Sharks Shut Out Wild 3-0

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks shut out the Minnesota Wild 3-0 on the road Monday. Goals came from Tomas Hertl, Barclay Goodrow and Logan Couture. Martin Jones made 24 saves for the shut out, while Minnesota’s Devan Dybnyk made 26 saves in the loss.

Barclay Goodrow deflected Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s shot at 14:06 of the second period. He was skating across in front of Dubnyk when the puck went off of his midsection. Assists went to Vlasic and Tim Heed.

Logan Couture and Joonas Donskoi led their team in shots up to that point, with three each. Joel Eriksson Ek and Jonas Brodin had done the same for the Wild. It was a stifling goaltending game with a healthy shot count. In the first period, each team had 11 shots. In the second, the Sharks led 8-6.

Tomas Hertl made it 2-0 with his 31st of the season at 4:37 of the third. Skating in two on one with Timo Meier, his shot rolled off his stick above the blade and hopped over Dubnyk’s pad. Assists went to Meier and Gustav Nyquist.

Logan Couture was granted a penalty shot after being hooked on a breakaway and scored through the five hole without any fuss. That was his 24th of the season.

The play was reviewed after the fact, when the Wild attempted to challenge it as off side. The NHL’s response was that it could not be challenged as there was no goal on that play to challenge.

The Sharks power play was unsuccessful in two attempts, but their penalty kill was perfect against three Wild power plays. Their face off success rate was a healthy 54%.

With the win, the Sharks are back in first place in the West, leap-frogging Calgary by one point. The loss left the Wild in the second wild card spot, one point ahead of Arizona and one behind Dallas.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday in Winnipeg against the Jets at 5:00 PM PT.

Sharks Beat Blackhawks 5-2, M. Karlsson Scores 2

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks beat the visiting Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 Sunday night. Despite the absence of Erik Karlsson, the Sharks still got three goals from Swedish players in the third period. Melker Karlsson scored two and Marcus Sorensen scored one. Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier added two more for the Sharks. Martin Jones made 28 saves for the win. Dylan Strome and Erik Gustafsson scored for Chicago and Cam Ward made 29 saves in the loss.

Both Erik Karlsson and Evander Kane missed a second game in a row with injuries. After the game, Sharks Head Coach Peter DeBoer talked about winning without them in the lineup:

Take out two critical pieces like that out of somebody’s team and you’re in tough. But I thought our fourth line was excellent tonight, I thought Tim Heed’s been playing great hockey for us. That’s what good teams do on nights when guys are out or nights when a line is off a little bit, another line picks it up. I thought Tommy Hertl and his line were real good tonight so, you know, that’s part of winning hockey.

Tomas Hertl gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 12:16 of the first. He carried the puck into the zone, pestered somewhat by Duncan Keith, and when Cam Ward went down to block the shot, slipped the puck around him. Tim Heed got the assist.

Chicago tied it up in the final minute of the period with a goal from Dylan Strome. A few good offensive shifts from Chicago was followed by a neutral zone turnover by the Sharks. That gave the Blackhawks a two on one of Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat. Strome looked like he would pass, but he shot and beat Jones on the blocker side. DeBrincat and Brent Seabrook got the assists.

At the end of the first, Chicago held the lead in shots 11-7. The Sharks had won 67% of the face-offs.

Early in the second, Timo Meier gave the Sharks the lead back. He started by sending the puck around the boards to Tim Heed before moving to the slot. Then, from above the hash marks, he tipped Heed’s shot, sending the puck just under the goalie’s glove. Tomas Hertl screened Ward so the goalie really had no chance to see the shot coming. Assists went to Heed and Joonas Donskoi.

Erik Gustafsson tied it back up at 6:40. After a little give and go up by the blue line with Jonathan Toews, Gustafsson moved to the middle of the ice and took a shot right up the middle, going through three skaters aligned in a perfect screen. The puck brushed the underside of Jones’s sleeve as it went in. Assists went to Toews and Keith.

The Sharks outshot the Blackhawks 14-12 in the second period, but their face-off win percentage dropped to 53%.

4:27 into the third, the Sharks took the lead back with a great shot from Marcus Sorensen skating to the net. Joe Thornton and Joonas Donskoi had spent a spell around the net and boards. Thornton and Donskoi got the assists.

During a delayed penalty against Chicago, Melker Karlsson extended the lead to 4-2. It was a well-deserved goal for a fourth line that had been close to scoring several times in the game. Karlsson tipped a Brent Burns shot tipped from the hash marks. The time of the goal was 8:16, with assists going to Burns and Micheal Haley.

