Ducks' Boudreau era off to rocky start


Ducks' Boudreau era off to rocky start

The Bruce Boudreau era is off to a rocky start in Anaheim, while the Sharks next opponent now has the best record in the NHL.

The Ducks changed coaches last Wednesday, firing Randy Carlyle and hiring Boudreau, who was fired by Washington two days prior. Since then, the Ducks have blown two substantial leads, including a 5-3 loss to Minnesota on Sunday night.

Anaheim jumped ahead to a 2-0 first period lead only to be outscored 5-1 the rest of the way.

Goaltender Jonas Hiller was blunt in his assessment of the Ducks after the game, telling the L.A. Times:

"I don't think we're playing really solid in our own end. I think that's where you can see why we're not winning. Those guys always seem to get inside, to kind of walk through two guys and suddenly get a two-on-one out of nothing. Even though we have guys back. It seems like we're just too cute."It looks like we are there but not really there. Physically there, but probably mentally we are already in the other zone or still in the dressing room. I don't know what. To me it looks like we get so many errors."Suddenly, guys are all by themselves in the slot out of a nothing play and suddenly two guys chasing one guy. We're playing here in the NHL, and I don't think it should happen."

The Ducks also lost in Boudreaus debut on Friday against Philadelphia, surrendering a 3-0 lead in that game to lose in overtime, 4-3.

RELATED: NHL standings

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Wild now find themselves atop the NHL with 37 points as they prepare for another game at HP Pavilion on Tuesday night. They have won their last three road games despite falling behind 2-0 in each of them.

"It's a question of sticking with it," Cal Clutterbuck told "I think the amazing thing is when you can stick with it and things actually start to happen for you. That's kind of what encourages you and gives you the confidence to sit in those, 2-0, 2-1 games, and just be like, 'Let's keep with it. We'll get it.'"

The Sharks won their only game against Minnesota on Nov. 10 at home, 3-1, led by Patrick Marleaus two second period power play goals.

Jones strong in goal, contains Coyotes to snap Sharks' three-game skid


Jones strong in goal, contains Coyotes to snap Sharks' three-game skid


GLENDALE, Ariz.  — Logan Couture scored his team-best 11th goal to help lift the San Jose Sharks to a 3-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday night.

Joe Thornton also scored and Joel Ward added an empty-net goal with 47.8 to play for the Sharks, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

Brendan Perlini scored with 7:37 to go, ruining Sharks goalie Martin Jones' bid for his second shutout of the season. The Coyotes saw their season-high three-game winning streak snapped and lost for the eighth time in nine home games (1-7-1).

Jones finished with 26 saves.

Coyotes goalie Antti Raanta left at 14:37 of the first period with an upper-body injury. Couture had collided with Raanta more than four minutes earlier, earning an interference penalty. Raanta skated to the bench during a stoppage in play and retreated to the locker room.

Scott Wedgewood took Raanta's place and was in net for only five seconds before the Sharks broke through. Wedgewood stopped Brent Burns' long shot from the top of the right circle even after it deflected off San Jose right wing Timo Meier. But the rebound kicked to the bottom of the right circle, where Thornton swept in and beat the goalie with a quick wrist shot.

San Jose made it 2-0 at 4:56 of the second, taking advantage of Arizona's inability to clear the zone while the Sharks were on a line change.

Justin Braun fought three Coyotes for the puck along the right boards before Joonas Donskoi swooped in, skated to the goal line then sent a pass across to Couture. Couture deked Wedgewood to the ice with a forehand fake, then scored on the backhand.

Perlini cut the lead to 2-1 when he redirected Derek Stepan's shot from the top of the right circle past Jones.

NOTES: Thornton has 22 goals and 83 points in 82 career games against Arizona. ... The Coyotes, who had played seven of their past eight on the road, opened a three-game homestand. ... Raanta made eight saves before leaving and has stopped 98 of the past 105 shots he's faced. ... Couture's goal was his first in five games.


Sharks: visit Las Vegas on Friday

Don't blame Joakim Ryan for Brent Burns' struggles


Don't blame Joakim Ryan for Brent Burns' struggles

Over the last three years, Brent Burns played with only one defensive partner more in a single season than he has with Joakim Ryan in 2017-18.

That partner, of course, is Paul Martin, who’s missed all but two games this season due to complications from offseason ankle surgery. Martin is set to miss yet more time after experiencing a setback in his recovery, although the injury is not related to his ailing ankle, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Martin’s absence, combined with the fact that Burns has gone 20 games without a goal this season, has naturally led to questions about whether their separation is causing Burns to struggle.

That’s not the case.

Burns is actually playing a bit better alongside Ryan than he was with Martin. In just over 257 minutes together at even strength, the Sharks have controlled 55.74 percent of the shot attempts with Burns and Ryan on the ice, according to Corsica Hockey, up from Burns and Martin’s 52.13 percent mark together.

The Sharks are attempting more shots than their opponents when Burns and Ryan play, they’re doing so at a higher rate. With Burns and Ryan on the ice, the Sharks are attempting nearly nine more shots per 60 minutes than when Burns and Martin together, and just over two more shots per 60 minutes are hitting the net.

As we’ve written about previously, Burns’ scoring struggles date back to the stretch run last season, when he was playing alongside Martin. It wasn’t Martin’s fault then, just as it’s not Ryan’s fault now.

The puck simply isn’t going in. Through 20 games this season, Burns has 82 shots on goal and zero goals. Through 20 games in his Norris Trophy-winning campaign, Burns had 83 shots on goal and seven goals.

It’s not like Burns was super lucky then, either, as his 8.3 percent shooting percentage through 20 games last season was only one percent higher than his career average. Shooting at a zero percent clip after 20 games is, clearly, the outlier.

Together, Burns and Ryan have been more unlucky than anything else. When the two skate during five-on-five play, the Sharks are scoring on only 3.45 percent of their shots, much lower than the 8.26 percent San Jose scored on when Martin and Burns played together.

At 32 years old, it would be a stretch to expect Burns to match or exceed his heights from a season ago, but it would be an even bigger one to expect him to struggle much longer alongside Ryan. 

They've done everything right, they just haven't scored.