Sharks Win 5th in a Row, Beat Ducks 5-3

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks won their fifth in a row Saturday, defeating the Anaheim Ducks 5-3 at the Honda Center. Sharks goals came from the usual suspects: Tomas Hertl (2), Evander Kane, Brent Burns and Logan Couture. Martin Jones made 29 saves for the win. Rickard Rakell, Jakob Silfverberg and Max Jones scored for Anaheim, while John Gibson made 30 saves. Tomas Hertl has now scored in five games in a row. Regrettably, he left the game late in the third after a collision.

After the game, Sharks captain Logan Couture talked about Hertl’s contribution to the team: “He’s playing tremendous. You hate to say you get used to it, because he’s playing at such an elite level but the way that he’s been playing these last two years, three years, however long it’s been, he’s been at that level and he’s getting better, so he’s a big piece of this team for sure.”

Asked about the injury, Couture said: “Anything to the knee doesn’t look good but from what I’ve heard, he’s okay.”

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said: “I thought in the third we found another level. You know, our entire team, we talked between the second and the third, that we had an opportunity to win this game if we could get some more guys going.”

To that end, they made some line changes after the second period: “I think we needed some type of spark. I thought Hertl’s line was productive, I thought especially in the second period, I thought some of other lines were kind of vanilla. So we moved some things around, we regrouped between the second and third and I thought we came out with a good push.”

Anaheim struck first, just 1:09 into the first period. Rickard Rakell scored his sixth of the season with his team’s first shot of the game. A failed clear by Radim Simek took a bounce and ended up on Rakell’s stick as he was crossing the blue line. He skated in and took a quick shot from the top of the circle, beating Jones on the far side. An assist went to Jakob Silfverberg.

Tomas Hertl tied the game at 6:44 in a 2-on-1 with Barclay Goodrow. The play started when Marc-Edouard Vlasic broke up a 2-on-1, at the same time getting the puck to Timo Meier, who found Hertl breaking into the neutral zone. The puck wound up crossing the line between Gibson’s skate and Hertl’s stick blade, and the official did not see it. It was not until the next stoppage of play that an official review caught it. Assists went to Goodrow and Timo Meier.

A few moments later, Sharks defenseman Dalton Prout and Nicolas Deslauriers fought after a hit on Brenden Dillon. It was Prout’s first game back after being injured in the Sharks’ first game of the season in Las Vegas.

Tied at the end of the first, the teams were also very close in shots on goal (11-10 Sharks) and face-off wins (9-8 Ducks).

The Sharks got into penalty trouble early in the second period. Kevin Labanc was called for hooking at 4:18, followed by Melker Karlsson being called for a face-off violation as that first penalty ended. The Sharks managed decent short-handed attempts in each of those penalties and got lucky on a couple of plays before killing off almost four minutes short-handed.

The Sharks were back on the penalty kill at 12:30 after a tripping call to Brent Burns. 30 seconds in, Jakob Silfverberg pushed a puck under Martin Jones after a great cross-ice pass by Ryan Getzlaf forced the Sharks penalty kill to switch sides in a hurry. Assists went to Adam Henrique and Rickard Rakell.

The Sharks got a their second power play of the night at 13:56 when Max Jones was called for hooking Barclay Goodrow. They had a couple of good chances at the end of the power play, but could not push the puck through the melee in front of the net. No shots were recorded for the power play.

Tomas Hertl tied it again with a hard wrist shot from the faceoff dot at 18:28. Timo Meier had collected the puck from the below the goal line and found Hertl with a quick pass after a long shift on offense. The second assist went to Brent Burns. It was Hertl’s 10th goal of the season.

At the end of the second, the teams were still close in shots (11-10 Ducks) but now Anaheim had a heftier 9-6 lead in face-off wins.

The Sharks had their third power play of the night at 6:42 of the third. It did not start well, allowing two good short-handed rushes by the Ducks. Momentum shifted when Brent Burns gathered up the puck in the defensive zone. After a giving the power play time to set up, he carried the puck end to end and took his shot from the slot. It went off of a defenseman and past Gibson to give the Sharks their first lead of the game. Assists went to Evander Kane and Erik Karlsson.

Soon after, Dalton Prout was called for hooking. In the second minute of the power play, the Sharks had their own short-handed chance. Logan Couture carried the puck into the zone with Evander Kane on the other side of the ice. Couture waited until Kane was in shooting position to make the pass and caught Kane with a pass just above the blue paint. It was Kane’s 12th goal of the season and Couture’s 15th assist.