Karlsson scored again at 17:38. The Chicago net was empty when Karlsson picked Goodrow’s clearing shot out of the air. He broke away and took his shot from the Chicago blue line. Assists went to Goodrow and Haley.

The Sharks killed three of three penalties, one per period and had one power play during which they did not score. They allowed eight shots on the three penalty kills and got one on the power play. The final shot count was 34-30 Sharks and they won 51% of the face-offs.

The win puts the Sharks just three points behind the Pacific Division and Western Conference leaders, the Calgary Flames.

The Sharks next play on Thursday against the visiting Montreal Canadiens at 7:30 PM PT.

Sharks Win 5-2 in Edmonton, Thornton Ties Howe

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks defeated the Oilers 5-2 win in Edmonton Saturday while adding a couple of milestones. Joe Thornton earned his 1,048th and 1,049th assists to tie Gordie Howe for ninth in the NHL. That last point came on Kevin Labanc’s third goal of the game for his first NHL hat trick. Two more Sharks goals came from Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl. Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell made 21 saves on 23 shots. Edmonton got goals from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zack Kassian, while goaltender Cam Talbot made 26 saves on 31 shots.

Of their success in Edmonton this season, and of Labanc’s hat trick, Sharks Captain Joe Pavelski said:

Yeah, first one, that’s awesome, they were nice goals too. He shot the puck really well tonight, you know, quick, accurate, hard. He made some good plays out there. It was big for us. That’s what I was talking about, up and down the lineup, when we’ve come in here we’ve had guys step up and have big nights and, you know, Kevin had a good one for us tonight.

Kevin Labanc gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead 10:39 into the first. Catching a pass from Joe Thornton as he came into the zone at a good clip, Labanc took a quick shot that went off of an Edmonton skate and into the net. Assists went to Thornton and Marcus Sorensen.

Evander Kane added to that lead at 12:15. Tomas Hertl carried the puck over the blue line, then made a backwards pass to Joonas Donskoi who had just entered the zone behind him. Donskoi found Kane as he arrived in front of the net, undefended. Kane did not hesitate and put the puck by Talbot on the near side. Assists went to Donskoi and Hertl.

The teams skated four-on-four after Barclasy Goodrow and Leon Draisaitl exchanged penalties, crossing-checking for Goodrow and interference for Draisaitl. Neither team scored.

At the end of the first period, the Sharks led 2-0 and 12-5 in shots.

The Sharks had an early power play in the second period, when Zack Kassian went to the box for tripping Evander Kane. With 22 seconds left in that penalty, Adam Larsson was called for delay of game after the puck went out of play.

The two man advantage had expired before the Sharks scored again. Evander Kane moved as if to carry the puck behind the net but instead sent the puck to the front. Timo Meier was there but he could not get his stick on it. The puck went off of his skate and out to Labanc who was at the edge of the faceoff circle. He dragged the puck closer to the slot, encouraging the goalie to move off the post. As Talbot started to move across, Labanc took the shot. Assists went to Meier and Kane.

The Sharks got another chance at 9:06 with Oscar Klefbom in the box for interference against Tomas Hertl, but that was cut short by half a minute when Timo Meier was called for tripping Brandon Manning. The Sharks penalty had 28 seconds left in it when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored for Edmonton. Aaron Dell had fought off a couple of shots and was down when the puck popped out to Nugent-Hopkins away from the net crowd. Nugent-Hopkins took the shot and it went through traffic and in at 12:00 of the second. An assist went to Alex Chiasson.

At the end of the second period, the Sharks led 3-1. Despite the power play time for San Jose, Edmonton still had 13 shots to the Sharks’ 7 for the period. Whatever accounted for that imbalance, it did not go unnoticed by the Sharks during intermission. They came out with renewed energy to start the third period.

Kevin Labanc completed his hat trick just 1:36 into the final frame. Much like his first goal of the game, he took a pass from Joe Thornton off the rush and his shot went through traffic. This time, it did not hit anything and went into the net clean as a whistle. Assists went to Thornton and Brenden Dillon.

Tomas Hertl made it 5-1 at 4:24 of the third. He carried the puck into the zone, looked away like he was going to pass across the ice, snatched the puck away from an Edmonton stick, then shot it through the short side. Talbot was unable to predict that.

Zack Kassian got one back for Edmonton at 4:03 of the third. His shot from the blue line bounced off of a skate and went up in their over Dell before landing across the line. Adam Larsson got an assist.

In the end, the Sharks got one power play goal in five chances, and the Oilers scored on their only power play of the game. The Sharks won 60% of the faceoffs.

