Sharks

Sharks open road trip with win thanks to Donskoi's late heroics

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USATSI

Sharks open road trip with win thanks to Donskoi's late heroics

BOX SCORE

CALGARY -- Joonas Donskoi scored the game-winner late in third period and had an assist to lead the San Jose Sharks to a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.

Justin Braun began the sequence by knocking Johnny Gaudreau off the puck in the Sharks end, beginning a 3-on-2 rush.

Eventually, Joe Thornton got a shot on net that Mike Smith stopped but the rebound was loose between his legs and was tapped in by Donskoi.

Chris Tierney and Timo Meier also had a goal and an assist each to round out the scoring for San Jose (17-10-3).

Michael Frolik and Gaudreau scored for Calgary (16-13-3).

Trailing 2-1, the Flames tied it at 7:39 of the third period when Garnet Hathaway neatly set up Gaudreau on a 2-on-1 for his 13th goal.

It came after coach Glen Gulutzan had shaken up Calgary's lines late in the second in an attempt to spark the offense, moving Gaudreau off the top unit and onto a line with Hathaway and rookie Mark Jankowski.

The Sharks had taken their first lead halfway through the second period on the power play.

Off a face-off win in the Flames end, the Sharks worked the puck back to Kevin Labanc. His long wrist shot was stopped by Smith, but Tierney whacked in the rebound.

Tierney's eighth goal moves him into second place on the team behind Logan Couture. In his fourth NHL season, the 23-year-old is closing in on his career high of 11 set last year.

Power plays were a key story line in the game with the Sharks going 1 for 3 while Calgary could not generate anything in going 0 for 3. That included squandering a 37-second two-man advantage early in the second period.

San Jose tied it when the line of Tierney, Donskoi and Meier combined on a nice goal.

Calgary opened the scoring 4:42 into the first period on a giveaway by Sharks defenseman Tim Heed.

Aaron Dell made 32 stops to improve to 6-3-1.

Smith, who had 26 saves, falls to 13-10-3.

Notes: It was the first of four meetings between the teams this season. ... Kris Versteeg (hip) missed his 10th game. ... Jaromir Jagr (lower body) is back skating but is still day-to-day. He's missed the last five games. ... Donskoi (lower body) returned after missing six games. ... The Flames have led after one period only four times, the fewest in the league.

UP NEXT:

Sharks: Are at Vancouver on Friday.

Flames: Host Nashville on Saturday.

Melker Karlsson's scoring masks deeper problem

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USATSI

Melker Karlsson's scoring masks deeper problem

In the Sharks’ bid to find consistent offensive production, Melker Karlsson is the latest winger to skate alongside Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton. He’ll get another look there in San Jose’s tilt with the Calgary Flames on Thursday, the first of a three-game road trip through western Canada.

It’s not his first Joe-deo. The trio has played over 700 five-on-five minutes together dating back to Karlsson’s rookie season in 2014-15, per Corsica Hockey. 

Familiarity hasn’t necessarily bred success, however. Of the 23 lines that have played at least 100 minutes together since 2014-15, Karlsson-Thornton-Pavelski ranks 13th in goals per 60 minutes (2.5). 

If you only look at head coach Peter DeBoer’s tenure, the line is 12th, but out of 18 combinations that spent 100 minutes together (2.15). That’s, at least in part, because the trio doesn’t generate a lot of shots together.

Their 26.86 shots per 60 is the fifth-worst rate among those same lines. In fact, Karlsson’s skated on four of the five-worst lines by that metric. 

The 27-year-old has legitimate finishing talent, converting on at least 10 percent of his shots in each of his four NHL seasons. The problem is that he doesn’t shoot all that much. 

He’s shooting at an individual rate of 5.69 shots per 60 minutes during five-on-five play, which represents an improvement over last season (5.42). Should that hold, it’ll be the first time he’s shot at a higher rate than the previous season. 

A few more pucks are getting on net, but Karlsson is actually attempting less shots (10.24 individual corsi-for per 60) than he did last season (10.34). That’s the third straight season of year-over-year decline. 

Despite that, Karlsson’s scored two goals in his last three games, and has five on the season. Now, he’s on pace for a career-high in goals, on the back of a career-high 17.2 percent shooting percentage. 

His ability to convert on limited opportunities masks just that: Karlsson doesn’t generate a whole lot of opportunities. He’s shown himself to be a good enough shooter to mitigate his lack of shot generation, so long as he’s not mired in a slump. 

An injection of finishing ability may be what the top line needs, and Karlsson’s hard-working, puck-retrieving style seems like an on-paper fit alongside Thornton and Pavelski’s respective skillsets. But as long as the trio struggles to generate shots, it’s not a given that they’ll be able to make the most of limited chances.

Sharks lose defensive forward to division rival

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AP

Sharks lose defensive forward to division rival

The San Jose Sharks’ center depth took a hit Wednesday morning, as the Vegas Golden Knights claimed center Ryan Carpenter off of waivers. The Sharks waived Carpenter on Tuesday in an effort to send him to their AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda.

Vegas was interested in Carpenter dating back to June’s expansion draft, according to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun. The Sharks re-signed Carpenter a day before the deadline to submit their protected list, and included him on that list at the expense of signed veteran forwards like Mikkel Boedker and Joel Ward, as well as then-pending unrestricted free agents Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

When addressing reporters on Tuesday, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was optimistic that Carpenter would go unclaimed and get a chance to work on things with San Jose’s top minor league affiliate.

“Sometimes you need to take a step back in order to move forward,” DeBoer told reporters Tuesday (via The Mercury News). “That’s kind of the case with Ryan. He did some good stuff. But take a step back, find your game again and hopefully next time get back up here and make the most of it.”

Carpenter will get a chance to do just that sooner than expected, and with a new organization. The 26-year-old, who led the Barracuda in postseason scoring, only scored a single assist in 16 games with the Sharks this season.

Part of that was due to usage, as Carpenter started 38.03 of his non-neutral zone shifts at even strength in the defensive zone, the highest mark on the team according to Corsica Hockey. That, in turn, likely affected his possession numbers, as the Sharks were out-attempted with him on the ice.

Still, the Sharks are going to miss his defensive acumen, as no player suppressed five-on-five goal at a higher rate relative to when they were off the ice than Carpenter, per Corsica. They’ll also miss his experience relative to their other options at his position.

As long as Tomas Hertl remains on the wing, the Sharks are left with Danny O’Regan and Barclay Goodrow as options to center the fourth line. O’Regan was recalled from the Barracuda on Tuesday, but has appeared overmatched at times in his second professional season.

Goodrow, meanwhile, is in his fourth, but is playing center for essentially the first time in his professional career. He’s exceeded expectations when he’s been in the lineup, but is now on injured reserve for the second time this season.