NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs/San Jose Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa and Jerry Feitelberg: Sharks win! It’s off to round 3 with the Blues

Photo credit: @ESPNStatsInfo

On the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs/San Jose Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa and Jerry F:

#1 Getting an early jump in hockey is not such a bad idea, and on Wednesday night at SAP Center, it was a plan that worked together as the Sharks scored twice in the first period and followed up with a goal in the second. It was all they needed to get by the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 to move onto round three.

#2 Joe Pavelski, who missed most of the series due to a concussion from a game 7 crosscheck vs. Vegas, returned and scored a goal in Game 7 and all goals counted in this close one. Did it look like Pavelski never missed a step?

#3 Tomas Hertl has been a Godsend in this series. He had a game where he scored just enough goals for the Sharks win scoring two goals.  In Game 7 on Wednesday, he scored again. He has had a spectacular series against Colorado.

#4 Then there’s Joonas Donskoi, who also contributed with a goal in Game 7. Mary Lisa talks about the kind of series Donskoi had.

#5 It’s onto the third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where the Sharks will play host to the St. Louis Blues on May 11th for Game 1. For the Blues, watch for Jaden Schwartz, the St. Louis left winger has scored 11 points and had eight goals in the postseason and Alex Pietrangelo, who leads the Blues in assists with nine.

Mary Lisa covers San Jose Sharks and does the Sharks podcasts each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Sharks Beat Avs 3-2, Advance to Western Conference Final

Photo credit: @NBCSSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — For the fifth time in their history, the San Jose Sharks are going to the Western Conference Final after defeating the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 Wednesday. Sharks goals came from Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl, and Joonas Donskoi. Avs goals came from Mikko Rantanen and Tyson Jost. Martin Jones made 27 saves for the win, while Philipp Grubauer made 24 saves in a losing effort.

Sharks captain Joe Pavelski was a game-time decision Wednesday, and the final decision was to play.

After the game, Sharks forward Logan Couture said of Pavelski: “For a guy that missed playoff action for two weeks, to have the injury that he has, to come back, set up a goal, score a goal. I wish I could tell you what he’s gone through, from seeing it first hand, you wouldn’t believe that he’s playing right now, I’ll just say that. He played unbelievable.”

Due to Pavelski’s return, Joonas Donskoi was bumped down to the fourth line and then he scored the game-winning goal. Thus, the game-winners in both Sharks Game 7s were scored by fourth-liners, which was what Logan Couture said the team needed after Game 6. Couture was asked about that after Wednesday’s game. Couture said of Donskoi:

Donny was great, we needed something, I said it last time. We needed some other guys to step up and score goals and I thought they were very very good tonight. I thought Donny played excellent: he was all over the puck, created chances. They had a really good night when maybe my line, we didn’t create much and have too too many chances. So we needed it.

Nathan MacKinnon went down with a shoulder injury in the first two minutes of play. He returned around the 15-minute mark and appeared to be able-bodied again.

The first goal of the game quieted any concerns about Joe Pavelski’s readiness to play. Tomas Hertl retrieved the puck in the corner and sent it back up the boards to Brent Burns. Burns had time to pick his spot and that spot was right on goal, through the Pavelski tip lane. Pavelski caught the puck with the bottom of his stick blade and sent it bouncing at the net, much lower than Grubauer was ready for. It was Pavelski’s third of the post season. Burns and Hertl got the assists.

The Sharks added another at 11:35. After Evander Kane sent the puck around behind the Avs net, Pavelski retrieved it and then brought it back the way it came. As he passed the net, he passed to an unguarded Hertl, right above the blue paint. Hertl knocked it in quick as a cat. Two defenders, intent on Pavelski’s movements, had not noticed Hertl back there. The one who did notice was not close enough to stop him. Assists went to Pavelski and Kane.

Mikko Rantanen scored with just seven seconds left in the first period, cutting the Sharks’ lead in half. Samuel Girard took a shot right down the slot from the blue line and Rantanen tipped it up into the net. A second assist went to Gabriel Landeskog.

Colin Wilson appeared to have tied the game near the eight minute mark of the second, but the goal was challenged by the Sharks for an offside play. Upon review, the goal was disallowed.

Joonas Donskoi came off the schneid with the Sharks’ third goal of the game. Picking up the puck near the corner, he carried it around behind the net, came out front and took a wrist shot at the near top corner. It was his first goal since January. Assists went to Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson.

The Avs scored again 51 seconds into the third period. Alexander Kerfoot’s shot came out as a rebound that Colin Wilson tried to push back in, but Vlasic got to that. Vlasic’s clearing attempt hit Hertl and bounced back toward the net. Tyson Jost was able to reach it before Jones or Vlasic could. Assists went to Wilson and Kerfoot.

The Avs pulled their goaltender with 2:10 left in regulation, but the Sharks and their goaltender held them off.

