SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks hosted the Los Angeles Kings for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs Saturday night at the SAP Center in San Jose. The Kings shut out the Sharks 3-0 to avoid elimination for the second straight game. After jumping out to a 3-0 series lead, the Sharks have dropped two straight games and now head back to Los Angeles for Game 6 tomorrow night.
The Kings scored early in the first period to get the scoring started. Tyler Toffoli scored his second goal of the series at 8:09 to make it 1-0. Tanner Pearson and Alec Martinez assisted on the play. Less than four minutes later Anze Kopitar scored his first goal of the playoff series with a wrist shot at 12:52. The score was assisted by Dustin Brown.
The last score of the game came right out of the intermission for the Kings. At 0:22 Jeff Carter knocked in a backhand shot, his second of the series, on a Power Play. Marian Gaborik and Drew Doughty assisted on the play.
Game 6 will be played at Staples Center in Los Angeles tomorrow night at 7 pm. If the Kings win, Game 7 will be played in San Jose on Wednesday April, 30.
At the first intermission during the Sharks game Saturday, Jamie Baker said the Sharks seem to be missing something, possibly their mojo. If the Sharks have lost their mojo, it might be buried in Todd McLellan’s higgledy-piggledy line adjustments. It could be time to unchange all those lines.
Or maybe they found their mojo Saturday, in the process of being outshot 46-39 by the Dallas Stars, who average 31.6 shots a game. Maybe the Sharks found their mojo and that is how they survived going down by two goals, made it to a shootout and won 3-2. They won. That is important. But if a 4-2 victory in Toronto foretold of a losing streak to come, it isn’t likely that the Sharks will rest on those Dallas shootout laurels.
The Sharks started the season outstandingly well. To get back to that could be impossible, but to get back to winning more than losing is a reasonable goal. The key is to put the pieces back where they belong and leave them there for at least as long as they have been out of place. That would be nine games or so.
The Sharks’ coaching staff spent a lot of time thinking up forward lines during the off-season and training camp. The lines they started with might have some merit, even if you account for the insertion of players who came and went due to injury. During the ten game experiment the team just completed, only the Hertl-Thornton-Burns and Couture-Marleau connections lasted.
Those were dismantled Saturday against Dallas, beyond replacing the injured Hertl. John McCarthy took Pavelski’s spot as third line center, Pavelski moved to a new line with Thornton and Marleau, and Burns to Couture’s line with Havlat.
Putting McCarthy at center is not wrong per se. He played there in college and also in the AHL. But he’s been in San Jose for most of this season, playing wing. Maybe tossing him back to the middle isn’t the best way to stabilize the team.
When the Sharks started this rough patch after Toronto, San Jose started making line adjustments. Eventually, they made every line adjustment there was to make, until finally Martin Havlat was skating on a fourth line with Andrew Desjardins. The experiment may have provided some as yet unseen benefit to the team, but it certainly didn’t generate many wins.
Obviously, the inquiry into whether or not a pass can connect between Havlat and Desjardins was answered with an unequivocal “no.” But what about all those other adjustments? What about moving Pavelski to the wing? Pavelski is a perfectly capable winger, but moving him away from center punched a hole in one of the team’s most coveted qualities: daunting depth through center.
The decision to sit Tyler Kennedy for a game, then put him back in on the fourth line looked a lot like the path Havlat followed back to the second line. It’s all well and good to make a player watch a game to sort things out, then have him come back in with limited ice time.
Except it really isn’t well and good. Using the fourth line as a gateway back into the game can thoroughly handicap the fourth line if said player is not accustomed to fourth line duty. It’s hard enough for the energy line to do its job with limited ice time and the continuous changing of their membership.
When the rotation included McCarthy, Sheppard and Brown as wingers for Desjardins, at least it was just those four. They could get a feel for each other. Tossing Havlat and Kennedy in there didn’t do them any favors. They have to work fast and hard, they’re not a rehab service for top niners.
It wasn’t ideal for the top niners either. Martin Havlat, before Thursday’s game, was preparing to skate on a line with Couture and Marleau, the third line he’d played on in as many games. Despite playing all over the lineup, did Havlat think his game was becoming more consistent or not?
