Sharks Power Play Scores, Still Lose 5-1 to Panthers

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks lost 5-1 to the Florida Panthers Sunday at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. Panthers goals came from Keith Yandle, Aleksander Barkov, Mike Matheson, Brett Connolly and Frank Vatrano. Their goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky, made 30 saves for the win. The Sharks goal was scored by Kevin Labanc, the team’s first power play goal in 23 tries. Martin Jones made 28 saves in the loss.

After the game, Labanc said:

Today, we were working we just weren’t scoring so it sucks. Like I said, I mean we’re getting a ton of chances but we’re just not capitalizing on them. And… just… it’s all in the detail of the game and it’s not that they’re a better team than us it’s just that we’re making more mistakes.

Sharks forward Evander Kane, who sat out for a period’s worth of penalties, said: “I think we’re a little too relaxed right now. A couple games, that we’re off to bad starts and we didn’t really fight back and we didn’t really have much fight back after we got down so that’s really the most disappointing part.”

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer identified goaltending and special teams as the problem in Sunday’s game:

I thought we hung in there and, you know, kept fighting but you know it wasn’t enough. And, you know, their goalie was better, their special teams were better tonight than ours. That was probably the story. I thought five-on-five we probably carried a lot of the play but, those two areas, they were better than us.

The Panthers started the scoring on a power play at 4:15 of the first. Kevin Labanc was in the box for hooking. Jonathan Huberdeau’s pass up the boards found Keith Yandle for a shot from the blue line. Assists went to Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov.

Barkov scored the next one at 8:15, putting the Panthers up 2-0. The Panthers entered the zone three-on-two with Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic defending. With Karlsson covering Keith Yandle but letting Barkov slip by at the last moment. Evgenii Dadonov was the puck carrier and he sent the puck to the net for Barkov to tap in. Assists went to Dadonov and Huberdeau.

Kevin Labanc made up for his penalty with a power play goal at 10:13. Labanc took a pass from Erik Karlsson up near the blue line and took the shot from above the face-off circle. The puck went up over Bobrovsky’s shoulder as Timo Meier was blocking the goaltender’s view. Assists went to Karlsson and Evander Kane. The goal ended a scoreless streak 23 power plays long for San Jose.

The Panthers out-shot the Sharks 12-9 in the first period.

Florida scored again on the power play at 6:32 of the second period. With Brett Connolly in the goaltender’s eyes, Mike Matheson took a shot from the blue line that made its way all the way in. Assists went to Aaron Ekblad and Frank Vatrano.

Just 4:16 into the second period, Evander Kane was given multiple penalties for fighting, instigation and misconduct. That all resulted from his response to a hit from behind. The penalties put him out of play for the rest of the period and the start of the third. After the game, Kane was asked about the incident and said: “A guy hits me in the head and no call, you know, you gotta protect yourself. Nobody else is gonna protect you on the ice, not the refs, not the other team, so sometimes you gotta stick up for yourself.”

At the end of the second period, the Panthers took an interference penalty that put the Sharks on the power play for almost a minute of the third period. Seconds into the third, the Panthers took a delay of game penalty, giving the Sharks a brief two-man advantage. That was not enough and the Sharks finished those power plays still down 3-1.

Brenden Dillon went to the penalty box for four minutes, two for high-sticking and two for slashing. The penalties came shortly after a slash that Huberdeau delivered to Dillon earlier that was not called.

The score quickly became 4-1 on the next Panthers power play. Mike Hoffman’s shot from the blue line created a rebound that Connolly was able to put in the net despite losing his footing in front of Martin Jones. Assists went to Hoffman and Keith Yandle.

The Sharks pulled their goaltender with just over two minutes to go and Frank Vatrano put the puck in the net a little over 30 seconds later. Assists went to Mackenkie Weegar and Aaron Ekblad.

The Sharks continue their road trip with a game in Nashville on Tuesday against the Predators at 5:00 PM PT.