Game 1 of the Western Conference Final will be on Saturday the 11th at 5:00 PM PT. The Sharks will host the St. Louis Blues at SAP Center.

Sharks Beat Avs 2-1, Retake Series Lead 3-2

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks defeated the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 Saturday. With the win, the Sharks took a 3-2 lead in the second round playoff series. Four Sharks (Logan Couture, Evander Kane, Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns) had four shots on goal in the game, but Tomas Hertl had eight. It was hardly surprising that he had both goals for San Jose. Tyson Jost scored for the Avs. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 21 saves in the win, while Philipp Grubauer made 37 saves for the Avs.

The Sharks held Nathan MacKinnon to a single shot in the game. After the game, Sharks forward Logan Couture was asked what the team’s game plan was against MacKinnon: “Our game plan against him is try and not to let him play in the offensive zone. It’s pretty difficult to do. He’s such a good player, he’s going to get his looks, he’s going to get the puck in the neutral zone. But I thought for the most part we limited, you know, maybe, his chances to the outside. He still gets looks, he’s such a good player.”

The Sharks put the puck in the net during the first period, a nice shot to the top corner from Kevin Labanc off a Joe Thornton feed. But it was called back because Timo Meier had his stick lifted near Mikko Rantanen’s face. It did not seem to make contact but the officials called it a penalty worthy of a disallowed goal. That was the second time in these playoffs that a Sharks goal was called back for a questionable penalty, but this time, the Sharks killed the penalty. They did not allow a shot in that power play.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was asked about the team’s reaction to that non-goal after the game: “I liked how we were playing. I loved how we started, I liked our first period I thought we were putting a lot of pressure on them. I thought, I could tell we were ready to play and committed to what we wanted to do. So it’s not as frustrating when that happens when your team is playing the way it is, because we knew that we were going to get opportunities for some more.”

At the end of the first period, the Sharks had won 59% of the face-offs and led in shots 12-6.

The Sharks were out-shooting the Avalanche consistently, despite suffering back-to-back penalties in the second period. The Avalanche still scored first, late in the second period. JT Compher took a shot off the rush and Jones kicked out a rebound. Brent Burns got to it first but he didn’t get all of it when he tried to clear it to the corner. It went into Tyson Jost’s skates and ended up behind Jones. It was Tyson Jost’s first of the playoffs. Assists went to Compher and Samuel Girard.

With the second period ticking away, the Sharks tied it up with a power play goal. At 19:40, Logan Couture took a shot from the slot off an Erik Karlsson feed. Tomas Hertl, lower down in the slot, deflected the shot past Grubauer to tie the game. The goal was not called back. It was Hertl’s seventh of the playoffs. Assists went to Couture and Karlsson.

In the second period, the Sharks won 63% of the face-offs, and had a shot lead of 29-15. Nine Avs players had shots on goal, while 13 Sharks had at least one shot.

The Sharks got an early power play in the third, courtesy of a high stick from Nikita Zadorov 31 seconds in. The Sharks got just one shot on that power play. After that, the Sharks did an excellent job of kicking Colorado out of their zone, but could not get themselves set up at the other end.

When they finally did get some extended zone time, the Sharks scored. Marc-Edouard Vlasic took a quick shot that hit the goaltender and dropped into the blue paint next to him. Tomas Hertl was battling for space in front of the net. Despite being pushed over the goaltender at the last second, he got a stick on the puck and pushed it over the line at 6:26. Assists went to Vlasiuc and Joonas Donskoi.

The Sharks went back on the power play at 7:31, when Zadorov went back to the box, this time for roughing. The Sharks got four shots on that power play.

The Avalanche pulled their goaltender with over two minutes left in the game, but did not score again. The Sharks tried to score in the empty net a few times but missed.

Game 6 will be on Monday night at the Pepsi Center in Denver at 7:00 PM PT.

Injury notes: Joonas Donskoi was back in the lineup, and Joe Pavelski made an appearance Saturday, waving to the fans from the tunnel. Pavelski is skating again, but there is still no timetable for his return to play.

Sharks Win 5-4 in Game 7 OT, Goodrow’s GWG Moves Sharks to Second Round

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The Sharks will advance to the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs after a 5-4 overtime win over the Vegas Golden Knights Tuesday. The win represents comebacks from being down 3-1 in the series and being down 3-0 in the third period of Game 7. Sharks goals came from Logan Couture (2), Tomas Hertl, Kevin Labanc and Barclay Goodrow. Golden Knights goals came from William Karlsson, Max Pacioretty, Cody Eakin and Jonathan Marchessault. Martin Jones made 34 saves in the win, while Marc-Andre Fleury made 43 saves in the loss.

Do it for Joe x2?
Much has been made of the Sharks’ desire to succeed for the sake of Joe Thornton, whose career is in its sunset years. Then, halfway through the third period, there was an injury to their captain Joe Pavelski.

