Sharks

Cardinals leaning on surgically-repaired Carpenter in Game 2

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Cardinals leaning on surgically-repaired Carpenter in Game 2

SAN FRANCISCO Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter, really, has no business being on the mound for Monday nights Game 2 of the NLCS at AT&T Park.The 37-year-old former Cy Young Award winner wasnt supposed to pitch at all this year after undergoing a radical procedure in his right arm and neck due to something called thoracic outlet syndrome. But hell get the ball against Ryan Vogelsong as the Cards try and take a 2-0 series lead.
INSTANT REPLAY: Giants' comeback falls short
The motivation to pitch in the postseason is what drove Carpenter since even before he went under the knife in July after sitting out the entire regular season up to that point. After throwing just 17 innings in three regular season appearances in September and early October, Carpenter pitched 5.2 scoreless innings in the Cards Game 2 win over the Washington Nationals in the NLDS, working out of a few precarious situations in the process. That appearance in itself was an accomplishment, regardless of the outcome.As we came out of the surgery and started the rehab process, I felt inside that there was a shot, especially if we got to the playoffs, Carpenter said prior to Game 1.Carpenter, who had Tommy John surgery in 2007, got into some of the gory details of his surgery, which arent for the faint of heart.They go in there, they take out your first rib, which is underneath your collarbone, with a pair of hedge-clip looking things. And they also release and take out you have three scalene muscles, small little neck muscles, they take out the front one and the middle one, they get rid of those, because thats where the artery and the nerve go through when they come out of your neck.Carpenter said that he experienced extreme numbness that started in his arm before it headed north into his neck and even his face before the surgery, and described how those neck muscles became too big due to constant use over the years and that the nerves were having trouble passing through there.Cards manager Mike Matheny, a former teammate of Carpenters both in St. Louis and Toronto, credited Carpenters attitude and enthusiasm for him making it back to the field when no one on the outside realistically expected it to happen.Hes a competitor, like Ive never seen, Matheny said. The guy just finds a different gear when it becomes his turn to do something special.Of course, Carpenters impressive journey is really of no concern to the Giants, who will be trying to even up the series at 1-1 with the righty Vogelsong. The 34-year old Vogelsong pitched five innings in Game 3 of the NLDS, surrendering one run while walking three and striking out five in a no-decision that ended in a 2-1 Giants win and started their comeback against Cincinnati.Vogelsong faced the Cardinals once in the regular season, throwing seven shutout innings on just three hits in a 15-0 San Francisco win on August 8 at Busch Stadium. His success that night doesnt mean a whole lot now, though at least in his mind.For a lot of guys in that lineup, it was the first time they had seen me, he said.Vogelsong does like the fact that the game will be at home, though. His ERA at the pitcher-friendly AT&T Park this year (2.86) was a full run lower than his road ERA (3.87).Its no secret, Ive said in the past that I definitely feed off of the energy that this crowd brings. Im sure its going to be pretty intense tomorrow night. Its pretty intense on a regular season game here in the middle of June. So, tomorrow night should be extra energetic.The Giants will be looking for their first win at home in the postseason before the series shifts to St. Louis for the next three.We cant get ourselves behind the 8-ball, so to speak, like we did last time and try to fight back on the road again, Vogelsong said. It was tremendous that we did it once, and I think it would be asking a lot of us to do it again.

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.