Not, but like you said, I’ve been all over the place. So we’ll see. I played with these guys half of the year last year at the end and it was great. So we’ll see how it is.
It went pretty well, better than other lines that night. It was the only line to score a goal and finish without a minus by their names. Tyler Kennedy was the only other skater without a minus.
Whether he sees it or not, Havlat’s game has been getting stronger. It may be taking longer than it would if he’d been left consistently with the same line-mates. While his game has suffered along with the team’s, he has at least maintained some defensive equilibrium. McLellan commented on that after the win in St. Louis last Tuesday:
When we look at Marty, I think since he’s been back in the lineup, he’s only been a minus player three nights. That’s pretty darn good. There’s not a lot of other guys that are in that situation. Would we like more offense from him? I think it’s coming.
Havlat isn’t the only player who might profit from a consistent line configuration. Kennedy did better than Havlat on the fourth line. He even got an assist in his second game there. Maybe all he needed was a little more time with his new linemates, a second game?
In Los Angeles, it looked like McLellan was ready to put the old bands back together, with Havlat and Marleau flanking Couture, and Pavelski back at center with Wingels and Sheppard. When Hertl went down, emergency changes had to be made, but otherwise the team was taking a familiar shape again.
Those lines did not win that game, but wins have been scarce for the kaleidoscope of line formations before and since. Those won three of eight games. Perhaps if McLellan gives the old lines a chance to find their footing again the team can reverse this losing trend.
DALY CITY–The Colorado Eagles are a top three team in the East Coast Hockey League and they proved that on Friday night with a three goal win over the San Francisco Bulls 6-3 at the Cow Palace. They’re very fast and they’re a great skating club, they have great skaters. They look like an elite team. The Bulls played sloppy and if your going to play in this league you got to have your A game you got come out there with your best.
The Bulls didn’t really come out with their best unfortunately Bulls goaltender Tyler Beskorwany he had some quick goals put on him not all of them were quick passes. So if he’s moving from side to side in the net the other team just tapped it in. Multiple goals like that by the Eagles are practiced and obviously Colorado did very well. The Bulls tried to make their come back in the second period and scored a couple and then they scored one in the third. The Bulls cut it close and then unfortunately Colorado pulled away at the end, it was a decent showing at the end.
The goals that the Bulls scored were all really good goals they really worked the puck in there and on offense I was very impressed with the play in front of the Eagles net by the Bulls at the end of the game when they were shooting at that end. They were working the puck they were working the corners there was not a lot time and space the puck was bouncing pretty well. Bulls skaters Tyler Gron and Dale Mitchell looked pretty good carrying the puck and of course it was fortunate they looked real good.
The Bulls have to keep working at it and keep the grinding into it. They need to come out with a better start because playing with a three goal deficit is really tough to come out of it. Turning the page is what you have to do as a hockey team once the last horn sounds for a game and especially in the ECHL you have back to back games. In this case back to back to back. The Bulls played Friday and Saturday and finish up Sunday afternoon at the Cow Palace.
The only other league in sports where you play that many consecutive games without a day off is professional baseball.
San Jose Sharks update: The Los Angeles Kings played a very physical game and they won the Stanley Cup a few years ago and they still have a good number of those core players there and the Sharks are a good team and their getting good goaltending from this rookie who came in Alex Stalock.
Injured left winger Tomas Hertl checked with his father in the Czech Republic that he would be out for a week to a month and that was the night of the knee injury in Los Angeles on Thursday. When an injury happens it really takes a couple days for things to settle down to observe the full extent. I would expect this injury to Hertl to last a couple of months.
If the knee is torn or ripped he’ll be out awhile but if it’s just a bruise it might be three or four weeks and then you have to get into hockey shape of working out to get the game speed. As far as the hit by the Los Angeles Kings Dustin Brown on the knee on knee injury it’s amazing no matter who you ask that Brown should have been thrown out of that game.
Brown has done this multiple times to players and if this was a legal hit it’s unfortunate and it worked and the poor guy is getting blamed for something terrible. I’ve been skating for 40 years and if your making a left turn and your on your inside edge on your right foot you should be inward and and it was not on his inside edge and his knee wasn’t inward which tells me that he was trying to go right at Hertl.