The Sharks will be without one of their regular defensemen, Radim Simek, for about two weeks as he is undergoing a surgical procedure.

Sharks Lose to Blue Jackets 4-1

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Sharks fell to the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday by a score of 4-1. Despite outshooting Columbus 45-27, beating them soundly in the faceoff circle and taking the early lead with a goal from Kevin Labanc, San Jose could not beat the Blue Jackets’ defense or goalie again. Columbus goals came from Anthony Duclair, Seth Jones, Nick Foligno and Josh Anderson. Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 44 shots for the win. Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell made 23 saves for San Jose. The special teams were all penalty killers: the Sharks’ power play had three tries and did not score, and the Blue Jackets also failed to score with their power play.

After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said:

You look up at the end of the night and we have those shots. Didn’t probably feel like a 45 shot night. You know… the energy level was just a little bit off for us. But throughout that game we were right there at times, we just never found that spark we needed.

Logan Couture was asked about the ice, as the puck was bouncing a lot. He did not consider that a valid explanation: “Can’t blame the ice. Both teams play on it. It’s simple: we just didn’t play well enough. There’s no excuse of the ice being bad. We weren’t very good.”

When asked to elaborate, Couture said: “We weren’t good. We didn’t pass well, we didn’t play hard enough. We didn’t spend enough time in their end, we didn’t forecheck, we turned pucks over. I mean, you go down the list, we did a lot of things wrong tonight and we got what we deserved.”

The first period was balanced in scoring and shots. The Sharks spent a spell in the Columbus zone before finally scoring first at 11:50 of the first period. Couture was in front of the net, trying to get a shot off but the puck slipped away from him. Labanc was right on the spot to catch it and take the shot. Assists went to Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. It was Labanc’s second goal of the season.

The Blue Jackets tied it up at 16:30 with a goal from Anthony Duclair. The goal came after a lot of pressure from the Blue Jackets all around the Sharks’ zone. Ryan Murray sent the puck down from the blue line to bounce off the back boards where Duclair picked it up and took it behind the net for a wraparound. Assists went to Murray and Alexander Wennberg.

Columbus scored twice in the second period, the first at 9:15. Duclair, near the goal line, moved the puck out in front of the net where it went off the skate of Seth Jones as Jones was stopping in front of the blue paint. Assists went to Duclair and Lukas Sedlak.

Foligno gave the Blue Jackets a two goal lead at 18:40 of the period. Erik Karlsson’s pass to Vlasic along the blue line missed and went off the boards to Markus Nutivaara. He made a quick pass up to a fast-moving Foligno in the neutral zone. Foligno skated in and beat Aaron Dell on the left side.

The only goal of the third period came with just 1:01 left in the game, a short-handed, empty-net goal from Josh Anderson.

The Sharks ended the game with a 5-on-3 power play, but it only lasted 22 seconds before they ran out of time.

The Sharks will host the Philadelphia Flyers for their next game on Saturday at 7:30 PM PT.

Six Win Road Trip First In Sharks History

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks ended a perfect six-win road trip on Sunday, with a 5-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was the first time the Sharks swept a road trip longer than four games, and the first time they won six games on a single trip.

Al Stalock got his first start since November 10, making 28 saves on 31 shots. Sharks goals came from Patrick Marleau, Brent Burns, Brenden Dillon, and two from Joe Pavelski. It was Brenden Dillon’s first goal of the season and the game winner. After missing Saturday’s game for a personal matter, Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer was back behind the bench in time for the game.

After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said the team did not set out on this trip thinking of a win streak:

We didn’t talk about it. We talked about one day at a time. You look back now, it’s just a long time from then. Six in a row. You know, it’s good but it’s… we need that. It’s what we expect. We expect to win on a nightly basis and give ourselves that opportunity. Once we’re here it’s “take the good from it and now we gotta translate it back home.”