Like blood in the water, Pavelski’s blood on the ice galvanized the Sharks into a scoring frenzy in the third period. They were down 3-0 when their captain was helped off of the ice. They scored twice in the first minute of that 5 minute major, then twice more before the penalty expired. It was the first lead change in a game in this series. Logan Couture scored the first and the third, Tomas Hertl scored the second and Kevin Labanc scored the fourth. All of those goals in 4:01 of playing time.

That was all very surprising, bombarding the audience with stunning mix of emotions.

The Golden Knights scored first Tuesday, at 10:10. After an offensive zone face-off, Reilly Smith took a shot from the wall. The puck went off of Jonathan Marchessault, who was in front of Brenden Dillon, who was in front of Martin Jones. The puck veered to the right, where William Karlsson reached around to put the puck past all of the bodies and into the net. Assists went to Marchessault and Smith.

The Sharks had two scoreless power plays early in the first, one at 1:56 when Colin Miller went for hooking Kevin Labanc, and one at 4:15 when Brayden McNabb went for cross-checking Tomas Hertl. Tnd the Golden Knights had one at 12:36 when Erik Karlsson went for tripping Brandon Pirri. The Golden Knights had theirs cut short when Alex Tuch was called for interference on Justin Braun. That left the Sharks with some power play time after all that, but they couldn’t make much of it and spent too much time trying to get throught thethe neutral zone. In all, the Sharks power play generated six of their eleven first period shots. The Golden Knights got no shots on their partial power play but had four in the period.

The Sharks had good chances in the first minutes of the second, but hit the post at least twice. They earned a power play at 6:22, when Ryan Reaves tripped Martin Jones, who was outside of the net trying to retrieve the puck. San Jose had a few moments of good puck movement, but just one shot on goal.

Near the midpoint of the second, the Golden Knights outshot the Sharks 5-2. At the exact midpoint, Cody Eakin put the puck in the net for Las Vegas. The goal was reviewed for a high stick, and was upheld by the NHL. Assists went to Brayden McNabb and Shea Theodore.

The Sharks almost evened the shot count by the end of the second, but still had not scored. Their face-off percentage, which had been near 50% through the first, dropped to 40% in the second. Las Vegas definitely had the upper hand in the middle frame.

Max Pacioretty scored a third for Las Vegas at 3:36 of the third. After some good zone time for San Jose, and another post, Vegas pushed back and the Sharks were trying to clear the puck out. Mark Stone took the puck away from them and passed it across the slot to Pacioretty. Pacioretty was able to hold it for a beat and when he took the shot, there was no one between him and Jones. The puck went by Jones on the blocker side. An assist went to Stone.

At 9:13, Cody Eakin cross-checked Joe Pavelski right off of a face-off. As Pavelski stumbled backward, Paul Stasny skated into him from the side. Pavelski went backward over Stasny’s knee, and could not get his hands up to protect himself in time. He landed on the side of his head and bled onto the ice. After Pavelski was helped off the ice, Eakin was given a five-minute major. Then the Sharks started scoring. Their goals came from everywhere: both faceoff circles, a deflection in the slot, a shot from the slot.

The Golden Knights pulled their goaltender and at 19:13 they tied the game. Mark Stone moved the puck behind the net to Reilly Smith. Smith moved it quickly back above the blue paint, where Marchessault knocked it past Jones. Assists went to Smith and Stone.

The Sharks won 62% of the face-offs in the third period.

Both teams struggled with fatigue and what appeared to be bad ice in overtime. Passes missed the mark, any long-distance puck movement seemed to wobble. Both goaltenders were still alert and the period crept closer and closer to a fifth period.

Barclay Goodrow only had two shifts in the fourth period, but on his second, he ended the game. Erik Karlsson carried the puck over the blue line and Goodrow came across right behind him. Goodrow took the wide track close to the boards and Karlsson passed the puck ahead to him. Goodrow veered away from the boards and cut across in front the goal. Fleury could not stay in front of him and Goodrow slid the puck around the goaltender and into the net at 18:19.

The only roster change before Tuesday’s game was the replacement of Joonas Donskoi by Lucas Radil. Though Donskoi finished the game Sunday, he did take a big hit in overtime. He did not skate in the morning practice Tuesday, but there was no specific mention of injury. Joakim Ryan, who did not skate after the second period on Sunday, skated four shifts in the first and four shifts in the third, and then skated in overtime Tuesday.

After the game, there were no updates about Pavelski’s condition.

The second round against Colorado will start Friday in San Jose.

Sharks Force Game 7 With 2-1 Win Over Golden Knights in 2OT

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks won 2-1 in the second overtime of Game 6 of their playoff series against the Vegas Golden Knights Sunday. Martin Jones was hands down the star of the game, making 58 saves to Marc-Andre Fleury’s 27. Those 58 saves set a record for Jones and also the franchise. Regulation goals came from Logan Couture for the Sharks and Jonathan Marchessault for the Golden Knights. The teams will return to San Jose for Game 7 on Tuesday.

