Instant Replay: Burns nets two, Sharks put an end to losing streak

Instant Replay: Burns nets two, Sharks put an end to losing streak


NEWARK – The Sharks salvaged the final game of their road trip on Sunday at Prudential Center, due in large part to their bearded duo.
Brent Burns scored twice and Joe Thornton added a goal and an assist, as San Jose downed the Devils, 4-1. The Sharks snapped a season-long four-game losing streak, after dropping games in Buffalo, Boston and Philadelphia to start the four-game trip.
The Sharks scored three consecutive goals in less than nine minutes in the second period to take a 3-1 lead.
The first two came from Burns, on similar looking shots. After keeping a rolling puck in at the blue line, the defenseman picked the top corner from high in the zone, tying the game at 1-1 at 2:27 of the middle frame.
A little more than five minutes later, Burns snuck another shot from even higher in the zone inside the post at 7:46, for his 24th goal of the year.
Thornton added to the lead at 11:22, zipping in a wrister. It was his second goal in the last three games, after he scored his first in a manned net in Boston on Thursday.
Martin Jones was playing his first game since getting pulled on Thursday in Boston, and entered having given up seven goals on his last 23 shots faced. He allowed a goal on the first shot he saw, but shut the Devils down after that.
Tomas Hertl’s empty net goal with 1:24 left in regulation sealed the San Jose victory. The Sharks now have a five-point lead on second place Anaheim in the Pacific Division.
New Jersey, playing in its first game after its bye week, lost for the first time in five games (3-1-1).
The Sharks held a 19-3 edge in shots in the first period, but the Devils took a 1-0 lead at 11:42 on their first shot. P.A. Parenteau deposited a short pass through the slot from Taylor Hall, after Jacob Josefsen pressured Brenden Dillon into a turnover behind the net.
San Jose went 0-for-4 in the first period on the power play, including a lengthy two-man advantage.
The Sharks welcomed Logan Couture back into the lineup after the center was a late scratch on Saturday in Philadelphia with an upper body injury.
San Jose also won the first meeting between the teams on Nov. 21 at home, 4-0. This was their final road game of the season in an Eastern Conference city.
Special teams 
Neither team scored a special teams goal, as the previously effective Sharks went 0-for-6 and Devils 0-for-2.
The Sharks are having particular trouble on five-on-three advantages lately. They didn’t score on a one minute and 42 second two-man advantage on Sunday, and failed on Feb. 4 against Arizona on a two-man advantage that lasted a little more than two minutes.
In goal
Jones made 21 saves in improving to 3-1-0 all-time against New Jersey. His best sequence came late in the second period, when he denied Hall with 1:40 to go, and turned away a redirection by a cutting Stefan Noesen with 1:08 left, preserving the Sharks’ 3-1 lead.
Schneider was impressive early, but took the loss with three goals allowed on 37 shots. He’s just 4-6-2 in his career against San Jose.
Marcus Sorensen came out of the lineup to make way for Couture.
Patrick Marleau saw a nine-game point streak come to an end.
Up next
The Sharks have three games remaining before the bye week starting with the Panthers, who beat them in overtime on Nov. 3, 4-3. San Jose visits Arizona next Saturday, and hosts the Bruins next Sunday before five mandatory days off from Feb. 20-24.

Paul Martin rewarding Peter DeBoer's faith in NHL return


Paul Martin rewarding Peter DeBoer's faith in NHL return

When Sharks defenseman Paul Martin confirmed reports in January that he was willing to go elsewhere for more playing time, his head coach was insistent that the team would need the veteran blueliner. 

"I really believe we need eight NHL defenseman here," DeBoer told reporters in January (via The Mercury News). "If it happens that he isn't here, then that'll be disappointing for us. I'm not hoping that's where this goes. I'm hoping this goes to a place where he can maybe go down, play some games and keep himself ready, because I know we're going to need eight defensemen."

That's pretty much exactly what's happened.

After clearing waivers in January and playing with the AHL's San Jose Barracuda, Martin was called up ahead of the Sharks' four-game road trip at the end of February. He did not play until last Saturday in Vancouver, when an upper-body injury to rookie defenseman Joakim Ryan, whose play pushed Martin down the depth chart in the first place, created an opening alongside Brent Burns. 

Martin's now played three straight games with Burns, his defensive partner for the vast majority of the previous two seasons. It's the first time Martin's played in three consecutive NHL games all season, and although he hasn't played much (11:53 in average time-on-ice), he's acquitted himself nicely in a sheltered role.