At 4:57 of the first period, San Jose’s Melker Karlsson carried the puck into the zone and attempted to protect it against Milan Lucic and Kevin Gravel behind the Edmonton net. Gravel pushed Karlsson into the boards and he started to loose his footing. As he started to fall, Gravel pushed him again and Karlsson went down with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Karlsson left the game.

In the final seconds of the first period, Edmonton’s Ty Rattie blocked a Tim Heed shot with his ankle and he left the ice with assistance. He did not return.

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

Sharks Come Back for 7-6 OT Win Over Capitals in Washington

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks ended a three-game losing streak with a 7-6 overtime win against the Washington Capitals Tuesday night at the Capital One Arena. Sharks goals came from Tomas Hertl (3), Evander Kane (2), Joe Pavelski, and Logan Couture. It was Hertl’s third career hat trick, and the first in Sharks history to include an overtime goal. Capitals goals came from Alex Ovechkin (3), Andre Burakovsky, T. J. Oshie, and Evgeny Kuznetsov. The Sharks’ power play went 2-6 while the Capitals scored one power play goal in three tries. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 33 saves on 39 shots, while the Capitals’ Braden Holtby made 36 saves on 43 shots.

After the game, Sharks forward Logan Couture talked about their defensive lapses: “We shouldn’t have checked out defensively like we did tonight. We weren’t there in our own end, leaving our goaltender out to dry on many occasions and in overtime there he made some big time saves for us to win that game.”

Asked about the team’s ability to bounce back despite all that, he said: “We’re in a difficult spot here. You’re in the third period, you’re down a few goals on the back to back on a long travel day. All the guys in here could have easily looked forward to tomorrow and our break, but we decided to play hard for the third and found a way to tie it up and win it.”

Joe Pavelski started the scoring just 12 seconds into the game Tuesday. An early icing call gave the Sharks an offensive zone draw, which Pavelski won, getting the puck up to Burns at the point. Burns shot the puck, it bounced off of Timo Meier in front of the net, and landed in front of an open net for Pavelski to knock it in. Meier and Burns got the assists.

The Capitals tied it up at 10:41 of the period with a power play goal. Tim Heed was in the box for hooking. Martin Jones made two stops before the puck trickled out to the side of the net, where Alex Ovechkin was tracking it down. He popped the puck in before Jones could get back for the stop. Assists went to Nicklas Backstrom and TJ Oshie.

Andre Burakovzky gave the Capitals the lead less than two minutes later, at 12:11. Burakovsky took a shot off the rush, beating Jones on the glove side through some traffic. Assists went to Chandler Stephenson and Travis Boyd.

Tomas Hertl tied the game back up with a power play goal at 14:27, while T.J. Oshie was in the box for tripping Timo Meier. The Sharks gave up a short-handed chance early in the power play but, once back in the Capitals’ zone, executed a nice tic-tac-toe play. Hertl found Thornton at the mid boards, Thornton passed to Pavelski below the goal line, and Pavelski sent it back to Hertl, who was low in the slot. Hertl’s one-timer went right over Braden Holtby’s shoulder. It was Hertl’s 20th goal of the season, with the assists going to Pavelski and Thornton.

T.J. Oshie exited the box and in less than a minute got the lead back for Washington. Ovechkin carried the puck into the zone and then fed Oshie with a pass that escaped the pursuing Sharks. Oshie drew Jones to the left, then shot to the right side of the net. Assists went to Ovechkin and John Carlson.

Less than a minute into the second period, Evander Kane tied the game again. Timo Meier retrieved the puck behind the net, then reversed direction and got the puck to Kane on the left side of the net. Kane’s first shot did not go in, but by the time the puck bounced up and across the goal mouth, Kane was in position to shoot it back in. Assists went to Meier and Brent Burns.

Washington grabbed the lead back again at 2:53. Martin Jones had just stopped a shot from Jakub Vrana, but the rebound went to the goal line where Evgeny Kuznetsov pulled it in and shot it past Jones. The Sharks defense was not very helpful for Jones on that goal. Assists went to Vrana and Tom Wilson.

Alex Ovechkin extended the lead to 5-3 at 5:41. Backstrom made a drop pass to Ovechkin at the top of the faceoff circle, while drawing Justin Braun away and creating a moving screen. Ovechkin’s shot went by Jones’ glove side. Assists went to Backstrom and Oshie.

Logan Couture got one back at 14:39. The Sharks had just killed a penalty when Logan Couture followed a puck through John Carlson at the Sharks blue line. He headed through the neutral zone with Tomas Hertl and Brent Burns trailing him, three on none. Couture slipped the puck under Holtby with a backhand shot for his 19th goal of the season.