The Sharks got off to a fast start in the game, taking a significant lead in shots until the middle of the period. That was the last such lead they would have in the game. In the first period, they fell behind by one shot, 10-9. In the second period, Las Vegas outshot them 17-7 and in the third period the Golden Knights won the shot contest by a whopping 17-4. On top of that, the Sharks blocked 34 more shots. This was the onslaught that Sharks goaltender Martin Jones faced Sunday.

After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said:

Yeah, we knew Joner was on, you could feel it, for sure. You know, you’re looking at the scoreboard and the shots are saying what they are. But the way Joner was moving, seeing the puck, you know, it wasn’t two-on-ones, breakaways, guys weren’t getting behind us. It was still a pretty tight-knit group out there and guys were blocking some shots and hanging in there.

Martin Jones said “It was a good game, obviously. We stuck with it the whole night. Give our guys a lot of credit, some huge penalty kills in overtime and the third. Yeah, everybody chipped in with stuff today.”

The officials seemed to have put their whistles away for overtime, ignoring some fairly obvious penalties from tripping to holding on both sides. They ignored it all until Barclay Goodrow slashed the stick out of Brayden McNabb’s hands at 10:46 of the second overtime. The Sharks still had no shots on goal in the period.

The penalty appeared to be the death knell for the Sharks. Instead, Marc-Edouard Vlasic cleared the puck from the front of the net up to Tomas Hertl in the middle of the blue line. Hertl took off as fast as skaters are able to halfway through the fifth period. He barely stayed ahead of Shea Theodore, then slowed and took a shot from inside the face-off circle. Fleury couldn’t stop it. The Sharks won the game short-handed with their first shot of the period.

The first goal of the game did not come until the final 10 seconds of the first period. While Timo Meier fought Deryk Engelland for the puck in the neutral zone, Logan Couture skated up and plucked the puck away from them. He kept skating into the slot and veered away into the face-off circle while taking a shot that got by Marc-Andre Fleury. Timo Meier got the assist. It was Couture’s fourth of the playoffs.

The Sharks had one power play in the first period, a penalty to Shea Theodore for tripping Tomas Hertl. They had just one shot in that power play.

The second goal of the game came in the middle of the second period, from Joathan Marchessault for the Golden Knights. Shea Theodore took a shot from the blue line into some traffic and Jones stopped that one, but there was a small rebound that Marchessault got to. He pulled it around the prone goalie and put it in the net. It was Marchessault’s third of the playoffs. Assists went to Shea Theodore and William Karlsson.

Each team had a power play in the second period. Las Vegas had a power play at 14:26 after Timo Meier was called for tripping William Karlsson. Las Vegas had no shots on that power play.

The Sharks had one shot on their second period power play, the result of a penalty to Marchessault for slashing Logan Couture.

In the scoreless third period, the Golden Knights had the only power play, due to a goaltender interference penalty to Melker Karlsson. They had one shot on that power play.

Labanc and Thornton had a good chance near the middle of the first OT period, and Labanc’s shot may have gone under Fleury and back out just on the outside of the net.

With about three minutes to go, the teams exchanged wild scrambles at the net, with defensemen piled up, at Fleury’s end, he had two of his own defensemen spreadeagled on top of of each other in the blue paint after a puck got by Fleury. It was so close to the line that the NHL reviewed the video.

By the 10-minute mark of the first OT, the teams were tied with two shots each. Then the NHL changed that to a 3-1 lead for the Golden Knights. Eventually, it evened out to 7-6 for the Golden Knights in the first OT.

Approaching the midpoint of the second OT, the Golden Knights had seven shots and the Sharks had none on the books. And then Hertl scored.

The Sharks played more than two periods with only five defensemen. Joakim Ryan did not skate after the second period.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2019: Golden Knights Beat Sharks 5-3; Tie Series 1-1

Photo credit: @GoldenKnights

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The Vegas Golden Knights defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-3 Friday, tying their first round NHL Playoff series 1-1. Vegas goals came from Cody Eakin, Colin Miller, Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone and William Karlsson. Sharks goals came from Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl and Joe Thornton. Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 34 saves in the win. Martin Jones made four saves on seven shots for San Jose, then Aaron Dell came in to replace him and made 14 saves on 16 shots.

The Sharks had eight power plays in the game while the Golden Knights had just three. The Sharks scored one power play goal and Vegas scored one power play goal and two short-handed ones.

After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski talked about how the Sharks’ power play failed them: “We would get turned back and try to make the play up top and they would take that away and it would be out of the zone. It can be a little cleaner, a little quicker, a little bit more direct and we’ll go from there.”

The curse of the first five minutes reared its head again for the Sharks. Martin Jones had just saved a Max Pacioretty shot, which wound up behind the net. Following it as it came back around, Jones found himself screened by his own defensemen when Cody Eakin took a shot from the slot. An assist went to Pacioretty.