Anaheim answered with a goal at 15:50. Max Jones took a harmless-looking shot off the rush but it deflected off of Radim Simek’s body, bounced under Martin Jones and into the net. Assists went to Carter Rowney and Sam Steel.

The Ducks pulled their goaltender with just under two minutes left. Nick Ritchie, the sixth Anaheim skater, had a great chance just after taking the ice, but it went off of the post. In the final minute, Gibson was back in the net for a face-off in the Sharks’ zone.  Just as he was preparing to leave again, Logan Couture stole the puck skated out on a breakaway. With a couple of quick moves, Couture got Gibson moving and then shot the puck underneath him.

At then end of the game, the teams were still very close in shots (35-32 Sharks) and face-off wins (51% Ducks).

The Sharks next play on Saturday in San Jose against the Detroit Red Wings at 7:30 PM PT.

Sharks Drop Opener 5-2 to Ducks

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE, Calif. — In front of an enthusiastic full house, the San Jose Sharks fell to the Anaheim Ducks 5-2 in their season opener at SAP Center on Wednesday night.

The Ducks had four rookies in the lineup replacing roster regulars who were out with injury. One of those scored Wednesday. Max Comtois, Rickard Rakell, Brandon Montour, Adam Henrique and Carter Rowney all scored for Anaheim, while Jakob Silfverberg had three assists in the game. John Gibson made 31 saves on 33 shots.

Tomas Hertl and Evander Kane scored for the Sharks, while Martin Jones made 10 saves on 14 shots.

Just 49 seconds in, Max Comtois scored on a breakaway after acquiring the puck in the neutral zone. It was Comtois’ first NHL goal. Assists went to Adam Henrique and Jakob Silfverberg.

The Sharks started the game looking like a team playing on unfamiliar ice. Pucks seemed to skip over their sticks, passes missed and the Ducks’ game looked altogether more tidy. After 2:47, the Sharks were on the power play while Josh Manson sat in the box for interference on Kevin Labanc. That power play was cut short when Joe Thornton was called for tripping Hampus Lindholm. The Sharks create some chances during 45 seconds of four-on-four, and then got some four-on-four because Anaheim’s Pontus Aberg was called for goaltender interference just five seconds after the Manson penalty ended.

None of those penalties changed the score, but at 7:51, Evander Kane tied it up. The Sharks’ attack had just been rebuffed, with help from a bouncing puck and general poor timing. As they regrouped on their own blue line, Justin Braun’s pass found Kane crossing the Ducks’ blue line. He skated in with an edge on a defender and put the puck underneath John Gibson. It trickled through for the goal.

The last five minutes of the first period showed a much improved Sharks team. Passes started to connect, plays started to take form and decisions came faster. No more goals were scored but the Sharks stretched out their shot lead to 11-5.

The first five minutes of the second looked much the same. The Sharks jumped out with five shots to Anaheim’s one. As the midpoint approached, San Jose had outshot Anaheim 10-1. Anaheim’s second shot of the period was from Silfverberg and Jones had to be quick to stop it. That imbalance continued through the period, but the score did not change until the Ducks had a power play at 16:24.

Evander Kane was in the box for tripping Josh Manson. After breaking up a pass with his stick and knocking the puck out of the zone, Tomas Hertl followed up, evaded two defenders and scored short-handed at 17:14. While the crowd was still buzzing, Anaheim went back to their power play. Rickard Rakell scored off a nice pass through the blue paint from Silfverberg. Assists went to Silfverberg and Ryan Getzlaf.

At the end of the period, the teams were still tied 2-2 despite the Sharks’ shot lead of 26-9.

Kane and Hertl both had good chances in the first half of the third, but Gibson got in the way. Jones was less lucky at 8:02, when Brandon Montour skated in and scored with an almost casual backhand shot, giving the Ducks the lead. Assists went to Rakell and Getzlaf.

The Sharks looked like they were back to the opening minutes of the game, having trouble handling the puck and finding each other. Pete DeBoer changed the lines up a bit, putting Hertl with Meier and Thornton, and Kane with Pavelski and Hertl.

Logan Couture was called for interference at 10:08 of the third. It took the Ducks 13 seconds to score this time. Quick passes around the outside kept everyone moving, until Adam Henrique found an opening. The shot was not a hard one, it was just enough to slide under Jones without a fuss. Assists went to Silfverberg and Rakell.

In the final two minutes, DeBoer pulled Jones and put Hertl, Pavelski, Kane, Labanc, Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns on the ice. Couture replaced Labanc before the end, but no combination could score a goal. The Ducks scored into an empty net with 23.7 seconds to go for the win.

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