Sharks

Hiller says Ducks 'own' Sharks

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Hiller says Ducks 'own' Sharks

ANAHEIM There was a strong sense entering the third period of last nights 3-1 Sharks loss to Anaheim that whoever got the next goal was going to triumph. Scoring chances were at a minimum on both sides of what was a pretty evenly played 1-1 match between two Pacific Division rivals after 40 minutes.

Teemu Selanne got the shaft of his stick on a blast by Luca Sbisa about five and a half minutes into the third period for what turned out to by the game-winner.

They did a good job getting it through to the net. You cant really blame a lot of people on it, Todd McLellan said of Selannes goal. Thats hockey, and thats the way it is.

There werent a lot of momentum swings. It was pretty evenly played. You had a feeling whoever was going to get that next one was going to hold a real distinct advantage. There werent a lot of chances either way.

Although Antti Niemi looked a bit shaky at times throughout the game, there was nothing he could do on Selannes goal. The velocity on the shot from Sbisa offered him no time to react to any sort of redirection.

If its a slower puck than you can read the situation more, but if its a slap shot you have to go there and react, Niemi said. You cant think its going to hit something.

Ducks own Sharks: Jonas Hiller, who made 28 saves in net, didnt hold back when asked about his teams success against the Sharks.

Its a rivalry, and it looks like we own them right now, Hiller said. Everybody is really motivated and we didnt want to eliminate ourselves. We are still trying to play good hockey. We dont want to just give up. That is what we did tonight, and that's why we won."

Anaheims 5-1-0 season mark against the Sharks is a new franchise record, eclipsing a 4-1-0 record vs. San Jose achieved in 1994-95 and 1995-96.

Bruce Boudreau was clearly pleased with Hillers performance, which included a highlight-reel glove save on Joe Pavelski with about five minutes left in the game.

Hes important every night. The save he made when it was 2-1 is what hes been doing since January, Boudreau said. When we have a chance, whether we are behind or not, he lets us have the opportunity to win. That is all you can ask a goalie to do.

Ducks roll four: According to Joe Thornton, the Sharks 1-5 record in their season series with Anaheim was due mainly to their inability to match them line-for-line.

Its probably their depth up front. Theyre a good four-line team, and thats probably been our Achilles heel. We havent been able to match a four-line game with them, said the captain.

Niemi said: Overall, theyre playing with four lines, and it wasnt easy to get in their zone.

The Sharks did, however, have their chances in this one, giving a much better effort than the 5-3 loss at home to the Ducks on March 19.

We played solid," Thornton. "Id like to see us finish a couple more chances. We competed hard, but weve got to get all four lines going. We played good against Colorado with all four lines, but to get in the playoffs were going to need all four.

Playoff chances take a hit: How much did the results of last nights games around the league hurt the Sharks playoff probability?

According to the math on sportsclubstats.com, the Sharks are down to a 64.2 percent chance to make it to the post season down 14.9 percent from Wednesday morning.

Calgary (4.7 percent) and Colorado (3.5 percent) have all but been eliminated, meaning there are four teams competing for three open spots.

Sharks win second straight, beat Devils to start road trip

Sharks win second straight, beat Devils to start road trip

BOX SCORE

NEWARK, N.J. — Martin Jones made 28 saves for his first shutout of the season and 16th overall in the San Jose Sharks' 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.

Melker Karlsson, Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi scored and Justin Braun had two assists to help the Sharks open a five-game East Coast trip.

Keith Kinkaid, the top goalie for New Jersey with Cory Schneider on injured reserve, stopped 30 shots as the Devils' three-game winning streak came to an end.

The Devils couldn't muster a strong push in the later stages against the rested Sharks. It was New Jersey's second game two nights following a 5-4 overtime victory in Ottawa. And it showed against the Sharks, who played a solid road game, pressed their advantage and solidly supported Jones.

Karlsson scored the lone goal of the opening period at 14:11 on a close-in shot following a slick behind-the-net setup pass from Tomas Hertl.

The shots were 13 for each team in the evenly played period. The Devils came close on several occasions as former Shark Mirco Mueller and Blake Coleman both hit the crossbar and Jones robbed Drew Stafford on a dead-on drive from the slot.

Pavelski and Donskoi got second-period goals as the Sharks steadily tightened their grip on the game.

Pavelski tipped in Braun's point shot at 5:49. Joe Thornton got the second assist, his 1,395th point, to pass Luc Robitaille for 21st on the career list.

Donskoi backhanded a rebound shot with 1:10 left in the period in which the Sharks outshot the Devils 11-6.

The remaining drama centered on Jones' shutout bid.

NOTES: The Devils placed Schneider on injured reserve Friday with a lower-body injury and recalled Scott Wedgewood from Binghamton of the American Hockey League to serve as Kinkaid's backup. ... Mueller, a healthy scratch in three of the previous four games, returned for the Devils to face the Sharks, the team that drafted him in the first round, for the first time. He was dealt to New Jersey over the summer.

UP NEXT

Sharks: At the New York Islanders on Saturday night.

Devils: Host Ottawa on Friday night.

As Joakim Ryan returns home, Sharks reunite with a former top prospect

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AP

As Joakim Ryan returns home, Sharks reunite with a former top prospect

When Joakim Ryan suits up in his first NHL road game against the New Jersey Devils Friday night, he’ll do so in a familiar place.

Ryan, a New Jersey-born Swede, played for the Devils’ youth program and nearby Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) in high school. In fact, he’s already played at the Prudential Center, skating in the state championship game with CBA in 2009.

He’s not the only one due for something of a homecoming, as the Sharks may see a familiar face line up on the opposing blueline.

This is the Sharks’ first matchup against New Jersey since trading 2013 first round pick Mirco Mueller ahead of June’s Expansion Draft. Mueller was once considered the future on the San Jose blueline, a smooth-skating defenseman with size to boot.

The Swiss defender never fulfilled his potential, in part because his development was rushed from the start. He made the NHL roster as a rookie in 2014-15, almost by default. Other than Marc-Edouard Vlasic, the only defensemen ahead of him on left side of the depth chart were a far past-his-prime Scott Hannan and regular scratch Matt Irwin. Such was the nature of the Sharks’ “step back” that year.

Mueller finally got regular playing time, albeit in the minors, during his second professional season. By then, he was pushed down the organizational depth chart by the team’s acquisitions of Brenden Dillon and Roman Polak, and the development of Dylan DeMelo. David Schlemko’s signing last summer kept Mueller there for most of 2016-17, but it was Ryan and Tim Heed that ensured Mueller’s NHL future would lie elsewhere. The Swedes surpassed him, and emerged as perhaps the AHL’s best defensive pair in the process.

It’s fitting, then, that Ryan and Heed will be in the lineup tonight, and Mueller may not, as the fresh start he needed hasn’t quite panned out. He’s averaging a career-high 18:44 in ice time, but has been scratched in three of New Jersey’s seven games, including Thursday night’s overtime win in Ottawa.

So Ryan comes home to New Jersey under much happier circumstances than Mueller will reunite with the Sharks. One prodigal son returns, and the other is simply trying to save face.

It’s still early in his Devils tenure, of course, and Mueller may yet emerge as a regular on the New Jersey blueline. His Sharks reunion, though, will serve as a reminder of what once was, what could have been, and what is now San Jose’s future on defense.