The Sharks started the game well, out shooting the Blue Jackets 10-5 in the first period. Each team had a power play in the first but the only goal scored came at even strength from Patrick Marleau. Joonas Donskoi took a shot that resulted in a small rebound. Marleau was in front of the blue paint, where he could tap the puck under Sergei Bobrovsky and into the net. Donskoi and Ward got the assists.

Micheal Haley and Mike Brown both fought in the first period, within four seconds of each other, against Dalton Prout and Gregory Campbell respectively.

The Blue Jackets pushed back early in the second period, out shooting the Sharks 7-1 in the first five minutes. Their efforts paid off when Ryan Johansen, surrounded by Sharks in front of the net, poked the puck between his feet and through Stalock. Assists went to Kerby Reichert and Josh Anderson.

Seconds later, the home team took the lead with a goal from Boone Jenner. An odd-man rush drew Stalock to the left, and a cross-ice pass left an open net for Jenner to shoot at. Assists went to William Karlsson and Brandon Saad.

The Sharks’ struggles continued through the first half of the period, until they got some respite from a power play. Joe Pavelski took a stick to the face from Rene Bourque at 8:57. The power play was short-lived as Brent Burns was called for interference just a minute in. Half a minute later, Justin Braun was called for holding.

The Sharks survived the brief four on three and the five on three that followed. Some seconds of five on four followed but the Sharks weathered it.

The Sharks got another chance on the power play at when Dalton Prout was called for cross-checking Mike Brown. The Sharks did not score but it was still an improvement over the previous attempt. By the end of the second, Columbus had the 2-1 lead on the scoreboard, and a 19-7 lead in shots for the period.

Late in the period, Tommy Wingels went to the dressing room. He had blocked a couple of shots earlier and seemed to be suffering the effects. He was back on the bench for the third period.

The Blue Jackets put the puck in the net at 2:23 of the third. DeBoer challenged the goal, as Scott Hartnett was standing in the blue paint for some time before the goal, impairing Stalock’s ability to move freely. Donskoi was blocking Hartnell’s exit, if he wanted to make one. The challenge came up empty, giving the Blue Jackets a 3-1 lead. The goal was Cam Atkinson’s, with assists to Nick Foligno and Hartnell.

The Sharks cut the lead to one goal, with a Justin Braun shot from the blue line, deflected in by Joe Pavelski at 6:13. The assists went to Braun and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

The Sharks then tied it up with a power play goal. Joel Ward was at the point and gave every indication he was looking for a shot. Brent Burns was lurking in the circle on the other side of the ice. Ward sent a quick pass through the penalty killers to Burns, who knocked it in before Bobrovsky could get across.

1:50 later, San Jose’s Chris Tierney won an offensive zone draw and Brenden Dillon caught the puck on its way to the blue line. He took a shot that Bobrovsky probably could not see, as Tierney was screening him as he made his way to the net.

The Blue Jackets pulled Bobrovsky with less than two minutes left. Seconds later, Pavelski stole the puck from Boone Jenner in the offensive zone and scored into the empty net.

Scott Hartnell picked up a misconduct in the final minutes, putting the Sharks on a power play for the final 1:16 of the game.

The final shot count was 31-29 Columbus, the final score 5-3 Sharks.

The Sharks next play on Wednesday at home against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Sharks Lose to Blue Jackets, Again

By Mary Walsh

For the second time this season, the San Jose Sharks fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Last time, the Sharks lost 5-4, this time it was 2-1. This was the Blue Jackets’ second win in a row, after a nine-game losing streak, mostly attributable to an unprecedented rash of injuries. The last game they won before that losing streak? October 25, in San Jose. It was the first game back for Sergei Bobrovsky after being out with a broken finger. This second win completes the Blue Jackets’ sweep of the season series between the teams.

After the game, Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said, of his team’s inability to string wins together: “That’s what it’s about, is winning, it’s always frustrating. This little seesaw here, win one, lose one, it’s… it gets old.

