Sharks

49ers Notes: Goodwin not worried about fumbles

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49ers Notes: Goodwin not worried about fumbles

SANTA CLARA – As Colin Kaepernick casually strolled through the 49ers’ locker room, he couldn’t help but notice a sizeable media contingent around center Jonathan Goodwin.

“Don’t hassle Goodie about it, it was my fault,” Kaepernick said.

A smiling Goodwin replied, “50/50, husband and wife. Of course, he’s the wife.”

Fortunately, they could now laugh about the trouble they were having with the football in Sunday’s win in New England. Kaepernick fumbled the ball four times while trying to handle the snap from Goodwin, including twice in the first quarter and another on the first play of the second quarter.

Goodwin didn’t seem too concerned that it will be a recurring problem, though, for a couple of reasons.

“The fact that the latter part of the game we tried something different and we didn’t have any problems, and we hadn’t had any problems in regular weather, I don’t think it’s something that’s going to concern us,” said the 11-year pro.

Inclement weather is always a possibility in the Pacific Northwest this time of year, so Goodwin expects he and his new quarterback may spend a little more time handing off the ball in practice this week. The early forecast for Sunday in Seattle, according to weather.com, is cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain.

“I haven't checked the forecast, but if rain is in the picture, it's definitely something that we need to work on,” Goodwin said.

* * *

Although Kaepernick was having trouble with the ball, the young QB showed poise beyond his years late in the game after New England's furious comeback, according to tight end Vernon Davis.

On the first play from scrimmage following the Patriots’ game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter, Kaepernick found Michael Crabtree for a 38-yard score, giving the 49ers a lead they would not relinquish.

“He had just this will-to-win attitude. His demeanor was just, like, on another level,” Davis said of Kaepernick. “His mind was clear. He was ready to win, he was talking, he was getting guys in the huddle, telling guys to run back and get lined up. He was just a complete champion in that game. That’s what we expect him to be.”

Still, Davis admitted that he has yet to find the personal chemistry with Kaepernick as he had with Alex Smith. After reeling in six catches for 83 yards in Kaepernick’s first start against the Bears on Nov. 19, Davis has just four catches for 29 yards in the last four games combined.

On Sunday in New England, Davis was targeted three times including a pair of deep balls, but finished with just one reception for 10 yards.

“One thing I learned in the beginning when I first got here, everyone was talking about being on the same page as the quarterback, as Alex Smith. You have to develop that chemistry, that bond so you can be on the same page. That’s something me and Kap don’t have right now. We don’t have it. You have to expect that, because he just stepped in.

“Me and Alex, we’ve been here. It took some time for me and Alex to get like that. In the beginning, Alex would overthrow me, he would underthrow me. We had to build that chemistry that he could trust that I’m going in that spot that I needed to be. That’s something that me and Kap don’t have right now, but we’re working on it. We started working on it the moment he stepped in. So, we have to build that.”

* * *

Demarcus Dobbs’ season may be over after he was placed on injured reserve last week, but the second-year pro won’t need surgery on his right knee, he said on Tuesday.

“That’s the blessing. No surgery, just rehab, take it easy try to let it go back and do a lot of treatment,” Dobbs said before revealing he had a partial tear of his PCL and MCL.

Primarily a special-teamer, Dobbs had to be carted off of the field in the 49ers’ win over Miami last weekend after covering a kickoff.

“It looked a lot worse and felt a lot worse,” he said. “I thought it was my whole knee, my ACL and everything. I thought the worst of it.”

It’s been a rough go lately for Dobbs. The 25-year-old, who had seven tackles in 12 games this season, was arrested on Nov. 30 for suspicion of drunk driving and possession of marijuana following a single car accident.

* * *

The 49ers (10-3-1) won’t have much time to bask in the glow of Sunday’s thrilling victory over a fellow Super Bowl contender in front of a national audience. Instead, they face what would probably be considered an even more important game against division rival Seattle (9-5) on Sunday.

A win over the Seahawks would clinch the NFC West title and put them one step closer to securing a first round playoff bye, something they would do with victories in their final two games. The Seahawks are a perfect 6-0 at home and have put up at least 50 points in each of the last two weeks in wins against Arizona and Buffalo, winning three in a row overall.

"We've got to move forward,” Frank Gore said. “We can't thrive on what happened last week. We got the win. Now we're looking at Seattle. We know Seattle's playing good ball. They're a good team. We'll be ready."

Running back Anthony Dixon said: “We’ve got to take them serious. We’re not going to underestimate them, and we’re definitely not sleeping on them. We see what they’re doing, but at the same time they see us, too. It’s going to be a clash of the titans. It’s going to be good. It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be physical. But that’s the way we like it. We’re ready.”

While the Seahawks may be perfect at home, San Francisco is 5-0 in primetime matchups, including the 41-34 win over the Pats.

