on that one.

The Sharks got into some unusual penalty trouble at 15:41. Evander Kane had been called for high-sticking at 13:06, which penalty the Sharks killed off. Half a minute after they killed it, Kane was called for tripping Tomas Nosek. Kane expressed his disapproval of the call and received an additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Kane described the hit after the game as: “The guy has the puck, I step in his lane, hip on hip. It’s a five-nothing hockey game.” That seems like a fair description of the hit, but the officials saw it differently. An abuse of officials penalty was added and a game misconduct.

Less than a minute later, Jonathan Marchessault ended the four-minute Vegas power play by slashing Barclay Goodrow. DeBoer shared his opinion about these events with the officials, which got him a game misconduct as well.

Some frustration came out early in the third period when Hertl hit Cody Eakin and Eakin retaliated. They both went to the box for two minutes of four on four time. A little over a minute into that, Justin Braun’s pass from behind the net went off the boards, out of the reach of Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Shea Theodore was right there to take it and pass it to Alex Tuch in the slot. Pacioretty moved between Tuch and Dell for a fleeting screen and Tuch scored his seventh of the season. Theodore got the assist.

More frustration bubbled up before the half way mark as Carrier and Brenden Dillon got into it by the Sharks net. Some cross-checks from Dillon got a response from Carrier and Dillon’s helmet came off. Carrier went to the box for roughing. A couple of minutes later, Goodrow got an unsportsmanlike conduct for going after Carrier. With less than three minutes left, Braun got into it with Carrier and went for roughing. At the same time, Reaves went to the box with a misconduct, apparently for some words from the bench.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday against the Sabres in Buffalo at 4:00 PM PT.

Sharks Blank Canucks 4-0; Dell shuts out Vancouver with 19 saves

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 at SAP Center on Friday night. Three power play goals came from Logan Couture, Timo Meier and Erik Karlsson. The only even-strength goal of the game came from Melker Karlsson. Erik Karlsson had two assists along with his goal for three points on the night. Sharks goalie Aaron Dell made 19 saves for the win, while Canucks goalie Anders Nilsson made 20 saves in a losing effort.

After the game, Dell talked about the Sharks’ defensive success: “They were great tonight. Most of the shots they had were long, ones I could see them all the way. I don’t think they had any second opportunities the whole night. That goes to show how solid defensively we were tonight.”

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer commented on the six-game homestand in general:

We played some tough teams during this home stand and found a way to win some games, and did it different ways too. I thought we tightened things up the last few games defensively. Got some great goaltending from Deller in a couple of the last games. Some special teams tonight, the power play. And the pk’s been solid the entire time. So, a lot of good stuff. It’s never perfect, you always want to be a little better. And heading on the road, I think we’re going to have to be a little bit better to win games.

The Sharks had three power plays in the first period and made good use of them. Logan Couture scored at 10:54 just four seconds into the second of those three. The Sharks won an offensive zone faceoff and got the puck to Erik Karlsson at the blue line. He got it right to Couture across the ice and he took the shot from above the faceoff circle for his eighth goal of the season. Assists went to Karlsson and Kevin Labanc.

Timo Meier scored their second goal, at the tail end of a four-minute power play drawn by Lukas Radil. Joe Thornton took a shot that rebounded off Nilsson’s pads, and scooped the puck back up just above the goal line. He took another shot from a very tough angle. Meier was right at the blue paint to nudge it over the line at 19:50 for his 13th goal of the season. Assists went to Thornton and Brent Burns.

The Sharks outshot the Canucks 12-8 in the first period. During the second period, the penalty scale tipped in Vancouver’s favor, but the Sharks killed all three Canuck power plays. They did lose something in the shot count, with Vancouver again getting eight shots during the period and the Sharks only getting credit for five.

Just over a minute into the third period, Logan Couture took a stick to the eye area and went to the dressing room. None of the officials observed the incident so no penalty was called. San Jose did get a power play at 2:54 when the Canucks were penalized for delay of game. The Sharks were moving the puck well when, halfway through the power play, Joe Thornton made a sneaky no-look pass to Erik Karlsson in the slot. His shot went over Nillson’s pad for Karlsson’s second of the season. Assists went to Thornton and Kevin Labanc.

The Sharks were not done yet. Melker Karlsson scored his first of the season redirecting an Erik Karlsson shot at 9:35. Barclay Goodrow’s faceoff win got to Brenden Dillon, whose pass found Erik Karlsson in the middle of the blue line.

The Sharks next play tomorrow in Las Vegas against the Golden Knights at 7:00 PM PT.

