Feature: Sharks In Desperate Need of More Power Play Opportunities

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By: Peter Elliott

CHICAGO–Peter DeBoer’s squad was deprived of something other than a win on Friday night: opportunities on the power play.

The Sharks only had one chance to execute on the man advantage in their 3-1 loss to the Blackhawks. It lasted 22 seconds.

San Jose’s only time on the ice with less than five red sweaters was during the third period, when Chicago defenseman Connor Murphy was booked to the penalty box with an interference minor. 22 seconds later, Brent Burns was sent off to the Sharks penalty box on a holding minor, offsetting the Sharks’ 5-on-4 upper hand. If I haven’t stressed it enough, 22 seconds is not enough time to type a tweet, much less let alone score a goal.

The power play had been a strength for the Sharks all season and a reason for their high offensive benchmarks. But lately, not so much.

The team is suffering through a scoreless 0-19 stretch in the power play category, an unusual drought for a team that has been so stellar on the man advantage for the majority of the season. The Sharks still remain among the best in the league in the category, up there with division leaders Nashville, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay. But if their recent struggles continue, they surely won’t keep up with that company for very long.

“We need to get a little bit of that confidence back, stepping over the boards and understanding that it can win us some games,” said Sharks captain Joe Pavelski of his team’s power play scoring skid, per Kevin Kurz of The Athletic. “We need to be better there. Bottom line is we need to execute, make another play, stick one in the net.”

As noted, it’s absence has been sorely missed on the offensive side of the ice recently. Especially on Thursday night during a 7-1 blowout at the hands of Nashville, in which DeBoer’s squad failed to net on a single goal during their five power play opportunities. The Sharks undoubtedly just need both more opportunities and repetitions with the power play. 

Success will come soon.

The power play magic that has helped the Sharks postseason aspirations is currently M.I.A., but luckily for the Sharks, they’ll have time to re-discover it before a Sunday evening game against Minnesota. The Wild boast a pedestrian penalty kill percentage of 80.8%, which makes the playoff contending Wild a ripe target for a power play resurgence.

San Jose has been able to maintain a 6-5 record in the month of February, although that is not ideal for a team in the middle of a tight playoff race. A stronger showing on the man advantage certainly could have alleviated some of those deficits.

The Sharks are set to square off against the Blackhawks again on March 1 in San Jose. Maybe then, the Sharks can get a power play that lasts a whole 30 seconds.

Bulls rally falls short, lose to Utah 5-2

Photo Credit: Josie Vimahi/Utah Grizzlies
Photo Credit: Josie Vimahi/Utah Grizzlies

By Kahlil Najar

West Valley City, Utah – The Utah Grizzlies (6-8-1-1) scored two goals in the second and three in the third and gave them a convincing 5-2 victory over the San Francisco Bulls (6-12-1-1). Tyler Gron, Jordan Morrison and Brett Findlay extended their four-game point streaks and J.P. Anderson stopped 35 of 39 shots on the night. The Utah defense was able to slow down the usually high shooting Bulls to only 25 shots on the night.

 

After a scoreless first, Kyle Bodie got the Bulls on the board when he beat Utah goalkeeper Igor Bobkov with a power play goal 4:21 into the second. Utah responded with a goal by Vinny Scarsella and a power play goal by Mathieu Aubin in the closing seconds of the second to make it 2-1 in favor of Utah.

In the third, Utah struck first when Aubin scored his second goal of the game with just 7:17 left in the third to give the Grizzlies a 2 point lead. The Bulls Brett Findlay scored a mere 26 seconds later to make it a one-goal deficit but then Utah scored two unanswered goals and made it a final of 5-2. The Bulls were out-shot by Utah 40-25.

The Bulls head to Ontario for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday.

Notes: Tyler Gron, Jordan Morrison and Brett Findlay have combined for 17 points over their four-game points-streak.The Bulls went 1-for-5 on the power play, while Utah was 1-for-4. J.P. Anderson’s 35 saves are a professional career high.

 

Bulls lose two in a row, defeated by Steelheads 3-1

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by Kahlil Najar

The Bulls (4-6-1-1) lost another tough game tonight to the Steelheads (6-4-1-1), 3-1. The lone goal by the Bulls came from Chris Crane who tipped the puck in on a power play. San Jose Sharks goalie prospect J.P. Anderson started for the Bulls tonight and handed 28 of 31 shots.

“He gives us a chance to win. He’s not doing anything wrong. To get his first pro win is going to be a grind. We’re going to get him more starts,” said Bulls Head Coach Pat Curcio on Anderson.

‘We made a couple mistakes there in the second, a few missed opportunities and hit the crossbar out. But when things don’t go your way you need your best players to go out there and score but they couldn’t find the back of the goal. We’re just missing the quarterback out there.”

In an eventful first period, the Bulls were able to score first when on a power play from a Tyler Gron hooking call Damon Kipp ripped a shot from the point that was deflected in by Right Winger Chris Crane for his third goal of the season. The Bulls were also able to kill off three penalties in the first which was impressive considering they are ranked last in the league in the penalty kill and Idaho is ranked fourth in the power play.

“Our best PK guys did a great job. But what hurt us in the end was that we were out of gas. Dean Ouellet and Mark Lee are playing power play and penalty kill but at the end of the day when you kill eight penalties it kills them. Our PK was doing the right things, picking up the right guys, staying square. We created the PK 10 Commandments and they followed them.”

There was a scary moment in the first when up-and-coming Bulls star Kyle Bigos took a puck to the face and fell immediately to the ice.