The teams traded penalties to start the third period, before Ovechkin completed his hat trick at 5:52. The Capitals drove through the neutral zone, ending up 4-on-2, then 4-on-3 against the Sharks’ defenders. Kuznetsov passed the puck to Vrana on the right, who passed it back across the ice to the trailing Ovechkin. He took the shot from the slot for his 36th of the season. Vrana and Kuznetsov got the assists.

Tomas Hertl scored his second, another power play goal, at 10:02 of the third. John Carlson was in the box for holding Joonas Donskoi. This play was like Hertl’s first goal, in that Couture’s pass found Pavelski below the goal line, and Pavelski found Hertl open for the shot in the slot. It looked a little faster than the first one, but very similar. Assists went to Pavelski and Couture.

Evander Kane sent the teams to overtime with his second of the game at 19:59. Martin Jones left the net with just over 1:30 left, giving the Sharks a sixth skater. The Capitals cleared the puck three times, but did not hit the empty net. Pavelski took a shot from the boards, it slowed down when it hit Hertl’s stick, then bounced in front of Kane and an open net.

Hertl completed his hat trick with the overtime game winner 1:48 into the extra period. Hertl carried the puck through the neutral zone and then gave it to Couture at center. Couture hesitated a moment, then gave it back to Hertl, who took the shot from just below the hash marks.

The Sharks will resume after the All-Star Game on February 2 against the Arizona Coyotes in San Jose. Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns will join the other All-Stars in San Jose, starting Thursday. Erik Karlsson’s participation is less certain.

Hertl’s First Hat Trick Since ’13 Helps Sharks Get Revenge on Pens in 5-2 Win

Photo credit: @LetsGoSharks

By: Jerry Feitelberg

The San Jose Sharks rolled to their seventh straight win Tuesday night, romping the equally-as-hot Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 in a rematch of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. Tomas Hertl scored his first hat trick since scoring 4 goals — yes, those four goals, on October 8th, 2013. Evander Kane picked up three assists and Joe Thornton scored the game-winner in his 1,000th game in Teal and Black. All-star Kris Letang and Derick Brassard scored for the Penguins. Martin Jones made 22 saves in net for the Sharks.

Tomas Hertl needed three goals to reach the 100-goal plateau and his empty-netter with 25 seconds left in regulation did the trick, icing the victory over a Penguins team that had won 10 of their last 12 games.

Pittsburgh got on the score sheet first after Letang netted his 11th goal of the season halfway through the first but a Sharks surge found team Teal up 2-1 after one. Marcus Sorensen tipped home his ninth goal of the season with eight minutes left in the period. Sorensen is fresh off signing a two-year contract extension. Hertl then scored his first of three after boxing out a defender on the boards before jamming to the net for his 17th goal of the season 14:05 into the first.

Joe Thornton continued to rack up the milestones, beating Matt Murray 3:39 into the middle period for his 10th goal of the season. Jumbo has now scored 10 goals or more in 18 seasons.

Hertl scored again 2:06 into the third period for the 4-1 lead, but Brassard netted his eighth of the year to pull the Pens within two with just under two minutes left. Hertl converted on the hat trick for his 19th goal of the season and a century mark in goals in his young career.

The Sharks will hit the road for four straight, facing the Arizona Coyotes tomorrow night in the desert. After that, they’ll face the Tampa Bay Lightning after ending their lengthy winning streak earlier in the month. After that, they’ll face the Florida Panthers and Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals in a back-to-back before players disperse for the All-Star break.

Sharks Beat Blackhawks 7-3 in Chicago

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 7-3 Sunday in a much-needed road win at the United Center. After a shaky first few minutes, the Sharks took over with goals from Melker Karlsson, Marcus Sorensen, Evander Kane, Barclay Goodrow, Kevin Labanc, Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl. In all, 13 Sharks earned points in the game, six of them earning more than one. For Chicago, goals came from Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini.

Both teams used both of their goalies, with San Jose’s Martin Jones being replaced after giving up three goals on four shots in the first period, and Chicago’s Corey Crawford leaving the game after an injury in the first period. Sharks’ Aaron Dell did not give up a goal on 16 shots, while Blackhawks’ Cam Ward made 30 saves on 35 shots. San Jose’s special teams were perfect with four penalty kills and two goals on two power plays.