That was not the end of it. Before five minutes had elapsed, Vegas scored again. 2:10 into overlapping Sharks power plays, Colin Miller emerged from the penalty box to score short handed at 4:37.

Vegas added another at 6:11. Paul Stastny deflected a pass in the neutral zone, and Pacioretty picked it up. He carried the puck in just off the wall and took his shot before passing the face-off dot. The shot went by Jones on the far side and in. Stastny got the assist.

After that goal, Peter DeBoer replaced Martin Jones with Aaron Dell in net.

After the game, DeBoer said: “We were down three-nothing ten minutes in. I didn’t put it on Jonesy. We needed a shot in the arm to kind of change our momentum.”

The Sharks took some time to stem the bleeding. Once they had done that, they engaged their offense.

Logan Couture got the Sharks on the board at 16:59. The Sharks had just finished killing off a two-man advantage for Vegas, and were playing 4-on-4. Erik Karlsson made a pass across the offensive zone to Pavelski, who quickly passed it back across to Couture in front of the net. Couture put it carefully over Fleury and into the net. Assists went to Pavelski and Karlsson.

After the goal, the Sharks had a brief power play and scored again at 17:38. Couture passed the puck from the point along the blue line to Erik Karlsson, who had a long line of traffic between himself and the net. That traffic made an effective screen for Karlsson’s shot, and a deflection by Tomas Hertl made it all the more elusive. It was Hertl’s second of the playoffs. Assists went to Karlsson and Couture.

Joe Thornton completed the comeback at 19:08 of the period. The Sharks had just spent quite a while hemmed in their own zone when Logan Couture flipped the puck out of the zone. Evander Kane took off in hot pursuit though Pacioretty had several steps on him. Kane caught up and pushed Pacioretty off the puck, took it around behind the net and sent it back up to Brenden Dillon on the blue line. Dillon sent it back down to Thornton for a deflection. Dillon and Kane got the assists.

The second period started with another goal against the Sharks in the first five minutes, but only after the Sharks had a goal called back 51 seconds in. The goal did not count as it occurred just after Logan Couture was penalized for goaltender interference. The call was questionable as the contact came well outside the blue paint and appeared to be initiated by the goaltender. Nevertheless, the goal did not count.

On the ensuing power play, Vegas scored at 1:31. Mark Stone deflected a blue line shot from Shea Theodore. Dell stopped the deflection but the puck made its way back out to Stone, who was able to poke it through traffic and in. It was Stone’s third of the playoffs. Assists went to Stastny and Alex Tuch.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic finished his final shift of the game at 1:06, after the face-off for that Vegas power play, so the Sharks finished the game with five defensemen. Vlasic was injured blocking a shot.

Vegas scored a second short-handed goal at 7:35 of the third period. William Karlsson broke away as Reilly Smith was collecting the puck in the defensive zone. The pass got to him on the center line when he was already up to speed. He faked a shot as he approached the net and then put it away with a back-hand over a prone goaltender. Assists went to Smith and Tuch.

That goal came on Vegas’s first shot of the period. They did not have another shot until 13:53 of the period. In total, they only had four shots in the period but that was enough for them.

The Sharks pulled their goaltender with over two minutes to go for an offensive zone draw. The Sharks had a total of 15 shots in the period but could not beat Fleury again.

Through the first two periods, the Sharks won over 60% of the face-offs, but in the third won just 33%. The Golden Knights put Colin Miller in for Nick Holden on their blue line Friday. The Sharks made no roster changes, but may have to for Sunday, if Vlasic is not available.

Game 3 will be in Las Vegas on Sunday at 7:00 PM PT.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2019: Sharks Take Game One 5-2 Over Knights

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks beat the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2 in the first game of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs Wednesday. The Sharks goals came from Brent Burns, Tomas Hertl, Evander Kane, Joe Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Martin Jones made 24 saves for the win. Both Vegas goals came from Mark Stone and Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves against the Sharks.

The Sharks got the first power play of the game at 13:35. They had a few moments of delayed penalty time with Jones out of the net but that did not last long. The penalty was to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare for tripping Micheal Haley.

The Sharks scored on that power play at 14:42. A Brent Burns blue line special went off John Merrill’s glove or stick, into Joe Pavelski’s face and into the net. For his pains, Pavelski got credit for the goal with the assist going to Burns. Pavelski went directly to the dressing room, did not even stop for the celebration.

In the last two minutes of the first period, Timo Meier had to leave for repairs after being hi-sticked behind the net.

The Sharks outshot the Golden Knights 8-5 in the first, and won 60% of the face-offs. Vegas out-hit the Sharks 25-17.

Pavelski returned for the second period with a lower face shield. Timo Meier, fresh from his facial repairs, also returned and spoke briefly with an official as the period got under way. 20 seconds in, Meier was called for tripping Jonathan Marchessault. The Sharks killed that penalty off.