Larry Leavitt does Pro Hockey commentary each week for Sportstalk Radio
NASHVILLE -The red hot Nashville Predators (16-14-3) wont their third straight game and beat the San Jose Sharks (20-7-6), 3-2. San Jose is now 1-4-1 in their last six games and have only scored 11 goals. Dan Boyle scored his sixth goal of the year and Antti Niemi stopped 20 of 23 for his fifth loss of the year.
“We weren’t nearly aggressive enough,” said San Jose coach Todd McLellan. “It’s amazing, in the third when we played on the inside a little bit more, we got more second chances, kept the forecheck alive, we were a much different team. I’m a bit disappointed in the first period and a half to two periods.”
Nashville defenseman Victor Bartley got the Predators on the board at 16:01 of the first period when he shot a wicked wrister at the net from just above the left circle and beat Niemi. The Predators connected on their first power play of the night after when Nick Spaling won the puck along the boards and got it over to Craig Smith behind the net. Smith found defenseman Roman Josi streaking in and Josi’s wrist shot beat Antti Niemi to the glove side to give Nashville the 2-0 lead.
The Sharks finally got in the scoring column in the third when Sharks center Patrick Marleau won the puck behind the net and found Matt Irwin high in the slot. Dan Boyle deflected Irwin’s shot between Hutton’s legs and made it 2-1. The Predators Viktor Stalberg made it 3-1 with 2:39 left when he beat Niemi low to the glove side on a 2-on-1 breakaway. The Sharks pulled Niemi and with the extra man, Markeau redirected a pass from Dan Boyle and got it past Hutton with 54.6 seconds left and brought it to a final score of 3-2.
“Every game we play it seems the team that wins the special teams play, wins the game,” San Jose’s Joe Thornton said. “Tonight they got the one power-play goal and we didn’t, and that’s basically what the NHL comes down to right now, who is better on special teams.”
Logan Couture echoed, “We have to be better on the road. We know how big points are right now. It’s a tough loss.”
The Sharks hope to get back in the win column when they head to St. Louis for an evening game this Tuesday at 8PM EST.
San Jose Sharks returned to California after a disappointing four game road trip where they won just once. They hoped to turn things around playing at home where they won the last five games. Instead, their skid continued, as they allowed a third period breakdown, the Islanders come back, and their opponent’s win in the shootout.
The Islanders were in the middle of the losing streak themselves, having lost the last 10 games. However, solid play from their netminder and a great third period helped them break through and finally win.
A key turning point happened early in the third period. Sharks were up 2-0, but it became a one goal game just 51 second after the play began. Tomas Vanek scored by finding the puck in the crease after Antti Niemi was unable to freeze the puck after the shot by John Tavares who was near the crease after a great individual effort and drawing all defense to him.
New York went on to tie the game with less than two minutes left in regulation with an extra skater on the ice after their goaltender was pulled. John Tavares won the face-off inside the Sharks zone against Joe Pavelski and Kyle Okposo put one into the net. Antti Niemi was screened on that play by the Islander players and didn’t appear to see the shot coming.
“He lost it clean,” said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan about Pavelski’s play. [Islanders] scored short side high. You’d like to get beat by a different shot. You’d like to be in the shooting lane. But it was a draw like that, and they got one freebie and they made it count.”
It was an even game in overtime, with NY having the slight advantage and the best scoring chance. With 1:16 remaining in overtime, Antti Niemi saved the game with a stretch glove save after a breakaway attempt by Brock Nelson. This was a great save in the very important moment of the game, taking it to the shootout.
Logan Couture scored on his shootout chance but Joe Pavelski and Dan Boyle didn’t. Kyle Okposo became a hero again, scoring on his attempt after Boyle missed, and winning the game for his team.
There were still positives in that game despite the outcome.
The power play looked dangerous and was credit with the first goal. Patrick Marleau scored his 14th goal of the season after a rebound he picked up inside the face-off circle.
Joe Pavelski found the net for the first time in seven games, scoring Sharks’ second goal. Sharks’ center played aggressively on the forecheck, helping the puck stay inside Islanders zone and forcing a turnover. As he picked up the puck, he passed it back towards the blue line where Dan Boyle was skating by himself. Boyle shot the puck on the net, Poulin made the save, but it bounced back to Pavelski who put it inside the open net. This was Pavelski’s 10th goal on the season.
