Potential playoff preview as Sharks visit Anaheim


Potential playoff preview as Sharks visit Anaheim

April 6, 2011

Programming note: It's a busy day on Comcast SportsNet! With five games on our air Wednesday, we've put together a page for you to find exactly where your team's game can be found. Check it out here.

SHARKS (47-23-9) vs.
ANAHEIM (44-30-5)

UPDATE: Goalie Antero Niittymaki will start for the Sharks; Ryane Clowe will not dress due to a lower body injury and Scott Nichol will play in two of the final three games, although no determination has been made regarding his status for tonight.
Coverage begins at 7 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

ANAHEIM (AP) -- The Anaheim Ducks would have already wrapped up a playoff berth had they simply won in regulation the last time they took the ice.

Now a home victory over the Pacific Division champion San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night still won't guarantee them a postseason trip.

Anaheim (44-30-5) is just ahead of both Calgary and Dallas with three games to play, and owns the tiebreaker over each. The Ducks can keep the Flames, who have two games remaining, from catching them if they defeat San Jose, but the Stars have three games left and can still move past them.

RATTO: An early look at the Stanley Cup playoffs

This could have been avoided had Anaheim defeated Dallas at home in regulation on Sunday, but it suffered a 4-3 loss. The defeat was especially discouraging because the Ducks had a pair of potential tying goals taken away in the final 2:04 of the third on an interference call and a hand pass.

"At this time of year, it's tough to dwell on," winger Bobby Ryan said. "You have to just put it in the past. We have to regroup and get ready for San Jose."

Anaheim is hoping to avenge Saturday's disappointing 4-2 loss to the Sharks.

The Ducks, who had won 12 of 15 before losing their last two, led 2-0 after one period, but San Jose rallied to hand Anaheim its third defeat in five meetings this season.

The Sharks (47-23-9) defeated Los Angeles 6-1 on Monday to wrap up their fourth straight division title, an impressive accomplishment considering all five Pacific teams could make the playoffs and San Jose was in last place following a six-game losing streak in January.

The Sharks are 26-4-4 since then, and now they're hoping for the Western Conference's second seed. They are one point ahead of third-place Detroit.

"We have a pretty darned good division, so it's a feather in your cap," said Joe Thornton, who had a goal and an assist Monday to give him 999 career points. "But we still have some work to do. We're still fighting to get that second seed. But it's a good step for us."

Kyle Wellwood added a goal and two assists, and defensemen Dan Boyle and Marc-Edouard Vlasic also scored for the Sharks, who have outscored opponents 43-19 in going 8-0-1 since March 15.

Patrick Marleau has been instrumental to this offensive surge, tallying 10 goals and nine assists in his last 10 games. He had two goals against the Ducks on Saturday.

Goaltender Antti Niemi, who has made 34 straight starts, has been just as important to San Jose's playoff push, posting a 1.99 goals-against average with a shutout in his last nine games. He stopped 20 shots against the Ducks over the weekend and is 2-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA against them this season.

BRAZIL: To Nemo or Nitty? That is the question

Niemi was aided by some strong defense in front of him Saturday, as NHL scoring leader Corey Perry was held without a shot for the first time since Feb. 2, also against the Sharks.

Perry, who scored his 47th goal Sunday, has 16 goals and nine assists in his last 13 games, but he has no goals in his last three games against San Jose.
NOTES: The Sharks have won three of their five games against the Ducks this season. San Jose has also won 18 of its last 29 trips to Anaheim. ... The Ducks have lost each of their last two games after losing just three times in their previous 15 contests. ... San Jose has won four straight and eight of its last nine games, scoring at least four goals in seven of their eight wins in that span. The Sharks have collected points in 12 of their last 13 contests. ... Patrick Marleau has 10 goals and nine assists in his last 10 games and had two goals and one assist in his last game against the Ducks on April 2. ... Corey Perry has 18 points (11g, 7a) during his current nine-game point streak. Perry has three goals and five assists in his last six games against the Sharks, including two points in each of his last two against them. ... Currently at 999 career points, Joe Thornton will be looking to become the fourth player this season to reach the 1000 NHL point milestone (Daniel Alfredsson, Alex Kovalev and Jarome Iginla).

