Sharks

Boyle's goal in OT lifts Sharks past Kings

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Boyle's goal in OT lifts Sharks past Kings

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE Dan Boyle scored early in the third period and again in overtime as the Sharks came from behind to beat the Los Angeles Kings in overtime on Saturday night at HP Pavilion, 3-2.

The seventh-seeded Sharks will visit the second-seeded St. Louis Blues in the first round of the playoffs. The league will announce dates and times on Sunday morning.

Boyles backhander with 1:02 left in overtime over the shoulder of Jonathan Quick gave the Sharks their fourth straight win as they concluded the regular season.

Trailing 2-0 after two, the Sharks fought back to tie the game in the third period.

First, Boyles wrister got through traffic in front of Quick just 35 seconds after the faceoff.

San Jose went to the power play when Matt Greene drove Tommy Wingels into the glass from behind, and capitalized with the game-tying goal at 8:14. Patrick Marleaus shot appeared to deflect in off of the stick of Willie Mitchell, making him the third Sharks player to reach 30 goals for the year the first time in franchise history thats happened.

Thomas Greiss entered the game to start the third period in relief of Antti Niemi, who stopped 23 of 25 Kings shots through two periods. Greiss finished with six saves to record the victory.

The Kings opened the scoring at 11:09 of the first period. Justin Williams cut to the slot in finding a soft spot in the Sharks defense and redirected a pass from Jarret Stoll while Marty Havlat served a slashing penalty.

Havlat got to view the Kings second power play goal from the penalty box, too, when he was off on a trip late in the second. Mike Richards deposited a loose puck with a backhand at 19:04, to give Los Angeles its sixth goal on the man advantage in the last two games against San Jose.

The Sharks allowed four power play goals to the Kings in Thursdays 6-5 shootout win.

San Jose seemed to lack the energy and drive it showed in that wild game just two nights earlier, and the scoring chances were few and far between through the first two periods. Havlat blasted one off of the post just a minute into the game in what was probably the Sharks best chance through 40 minutes.

The Sharks were fairly lethargic for the majority of the first period and the first half of the second, too. Marleau nearly tied it with about eight minutes left his backhand from the slot missed an open net, while Wingels was stopped from the slot on a beautiful pad stop by Quick with about six and a half left in the second.

Trailing 1-0 in the second, San Jose had more than a minute of time with a two-man advantage following successive penalties to Jordan Nolan, who slashed Douglas Murray, and Richards, who drilled Logan Couture headfirst from behind and was sent off for boarding.

The Sharks squandered the opportunity, though, as Couture whiffed on a one-timer from the circle and then flubbed another one shortly after. Richards promptly exited the box and gave the Kings their two-goal advantage before the intermission, 40 seconds after his penalty expired.

Process there even if results aren't for Sharks early in new season

Process there even if results aren't for Sharks early in new season

Saturday’s loss to the New York Islanders is one with which Sharks fans have become all too familiar.

The Sharks held a decided 41-23 edge on the shot count, but trailed 3-1 on the scoreboard. Since 2005, no team in the league has lost more games (59) in which they shot 35 or more times, and held their opponent to 25 or fewer shots.

No, your instincts haven’t deceived you over the Joe Thornton era: San Jose has lost a lot of games where they’ve otherwise outplayed their opponent. Of course, they’ve won plenty of those games too. More often than not, in fact, winning 72 of 131 times under those circumstances.

Frustration under those circumstances became readily apparent in the second period on Saturday, when Joe Pavelski broke his stick over Thomas Greiss’ net. The captain had plenty of reason to be unhappy, as his goalless drought to start the season has mirrored his team’s inability to finish at even strength.

So far this season, only Dallas and Montreal have scored on a lower percentage of their shots at even strength than San Jose, according to Natural Stat Trick. Both the Stars and Canadiens, unsurprisingly, are seventh in their respective divisions. The Sharks are sixth in the Pacific, thanks only to the still-winless Coyotes.