Sharks also had a great start in the game, outshooting the Islanders 18-3 in the first period, and outshooting them overall 48-28.
But in the end, it was losing key battles at the start and the end of the third period that cost them the win.
“Whether or not we deserved [the outcome], we ended up with it,” said McLellan. “I thought we started the game very well. I thought we got a little lose in the second period and decided we wanted to trade chances, giving up some odd number rushes. We gave up a goal in the first minute and the last minute of the third. … Our top line right now is getting beat, along with the goaltender, and it has to improve.”
They will be back in action on Thursday at SAP Center against Minnesota Wild.
The Islanders played game four of their five-game road trip in San Jose. It was the first of two meetings between the clubs this season.
Evgeni Nabokov was back to SAP Center, although did not dress up for the game due to injury. He was given a loud ovation during the first period when video board played his highlights from the time he was a San Jose Shark.
Two Sharks players registered multi-point nights: Patrick Marleau (1-1=2) andDan Boyle (0-2=2).
Patrick Marleau is now in sole possession of 77th place on the all-time goal scoring list (418 career goals).
Patrick Marleau led all Sharks skaters with seven shots on goal.
DALY CITY–The win by the San Francisco Bulls in Bakersfield on Tuesday night 5-1 was a badly needed win and the Bulls were shut out twice once each by Idaho and Utah at home during their six game losing streak. The Bulls really needed a score and Dean Ouellet delivered scoring his fourth goal of the season and they basically dismantled Bakersfield after that. Bulls head coach Pat Curcio made some very quick moves and adjustments to his roster he waved Riley Emerson and traded Damon Kipp defenseman to Idaho and that’s where Tyler Gron came from who scored two goals on Tuesday in Bakersfield and another on Wednesday night against Bakersfield at the Cow Palace.
Curcio picked up another defenseman signing a rookie Kalvin Sagert and he played pretty well in Bakersfield and the other forward he acquired and Gron was the big star he got an assist and two goals in the game in Bakersfield and it’s very impressive because he actually scored against San Francisco this season but he did a lot of damage last season so it’s reason to see why Curcio was happy to get him. So far this season he’s only got points against the top three teams in the west Alaska, Stockton and Ontario.He’s a great asset to have hope it doesn’t go the other way of the top scorers for the team who have been injured at a relentless rate so it could happen.
Getting Gron should help San Francisco next time they face Idaho on Saturday March 29th the move to get forward Andrian Foster and everybody had a great game in Bakersfield and Bakersfield is not exactly the toughest competition in the west but the Bulls really needed that confidence because they were shooting like crazy in all of those loses before because nothing was going in the goal. It seems like that might have given him a boost we’ll have to see if that works out in the long run.
The Bulls are still ahead of where they were last season and everybody on the team hoped they’d be further ahead to where they were and the Bulls are still more competitive at this time than where they were last season. There’s still hope here and maybe they can have a playoff birth.
Bobblehead promotion for Pat Curcio: Wednesday nights tends to be the lowest nights for attendance for the Bulls at the Cow Palace and this was a great promotion idea to boost attendance and they will give away bobbleheads on two more home Wednesday night games this season. The bobblehead is a great collectors item and the other two bobbleheads coming up are for Dean Ouellet and Rawhide the mascot.
So Wednesday is a great time to come because hey you get a bobblehead this season.
San Jose Sharks update: The San Jose Sharks Brett Burns is tremendous asset but a lot of the other lines that were performing well before he came back are still performing well. It lifted the team up but Burns needs a little bit of time to really hit his stride because he is such a phenomenal player so it will be exciting to see that growth again it was a tough injury he was out for a long time and unsettling and it’s good to have him back but the rest of the team is holding up without him.
For the Sharks to win the division is like a dog fight and the new Pacific Division is just relentlessly tough this season the Sharks played Wednesday night against the Kings then have back to back games versus St. Louis and Anaheim on Friday and Saturday. There are a lot of good teams out there and they’ll be lucky to get into the playoffs at all so the Sharks have a shot. The Sharks play pretty well against the Kings and the Kings are the Sharks worst enemy.