After the game, Sharks forward Logan Couture commented on how the team has improved lately:

We’re playing the right way now. There’s less cheating, less chances being taken in bad areas of the ice. Defensively I think we’ve played some very strong hockey, and when we do that, it may be hard to realize but it always leads to offense. You’re always going to score more goals when you’re defending well. It’s just the way this game works, you don’t think it when you’re on the ice, but that’s the way it works.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer talked about his fourth line of Melker Karlsson, Barclay Goodrow and Lukas Radil after the game: “Melker consistently gives me the same game. You know, his production maybe isn’t there all the time but I think you know what you’re getting from him every time he puts his uniform on and he’s going to do whatever he can to help you win a game. You know, that fourth line has some chemistry and they’re making a difference in games. That’s the first time we’ve had that in a while so it feels good.”

The Blackhawks scored first and last in a goal-laden first period. In the first four minutes, Chicago scored twice. First, Alex DeBrincat got his 14th of the season at 2:34. The Sharks were on a change as Erik Gustafsson carried the puck into the neutral zone. He made a pass to the Sharks blue line where DeBrincat waited and DeBrincat took the shot from just over that blue line. The puck trickled through Martin Jones. Less than one  minute later, Dylan Strome defelcted a shot from Connor Murphy that came from above the faceoff circle. Assists went to Murphy and Patrick Kane.

The Sharks got one back, courtesy of Melker Karlsson at 9:58. Lukas Radil and Barclay Goodrow caused a turnover in the neutral zone, allowing Brent Burns to take the puck and send it away from the Sharks zone to Radil near the Chicago blue line. Radil made a quick cross-ice pass to Karlsson. Karlsson took the shot from inside the faceoff circle and beat Corey Crawford over the pad. It was Karlsson’s third of the season, with assists to Radil and Burns.

The Sharks tied it up with their next shot less than a minute later. Joe Thornton stole the puck in the neutral zone and gave it back to Justin Braun. Braun moved the puck quickly to Kevin Labanc, who sent it cross-ice to Thornton. Thornton found Marcus Sorensen in front of the net. Sorensen used a backhand to sneak the puck under Crawford fr his sixth of the season. Assists went to Thornton and Labanc.

Chicago retook the lead at 12:54 of the period. Brendan Perlini scored off of an ugly play that started with a breakaway by Dylan Sikura. Sikura got tangled up with Justin Braun and fell on his way to the net, but he continued to drive the puck forward. Meanwhile, Perlini won a race against Marc-Edouard Vlasic and tapped the loose puck around Jones’ skate. Assists went to Sikura and Brent Seabrook.

The Sharks switched goalies at this point, putting Aaron Dell in net.

With 1:30 left in the period, Corey Crawford was bowled over by Dylan Strome after Strome tried to slip between Logan Couture and Evander Kane as they converged on the net. Kane was called for goaltender interference. Strome was called for slashing Couture. Crawford left the game and Cam Ward came in. A tripping penalty 44 seconds later on Timo Meier turned the 4-on-4 into a 4-on-3, which carried over into the second period, but none of the penalties altered the score.

The Sharks tied it back up 4:21 into the second period with a power play goal from Evander Kane. Chicago was short-handed for playing with a broken stick, attributed to David Kampf. Kevin Labanc took a stick to the eye early in the power play. It was not observed by officials but Labanc had to leave for repairs.

With under 30 seconds left in the power play, Brent Burns took a shot from above the faceoff circle. The shot came off of Ward’s pads and went right up the middle to where Kane was waiting to swat it back in. It was Kane’s 10th of the season, with assists to Burns and Erik Karlsson.

Barclay Goodrow gave the Sharks their first lead of the game at 7:36 of the period. After a great shift from the Sharks’ fourth line, Justin Braun took a shot from the blue line that went off of Goodrow who was screening Cam Ward. It was Goodrow’s fifth of the season, with assists to Braun and Melker Karlsson.

Logan Couture stretched the Sharks’ lead out to two with his 11th of the season at 16:16. After a nice keep-in by Joe Pavelski up on the blue line, Evander Kane kept the puck away from two Blackhawks below the goal line before getting the puck up to Brenden Dillon on the blue line. Dillon took the shot and Couture deflected it over Ward’s shoulder. Assists went to Dillon and Kane.

The Sharks scored a second power play goal at 13:03 of the third period, with Chicago’s Patrick Kane in the box for tripping. Tomas Hertl kept the puck in at the corner, then moved it along the blue line to Burns. Burns juggled it a bit, just keeping it on the right side of the line. Burns then moved down the slot, threatening a shot, before passing it to Kevin Labanc. Labanc caught the pass just above the hash marks and beat Ward high on the short side. It was Labanc’s fourth of the season, with assists to Burns and Hertl.