Evander Kane and Deryk Engelland exchanged blows after a scuffle in front of the net, as did Brenden Dillon and Jonathan Marchessault. Only Dillon and Marchessault were sent to the box, and for just two minutes. While the teams were playing 4 on 4, Tomas Hertl drew a hooking penalty and gave the Sharks a 4 on 3 power play. That turned into a 3 on 3 when Joe Pavelski was knocked down near the crease and Nate Schmidt tripped over him. Pavelski was called for tripping Schmidt.

The Sharks were unfazed by that noise. Erik Karlsson got the puck across the blue line and to Brent Burns, who carried it around a couple of defenders and shot it past Fleury with calm precision. Assists went to Karlsson and Hertl. Time of the goal was 6:59.

The Sharks followed up with good pressure around the net, leading to a sneaky goal-line pass from Joe Thornton to Marc-Edouard Vlasic as he skated down from the blue line. Vegas was not ready for that and the shot went right by Fleury on the blocker side at 7:44. Assists went to Thornton and Evander Kane.

Vegas responded with a goal at 8:32. Pacioretty’s shot hit Paul Stasny’s skate to the left of Jones, and bounced across the goal mouth to Mark Stone, who was camped out to Jones’s right. Thus flanked by opponents, Jones could not stop the puck. Assists went to Stasny and Pacioretty.

The Sharks went back on the power play at 8:55 after William Carrier was called for tripping Logan Couture. Tripping was a popular penalty in Wednesday’s game.

The Sharks scored again with 18 seconds left in the second. Erik Karlsson’s blue line shot went between a defender’s legs and then was neatly deflected by Evander Kane over Fleury’s glove.

The Sharks increased their shot advantage in the second, winning that contest 14-5. Their face-off success flagged, though. Vegas won 58% of the second period face-offs. Paul Stasny and William Karlsson defeated nearly all comers in the second.

Nearly six minutes into the third, Jon Merrill pushed Micheal Haley down in the crease, right on top of Fleury. As the puck went the other way for what may have been a good chance, Fleury spent some time thumping on Haley with the help of a team-mate. The whistle stopped play for roughing calls all around. Haley went to the box and Paul Stasny went in Fleury’s place.

As that four-on-four got started, the Sharks played a little like it was three-on-three, holding onto the puck as if killing time more than trying to score. But it was early for that. Not long after the four-on-four expired, the Sharks had a power play that killed more time without scoring. Vegas had a turn on the scoreless power play at 11:44 after Barclay Goodrow went for slashing Shea Theodore.

Vegas got another power play at 15:11 when Kevin Labanc went for hooking Tomas Nosek. Mark Stone cut the Sharks lead in half with a goal at 15:26. His shot made best use of what little traffic there was in front of Jones to get the puck over the glove and into the net. Assists went to Shea Theodore and Max Pacioretty.

Toms Hertl scored into the empty net at 18:11 to stop the late game push from Vegas. Assists went to Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

By the end of the game, the Sharks had rebalanced the face-off results to 50-50. The shot count for the game was 33-26 Sharks.

Game 2 will be in San Jose on Friday at 7:30 PM PT.

Flames Roast Sharks 5-3, Sharks to Face Las Vegas in First Round

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks fell 5-3 to the Calgary Flames at SAP Center Sunday. The win clinched the Western Conference for Calgary, while the loss cemented San Jose’s playoff position at second in the Pacific Division. They are now certain to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round. Calgary goals came from Sean Monahan, Mark Jankowski, Dalton Prout, Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik. Sharks goals came from Timo Meier, Logan Couture and Kevin Labanc. Flames goalie Mike Smith made 12 saves in the win, while Sharks goalie Aaron Dell made 23 saves in the loss.

The Sharks are still without Joe Pavelski, Erik Karlsson and Radim Simek. Pavelski and Karlsson are expected to return for the playoffs if not before. Asked about what he hopes the team will accomplish before playoffs, Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer said:

I want to get healthy. I think that’s probably the biggest thing. I think it catches up to you. You know, you can go to the well so many times with guys but I think we’re missing some of our key people here. And it shows in a game like that, against a team that is healthy at this time of year that’s one of the top teams in the league and we had a hard time with it.

After the game, Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon was also asked about how the injury list changes the game. He said:

I don’t think defense is one guy or one D-pair or one forward or one goalie, to be honest. I think for us, over the years that’s kind of been our brand of hockey, is defensive style, and you definitely see the result when we get away from that. I think all around we’re trying to be a little more aggressive but I think we’ve got to kind of find that happy medium for it.

Timo Meier gave the Sharks an early lead 12:01 into the first period. Logan Couture and Joonas Donskoi were in the corner competing for the puck against two Flames. They got the puck out of the corner to the face-off circle, where Meier had just arrived. He got control of the puck while reversing direction just enough to use a defenseman as a screen and shoot the puck past Smith on the far side. It was Meier’s 30th of the season, a career high. Donskoi and Couture got the assists.