Blues Shut Out Sharks 4-0

Photo credit: @StLouisBlues

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks fell 4-0 to the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center on Friday–their second loss in a row, both to Central Division teams. Goals came from Alex Pietrangelo, Ryan O’Reilly, Jaden Schwartz and Alexander Steen. Chad Johnson made 33 saves for the shutout. Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell made 27 saves on 31 shots for the Sharks.

Each team had four power plays, but all of the goals were at even strength. It was the sixth win of the season for St. Louis and the sixth loss for the Sharks.

After the game, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said: “I think yesterday we were reckless but we had energy. Today we were reckless without energy.”

Sharks captain Joe Pavelksi said: “We’re a better team than we showed the last two games. Just the simple breakdowns, kind of getting out of the system, we kind of see what happens. It can cost you.”

Asked about the Sharks’ defensive game, Pavelski said: “I’m fine with our foundation, you know, I’m really satisfied with that. It’s about us executing it a little bit better. And we need to be a little bit more committed to it.”

Asked if the breakdowns might be attributed to having new faces on the team this season, Sharks forward Logan Couture said: “We’re 17 games in. It’s almost a quarter of the season. You can use that excuse for one or two or maybe even three, you can’t use it for 17. So, we’ve got to figure it out.”

After the game in Dallas on Thursday, coach DeBoer made some line changes. Marcus Sorensen was with Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton, while Evander Kane was on a line with Antti Suomela and Joonas Donskoi. Barclay Goodrow was on a line with Rourke Chartier and Melker Karlsson. With Tomas Hertl still out with concussion symptoms, Kevin Labanc was on the top line with Logan Couture and Timo Meier. On defense, Tim Heed stepped into Joakim Ryan’s spot with Brent Burns. Aaron Dell was in net, which was to be expected in the second game of back to backs.

The Blues scored at 14:50 of the first period. The teams were playing four on four, with Joe Pavelski and Vince Dunn in the box for mutual slashing penalties. Ironically, no one was in the box for Alex Pietrangelo’s stick to Barclay Goodrow’s face, which sent the Sharks forward to the room for repairs.

Just over 30 seconds into the penalties, Pietrangelo caught a pass from Vladimir Tarasenko right in the slot. He had time to pick a spot and shoot over Dell’s shoulder. Assists went to Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly.

The Sharks ended the first period in the middle of a power play. That power play wound down without a goal to start the second period. The Blues extended their lead with a goal at 5:28 from Ryan O’Reilly. The Sharks had been outshooting the Blues 5-0 on the period, including some short-handed chances, but play went the other way and Tarasenko got the puck out from behind the Sharks net to Jaden Schwartz. Schwartz sent the puck across the slot to O’Reilly, who caught Dell moving across.

Almost ten minutes later, the Blues scored again. This time, the goal followed a prolonged assault from St. Louis. The Sharks were forced to ice the puck and the Blues took advantage of tired defenders. Jaden Schwartz went to the net an awaited a pass from Tyler Bozak to his right. the short pass set him up for a nice shot over a moving goalie. Assists went to Bozak and Alexander Steen.

The Blues ended the second period on a power play and started the third finishing it off. The Sharks got their third power play of the game at 8:11 of the third. The power play was not very strong and the Sharks gave up a short-handed breakaway to Bozak in the final seconds. Dell was able to prevent another goal.

At 12:21, Steen scored a fourth for the Blues while Sharks got tangled up with a flurry of Blues skaters in the slot. Steen skated around and through the traffic and put his shot over Dell’s pads. Assists went to Bozak and Colton Parayko.

Brent Burns took a tripping penalty moments later, putting the Sharks on the penalty kill. The Blues did not take chances with their power play and killed time, holding the zone. Dell made a good glove save on Parayko, but didn’t have to make many saves for that penalty kill.

The Sharks next play on Sunday back in San Jose against the Calgary Flames at 6:00 PM PT. That game will kick off a six-game homestand for Team Teal.

Sharks Fall to Hurricanes in Shootout 4-3

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks were defeated 4-3 in a shootout by the Hurricanes in Raleigh, North Carolina. Carolina goals came from Dougie Hamilton, Brock McGinn and Teuvo Teravainen, with the shootout winner also scored by McGinn. Petr Mrazek made 20 saves on 23 shots for the win. Sharks goals came from Timo Meier, Antti Suomela and Tomas Hertl. Aaron Dell made 38 saves on 41 shots for San Jose. The Hurricanes outshot the Sharks and beat them in the faceoff circle 61%-39%.

After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski talked about the overtime point the team earned:

We win in a shootout there, you know we feel a little better about ourselves but we still understand that they took over the second half of the game. If we had the first, they took over the second. These points are big though.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said:

What a tale of two games! I walked out at the end of the first period, I thought we could have been up four-nothing. And then we never won another race or a battle the rest of the night, or shift. So I guess the lesson in that is the NHL still plays 60 minute games not 20 minute games and our goalie got us a point for playing 20 minutes.

