Sharks

Could Samsonov reunite with his former captain?

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Could Samsonov reunite with his former captain?

Former NHL All-Star and long time teammate of Joe Thornton in Boston, Sergei Samsonov is gearing up to return to the NHL in 2012-13.

And he just may be reunited with his former captain, with whom he still exchanges text messages with every once in awhile.

Ive been friends with Sergei, we got drafted in the same year in Boston (1997) and weve had a great relationship. I still send him a text here and there and he sends me one, so yeah, we still have a relationship, Thornton said.

Hes a very skilled guy, and doesnt shy away from physical play. Hes a very, very solid player, and if he comes to camp here it would be great for us.

A report out of Edmonton surfaced last week that Samsonov would report to the Sharks on a professional tryout whenever training camp begins, and although CSNNE.coms Joe Haggerty debunked that, there is still a very good possibility Samsonov ends up in the Bay Area.

Samsonovs agent, Neil Abbott, told CSNCalifornia.com in an email on Monday that he is speaking with several teams and expects those talks to continue into September. The Sharks are believed to be one of those teams, although general manager Doug Wilson declined to comment.

After sitting out in 2011-12, Samsonov, 33, is ready to return to the NHL.

Sergei is healthy, fit and determined to make a successful comeback into the NHL, Abbott said. The labor uncertainty, however, is affecting the process and the looming lockout complicates the matter.

Samsonov, while a bit of a risk, would still add some needed depth to the Sharks forward group and could potentially fit in as the third line winger. He would be an upgrade to the since-departed Torrey Mitchell, has experience on the power play, and could even be reunited with Thornton if the Sharks attempt to balance out their scoring lines more than they did last season.

That seems agreeable to Thornton, as the pair skated together off-and-on during their seven-plus years as teammates with the Bruins.

It was so long ago, but I enjoyed playing with Sergei. He can stickhandle in a phone booth and is a very high end, skilled player, Thornton said. It would be nice to see him back after missing last year, to see what he can do.

In 2010-11, the last time he suited up in the NHL, Samsonov had 13 goals and 27 assists for 40 points in 78 games with the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers. The 5-8, 188-pounder won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 1997-98 and was named to the NHL All-Star team in 2001.

Sharks dominate Ducks for two wins in two nights

Sharks dominate Ducks for two wins in two nights

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM -- Mikkel Boedker had two goals and an assist, Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist, and the San Jose Sharks beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-2 on Sunday night.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Kevin Labanc and Melker Karlsson also scored for the Sharks, who have won five of six. Aaron Dell stopped 33 shots.

Rickard Rakell and Ryan Getzlaf scored for Anaheim. John Gibson stopped only 17 of 22 shots and was replaced after giving up his fifth goal. Anaheim had a four-game home winning streak snapped.

Four goals came in the third period. First, Anaheim pulled within one when Ondrej Kase stole the puck from behind the net and quickly fed Getzlaf, who fired it past Dell.

One minute later, the Sharks answered when Thornton's slap shot went in.

Boedker's second goal gave San Joe a 5-2 lead, and Karlsson's goal on goalie Ryan Miller made it a runaway.

The Ducks first found the net in the final minute of the second period, but that took a two-man advantage and a bit of luck.

Rakell was camped a few feet below the crease when he snapped a shot. San Jose's Justin Braun stuck out a stick, but it deflected the puck off the back of Dell's arm and into the net.

It was Rakell's team-high 17th goal this season.

San Jose appeared to take a commanding 3-0 lead on a power play in the second period. Boedker fired a shot from the top of the right circle that whistled past Gibson.

The Sharks took a 2-0 lead early in the second period when Anaheim's No.1 line turned the puck over. Thornton snapped it out to Labanc, who popped free for a breakaway. He beat Gibson on his short side for his fifth goal.

The Sharks took a 1-0 lead late in the first period on a nifty give-and-go when Tomas Hertl skated down the far side and sent a pass through the legs of Anaheim's Brandon Montour and right to Vlasic in front of the net.

Vlasic snapped it past Gibson for his seventh goal of the season.

UP NEXT

Sharks: Return to San Jose on Tuesday night to play the Jets.

Ducks: Remain at home to play the Rangers on Tuesday night.

Sharks take risk as Dell draws Ducks on second night of a back-to-back

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AP

Sharks take risk as Dell draws Ducks on second night of a back-to-back

Aaron Dell last started two games in two days on April 29, 2016. Dell, then the starter with the AHL's San Jose Barracuda, manned the net in Game 4 of the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs. 

The Barracuda suffered a season-ending loss to the Ontario Reign that day, and Dell gave up three goals on 34 shots. That was the 20th time in three seasons in the AHL and ECHL that Dell started the first and second half of a back-to-back. 

Dell will end up starting both nights of a back-to-back for the 21st time since 2013 on Sunday. A night after stopping 31 of 32 shots against the reigning champion Penguins, Dell is set to start a pivotal Pacific Division matchup against the Ducks, who are only three points behind the Sharks for the second divisional playoff spot. 

His coach with the Sharks, Peter DeBoer, is no stranger to starting the same goalie on consecutive nights. He's done so seven times in his three seasons behind San Jose's bench, starting Martin Jones in all seven of those games.

Part of that is because of the team's confidence in Jones, who they view as a franchise goaltender. But on some level, these decisions have been driven by an initial hesitancy towards Jones' backups. 

Whatever the reason, DeBoer's been rewarded for rolling the dice and relying on Jones. On the second half of a back-to-back after starting the previous night, Jones has gone 5-2-0 with a .919 save percentage. 

With Jones out due to a lower-body injury, the Sharks once again appear hesitant about Dell's current backup, and rightfully so. Troy Grosenick has made two NHL starts and won the Baz Bastien Award as the AHL's best goaltender last season, but only has a .908 save percentage on 4336 shots in his AHL career, which is enough of a sample to say Grosenick's unlikely to establish himself as a regular NHL goaltender. 

DeBoer's decision to start Dell is thus understandable, but not without its downsides. Eric Tulsky, now the manager of analytics for the Carolina Hurricanes, and Broad Street Hockey associate editor Kurt R. found in 2013 that goalies perform worse on the second half of a back-to-back. That hasn't yet happened when DeBoer's rolled the dice, but it has happened to Dell. 

In his 20 previous starts on the second night of a back-to-back after starting the first half, Dell went 8-9-3, with a .915 save percentage, down from his .921 career save percentage in the AHL and ECHL. That may not seem like a lot, but such a drop in San Jose's save percentage this season would translate to about eight more goals against, which would leave the Sharks in the red in terms of goal differential. 

With only one established NHL goalie on his roster, DeBoer is then left with two bad options. Start Dell, knowing the risks of starting a goalie two nights in a row, or start Grosenick, a minor leaguer without a track record that warrants much confidence.

He opted for the former, and has caught lightning in a bottle before doing the same with Jones. That doesn't mean you can expect it again on Sunday against the Ducks.