Sharks

Donskoi's shootout winner vs Ducks clinches Sharks' fourth straight

Donskoi's shootout winner vs Ducks clinches Sharks' fourth straight

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- Joonas Donskoi scored the deciding goal in the sixth round of the shootout and the San Jose Sharks rallied for their season-high fourth straight win, beating the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 on Saturday night.

Joel Ward tied the game midway through the third, setting the stage for the shootout that kept the Sharks perfect through three games of this homestand. Martin Jones made 25 saves to win for the seventh time in eight starts.

Corey Perry scored to highlight his 900th career game but it wasn't enough to prevent the Ducks from losing their third straight game.

Ryan Miller made 44 saves, but couldn't stop Donskoi's nifty stickhandling move in the shootout.

Jones then sealed the game when he stopped Brandon Montour.

This game followed the pattern of the previous meetings between the California rivals. This marked the ninth straight game between the teams decided by one goal or in a shootout with neither scoring more than three goals in any of those contests. San Jose has now won three of those.

The Sharks tied the game midway through the third period. The play started when Ward and Barclay Goodrow went in short-handed on a 2-on-1 rush. Ward passed to Goodrow, whose shot was stopped by Miller. But Ward was there to knock the rebound into the open net just one second after Dylan DeMelo got out of the box.

There were chances in the second period when there were a combined 31 shots on goal, but neither team managed to get a puck past the goalie. Miller made a strong save on a rebound attempt by Chris Tierney midway through the period and then stopped him again from in close late in the second to preserve a 1-0 lead.

Jones made sure San Jose didn't get into a deeper hole when he robbed Jakob Silfverberg twice late after a bad giveaway in the defensive zone by Justin Braun.

The Ducks, playing the second half of a back-to-back, struck first when Perry got past defenseman Brenden Dillon for a breakaway off a nice feed from Derek Grant and beat Jones less than seven minutes into the game.

NOTES: Ducks F Andrew Cogliano became the fourth player to play in 800 consecutive games and joined Doug Jarvis (964) as the only players to do it from the start of their careers. ... Sharks D Marc-Edouard Vlasic missed the game with a concussion and D Paul Martin remained sidelined by a lower-body injury.

UP NEXT

Ducks: Host Los Angeles on Tuesday night.

Sharks: Host Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.

Young Sharks fitting in, not neccessarily standing out

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USATSI

Young Sharks fitting in, not neccessarily standing out

 

The message for the San Jose Sharks’ prospects was quite clear this offseason.

After general manager opted not to re-sign Patrick Marleau, or sign any free agents of consequence, it was readily apparent the Sharks would need to rely on their young players to fill any holes.

Before the quarter mark of the season, that youth movement is underway. Five first or second-year players will suit up at SAP Center Monday night against Anaheim. 

Partially, the infusion is due to injury, as Barclay Goodrow, Melker Karlsson, and Paul Martin are all on the mend. But as the season wears on, the young players’ presence is becoming a necessity. 

Joakim Ryan looks like a natural fit alongside Brent Burns, and the Sharks are a decidedly better puck possession team with him on the ice than when he’s not. Tim Heed leads Sharks defensemen in scoring, and Danny O’Regan assisted San Jose’s lone goal in his season debut on Saturday. 

That assist set up the goal that ended Timo Meier’s drought, and he looks primed to break out: he’s third on the team in five-on-five shots despite playing the ninth-fewest five-on-five minutes this season, according to Corsica Hockey.  Kevin Labanc’s cooled off since his scorching start, but is still tied for sixth on the team in scoring and skated on the top line at Monday’s morning skate, according to the Bay Area News Group’s Curtis Pashelka.

There’s still room for improvement, of course. Labanc and Meier could stand to score more, but the same can be said about most everyone else. Ryan’s made his fair share of mistakes, but Burns has struggled plenty of times alongside him, too. 

So the young players are fitting in, even if all of them aren’t necessarily standing out. That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. 

Meier’s the only first-round pick of the lot, but he’s also only been able to legally buy a beer for a month. Ryan and Heed have made the best adjustment, in no small part because they’re the oldest (24 and 26, respectively) of the Barracuda call-ups, and thus have the most professional experience. 

Of course, fitting in isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is, however, far from ideal, when that’s what many other players on the roster are doing. 

Having all of their young players stand out is what will ultimately make the Sharks stand out from the rest of the pack. It hasn’t quite happened yet, and San Jose’s one of 22 teams separated by six points or fewer. 

And if it doesn’t, the middle of the pack is where the Sharks will remain.