Sharks headed in right direction, road trip to reveal who they really are

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USATSI

Sharks headed in right direction, road trip to reveal who they really are

The difference between a 2-3-0 start and a 1-4-0 start is bigger than two standings points.

The former is far from ideal, but if you squint hard enough, there's enough wiggle room to improve. There's still time with the latter, too, but the margin for error is much thinner moving forward.

The Sharks experienced that difference firsthand after Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. It's not an ideal record, but they’ve managed to salvage a poor start. 

There are still some flaws, to be sure. The power play isn't just the Kevin Labanc show after the top unit scored all three power play goals Tuesday, but is still carrying a disproportionate offensive load. The penalty kill’s scoreless streak came to an end, but they were called into action six times.

Despite all that, Tuesday's win was San Jose’s best effort this season. Brent Burns, Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, and Joe Thornton all had multi-point games for the first time this year. Martin Jones had another strong game, and appears to have shaken off his slow start.

In short, San Jose’s game is headed in the right direction. It needs to be, with a five-game road trip beginning on Friday. 

Now comes the hard part.

It's on the road where we’ll get our best sense of who this team really is. Peter DeBoer won’t have the benefit of last change, and won't be able to dictate matchups. 

Under these circumstances, we’ll begin to really see if Joakim Ryan is ready for a top-four role, whether Kevin Labanc is a viable first-line winger, and how the rest of the young reinforcements stack up. They will have less time off, too, as all but one game occurs after one day (or less) of rest and travel. That missed practice time isn't ideal for any team, let alone one still trying to work out the kinks.

Fortunately, the competition is forgiving, at least on paper. Other than the Devils, none of the Sharks’ four other road trip opponents have winning records as of this writing. The topsy turvy nature of the standings, though, show how little “on paper” means this early in the season.

We’ll know a lot more about who these San Jose Sharks are by the time their road trip ends. Their record still won't tell the whole story, but by then, they'll have played about an eighth of the season. 

And by then, we’ll have a much better idea of how good this team really is.

Sharks' offense comes alive, leads charge in win over Canadiens

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AP

Sharks' offense comes alive, leads charge in win over Canadiens

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Logan Couture credited a teammate for scoring his second goal. He took credit for the first one.

Couture scored a pair of goals and the San Jose Sharks extended their dominance of the Montreal Canadiens with a 5-2 victory on Tuesday night.

Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl also scored for the Sharks, who have won the past 11 home games against the Canadiens, a streak that dates to Nov. 23, 1999.

On a power play late in the third period, rookie Tim Heed took a shot off a face-off that bounced free in front of the net. Pavelski couldn't get his stick on it but managed to kick it across the net for Couture, who found a huge opening.

"That was pretty special," Couture said. "I don't know if he knew I was there but he kept his balance and kicked it over."

Couture opened the scoring 3:30 into the first period, grabbing a rebound off the back board, skating across the front of the net to get Price to commit and then firing into an open net.

Jonathan Drouin and Shea Weber scored for the Canadiens, who are winless since an opening night victory at the Buffalo Sabres.

"It's a very poor start from our team, from myself, from a lot of individuals," Canadiens' Max Pacioretty said. "It's a good time to look in the mirror and see what we're made of because a lot of people are probably doubting this team right now."

Martin Jones stopped 28 of 30 shots for the Sharks, who finish their season-opening homestand with a 2-3 record.

"The biggest thing is finding that energy for the whole game," Jones said. "We started OK and then we got better as the night went on."

Carey Price, who stopped 31 of 35 shots, fell to 2-7-1 in 10 games against the Sharks.

The Canadiens responded 36 seconds later when Drouin picked up a pass from Artturi Lehkonen close in and fired it over Jones' left shoulder and into the net.

Pavelski gave the Sharks the lead for good when he redirected Kevin Labanc's shot just under a minute into the second period. The shot hit Weber's left shin pad and bounced into the net.

"There were a lot of good things out there," Pavelski said. "We didn't have the homestand we wanted but we can leave on a positive note to take on the road."

Hertl padded the lead midway through the second on a power play. Standing on the right side of the net, he was trying to control a pass from Joe Thornton but the puck fluttered off his stick and got behind Price.

"I'll take it any way I can get it," Hertl said. "There are times I've had great shots that just bounced off the post."

Weber's power-play goal two minutes later kicked off Jones' skates for the score.

The Sharks needed five seconds to score on a power play late in the second period. Tim Heed shot on goal and it bounced off Pavelski's skate. Couture picked it up and found a huge opening.

NOTES: After allowing three power play goals over their first five penalty kills, the Sharks killed off 14 straight until Weber scored in the second period. ... Couture recorded his 24th career multi-goal game. ... Sharks D Tim Heed recorded his first NHL point with an assist on Couture's power-play goal. ... Brendan Gallagher needs one assist for 100 with the Canadiens.

UP NEXT:

Canadiens: plays at the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday in their second back-to-back of the season.

Sharks: open a five-game road trip on the east coast with a game at the New Jersey Devils on Friday.