Sharks Fall to Blue Jackets 6-4, Give up Lead Twice

Columbus Blue Jackets’ Max Domi, right, takes a leap over San Jose Sharks’ Erik Karlsson (left) stick during the second period at Nationwide Arena in Columbus on Sun Dec 5, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks fell 6-4 to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday. Columbus got goals from Sean Kuraly, Cole Sillinger, Jack Roslovic, Alexandre Texier and two from Adam Boqvist. Elvis Merzlikins made 30 saves for the win. Sharks goals came from Nick Bonino, Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns and Tomas Hertl. Adin Hill made 24 saves in the loss.

After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner said: “I think that it was a tale of two games. I thought I liked our start even though we got out of period one 1-1. The second period, you know, we did some good things but we didn’t manage our game properly.” He went on in some detail:

“Mario fanned on the one, but then we’re all over them and we let them come back on the two-on-one goal. Roslovic got behind us, you know, break away. You know, just, dumb plays, and they come back to haunt you. Again, you score four goals on the road and you feel like you should come away with at least a point.”

Adam Boqvist scored the first goal for Columbus at 16:16 of the first period. Justin Danforth had the puck knocked off of his stick but it went across the ice to Boqvist in the opposite face-off circle. Hill got across to face the shot but it slipped by him. Danforth got the assist.

Nick Bonino tied it up for the Sharks with three seconds left in the period. Matt Nieto pushed the puck out from behind the net and Bonino jumped on it at the crease. Matt Nieto and Andrew Cogliano got the assists.

Erik Karlsson gave the Sharks a lead 21 seconds into the second period. Alexander Barabanov carried the puck out of the defensive zone and into the o-zone. He found Karlsson with a pass just as Karlsson crossed the blue line. Karlsson took the shot right away and beat Merzlikins. Barabanov got the assist.

Sean Kuraly tied it back up less than 30 seconds later, off a two-on one with Andrew Peeke against Brent Burns. Assists went to Peeke and Alexander Texler.

Brent Burns grabbed the lead back for San Jose at 8:44, with a blast from the blue line that flew by three Blue Jackets, hit Merzlikins in the sleeve and went into the net. Assists went to Matt Nieto and Timo Meier.

Cole Sillinger tied it back up at 17:48, off another two-on-one, this time with Mario Ferraro back. Sillinger took the shot from the hash marks and beat Hill on the blocker side.

Jack Roslovic gave the Blue Jackets the lead again 1:57 into the third period. Roslovic beat three Sharks defenders to the net for a back-hand shot around Hill’s outstretched glove. Assists went to Max Domi and Andrew Peeke.

Adam Boqvist scored his second of the night at 5:34, giving the Blue Jackets a two goal lead. Gabriel Carlsson caught a pass from Jakub Voracek on the boards. As he skated to the net, he made a back-hand pass across to Boqvist who was just arriving above the blue paint. Assists went to Carlsson and Voracek.

Tomas Hertl cut the Columbus lead back down to one at 10:11 of the period. Timo Meier dug a puck out of the corner ad Jonathan Dahlen pushed it up to Hertl in the face-off circle. Assists went to Dahlen and Meier.

Gustav Nyqvist scored scored a sixth goal for Columbus at 16:42. The Sharks challenged it as an offside play and it was disallowed.

Alexandre Texier scored into the empty net at 18:53 to make it officially 6-4. Assists went to Gustav Nyqvist and Eric Robinson.

The Sharks just barely won the face-off battle, winning 51% of the draws. They won 71% of the second period draws but were beaten in the first and the third. The Sharks outshot the Blue Jackets in the first, 19-9, but were out-shot in the third 12-5, for a total shot count of 34-30 San Jose. The Sharks had no power plays, and the Blue Jackets had just one. The Sharks penalty kill gave up no shots.

The Sharks return home now, to face the Calgary Flames in San Jose on Tuesday at 7:30 PM PT.

Sharks Fall to Bruins 3-1, Power Play Struggles

Photo credit: San Jose Sharks

By M. Walsh

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Sharks fell to the Boston Bruins 3-1 on Saturday. Boston goals came from Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk, and Danton Heinen. Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin made 36 saves for the win, while Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell made 17 saves. The lone Sharks goal came from Timo Meier.

The Sharks played well in many short bursts, but they could not generate second chances or sustain pressure for very long. After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said:

We’ve got to be a little bit harder around the net. We had some good chances tonight, it’s just we’re one play off, it feels. You come back to the shift and it’s one play, whether it’s in your d-zone or the neutral zone or the o-zone. It just feels like it’s one play right now.