By the end of the first period, the Sharks had a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Antti Suomela and Timo Meier. Suomela’s goal, his first in the NHL, followed some pretty skating around two Carolina defenders. He took the shot while hopping over some skates for a nice flourish. Assists went to Evander Kane and Brent Burns.

Meier’s goal came on the power play at 8:16. Burns’ shot rebounded off the goalie’s pads and Meier was right in position to clean it up. The goal extended a six game point streak for Meier and was his sixth of the season. Assists went to Burns and Erik Karlsson.

Carolina started the second period very well, with a goal just 1:16 in from Hamilton. The Hurricanes had been in the Sharks’ zone for some time, moving the puck well and refusing to be pushed out. Micheal Ferland pulled the puck away from the boards and skated to the slot, then passed it to Hamilton who was ready just above the circle. His hard shot beat Dell over the shoulder. Ferland got the assist.

At 4:28, Lucas Wallmark went to the box for slashing Logan Couture, putting the Sharks on their second power play of the game. Burns kept the puck in as Carolina tried to clear it, and got it to Kevin Labanc along the boards. Labanc got it to Couture across the ice, who passed it quickly to Hertl, right in front of the blue paint. He to knocked it in before Mrazek could get across to stop him. Assists went to Couture and Labanc.

The Sharks successfully killed a slashing penalty to Karlsson, followed by a brief chance for Karlsson and Marcus Sorensen. The Hurricanes intercepted the pass and went the other way for a shot that Dell stopped. The Hurricanes then took up residence in the offensive zone and the Sharks could not get things going the other way.

Dell had just returned to the net after passing the puck to Karlsson up the boards. Karlsson sent it back around to Dillon on the other side of the net but it went off Dillon’s stick to the front of the net. In the scramble that ensued, Dell went down and Brock McGinn put the puck over him into the net.

Carolina completed the comeback at 15:14 when Kane’s pass went awry, right to Sebastian Aho, who gave it to Teravainen. Teravainen took a shot from the top of the faceoff circle and it went right by Dell, who had some traffic in front of him. Aho got the one assist, extending his point streak to ten games.

In the process of outscoring the Sharks 3-1 during the second period, the Hurricanes outshot the Sharks 16-5.

Hertl was missing at the start the third period, triggering some line adjustments.

After the game,  DeBoer said of Hertl’s absence: “He’s been dealing with something here most of the year. He’s been playing through it and he just re-aggravated it.”

Couture took the first faceoff between Kane and Joonas Donskoi. Pavelski then took a faceoff between Meier and Labanc. Each line generated a chance right away but the score remained tied. Suomela centered Sorensen and Karlsson.

At 7:13, Couture lost an edge and went into the back of the net. He consulted with the trainer and returned to the ice. Dell was busy early in the period, facing a couple of breakaways and some other good chances for Carolina. By the middle of the period, the Sharks were being outshot 6-1. The Sharks managed a flurry of offense near the midpoint, registering a couple of shots and wearing down the Hurricanes defense. Carolina pushed right back after the next line change, keeping the Sharks on their heels.

With 5:29 left, the Sharks had been trapped on defense for too long when they were called for icing. The Sharks got a partial change after Couture cleared the puck, but still needed some good saves from Dell to keep the game tied. They still had just three shots in the period. Their fourth and fifth came in the last two minutes of the period.

DeBoer put Karlsson, Pavelski and Meier out to start overtime against Jordan Staal, Warren Foegele and Brett Pesce–all of whom started for Carolina.

With 44 seconds left in overtime, Dell went down after Foegele caught him in the neck with his stick while trying to cut across the crease. After having the goalie checked out, play resumed with no penalty.

The Sharks got credit for two shots during overtime. It was their goalie who held them in it, making four important saves.

Justin Williams shot first for Carolina: a wrist shot right into Dell’s pads. Couture shot next: a very similar shot trying for the five hole.

McGinn shot second for Carolina: a hard shot through Dell, just inside his arm. Pavelski shot second for San Jose, trying a quick shot from in close, but he hit the post.

Aho tried the same thing, shooting third for Carolina. He also hit the post. Donskoi shot third for San Jose, trying his signature backhand from in close, but he missed the net.

The Sharks next play on Sunday in Anaheim against the Ducks at 5:00 PM PT.

San Jose Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa Walsh: DeBoer preparing club for their biggest game of the season so far tonight

Photo credit: @AVNNewsFeed

On the Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa:

#1 After dropping Game 3 in San Jose on Monday night, what team do you expect to come out tonight? The fiery team that won in double overtime on Saturday in Vegas or the team that battles in overtime, but somehow the Knights find the back end of the net to win it?