The Sharks third line saw Matt Nieto who was demoted to Worcester on Monday, Nieto made the line up and continued to play and get time as much as he did but he’s green but of course Tomas Hertl is green too but it doesn’t show. Jaromir Jagr made an interesting comment before the Devils game that Hertl’s team had a rink in the Czech Republic that was NHL size although Hertl played on international ice and he had more experience than most European players on smaller ice so that gave him a leg up and of course he’s phenomenal as well.
The Sharks fourth liners: John McCarthy has been up and down for several seasons for the Sharks. Clearly McCarthy has the coaching staff trusting him he gets a lot of short handed time but he’s one of the guys who sits when Mike Brown sits. McCarthy played center in one game last week in place of Andrew Desjardins who has sat one game and hasn’t sat any others. Their performing quite well and it’s a mix and match for the coaches on the fourth line.
Mary Lisa Walsh is filling in for Larry Levitt for the Pro Hockey report this week
DALY CITY–The San Francisco Bulls really have moments when they really look like they have a good team that’s getting it together and then they have a momentary loss and all it takes is that one little momentary loss of team work and you give a team an opening and they take it and unfortunately for the Bulls they’ve been capitalizing on those openings a lot lately.
The Bulls lost in their last game in Stockton 5-1 for their fourth straight loss, it was a local rivalry and they should be up for those games and it’s not a lot of travel and it’s not like their flying or riding the bus for a long time it’s a couple hours to Stockton from the City it’s early in the season still and yes you need to get the win if your going to get to the playoffs and go far in the playoffs you need to have some confidence and this is where you got to start.
You got to take them one game at a time and get that win and work on the second win and the third and get a string of them together and every team goes through a losing period you just don’t want multiple strings of them. The Bulls need to come out and play a good game of hockey and just have fun and play the sport and play the game and it will all come to them but they got to put the work in it doesn’t come easy.
The thing with the ECHL or the minor league level you really don’t have time to jell and get used to each other and their all hockey players and they all know the game but the tendencies of each individual and if you stay with a teammate for a long period of time you get to learn their tendencies and where their going to be and it makes it that much easier for your game. You don’t have to stop and look and think it’s just automatic and that’s what they got to get to they’ve got to learn each others game.
San Jose Sharks update: I was fortunate to be able to talk to Sharks left winger Tomas Hertl the other night and he’s well grounded whose really doing well. Hertl’s English is a lot better than my Czech 101 that I learned on You Tube it was pretty funny but with Burns coming back on that line it’s going to take a little time to get that timing back. What I like about Hertl and Burns is they go straight in front of the net.
Hertl and Burns knows Joe Thornton is the passer, they know they’ll find you but you got to go to those sturdier areas in front of the net and pay the price of the hard hits and the pushes and the shoving. They’re not scared to do that, they go in there and do their job and they cover that area. Patrick Marleau he’s a great team player, he’s a great skater he uses his speed to his advantage against the Tampa Bay Lighting.
Marleau wiffed on a shot which actually pulled the goalie out of position in the Tampa Bay game last Thursday night at SAP in San Jose and it allowed him to do a simple backhand into the net and when you get the breaks and when things are going well you take them. You don’t fight it you just go with it, the Sharks were very fortunate to win because Tampa Bay at times had pretty good shots at the Sharks net and they didn’t get the breaks.
The Bulls weren’t allowed to get the puck in the net for one reason or another and it was Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi who came up with some really good saves or the defense just got their stick on it enough. It was a pleasure to watch the Lighting right winger Martin St. Louis what a great player he is. When he was on the ice I was isolating on him and it was a joy to watch he’s got the speed. He’s not the size but he’s got the speed, he’s got the hands and he’s just an amazing hockey player.
The Sharks are hosting the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night at the SAP for the second in this five game homestand which started last Thursday with the Lighting.
Larry Levitt does pro hockey analysis each week for Sportstalk Radio
EDMONTON — The San Jose Sharks beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 on Friday night and completed their first sweep of Western Canada in franchise history. Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau all scored with help from veteran Joe Thornton contributing on each goal. San Jose Shark goalie Alex Stalock stopped 30 of 31 shots on goal and brought his record to 3-0-0.