Tomas Hertl got on the board with the Sharks’ seventh of the game at 18:27. The Blackhawks were pushing hard in the last couple of minutes, but Timo Meier broke the puck out and took it down behind the Chicago net. Meier put the puck in front of the net, where it came out to Erik Karlsson for a shot. That one came back out for Meier to shoot, but he broke his stick. It went back below the goal line to Logan Couture, who found Hertl coming in for his shot. Couture got the only assist on that one.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday in Minnesota against the Wild at 5:00 PM PT.

San Jose Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa Walsh: Timo Time pays off for Sharks; Jones like wall in net as Sharks win four of last five

Photo credit: @sharks_fanly

On the San Jose Sharks podcast with Mary Lisa:

#1 Last Monday against New Jersey, the San Jose Sharks were able to take advantage, scoring three goals when Timo Meier scored twice and Radim Simek scored his first goal of the season helped the Sharks get a three-goal win over NJ 5-3.

#2 Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl also had two-point nights for the Sharks.

#3 The Sharks had been a little slow on picking up the pace, but were able to open things up against New Jersey with Timo Meier firing up the offense.

#4 Tomas Hertl added a power play goal at 5:38 in the third period and goaltender Martin Jones stopped 22 shots.

#5 Thursday night, the Dallas Stars are at SAP and the Sharks hope to get some of the same support they got on Monday.

Mary Lisa does the Sharks podcast each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Jones Saves 39, Sharks Top Canes 5-1; That’s two straight wins for Sharks

photo from nhl.nbcsports.com: San Jose’s Joe Pavelski goes for the victory skate in front of the Sharks bench after scoring his season’s 18th goal as the Sharks defeated the Carolina Hurricanes at SAP Center on Wednesday night

By Matthew Harrington

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks won on the road for the second-straight game, shelling the Carolina Hurricanes 5-1 at SAP Center on Wednesday night. Well, not quite. Despite the Sharks wearing the road whites and feeling the parts of weary travelers, they were actually the home team.

Joe Thornton and Timo Meier each had three points for San Jose, Martin Jones made 39 saves and Radim Simek picked up his first career NHL point in just his second game. Joe Pavelski scored his team-leading 18th goal and Meier, Marcus Sorensen, Tomas Hertl and Barclay Goodrow all scored for Team Teal. Lucas Wallmark scored the lone goal for the Canes.

The Sharks returned from a six-game road swing Sunday night, playing their first home game since November 23rd, but their bags really never had a chance to be unpacked, with San Jose off to Dallas for a Friday night contest before a trip to the Desert for a Saturday showdown with the Coyotes.

Both teams entered play 1-2 in high-danger scoring chances, so offensive fireworks were expected. The fact that they were completely one-sided came as a bit of a surprise though. Goodrow opened the scoring taking a Kevin Labanc feed and going top shelf just 3:44 into the game for his fourth goal of the year. Tomas Hertl scored a power play strike after Logan Couture’s cross-ice pass to Labanc pulled NHL journeyman Curtis McElhinney to his left. Labanc connected with Hertl just to the right of the netminder in the crease for the easy redirect and a 2-0 lead halfway through the first period. The Canes would pepper Jones with 17 shots in the frame but he stood tall to hold down the shutout after 20 minutes.

Timo Meier continued to blossom as San Jose’s best power forward since Owen Nolan, buzzing McElhinney right as Simek ripped a point shot. The naked eye gave Simek his first career goal, but by the grace of video review, Timo Meier was awarded his 14th goal. Simek had to settle for an assist for his first NHL point and a 3-0 Sharks lead 8:42 into the second. Thornton would pick up his first of three assists, notching the secondary helper on the final three San Jose goals.

Joe Pavelski scored what has to be the most fortuitous goal of his season, attempting to flip a puck on McElhinney that looked like it would be harmless. Instead the puck glanced off Jordan Staal and redirected into the Canes net for a 4-0 Sharks edge.

Carolina would finally crack Jones in the waning minute and a half of the middle stanza with Wallmark beating Jones glove side on the power play to score on the Hurricanes 26th shot of the contest. Marcus Sorensen got the goal pack after Meier threaded a pack hand pass that allowed the Swede to rip a shot past McElhinney with just 4:17 left in regulation.

San Jose has now collected a point in three-straight home games and is on a two-game win streak after a five-game skid. They’re off to the Big D for a showdown with Tyler Seguin and the Stars next.

Sharks Sink Flyers in Overtime 4-3

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Sharks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime Saturday. In the process, Timo Meier scored two goals, breaking Patrick Marlowe’s team record by scoring 11 goals in the first 14 games of the season. Goalie Martin Jones played his 200th game with the Sharks, the third goaltender to do so. He made 23 saves for the win. Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton also scored for the Sharks. For the Flyers, Nolan Patrick, Jordan Weal and Jakub Voracek scored, while their goalie Calvin Pickard stopped 31 shots.

