Sharks

Boedker, Dillon among players left unprotected by Sharks

Boedker, Dillon among players left unprotected by Sharks

The NHL on Sunday morning released which players each of the 30 NHL teams are protecting and which they are making available to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

The Sharks are protecting Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, Chris Tierney, Jannik Hansen, Melker Karlsson, Ryan Carpenter, Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Justin Braun and Martin Jones. San Jose chose the format of protecting seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie rather than eight skaters and one goalie.

Among the notable players available for Vegas are Mikkel Boedker, Joel Ward, Dylan DeMelo, Brenden Dillon, Paul Martin, David Schlemko, Aaron Dell and Troy Grosenick. Pending unrestricted free agents Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau were also left unprotected, as expected.

The Golden Knights must select one player from each of the 30 teams, including 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders. Their roster will be revealed on Wednesday, June 21, at the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas.

The Golden Knights are also now permitted to speak with pending free agents that were not protected by their respective clubs – including Thornton and Marleau – with a 72-hour window to sign those players. If the Golden Knights agree to terms with one of them, they are not permitted to take a second player from San Jose's list of available players.

In a statement, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said: "We are excited to welcome the Vegas Golden Knights to the National Hockey League and the Pacific Division. Per the guidelines that were set forth under the expansion draft rules, we have submitted our protected list to the National Hockey League. The reality is that we will be losing a player and quality person from our organization but whatever the outcome, we feel fortunate that we have a strong prospect pool with the San Jose Barracuda to help fill that loss."

Sharks to open second round Thursday

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AP

Sharks to open second round Thursday

The Sharks know when they'll open the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. T

San Jose will face off against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of the second round at 7 p.m. PT on Thursday, April 26 in Sin City, the NHL announced Tuesday. The league also announced start dates for the three other second-round series, but did not announce any games beyond that.

Game 2 will "likely" occur Saturday at 5 p.m, according to Golden Knights owner Bill Foley. 

Game 1 will be televised on NBCSN. Sharks Playoff Central will air on NBC Sports California at 6:30 p.m. leading up to puck drop, with a postgame edition to follow after the final horn on the same channel. 

Red-hot Sharks power play, Golden Knights penalty kill on collision course

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AP

Red-hot Sharks power play, Golden Knights penalty kill on collision course

The Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights were the first two teams to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The former's power play, and the latter's penalty kill were among the chief reasons why. 

This postseason, San Jose's power play (30 percent) and Vegas' penalty kill (92.3 percent) are third-best and best in the respective categories. The Sharks haven't played in nearly a week, but have still scored the second-most power play goals (six) in the first round as of Tuesday. The Golden Knights haven't played in exactly a week, and have still given up the fewer power play goals (one)  than every team, save for the Los Angeles Kings, who they swept in the first round. 

On the season, the San Jose power play and the Vegas penalty kill were among the better units in the league in terms of underlying numbers, but really improved down the stretch. Over their last 25 regular season games and the first round, the Sharks attempted shots (117.15 corsi-for per hour) and generated expected goals (9.13 expected goals-for per hour)) at rates that would have ranked second in each area on the whole season, according to Corsica Hockey.

During the Golden Knights' final 25 regular season games and first four playoff games, their penalty kill suppressed shot attempts (92.8 corsi-against per hour), shots (49.97 shots-against per hour), and expected goals (5.9 expected goals-against per hour) at rates that would have ranked second, fourth, and first, respectively, this past season.

In the first round, the results finally caught up to the underlying numbers for both teams. San Jose converted on only 13 percent of its power plays in the final 25 games of the regular season, while Vegas killed off 80.8 percent of its opponents' power plays. As is so often the case, the improvements were owed at least in part to better finishing and goaltending. 

The Sharks scored on 9.71 percent of their five-on-four shots down the stretch, compared to 14.71 percent in the first round. Marc-Andre Fleury posted a .952 four-on-five save percentage in the first round, compared to the .859 that he and backup Malcolm Subban combined for in the final 25 games. 

San Jose's power play and Vegas' penalty kill are red-hot, but those results are largely deserved based on each group's play down the stretch. Which unit has the edge just may swing the series, considering how tight the Sharks and Golden Knights played each other during the regular season. 

Three of four games were decided by a goal, and two went to overtime. The fourth was decided by two, only because of an empty-netter. 

The margins are so thin, including in the crease, that the outcome of this special teams battle could determine which team advances to the Conference Finals.