“Coming off back-to-back nights, you want to get off to a good start, and we were able to do that with two early ones,” Thornton said. “We just kind of rolled on after that. It is always nice to get a 2-0 lead like that when you are playing back-to-back.”
On his win, Stalock said, “Every game, you hope for a shutout. Of course that would be awesome, you look at why they haven’t scored goals lately, but they have unbelievable skill up front with their forwards. They are going to be a scary team when they start scoring goals. My biggest thing is to get the win and to give the team a chance to get two points every night.”
Pavelski got the Sharks on the board first when on a power-play Marleau smack a backhand shot on Dubnyk who was able to turn the puck away but Thorton was able to get in his way and leave Pavelski wide open to make it a 1-0 Sharks lead. Rookie phenom Thomas Hertl gave the Sharks a 2-0 lead when at 17:13 he took a pass from Thornton and got it past Dubnyk for his 12th goal of the season.
The Sharks made it a 3-0 game when after a Thornton interception of an Oilers pass in the Sharks zone led to a three on two and Marleau ended up with the puck and shot it past the Oilers goalie.
The Oilers Yakupov finally got Edmonton on the board at 12:48 of the second when he launched a bouncing puck at Stalock and was able to beat him stick side and make it a 3-1 game.
The Sharks finish off their road trip against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.
SAN JOSE – Joe Pavlelski scored a pair of power play goals and Patrick Marleau, Brent Burns and Scott Hannan each notched a goal a piece as the San Jose Shark (7-0-1) stayed unbeaten at home and beat the Calgary Flames (3-2-2) 6-3. Newly crowned Assistant Captain Logan Couture also contributed with a goal and an assist.
“There’s a lot of leaders in the locker room but those two (Couture and Pavelski) right now deserve the opportunity,” said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan. “It can go to Stuart, it can go to Hannan, it can go to Vlasic, I could go on an on. As we go into Detroit, we may pick someone else.”
“It’s pretty cool,” Couture said. “I know there are a lot of guys in this room who are leaders, veterans, and it could have gone to a lot of guys, so for the coaching staff to put it on my jersey was pretty cool.”
Brent Burns got the Sharks on the board with less than a minute into the first period when he beat Calgary goalie Karri Rämö from right in front of the goal on a nice pass from the corner boards from Pavelski. That goal marked the fourth time in eight games that the Sharks have scored a goal in the first minute. Scott Hannan made it 2-0 with only 53 seconds left in the first period when he took a shot from the blue line that deflected off of former Shark TJ Gallardi and into the back of net to make it a 2-0 lead at the end of one.
The second opened up for the Flames when after a Tommy Wingels penalty for hooking, Sean Monahan scored his fifth goal of the year and make it a 2-1 game. Pavelski and Marleau contributed with the next two Sharks goals, both on power plays to bring the score 4-1 at the end of the second period. Pavelski got great positioning on Brodie of the Flames and was able to take the pass from Marleau and sneak it by Rämö. On Marleau’s goal, Pavelski was able to find Marleau camping out in the front of the goal with no one on him and make it impossible for Rämö to stop him.
The Flames made it interesting in the third when they scored a pair of goals within the first five minutes of the period but Pavelski got his second goal of the night and Couture netted an empty netter to seal the victory for the Sharks 6-3.
Both teams combined for 15 penalties and the Flames ended up going 1-for-6 while the Sharks went 3-for-9. “It was huge tonight getting three on the power play ,” said Thornton. “That was huge. Especially in the third when they got those two quick goals on us, to come back and respond and get that fifth goal was huge.”
The Sharks head out East to take on Detroit this Monday at 4:30pm PST.
Glendale-The San Jose Sharks fell to the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 in a preseason Exhibition in Arizona on Friday night. San Jose lost a another heart breaker in the preseason and another game by just one goal.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored the game winning goal on a power-pay with just 2:28 remaining in the the third and final period. The game was the preseason finale for the Phoenix Coyotes. The goal was Ekman-Larsson’s team leading third goal of the season.
The San Jose Sharks open up the season on Thursday at the SAP Center in San Jose against the Vancouver Canucks.
Phillip Torres covers the San Jose Sharks for sportsradioservice.com