In Saturday’s loss, the Sharks extended their power-play goal drought to 22. Perhaps more improbable, they saw a fourth consecutive coach’s challenge go against them. Brent Burns continues to shoot without scoring. He now leads the Sharks with 75 shots this season.

Just 1:02 in, the Sharks seemed to have ended their 63-minute goalless streak. Joe Thornton held the puck briefly near the goal line and then passed it back in front of the Bruins net. Out of a crush of players in front of the goalie, the puck found its way over the line off of Joonas Donskoi. The Bruins challenged it and won the challenge. Instead of ending their scoring drought, the Sharks now had three consecutive goals disallowed.

Undaunted, the Sharks went back to work and did get a goal at 4:50, this time from Meier. Danny O’Regan wrested control of the puck behind the Bruins net and guided it to Meier across the goal mouth. Khudobin could not get across in time to stop it. A secondary assist went to Joel Ward.

Moments later, the Bruins came back with a goal of their own. The puck went over the line after Boston’s Jake DeBrusk slid into Aaron Dell and pushed him into the net. The Sharks challenged the play for goaltender interference. The goal held up and was credited to Peter Cehlarik. DeBrusk got an assist for his trouble. It was the fourth consecutive challenge to go against the Sharks.

Of the decision, Pavelski said: “I don’t know. They say he was tripped in there. He was already kind of going down, I think.”

The first power play of the game went to the Sharks at 8:43. Riley Nash went to the box for tripping Joe Thornton. The Bruins penalty kill was effective. It was so effective that, just as Dell was tapping his stick to signal the end of the penalty, DeBrusk broke away and scored to give Boston the lead. Assists went to Charlie McAvoy and Sean Kuraly.

By the end of the first period, the score was 2-1 Boston, though the Sharks were outshooting the Bruins 17-5.

Near the midpoint of the second, Joe Thornton was called for tripping David Pastrnak. The Sharks penalty kill started well, with Melker Karlsson and Chris Tierney leading a merry chase at Boston’s end. The Bruins got no shots with that man advantage and really had no opportunity to do so.

The next penalties called were offsetting minors at 10:46, an interference call against Zdneo Chara and an embellishment call against Jannik Hansen. The Sharks dominated the four on four play but did not change the score.

As the period came to a close, the Sharks still trailed 2-1, and still led in shots, now 25-14.

Fans in the third period saw the Sharks start slowly. It was near the midpoint of the period before they had their first shot on goal. Their game picked up after that, but so did Boston’s game. At 14:59, Danton Heinen scored his third of the season against the Sharks, catching a well-timed pass from Kevan Miller for a breakaway. Too many Sharks were too deep in the Boston zone to catch him.

The Sharks had another power play in the last two minutes of regulation, but it didn’t make a difference.

The Sharks will have a chance to repair their game on Monday when they host the Anaheim Ducks at 7:30 pm PT.

Sharks Acquire Martin Jones From Bruins

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks have acquired goaltender Martin Jones from the Boston Bruins. From the Sharks press release: “Martin was at the top of our list of players that we had targeted,” said Wilson. “We’re extremely excited to have him on board.”

In return, the Sharks gave up a first round pick in the 2016 draft and unsigned prospect Sean Kuraly. Kuraly was drafted in the fifth round in 2011 and is starting his senior year at Miami University.

In 2013-14, Jones won his first eight NHL starts to tie an NHL record. In that span, he was the first NHL goalie to average less than a goal a game in that win streak. The 6’4″, 25 year old goalie spent the majority of the past few seasons playing with the AHL Manchester Monarchs. In 2013-14, he played 19 games with the Kings, and this past season he played 13 games. Three of those appearances were against the Sharks: a win and two losses, one in relief of Jonathan Quick.

In the most recent World Championships, Jones started and won twice for Canada, helping the team earn the gold medal. His World Junior team won the silver medal in 2010, and he was named to the AHL All Star teams in 2011 and 2014.

Boston acquired Jones in a draft weekend trade from the Los Angeles Kings, along with a 2015 first round pick and defenseman Colin Miller in exchange for Milan Lucic. Jones was originally signed by the Kings as a free agent in 2008.

The Sharks also announced that they have issued qualifying offers to goalie Aaron Dell and forward Daniil Tarasov. By issuing the offers, the team retains negotiating rights to both players. The sharks did not issue offers to forwards Eriah Hayes and Rylan Schwartz, goalie JP Anderson, and defenseman Taylor Doherty. Those four players become unrestricted free agents.