Chippy game goes way of the Capitals, Sharks end roadtrip with loss


Chippy game goes way of the Capitals, Sharks end roadtrip with loss


WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 20th goal and assisted on another, helping the Washington Capitals snap their recent run of futility against the San Jose Sharks with a 4-1 victory Monday night.

The Capitals beat the Sharks for the fourth time in 18 meetings since Ovechkin entered the league in 2005-06. It's just Washington's second regulation win against San Jose in that time and first since Oct. 15, 2009. It ended a four-game skid in the series.

Halting the Sharks' recent mastery came at a cost: T.J. Oshie left in the second period with an upper-body injury and didn't return. As Oshie was already engaged with Logan Couture and falling down along the boards, he took Joe Thornton's backside to the head.

Tom Wilson took exception to Thornton's hit and fought him in the third period of a chippy game that also included a fight between Alex Chiasson and Barclay Goodrow.

Before those tensions rose, Ovechkin continued his climb up the career list with his 578th goal, passing Hall of Famer Mark Recchi for 20th. He's the 11th player in NHL history to score at least 20 goals in each of his first 13 seasons.

Ovechkin, who rooted for the Sharks while growing up in Moscow, turned several defenders inside out and made a perfect pass to set up Brett Connolly's power-play goal. Devante Smith-Pelly and Jakub Vrana also scored for Washington, which has won two in a row and six of eight.

Capitals backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 24 saves to pick up his first career victory against the Sharks. San Jose's Martin Jones allowed four goals on 29 shots in his second game back from injury, and Timo Meier scored his first goal in eight games and third of the season.

NOTES: Connolly has goals in back-to-back games since returning from being a healthy scratch for the previous two. ... Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said D Paul Martin is close to returning from an undisclosed injury that has kept him out since Oct. 12. ... Capitals F Travis Boyd made his NHL debut, replacing Chandler Stephenson, who's day-to-day with an upper-body injury. ... F Andre Burakovsky rejoined the Capitals for their morning skate as he works back from October surgery to repair his broken left thumb. He hopes to return within the next week.


Sharks: Return home to face the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.

Capitals: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night.

The anatomy of Jannik Hansen's recently-broken scoring drought after nearly one year


The anatomy of Jannik Hansen's recently-broken scoring drought after nearly one year

Jannik Hansen's game-winning goal against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday marked the first time he scored in 355 days. 

Hansen last scored on Mar. 30, 2017 against the Edmonton Oilers, his second goal with the Sharks following an in-season trade. His scoring drought, in all, lasted 44 regular season games, 50 if you include the postseason. 

How exactly does a goal-scoring drought last nearly a year? The right (wrong?) circumstances all need to come together, and that was certainly the case for Hansen for much of the last year.

For one, the Danish forward was in and out of the lineup. San Jose played 83 regular season and postseason games between Hansen's second and third goals, and he did not play in 33 of those games. Plenty of players have had rough 50-game stretches, and that's often without not playing for weeks at a time, as Hansen has done a couple of times this season. 

When Hansen did draw into the lineup this year, however, he wasn't generating offense at the same rate he had in the past. This season, Hansen's five-on-five shot rate (6.19 shots per 60 minutes), shot attempt rate (10.53 individual corsi per 60), and unblocked shot attempt rate (8.95 individual fenwick per 60) were all down from his career averages, according to Corsica Hockey. 

That decline is natural, considering Hansen turned 32 just six days ago. Those rates were not down enough, however, to expect him to fail to score in his first 39 appearances this season. Naturally, a long run of bad luck played a big role in Hansen's dry spell.

Hansen went 0-for-66 in shots over the 50 consecutive regular season and playoff games in which he did not score. He's a career 11-percent shooter, and had he shot at his career average, he would have scored seven goals during that time. That feels about right for a bottom-six forward. 

In many ways, all of these factors fed into one another. Hansen wasn't generating shots or scoring, then was scratched, then couldn't find the back of the net when he returned and was scratched again. All the while, fellow fourth-liners Marcus Sorensen (26.7 percent shooting percentage this season), Joel Ward (14.3 percent) and Barclay Goodrow (13.2 percent) were converting on their chances, forcing Peter DeBoer's hand. 

His possession play has been solid all season (50.74 percent corsi-for, per Natural Stat Trick), but the offense hasn't followed. When it does, as was the case Tuesday night, he can be an effective fourth-line forward, and the goal on Tuesday bought him more time to prove it. 

Sharks blow out Devils for season-high fifth straight win

Sharks blow out Devils for season-high fifth straight win


SAN JOSE -- Jannik Hansen scored his first goal of the season and fellow fourth-liners Eric Fehr and Barclay Goodrow also scored to help the San Jose Sharks win their season-high fifth straight game, 6-2 over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.

Logan Couture added his 30th goal of the season, and Joe Pavelski and Mikkel Boedker also scored to give the Sharks a four-point lead over third-place Los Angeles in the Pacific Division with one game in hand.

Brent Burns added three assists and Martin Jones made 26 saves.

The scoring barrage by San Jose spoiled Cory Schneider's return to net for the Devils. Schneider allowed four goals on 14 shots before getting pulled midway through the second period of his first start since March 8. Schneider has lost 11 starts in a row since his last win for the Devils on Dec. 27.

Taylor Hall scored his 32nd goal of the season and Blake Coleman also scored for the Devils, who lead Florida by just one point in the race for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers have two games in hand.

After Hansen and Fehr scored in the first period, Goodrow chipped one in midway through the second period on a surprising night of scoring from the fourth line when he beat Schneider on a 2-on-1.

Couture then scored 40 seconds later on San Jose's first shot against Keith Kinkaid for his third career 30-goal season. Boedker added San Jose's second power-play goal of the night late in the second and the rout was on.

The Sharks got off to a fast start in their first game back from a 3-0 Canadian road trip, scoring three goals in the first period and killing 1:20 of a two-man advantage for New Jersey.

The teams traded goals to start with Fehr beating Schneider over the shoulder from a bad angle and Hall answering when he stole a bouncing puck from Justin Braunand beat Jones with a quick shot.

San Jose then scored twice in a span of less than three minutes to take the lead. Pavelski tipped in a shot from Kevin Labanc on the power play to give the Sharks the lead.

Then after Jones denied Damon Severson from in close at one end, Dylan DeMelo sent a long pass that Hansen chased down and then beat Schneider on a breakaway for his first goal since March 30, 2017.

NOTES: DeMelo has 10 assists this month. ... San Jose D Brenden Dillon has a five-game point streak. ... Devils F Miles Wood (upper body) was scratched and Jesper Bratt played in his place.


Devils: Visit Pittsburgh on Friday.

Sharks: Host Vegas on Thursday.