Sharks

Instant Replay: Boedker's hat trick powers Sharks past Oilers

Instant Replay: Boedker's hat trick powers Sharks past Oilers

BOX SCORE

EDMONTON – Rogers Place might be the gleaming new home of the Oilers, but on Tuesday it was previously slumping Mikkel Boedker that brought some renewable energy.

Boedker scored three times, doubling his goal output for the season, in a 5-3 Sharks win over Edmonton. San Jose remains in first place in the Pacific Division, increasing its lead over the third place Oilers to three points, with two games in hand.

With the Sharks ahead 2-1 to start the second period, Boedker scored a pair of goals in less than seven minutes to push the lead to 4-1 and complete the hat trick.

At 2:24 of the second period, Melker Karlsson got Cam Talbot to commit to the shot before the puck slid over to Boedker, who easily slammed it into an open net.

Martin Jones made his best saves of the night after that, robbing Patrick Maroon on a two-on-one from Connor McDavid with a sprawling right pad, and later denying McDavid’s prime chance with about 13 minutes to go.

That allowed Boedker to give San Jose a three-goal cushion, when he got the blade of his stick on a Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot at 8:55.

Edmonton pushed to start the third, and Matt Benning’s wrist shot cleanly beat Jones just 22 seconds after the faceoff. Then at 3:45, Oscar Klefbom’s boomer from the point made its way through traffic and into the net.

Pete DeBoer used his timeout after that, and the Sharks responded when Logan Couture scored an unconventional breakaway goal. His shot was stopped by Talbot, but ricocheted through the Edmonton goaltender off of Couture’s leg as he fell to the ice at 5:06.

The Sharks improved to 2-0 against Edmonton this season, including a 3-2 overtime win in San Jose on Dec. 23. They meet again at SAP Center on Jan. 26 in the final game before the All-Star break.

Boedker opened the scoring at 1:39, when a rebound deflected to the winger at the side of the net. He waited out Talbot and flipped it home. Drake Caggiula tied it by getting in front of the net and pounding home a Benoit Pouliot pass at 15:53, but Brent Burns restored the Sharks’ lead with a shot from high in the zone just after a San Jose power play expired with 18 seconds left before the first intermission.

The Sharks’ biggest offseason addition, Boedker was a healthy scratch last Thursday against Minnesota. He returned on Saturday, and scored a goal against Detroit.

The Sharks welcomed Vlasic back into the lineup, after the defenseman missed the previous four games from taking a deflected shot to the face. Vlasic left the ice late in the season after he was whacked by Jordan Eberle’s stick, but he returned for the third.

After not scoring five goals in a game at all through their first 39, the Sharks have now done it each of the last two, including a 6-3 win over the Red Wings on Saturday.

San Jose is 15-3-3 in its last 21 games in Edmonton, although this was their first-ever game at the Oilers’ new downtown arena.

Special teams:
The Sharks and Oilers were each 0-for-2 on the power play. San Jose is just 14-for-101 with a man advantage since Nov. 1 (13.8 percent).

Edmonton is 0-for-8 on the power play in its two losses to the Sharks this season.

In goal:
Named as an All-Star for the first time in his career earlier in the day, Jones improved to 21-13-4 on the season with 33 saves. Jones, who turned 27 on Tuesday, has started 11 of the last 12 games including five in a row. He is 5-1-1 in his career against Edmonton.

Talbot, one of only other two goalies that has played more than Jones this season, took the loss with 23 saves. He’s 1-2-2 career against San Jose.

Lineup:
Dylan DeMelo was forced from the game in the second period with what looked to be a wrist issue from a slash by Zack Kassian.

Mirco Mueller was removed from the lineup to make way for Vlasic. Tim Heed was also a healthy scratch, while David Schlemko (upper body) is not on the two-game road trip.

Micheal Haley drew back into the lineup on the fourth line in Tommy Wingels’ place.

Up next:
The Sharks remain in Alberta for a game at the Saddledome on Wednesday against the Flames, with whom they are 1-1-0 with this season. San Jose is 4-2-0 in the second half of back-to-backs this season.

Recovered from injuries, Joonas Donskoi returning to form just in time for Sharks

Recovered from injuries, Joonas Donskoi returning to form just in time for Sharks

Joonas Donskoi’s first goal of the season all but sealed the Sharks’ 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.

It was also a long time coming, too. The Finnish forward finished a chance for the first time in 28 regular season games, 33 if you include his goal-less postseason. He last scored on January 7, when Patrick Marleau was a Shark and San Jose still held a share of the Pacific Division lead.

He struggled mightily after that, largely due to injury. Donskoi separated his shoulder not once, but twice last season, and revealed to The Athletic this week that he also dealt with “foot issues.” He spent over a month on injured reserve and managed just three assists in his final 22 games as a result.

With health on his side, Donskoi’s returned to his rookie year form. Through six games, he's registered three points, all at even strength. That’s tied with Joe Pavelski for the team lead, despite the fact he’s played nearly four minutes less per game at even strength than the captain.

He’s done a lot in less ice time, scoring five-on-five points at a higher rate per 60 minutes than any player on the team, according to Natural Stat Trick. He’s done a lot against lesser competition, too, taking advantage of his assignments in Peter DeBoer’s bottom six forward group.

That’s an important development, given the disappearance of San Jose’s depth scoring last season. Only four Sharks forwards cracked 40 points last season, and one of them is in Toronto. Most damning, though, is that the same number managed to score 30 or more points last year. The Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, by contrast, had eight forwards score 30 points in the regular season.

It’s still early in the season, but Donskoi’s underlying numbers indicate this level of play is built to last. His personal shooting percentage is below his career-high, and the Sharks are scoring on a reasonable 6.52% of their shots with Donskoi on the ice in five-on-five situations. That’s only half-a-percentage point higher than San Jose’s rate during Donskoi’s injury-riddled 2016-17.

Donskoi will undoubtedly hit some bumps in the road, but after struggling so much last season, it appears the 25-year-old is back on track. If the Sharks are to improve on last season, they desperately need depth scorers.

Thanks to Donskoi’s resurgence, they just might have found one.

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.