Curcio said “He took a puck to the mouth and it’s not pretty. He looks like The Joker right now and I think it affected his game tonight but he’ll be better tomorrow.

Both teams came out in the second with something to prove as total of seven penalties were called including a hard charging call against the Steelheads Mercier who knocked over Bull player as soon as the Steelheads goalie froze the puck.

After that charging call, Defenseman Patrick Cullity was called for hooking and gave the Bulls a 5 on 3 power play advantage. The Bulls were able to knock a shot towards the goal but came up empty and as time expired and brought both teams to even strength, Mercier was down in the Bulls zone and slid the puck past J.P. Anderson for Idaho’s first goal of the game and tie the game at one a piece. On the Bulls seventh penalty of the night, the Steelheads William Rapozzi was able to pop a nice shot over Anderson and give Idaho their first lead of the night, 2-1.

The third period started out quickly as both teams wanted to take control of the period as soon as possible and give their team the momentum. The Bulls and Steelheads traded shots and excellent chances on net but both goalies were able to turn away shot after shot. The Steelheads sealed the victory when Carl Sneep took a wicked shot from the top of the face off circle in the Bulls zone and made it a final of 3-1.

Without a goal tonight, Dean Ouellet’s scoring streak stops at three games and the Bulls home record comes to 2-2.

On a final note, Curcio said, “I love our team. I look down and its hard to make changes. I know we’re not as elite as other teams out there but I’d rather have the team tha’ts willing to work and go to war every night like this team.”

The Bulls head back at it tomorrow afternoon when they take on the second place team in the Western Conference the Ontario Reign. Game time 2:15pm.

Lee scores late in the third to give Bulls the win 3-2

Photo courtesy SF Bulls

By Kahlil Najar

STOCKTON – San Francisco Bull Forward Mark Lee scored on a nice feed from Chris Crane with 2:52 remaining in the third period to give the Bulls (4-5-1-0) their fourth win of the season and sink the Thunder (6-3-0-0) 3-2. Starting goalie Tyler Beskorowany had another great game in goal as he stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced. For the Thunder, Nathan Deck and Andrew Clark each contributed a goal and an assist and standout goalie Milner stopped 33 of 36 shots. The 36 shots for the Bulls tied their season high of shots on goal.

The Thunder got on the board first when after penalties to Belan and Bowman put them on a 5-on-3 power play and Andrew Clark was able to hit a one-timer past the stick side of Beskorowany. With a little over three minutes left in the first, the Bulls answered with their own power play goal from Chris Crane who deflected a shot from Defensemen Kyle Bigos past the Rookie Milner to make it 1-1 at the end of one.

The second period started off rough for the Thunder as Hayes and Deck both received penalties within the first two minutes and gave the Bulls a 5-on-3 power play. The Bulls were able to capitalize on the Thunder’s mistakes as center Dean Ouellet tapped in a rebound on a shot by defenseman Collin Bowman to give the Bulls a 2-1 lead.

In the third, Thunder Defenseman Nathan Deck tied the game at two a piece when on a power play he received a pass from Andrew Clark who was able to find him in the slot. Five minutes later Chris Crane stole the puck behind the net and fed Lee, who scored the game winner and make it a 3-2 final score.

The Bulls head home for a three game set against the Idaho Steelheads this weekend with the first game this Friday at 7:30 pm.

Bulls lose game and series to Eagles 4-1

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By Kahlil Najar

LOVELAND, Colo. – The San Francisco Bulls (2-4-1-0) couldn’t a break on this road trip and lost to the Colorado Eagles (5-2-0-0) 4-1.

Teegan Moore got the Eagles on the board first at 3:34 of the first period to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead. The Bulls Brett Findlay scored his first pro goal of his career at 6:45 to tie the game up at one. Unfortunately the Eagles were able to take the lead again before the end of the period when Daniel Johnston scored on a power play to make it a 2-1 lead.

In the second period, Colorado forward Ray Sawada continued his great series against the Bulls and on a power play opportunity scored for the Eagles and made it a 3-1 lead.  lead to 3-1.Kevin Ulanski scored on an empty net to bring the score to a final of 4-1.

Even though both teams were horrendous on the power play as they went a combined 3 for 13 you could tell that both teams were trying to establish dominance in the third as they both played hard and rough against the boards. San Francisco outshot Colorado 22-21 but that still couldn’t secure a victory.

San Francisco Bulls beat the Grizzlies in a shootout

By Phillip Torres

WEST VALLEY CITY, UTAH- The San Francisco Bulls (2-1-1-0) defeated the Utah Grizzlies (1-1-2-0) 3-2 on Friday night at the Maverik Center. The victory came through the lone shootout goal that was made Ryan McDonough.

Utah scored first in the contest after David Vallorani scored on a power-play goal with less than six minutes remaining in the opening period. The Grizzlies led 1-0 going into the first intermission.

The second period was a crazy one as the offense picked up. The Bulls tied up the game with a goal from Mark Lee at 7:46. The score made the score 1-1. Josh Kidd and Kyle Bigos earned the assist on the Lee goal.

Utah regained the lead after another power-play goal was score. This one was made by Kris Hog with less than four minutes remaining in the period. Jordan Morrison scored the equalizer and made it 2-2 scoring his goal in the wining seconds of the middle period. Damon Kip and Dale Mitchell earned the assists on the play.

The third and final period, as well as the overtime went scoreless and the game was sentenced to a shootout in Utah. The goal was scored in the third round by McDonough.