For the first time in 10 games, the Sharks gave up the first goal just 37 seconds in. Philadelphia’s Nolan Patrick carried the puck through the neutral zone, passed it to Oskar Lindblom on his left, who passed it back across behind Patrick to Travis Konecny on the right wing. Konecny found Patrick at the edge of the blue paint, and Patrick pulled the puck across in front of Jones, putting it under Jones as Jones moved left. Assists went to Konecny and Lindblom.

Meier tied the game at 3:15. Vlasic sent the puck in around the boards, where Hertl caught it behind the net. He carried it back over the goal line and made a pass almost behind him. Meier met the puck right in front of the blue paint and took the shot before Pickard could get across. Assists went to Hertl and Vlasic.

The Flyers took the lead again at 16:40 of the period with a goal from Jordan Weal. Wayne Simmonds brought the puck out from behind the net and centered it for Weal. Weal turned and took the shot quickly, with Dale Weise screening the goalie.

The Sharks started the second period with eleven seconds of penalty yet to kill. They had a second penalty to kill at 2:47. Midway through the kill, Brenden Dillon started an impressive short-handed attack with Couture and Burns. They created some good chances but did not score during the Flyers power play.

The Sharks tied the game at 10:35 of the second, on the power play. Kevin Labanc made a pass that looked enough like a shot for the goalie to commit to stopping it. Pavelski, below the faceoff circle across the ice from Labanc, caught the pass and took the shot too quickly for Pickard to get across. Assists went to Labanc and Burns.

A few minutes later, Hertl took a hit from Christian Folin and looked shaken up. Folin and Hertl appeared to have bumped helmets. There was was no call on the play and Hertl did not return to the game. Melker Karlsson took Hertl’s spot with Meier and Couture.

Jakub Voracek gave the Flyers another lead with just 30 seconds left in the second. Brent Burns had just taken a penalty and the Flyers were playing with delayed penalty time. Lindblom sent the puck up from below the goal line to Voracek high in the slot. Voracek took a quick shot and beat Jones glove side. Assists went to Lindblom and Ivan Provorov.

The Sharks had a power play early in the third period. The Sharks showed some urgency but the Flyers penalty killers were very aggressive and made it hard for the Sharks to come through the neutral zone or do much in the offensive zone. The Sharks made amends for that power play a few minutes later with an impressive shift in the Flyers’ zone. They kept the Flyers scrambling for what seemed like minutes. They got credit for two shots in that spell.

It ended with a too many men on the ice call as the Sharks slipped up trying to change. The Sharks made another short-handed attempt right at the start of that penalty kill, keeping the Flyers busy in their own zone for nearly a minute. They finished the kill off in a more traditional manner.

Thornton tied the game again with a strong shot from above the faceoff cirle, his first goal since January. An assist went to Labanc, who had carried the puck across the blue line and into the slot. His path blocked, he made the pass across to Thornton for the shot. The second assist went to Dillon.

At the end of regulation, the Sharks led in shots 34-25, though the big difference there came in the first period. In the second and third, the Flyers had just one less shot than the Sharks.

Meier ended the game just 13 seconds into overtime. Logan Couture bulled his way by Voracek to bring the puck into the offensive zone where he found Meier skating down the slot. Meier took the pass and the shot without hesitation.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer made some line adjustments prior to Saturday’s game. The successful trio of Couture, Meier and Hertl was reunited. Antti Suomela sat out while Rourke Chartier came in on the third line with Labanc and Joonas Donskoi. On defense, Erik Karlsson started with Dillon while Vlasic was paired with his partner of many seasons, Justin Braun.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday at 7:30 PM PT, hosting the Minnesota Wild.

Sharks Fall to Hurricanes in Shootout 4-3

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks were defeated 4-3 in a shootout by the Hurricanes in Raleigh, North Carolina. Carolina goals came from Dougie Hamilton, Brock McGinn and Teuvo Teravainen, with the shootout winner also scored by McGinn. Petr Mrazek made 20 saves on 23 shots for the win. Sharks goals came from Timo Meier, Antti Suomela and Tomas Hertl. Aaron Dell made 38 saves on 41 shots for San Jose. The Hurricanes outshot the Sharks and beat them in the faceoff circle 61%-39%.