This early in the season, bad results can mask a strong process. They can’t finish, but the Sharks have been, statistically, one of the league’s best puck possession teams at even strength. That can happen over such a short stretch, but that’s easy to lose sight of when the team’s sitting in the division’s basement.

Right now, the Sharks just aren’t scoring enough at even strength, even as they’re playing well elsewhere. The power play’s begun to find an identity, particularly on the Kevin Labanc-led second unit. The penalty kill hasn’t allowed a goal since allowing three in the season opener, and have climbed all the way to 13th in the league.

If the Sharks continue to play this way, the goals, and wins, should come. They may not, of course, especially if Peter DeBoer struggles to find combinations that click for more than a game at a time. But eventually, the results should align with the process.

Saturday night was “one of those games” that have been surprisingly common in recent Sharks history, but it shouldn’t be chalked up as anything more than an amusing anomaly. Sometimes, one team is better, and still finds a way to lose.  

Sometimes, it truly is that simple.

Greiss strong in net as Islanders hand loss to Sharks

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USATSI

Greiss strong in net as Islanders hand loss to Sharks

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- Thomas Greiss guided the New York Islanders on a night when they played it a little bit too safe.

Greiss stopped 40 shots, Brock Nelson scored a tiebreaking goal in the second period and the New York Islanders rallied to beat the slumping San Jose Sharks 3-1 on Saturday.

The Islanders improved to 1-1 on their three-game, five-day West Coast trip. The Sharks are 1-3 on their season-opening five-game homestand.

Nelson made it 2-1 at 13:33 of the second period, capitalizing on an open look in front of the goal after Joshua Ho-Sang's pass from behind the net.

"After we got the lead we just kind of held on, we bent but we didn't break and we needed some big saves from Thomas," Islanders coach Doug Weight said.

"These teams, when they're down, they're gonna push. ... You don't want to sit back but I think it's human nature. We have to get it out of our heads. We want to play aggressive and we want to put the puck in good spots. We started making some shoddy decisions, our feet stopped moving for a while, but give (the Sharks) credit, they made a good push. Tommy was great."

The Sharks led after Kevin Labanc's power-play goal at 4:16 of the first. Labanc was in the left circle when he rebounded a deflection and fired a wrist shot that slipped through Greiss' pads.

The Islanders tied it when Anders Lee tipped one in at 17:02 of the first.

Cal Clutterbuck scored an empty-net goal at with 1:10 left in the game.

"It's nice, first road win of the year, a good bounce back," Nelson said, referencing a 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.

"I thought we did some good things in Anaheim and weren't rewarded. It's nice to come out on top here."

The Islanders failed to score on three power plays. The Sharks penalty killing unit hasn't allowed a power-play goal in 12 chances over its last three games.

The Sharks had a short-handed scoring chance after Joakim Ryan was called for holding at 14:33 in the third period, when Greiss turned away Chris Tierney's shot in front of the goal.

Greiss survived relentless pressure in a third period in which the Sharks had 15 shots on goal.

"It felt like it was going to break, it just never did," Sharks center Joe Pavelski said. "A little bit of credit to Greisser over there, but with us, we've got to keep pushing and find a way.

"I thought we were going to tie it, but encouraging to see the way guys played for a second straight game here. Wanted a better result, for sure, but guys played hard."

NOTES: Islanders C Alan Quine (wrist) is with the team on its West Coast trip and has been practicing. He'll likely go to Bridgeport of the AHL on a conditioning assignment if he's ready when the team returns home on Monday. ... RW Clutterbuck (hip) was in Saturday's lineup after missing the last three games and C Jordan Eberle was on the ice a day after missing Friday's practice with an injury he suffered in practice the previous day. ... Sharks D Paul Martin missed a second straight game with a lower body injury. Coach Pete DeBoer said the injury is day-to-day.

UP NEXT

Islanders: At the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night.

Sharks: Host the Montreal Canadians on Tuesday night.