Pavelski scored the lone goal for the Sharks. Columbus goals were scored by David Savard and Cam Atkinson. Bobrovsky made 36 saves on 37 shots for the win, Antii Niemi made 26 saves on 28 shots for the Sharks.

Sharks head coach Todd McLellan did not see a lack of effort at the root of the Sharks’ loss:

This one, the effort was an honest one, so we have to live with an honest effort not winning at times. But we had a number of opportunities to put the puck in the net, we didn’t. Had a lot of pucks that were blocked or just deflected at the last second, probably not releasing it quick enough.

Defensively, McLellan saw some positives as well:

Defensively I didn’t think we gave up a lot, we had to open the game up a bit in the third, they had some chances. As far as stringing games together, there’s some frustration there, but the fact that for the most part we had a very competitive night was a positive.

The Blue Jackets scored first, near the end of the first period. Defenseman David Savard took a shot from above the faceoff circle, catching Niemi away from the post with Scott Hannan skating across in front of him. Assists went to Adam Cracknell and Artem Anisimov.

Brent Burns was called for tripping in the final seconds of the first period, putting the Sharks on the penalty kill to start the second. The Sharks took a second penalty 9:10 into the second when Andrew Desjardins was called for goalie interference.

The period ended with the Sharks barely ahead in shots 11-10, and trailing Columbus by one goal.

The Blue Jackets did not get a lot of shots in the period, despite that power play. With just over five minutes left, they only had credit for two shots on goal. The Sharks had eight in the same time frame, and had a power play as well at 11:17.

At 15:14, Mirco Mueller was called for interference and the Blue Jackets went back on the power play. Niemi made some good saves before Columbus beat him again. One cross- ice pass through traffic was followed by another that squeaked by in front of the crease. Cam Atkinson caught that pass and put it in to give the Blue Jackets a two goal lead. Assists went to Jack Johnson and Boone Jenner.

In the final minute of the period, Joe Pavelski broke Bobrovsky’s shut out and got the Sharks back in the game. Carrying the puck into the slot, Pavelski tried a backhand but could not get a handle on the puck. No one took it away from him so he turned around and shot it forehand.

At the end of the second, the Sharks led in shots 21-18.

During the first shift of the third period, Matt Nieto went awkwardly into the boards after a hit from Boone Jenner. He went to the dressing room after a stop at the bench, but came right back out.

Neither team sat back after that, staying even in shots and chances. With five minutes left in regulation, Alexander Wennberg high sticked Scott Hannan and drew blood, giving the Sharks a four minute man advantage. The Columbus penalty killers rose to the occasion and kept the Sharks from ever sustaining an attack. Bobrovsky ate up any chance of rebounds so that the blue paint became something of a dead zone for any puck that got close.

The penalty expired and McLellan pulled Niemi for the extra attacker but the Blue Jackets did not give an inch. The Sharks used their time out with under 30 seconds left. The Sharks did win the faceoff in the Blue Jackets zone, but they could not keep the puck in for long.

Final score: 2-1 Blue Jackets. The final shot count was 37-28 Sharks.

The Blue Jackets won 32 faceoffs to the Sharks’ 22. The Blue Jackets’ power play went 1/3, the Sharks was 0/3. The Blue Jackets blocked 19 shots to the Sharks’ 9.

Jason Demers and Patrick Marleau led the Sharks in shots with four each. Marc-Edouard Vlasic led the team in ice time at 22:03. Andrew Desjardins led the team in hits with three.

Cam Atkinson led the Blue Jackets in shots with five. David Savard led the team in ice time with 22:42, Nick Foligno led in hits with five.

San Jose’s scratches were Matt Irwin, Tye McGinn and John Scott.

The Sharks next play at 2:00 PT Sunday, against the Hurricanes in Raleigh, North Carolina.