The Sharks made it through the first 10 minutes of the opening period without giving up a goal but the Flames heated up in the second half. At 14:58, Sean Monahan tied the game with a quick shot off a feed from Johnny Gaudreau. While Marc-Edouard Vlasic harried Gaudreau and Justin Braun guarded the passing lane, no one was really on Monahan as he slid up to the blue paint. Assists went to Gaudreau and Rasmus Andersson.

At 15:29, Mark Jankowski gave Calgary the lead, pulling the puck out of a crowd that was moving across the slot. His quick shot went under Dell to the back of the net. Assists went to James Neal and Austin Czarnik.

Less than a minute later, again, the Flames scored to make it 3-1. Dalton Prout, with his first goal since 2016, snuck by Vlasic and Couture in the neutral zone to chase the 1-on-1 between Tim Heed and Andrew Mangiapane. Mangiapane passed to Prout as they approached the net and Prout’s shot beat Dell. Assists went to Mangiapane and Garnet Hathaway.

During the first period, the Flames had 11 shots to the Sharks’ 6, and Calgary own 67% of the face-offs.

The only goal in the second period went to the Flames when Mikael Backlund made it 4-1 at 7:27. Receiving Noah Hanifin’s pass from the boards, Backlund stopped it with his skate and tried to get control of it but failed. Instead, it pinballed across the goal mouth and the off of Joakim Ryan’s skate and into the net. Assists went to Hanifin and Gaudreau.

The Flames out-shot the Sharks 14-3 and won 56% of the face-offs in the second period. The Sharks took two penalties to Calgary’s one.

The Sharks had a little more than a minute of power play time to start the third period, and got another power play at 2:01 but did not score on either of those.

At 5:23, the Sharks finally got one back. Tomas Hertl made a big zone entry, pushing through and dancing around defenders. He carried the puck down below the face-off dot before passing it across the ice to Timo Meier. Meier sent it back across the ice to Logan Couture, who had just arrived in the slot. His shot went in before Mike Smith could get across. It was Couture’s 27th goal of the season. Meier and Hertl got the assists.

Calgary took that one back about three minutes later. Sharks and Flames converged behind the Sharks net and when the puck came back out, Mark Giordano and Michael Frolik were set up on either side of the ice with a clear view of Dell. Giordano passed it to Frolik for the shot and Dell could not get across in time. Assists went to Giordano and Matthew Tkachuk.

Kevin Labanc got one more for the Sharks at 16:34 of the third. He had just passed the puck to Tim Heed in the slot and Tim Heed tapped it right back to him for the shot from the right side. It was Labanc’s 15th of the season. Assists went to Heed and Joakim Ryan.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday in Vancouver against the Canucks at 7:00 PM PT.

Sharks Break Bad Streak, Beat Knights 4-3 in OT

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks ended their seven game losing streak Saturday, beating the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 in overtime. It was a good preview of the playoffs, possibly even a playoff matchup if the standings remain as they are. Each team got credit for 40 hits. Between hits, a lot of goals were scored too. For San Jose, goals came from Tomas Hertl, Evander Kane, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Brent Burns. Las Vegas goals came from William Karlsson, Cody Eakin and Shea Theodore. Martin Jones made 23 saves in the win while Vegas goaltender Malcolm Subban made 30 saves in the loss.

Vegas scored first at 3:54. The Sharks had just thwarted a nice play by Vegas, turning what could have easily been a goal into a puck behind the net. Unfortunately, Vegas had control of that puck and Jonathan Marchessault made a pass from below the goal line to the slot, where William Karlsson was open with a clear view of Martin Jones. It was Karlsson’s 24th of the season. Assists went to Marchessault and Reilly Smith.

The rest of the period was littered with matching penalties. An interference penalty to Marcus Sorensen was matched by an embellishment penalty to Colin Miller. Joe Thornton’s high-sticking penalty was matched by a roughing penalty to Ryan Reaves. Reaves also got a misconduct on that one.

The Sharks tied the game just under a minute into the second period. Tomas Hertl caught a stray rebound from a Joonas Donskoi shot. Hertl then wove his way around a defender and poked the puck between skaters and shot it past the Malcolm Subban. It was Hertl’s 35th goal of the season. Assists went to Donskoi and Timo Meier.

Just before a fight between Barclay Goodrow and William Carrier (at 3:01), Brenden Dillon was called for cross-checking, so the crowd was presented with the odd sight of a power play coming out of a fight. It did not change the score but took a little explaining.

That power play probably did set the Knights up to score at 5:30, moments after it expired. Cody Eakin was right in front of the blue paint when Deryk Engelland’s shot came in and dropped dead off of Jones’s pads. Eakin was able to gather it up and put it in the net. Assists went to Engelland and Ryan Carpenter.