#2 Talk about some of the powerhouses on the Knights: William Karlsson, Marc-Andre Fluery, Tomas Tatar, Reilly Smith, Cody Eakin, and David Perron. It’s like you can choose any player from any line and the Knights have a flawless team.

#3 How much has injuries played a role in the playoffs for the Sharks with Joe Thornton and Brent Burns has shined, but has also been playing hurt at times; Evander Kane with the suspension, and Joonas Donskoi listed as injured.

#4 Has this series boiled down to who is the fastest team and how has speed played a role in beating the Sharks in two of the last three games?

#5 Peter DeBoer has had the skaters do some intense speed skating in the morning skate the option to keep up with the Knights. It will be intense if the Sharks aim to tie the series up tonight.

Mary Lisa Walsh does the SJ Sharks podcasts each Wednesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

All Grown Up from 2014: Sharks far more business-like, focused in Game 4–up 3-0–this time

By Morris Phillips

SAN JOSE–On the April 2014 night that the Sharks were supposed to send their old nemesis from La La land packing, a substantial project that was accomplished in 2011, but didn’t get finished in 2013–when the Kings escaped in Game 7 of the conference-semis–they were all over the place, hardly focused enough for the task at hand.

Most obviously, Antti Niemi’s goaltending wasn’t where it needed to be. Even as the Sharks raced to three wins in the first three games of the series, Coach Todd McLellan’s chirping about the goaltending could be heard loud and clear. But he wasn’t all that happy with his team’s penalty killing and physicality either.

Team leaders Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau butted heads with their coach frequently in then his sixth year of seven coaching the team, and they weren’t helping their individual causes by tearing up the Kings. While Thornton and Marleau weren’t no shows, both were on the ice too frequently for too many of the opponent’s goals in that series.

Dan Boyle was well on his way to a contentious, undignified end to his San Jose career. Younger stars Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture were in the midst of breakout years. Who’s team was it that season? With the new wave ascending, and the old guard aging, it was often hard to tell.

In Game 4 at Staples Center, the Sharks committed four of their whopping 10 penalties in the first period. But they survived, tied 1-1. But in the second, a couple more trips to the penalty box ignited the Kings who scored three goals, and then a fourth just 34 seconds into the final period. Down 5-2, McLellan pulled Niemi, and both teams tried to send messages with a couple of well-intentioned fights. The Sharks were still in control, up 3-1, but the Kings were well on their way to getting back into the series.

We all know what transpired next.  The Sharks shriveled, got shut out in Game 5, then scored just one goal each in Games 6 and 7. Jonathan Quick took over the series, and the Kings became just the fourth team in league history to brush aside a 3-0 deficit.

“When I look at it, I look at it as they fixed their problems, we didn’t,” McLellan admitted. “Our problems got progressively worse as we went along,”

Only six Sharks remain from Game 4 of that series four years ago. A seventh, Thornton, is injured, didn’t face the Ducks, and isn’t expected back for the start of the series to come with the Vegas Golden Knights. Couture, Pavelski, Thomas Hertl, Justin Braun, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brent Burns all have that 2014 series in their memory banks, and that seemed to fuel them on Wednesday. Pavelski took the lead, and put the mindset into words.

“The biggest lesson you can learn in the playoffs: the commitment level and what you have to sacrifice. Whether you win or lose, it has to be there on a nightly basis to give yourself the best chance,” Pavelski said.

“We asked them to come into this series and play with composure,” Coach Peter DeBoer said. “We knew what we were going to get, they were going to try to push us out of the series physically. We stood in there and did it without taking penalties and with discipline.”

In winning 2-1 to wrap up the series, and earn at least a week of recuperation and time to prepare for the Knights, the Sharks showed how they’re in a much better place.

Martin Jones, ironically the backup goaltender for the Kings four years ago, is standing on his ear.  Not only did he rack up the saves versus Anaheim, he came up with the biggest when the momentum could have shifted. On Wednesday, he came up big at the end of the second period, and then again, early in the third.  Jones had 30 saves in all.

The Ducks managed just four goals in the series, further illustrating Jones’ dominance.

Hertl came up with the game-winning goal–on an assist from Vlasic–less than 90 seconds after the Ducks broke through to tie it.  The goal helped illustrate how the Sharks are getting contributions from four lines, which DeBoer highlighted after the game.

Evander Kane is playing his part as the high-profile, late season acquisition. Pavelski and Couture are the leaders on and off the ice, and DeBoer isn’t a wearing voice.

In fact, he’s an occasionally funny voice.

“I know we’re going to be heavy, heavy underdogs (against the Pacific Division champion Knights). So hopefully, you guys will write that , and we’ll go from there,” he said.