After the game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski talked about the overtime point the team earned:

We win in a shootout there, you know we feel a little better about ourselves but we still understand that they took over the second half of the game. If we had the first, they took over the second. These points are big though.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said:

What a tale of two games! I walked out at the end of the first period, I thought we could have been up four-nothing. And then we never won another race or a battle the rest of the night, or shift. So I guess the lesson in that is the NHL still plays 60 minute games not 20 minute games and our goalie got us a point for playing 20 minutes.

By the end of the first period, the Sharks had a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Antti Suomela and Timo Meier. Suomela’s goal, his first in the NHL, followed some pretty skating around two Carolina defenders. He took the shot while hopping over some skates for a nice flourish. Assists went to Evander Kane and Brent Burns.

Meier’s goal came on the power play at 8:16. Burns’ shot rebounded off the goalie’s pads and Meier was right in position to clean it up. The goal extended a six game point streak for Meier and was his sixth of the season. Assists went to Burns and Erik Karlsson.

Carolina started the second period very well, with a goal just 1:16 in from Hamilton. The Hurricanes had been in the Sharks’ zone for some time, moving the puck well and refusing to be pushed out. Micheal Ferland pulled the puck away from the boards and skated to the slot, then passed it to Hamilton who was ready just above the circle. His hard shot beat Dell over the shoulder. Ferland got the assist.

At 4:28, Lucas Wallmark went to the box for slashing Logan Couture, putting the Sharks on their second power play of the game. Burns kept the puck in as Carolina tried to clear it, and got it to Kevin Labanc along the boards. Labanc got it to Couture across the ice, who passed it quickly to Hertl, right in front of the blue paint. He to knocked it in before Mrazek could get across to stop him. Assists went to Couture and Labanc.

The Sharks successfully killed a slashing penalty to Karlsson, followed by a brief chance for Karlsson and Marcus Sorensen. The Hurricanes intercepted the pass and went the other way for a shot that Dell stopped. The Hurricanes then took up residence in the offensive zone and the Sharks could not get things going the other way.

Dell had just returned to the net after passing the puck to Karlsson up the boards. Karlsson sent it back around to Dillon on the other side of the net but it went off Dillon’s stick to the front of the net. In the scramble that ensued, Dell went down and Brock McGinn put the puck over him into the net.

Carolina completed the comeback at 15:14 when Kane’s pass went awry, right to Sebastian Aho, who gave it to Teravainen. Teravainen took a shot from the top of the faceoff circle and it went right by Dell, who had some traffic in front of him. Aho got the one assist, extending his point streak to ten games.

In the process of outscoring the Sharks 3-1 during the second period, the Hurricanes outshot the Sharks 16-5.

Hertl was missing at the start the third period, triggering some line adjustments.

After the game,  DeBoer said of Hertl’s absence: “He’s been dealing with something here most of the year. He’s been playing through it and he just re-aggravated it.”

Couture took the first faceoff between Kane and Joonas Donskoi. Pavelski then took a faceoff between Meier and Labanc. Each line generated a chance right away but the score remained tied. Suomela centered Sorensen and Karlsson.

At 7:13, Couture lost an edge and went into the back of the net. He consulted with the trainer and returned to the ice. Dell was busy early in the period, facing a couple of breakaways and some other good chances for Carolina. By the middle of the period, the Sharks were being outshot 6-1. The Sharks managed a flurry of offense near the midpoint, registering a couple of shots and wearing down the Hurricanes defense. Carolina pushed right back after the next line change, keeping the Sharks on their heels.

With 5:29 left, the Sharks had been trapped on defense for too long when they were called for icing. The Sharks got a partial change after Couture cleared the puck, but still needed some good saves from Dell to keep the game tied. They still had just three shots in the period. Their fourth and fifth came in the last two minutes of the period.

DeBoer put Karlsson, Pavelski and Meier out to start overtime against Jordan Staal, Warren Foegele and Brett Pesce–all of whom started for Carolina.

With 44 seconds left in overtime, Dell went down after Foegele caught him in the neck with his stick while trying to cut across the crease. After having the goalie checked out, play resumed with no penalty.

The Sharks got credit for two shots during overtime. It was their goalie who held them in it, making four important saves.

Justin Williams shot first for Carolina: a wrist shot right into Dell’s pads. Couture shot next: a very similar shot trying for the five hole.

McGinn shot second for Carolina: a hard shot through Dell, just inside his arm. Pavelski shot second for San Jose, trying a quick shot from in close, but he hit the post.

Aho tried the same thing, shooting third for Carolina. He also hit the post. Donskoi shot third for San Jose, trying his signature backhand from in close, but he missed the net.

The Sharks next play on Sunday in Anaheim against the Ducks at 5:00 PM PT.