The Sharks tied it again at 7:22 of the third. Tomas Hertl burst into the Vegas zone trailing one defender and slipping around another on his way to the net. He didn’t get a shot off but drew all the attention his way as he went behind the net and sent the puck forward for one of several Sharks to take a shot. Two couldn’t catch it but Evander Kane was coming in as the trailer and he found the rebound for a quick shot into an empty net. Subban was stuck in traffic to the side of the net, unable to get back for the save.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic gave the Sharks their first lead of the night at 11:26 with a slap shot off an offensive zone faceoff. Logan Couture got the assist. It was Vlasic’s third of the season.

That lead only lasted for 38 seconds. Shea Theodore did almost exactly what Vlasic did, taking a shot off an offensive zone faceoff win by William Karlsson. It was Theodore’s 12th of the season.

The end of the third was spent mostly in penalties. First, matching roughing penalties were assigned to Timo Meier and William Carrier at 16:10. At 10:05, almost a minute after the four-on-four ended, Colin Miller was called for hooking.

That power play carried over into the extra period, right up to Brent Burns’s game winner 22 seconds into overtime. That shot came off of Couture’s pass along the blue line. A secondary assist went to Kevin Labanc.

The Sharks next play on Sunday at 5:00 PM PT against the visiting Calgary Flames.

Sharks Lose 4-2 to Kings, Losing Streak Up to 4

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks fell 4-2 to the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center Thursday. Kings goals came from Dustin Brown, Matt Roy, Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter. Jonathan Quick made 23 saves in the win, while Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 31 saves in the loss. Sharks goals came from Barclay Goodrow and Tomas Hertl. The Flames won in Calgary on Thursday, so the Sharks have now fallen five points behind them for first in the Pacific.

After the game, Sharks forward Tomas Hertl said:

We got now 4 in a row. We know the playoffs are coming soon and… we have to wake up and be ready for tomorrow’s game because if we play like that in playoffs, you know, it’s just four-zero and you’re out and we have to be ready and start playing our hockey and everything else comes with that.

After the game, Sharks defenseman Brent Burns was asked whether losing four in a row at this point of the season was particularly concerning. Burns said: “Every loss is doomsday and every win feels good. I think that’s just kind of the way this game is. You lose one game and you want to try to get it back right away and we haven’t done it. So we’re just gonna kinda get our game back and start winning.”

The Sharks started the game without several key players. Joe Pavelski has been out with a lower body injury since Monday. Erik Karlsson was also still out. Finally, Logan Couture was out with the flu Thursday. Of the holes in their lineup, Burns said: “It’s tough to lose anybody but you gotta play, you just play. I mean it’s good for somebody else to, they get more time or move up or whatever it is.”

Los Angeles took the lead 5:19 into the first. Dustin Brown skated up the boards with Hertl between him and the net. He took a no-look shot between Hertl’s skates. With two more skaters screening him, Jones did not see Brown’s shot coming. The Sharks challenged the goal for goaltender interference because one of those skaters, Alex Iafallo, had a skate in the blue paint. Toronto did not consider it sufficient to erase the goal. Assists went to Sean Walker and Adrian Kempe.

The Sharks tied it up at 17:33 of he period. Joonas Donskoi brought the puck up from the goal line and passed it to Marc-Edouard Vlasic at the point. Vlasic took a quick shot into heavy traffic and Barclay Goodrow deflected it past Jonathan Quick. It was Goodrow’s seventh of the season, with Vlasic and Donskoi getting the assists.

The Kings outshot the Sharks 15-7 in the first period. There were no power plays, only matching minors in the final two minutes that resulted in some four-on-four play.

The Sharks took the lead early in the second period, at 3:45. Hertl made a pass to Burns as Burns approached the Los Angeles blue line, then followed Burns into the zone. Burns drew several defenders to him before the made a pass back to Hertl for the shot. The puck went by Quick on the far side.

The Sharks had a power play near the end of the period, but did not score there. The teams were tied in shots for the second period at 11.

Matt Roy tied the game up for Los Angeles 9:28 into the third period. Iafallo had the puck above the face-off circle and he sent a gentle pass to nearby Roy at the point. Roy blasted it to the net and it went off of a Sharks stick and into the net. Assists went to Iafallo and Anze Kopitar.

Kopitar gave the Kings the lead at 11:45. He got behind the Sharks defense and found the puck as it came out of a board battle up below the blue line. He faked to the right and shot left and beat Jones. Assists went to Iafallo and Brown.

Jeff Carter ended a 20-game goal drought with a back-hand from the defensive zone into an empty net at 18:43. The Sharks were on a power play and also pulled Jones for a six-on-four advantage.

The Kings outshot the Sharks 35-25 in the game.

The Sharks play again Friday against the Anaheim Ducks at 7:00 PM PT.