Sharks win second straight, beat Devils to start road trip

Sharks win second straight, beat Devils to start road trip


NEWARK, N.J. — Martin Jones made 28 saves for his first shutout of the season and 16th overall in the San Jose Sharks' 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.

Melker Karlsson, Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi scored and Justin Braun had two assists to help the Sharks open a five-game East Coast trip.

Keith Kinkaid, the top goalie for New Jersey with Cory Schneider on injured reserve, stopped 30 shots as the Devils' three-game winning streak came to an end.

The Devils couldn't muster a strong push in the later stages against the rested Sharks. It was New Jersey's second game two nights following a 5-4 overtime victory in Ottawa. And it showed against the Sharks, who played a solid road game, pressed their advantage and solidly supported Jones.

Karlsson scored the lone goal of the opening period at 14:11 on a close-in shot following a slick behind-the-net setup pass from Tomas Hertl.

The shots were 13 for each team in the evenly played period. The Devils came close on several occasions as former Shark Mirco Mueller and Blake Coleman both hit the crossbar and Jones robbed Drew Stafford on a dead-on drive from the slot.

Pavelski and Donskoi got second-period goals as the Sharks steadily tightened their grip on the game.

Pavelski tipped in Braun's point shot at 5:49. Joe Thornton got the second assist, his 1,395th point, to pass Luc Robitaille for 21st on the career list.

Donskoi backhanded a rebound shot with 1:10 left in the period in which the Sharks outshot the Devils 11-6.

The remaining drama centered on Jones' shutout bid.

NOTES: The Devils placed Schneider on injured reserve Friday with a lower-body injury and recalled Scott Wedgewood from Binghamton of the American Hockey League to serve as Kinkaid's backup. ... Mueller, a healthy scratch in three of the previous four games, returned for the Devils to face the Sharks, the team that drafted him in the first round, for the first time. He was dealt to New Jersey over the summer.


Sharks: At the New York Islanders on Saturday night.

Devils: Host Ottawa on Friday night.

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch suspended one game


Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch suspended one game

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch watched most of Thursday night’s game versus Kansas City from the stands after getting ejected for making contact with an official.

He’ll also be a spectator next week.

The NFL suspended him one game for unsportsmanlike conduct stemming from an incident where left the sidelines to join an on-field scuffle and ended up pushing an official.

The league announced the suspension Friday afternoon. Lynch has already appealed the suspension, per multiple reports.

He was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct and automatically ejected by rule.

Punishment after the fact has gotten expensive.

By rule, Lynch will be fined $30,387 for making contact with an official. He could get hit with other penalties, including entering a fight unnecessarily.

Lynch is also suspended without pay, meaning he’ll forfeit a $79,411 game check and a $31,250 per-game roster bonus.

The Cal alum won’t play a Week 8 contest in Buffalo, against a Bills team that drafted him No. 12 overall in 2007.

Lynch was on the sidelines during a third down draw play where quarterback Derek Carr incurred what officials called a late hit from Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters.

The Raiders offensive line took offense, and came after Peters in a scrum. Lynch and Peters, both Oakland natives, are extremely close. Lynch ran on the field to get between his teammates and his friend, but ended up inadvertently pushing an official. The league has zero tolerance for that, and sent him off the field.

Lynch watched a dramatic 31-30 victory over Kansas City from the stands and screens near the field, and congratulated his teammates after a big win.

Lynch did not explain why he entered the fray, though he seemed to be trying to get Peters out of harm’s way.

“They can say what they want but one thing’s for certain: Family do come first,” Peters told Bay Area News Group’s Logan Murdock.

His Raiders teammates and coaches must carry on without the 31-year old power back. They’ll roll with Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and fullback Jamize Olawale against the Bills, as they did against the Chiefs.

Lynch had two carries for nine yards before getting tossed. He has just 266 yards and two touchdowns on 72 carries through seven games.

If the suspension is upheld, Lynch will be eligible to return in Week 9 against Miami.