His five-on-five possession numbers (52.78 percent corsi-for; 53.33 percent fenwick-for) are the second-best marks among Sharks defensemen over the last three games. Burns, too, has posted better possession numbers with Martin (47.62 percent corsi-for; 50 percent fenwick-for) during the last three contests than without his longtime partner (43.40 percent corsi-for; 41.67 percent fenwick-for). 

The Sharks have also outscored (3-0) and outchanced (17-16) opponents with Martin on the ice, neither of which was the case in Martin's first three appearances earlier this season. The former is owed to a decent amount of puck luck, as the Sharks have converted on 17.65 percent of their shots with him on the ice, but the latter is an extension of his solid underlying numbers. 

Martin's played the least amount of total minutes among Sharks defensemen since coming back, even as Marc-Edouard Vlasic missed time in two of the last three games, and has barely been used in special teams. His days of averaging 20-or-more minutes a night are likely behind him, but the 37-year-old has played well in a limited role. 

Considering Martin's NHL days appeared to be behind him as recently as last month, his play has been a pleasant surprise. With the exception of his head coach, that is. 

Couture scores in OT, helps Sharks make up ground on Golden Knights

Couture scores in OT, helps Sharks make up ground on Golden Knights


SAN JOSE -- Seconds after almost costing the San Jose Sharks a game with a turnover, Logan Couture ended it with his backhand.

Couture scored 39 seconds into overtime after getting bailed out by goalie Martin Jones and the San Jose Sharks won their season-high sixth straight game, 2-1 over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night.

"I was able to make a move on their guy," Couture said. "(Marc-Edouard Vlasic) did a good job of driving their backchecker back and I was able to go far side."

Couture's goal came at the end of an opening shift of the overtime that started with him losing the puck in his own zone, giving Jonathan Marchessault a chance alone in front. Jones got enough of the shot to stop it, and then Vlasic sent the puck ahead to Couture for the winning goal that moved San Jose within seven points of first-place Vegas with eight games remaining in the regular season.

Brent Burns also scored and Jones made 24 saves to help the Sharks open a four-point lead over third-place Los Angeles in the Pacific Division with a game in hand as the Sharks close in on home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

"For us to get a win tonight was important," captain Joe Pavelski said. "Plus, just plant that seed. If we stay hot, you never know, we might be able to catch them and get home ice. We took care of business tonight and we'll try to keep playing well."

Tomas Tatar scored the lone goal for the Golden Knights, who were kept in the game by a sterling performance by goalie Malcolm Subban. He stopped 42 shots but it wasn't enough for Vegas to come up with the win, although he helped earn a point that gave the expansion team 100 this season.

"It's impressive," forward James Neal said. "It's a great season for our guys. Guys came together real quick. A great job so far but we're not done yet."

The Golden Knights struck first on a pretty passing play early in the first period that ended when Marchessault found Tatar cutting through the slot ahead of Justin Braun. Tatar skated past Jones and backhanded the puck into the open net.

Vegas has been dominant when getting off to a lead, posting an NHL-best 31-5-1 record when scoring first heading into this game. But the Sharks carried the play in the second period, outshooting the Golden Knights 18-4 and getting the equalizer on a blast by Burns from the point after another strong shift by San Jose's fourth line.

"We want to be playing really good hockey this time of year and heading into the playoffs. I think that's the goal," coach Peter DeBoer said. "Whether we would have won tonight or lost, I like how we played for most of the game, so that's what I'm concentrating on."

Vegas managed to keep it tied despite the lopsided shot totals, killing off a four-minute penalty to Colin Miller and another late power play that started late in the second.

That penalty carried over until the third period and the Sharks got 25 seconds of a two-man advantage after Brayden McNabb was called for throwing his stick but still couldn't get anything past Subban.

The Golden Knights squandered a power-play chance later in the period when Miller was called for cross checking with the man advantage. That nearly led to a power-play goal for San Jose but Subban appeared to get a piece of a shot from in close to Joe Pavelski to keep the game tied at 1.

"He's the main reason we got the point," coach Gerard Gallant said. "He looked comfortable."

NOTES: Vegas G Marc-Andre Fleury didn't make the trip to San Jose with an undisclosed injury but is expected to join the team for Saturday's game in Colorado. ... Burns became the 15th player to play 500 career games with the Sharks.

Golden Knights: Visit Colorado on Saturday.

Sharks: Host Calgary on Saturday.