Sharks

Instant Replay: Pavelski stays hot, Sharks blow past Sabres

Instant Replay: Pavelski stays hot, Sharks blow past Sabres

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – Another multi-goal effort from the captain helped put an end to the Sharks’ inexplicable troubles with the Sabres.

Joe Pavelski scored twice for the second straight game, as the Sharks ended a five-game home losing to Buffalo on Tuesday at SAP Center, 4-1. It was the Sharks’ first regulation win of any kind over the Sabres since Jan. 23, 2010.

Pavelski’s first goal tied the game at one apiece in the second period, while his second score gave the Sharks a two-goal cushion. He has seven goals in his last five games and now leads the team with 28, one more than Brent Burns.

The game-winner, though, came from an unlikely source.

In the final minute of the second period of a 1-1 game, Micheal Haley got a little piece of Cody Franson’s short pass to Jack Eichel in front of the net, and the Sabres’ forward ended up kicking the puck through Robin Lehner’s five-hole with less than a minute to play in the middle frame. Haley was credited with this second of the season.

Pavelski added third period insurance. Dylan DeMelo’s point shot hit Josh Gorges in front of the net, and Pavelski was there to whip it home at 5:28 to make it 3-1.

Just before the goal, Martin Jones denied Eichel on a breakaway, sealing his five-hole and keeping the Sabres from getting what would have been the equalizer.

Another fluky play pushed the Sharks’ lead to 4-1. Joel Ward slid the puck over to Logan Couture, and as Couture and Lehner both extended their sticks out to poke at the loose puck, it popped up into the air and landed on the other side of the goal line at 14:47.

The Sharks have won four of their last five games, improving to 3-1-0 on their season-long six-game homestand. They are 7-2-0 in their last nine, and have a nine-point lead on the Pacific Division.

Kicking off a four-game road trip, the Sabres lost their fifth straight away from home.

The Sharks poured 20 shots on goal in the first, a season high for most in a period, but trailed after the opening frame. Pavelski gave the puck away to Gorges at the point, and Matt Moulson pushed the rebound of Gorges’ blast over to Eichel for an easy score just 1:10 into the game.

Lehner made a number of stellar saves to keep the Sharks off of the board, coming way out of his crease to turn away a Burns wrister, and later preventing Couture’s open look on a two-on-one from beating him with less than three minutes to go in the first.

The Sharks were also denied what originally looked like a Marcus Sorensen goal, but it was correctly ruled that Burns had pushed Lehner out of the way while taking the puck the net before Sorensen slid the puck across the line.

San Jose continued to press in the second, though, and was finally rewarded on the power play. Pavelski hammered in a one-timer from the slot on a backhanded feed from Couture at 11:47 to knot the score at 1-1.

Special teams

Entering with a 2-for-24 stretch in their previous seven games, with both coming against Washington, the Sharks finished 1-for-3 on the power play. Pavelski has seven power play goals on the season.

The penalty kill was 2-for-2, and is 11-for-11 in the last four games.

In goal

Perhaps benefiting from added rest, Jones secured the win with 21 saves, and has allowed two or fewer goals in seven consecutive starts. He’s 2-1-1 in his career against Buffalo.

Lehner has lost both of his career games against the Sharks, officially allowing four goals on 41 shots.

Lineup

The Sharks made no changes to their lineup, as David Schlemko and Melker Karlsson remained out with lower body injuries.

Joe Thornton’s assist on Pavelski’s first goal was his 40th of the season. It is his 14th season reaching that mark.

Up next

The Sharks will conclude their regular season series with the Blues – a potential first round playoff opponent – on Thursday at SAP Center. St. Louis has won the first two, both in regulation, including a 4-0 shutout of the Sharks in San Jose on Jan. 14.

The homestand concludes with the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.

Sharks' offense comes alive, leads charge in win over Canadiens

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AP

Sharks' offense comes alive, leads charge in win over Canadiens

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Logan Couture credited a teammate for scoring his second goal. He took credit for the first one.

Couture scored a pair of goals and the San Jose Sharks extended their dominance of the Montreal Canadiens with a 5-2 victory on Tuesday night.

Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl also scored for the Sharks, who have won the past 11 home games against the Canadiens, a streak that dates to Nov. 23, 1999.

On a power play late in the third period, rookie Tim Heed took a shot off a face-off that bounced free in front of the net. Pavelski couldn't get his stick on it but managed to kick it across the net for Couture, who found a huge opening.

"That was pretty special," Couture said. "I don't know if he knew I was there but he kept his balance and kicked it over."

Couture opened the scoring 3:30 into the first period, grabbing a rebound off the back board, skating across the front of the net to get Price to commit and then firing into an open net.

Jonathan Drouin and Shea Weber scored for the Canadiens, who are winless since an opening night victory at the Buffalo Sabres.

"It's a very poor start from our team, from myself, from a lot of individuals," Canadiens' Max Pacioretty said. "It's a good time to look in the mirror and see what we're made of because a lot of people are probably doubting this team right now."

Martin Jones stopped 28 of 30 shots for the Sharks, who finish their season-opening homestand with a 2-3 record.

"The biggest thing is finding that energy for the whole game," Jones said. "We started OK and then we got better as the night went on."

Carey Price, who stopped 31 of 35 shots, fell to 2-7-1 in 10 games against the Sharks.

The Canadiens responded 36 seconds later when Drouin picked up a pass from Artturi Lehkonen close in and fired it over Jones' left shoulder and into the net.

Pavelski gave the Sharks the lead for good when he redirected Kevin Labanc's shot just under a minute into the second period. The shot hit Weber's left shin pad and bounced into the net.

"There were a lot of good things out there," Pavelski said. "We didn't have the homestand we wanted but we can leave on a positive note to take on the road."

Hertl padded the lead midway through the second on a power play. Standing on the right side of the net, he was trying to control a pass from Joe Thornton but the puck fluttered off his stick and got behind Price.

"I'll take it any way I can get it," Hertl said. "There are times I've had great shots that just bounced off the post."

Weber's power-play goal two minutes later kicked off Jones' skates for the score.

The Sharks needed five seconds to score on a power play late in the second period. Tim Heed shot on goal and it bounced off Pavelski's skate. Couture picked it up and found a huge opening.

NOTES: After allowing three power play goals over their first five penalty kills, the Sharks killed off 14 straight until Weber scored in the second period. ... Couture recorded his 24th career multi-goal game. ... Sharks D Tim Heed recorded his first NHL point with an assist on Couture's power-play goal. ... Brendan Gallagher needs one assist for 100 with the Canadiens.

UP NEXT:

Canadiens: plays at the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday in their second back-to-back of the season.

Sharks: open a five-game road trip on the east coast with a game at the New Jersey Devils on Friday.

There's one key difference between struggling Sharks, Canadiens

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AP

There's one key difference between struggling Sharks, Canadiens

The San Jose Sharks and Montreal Canadiens could not be more different in terms of tradition. But, on the ice this season, they couldn’t be more similar.

Both teams have placed their faith in a goalie that wears #31. The top defensemen on each team, Brent Burns and Shea Weber, are 32 and signed until 2025 and 2026, respectively. Tomas Hertl and Alex Galchenyuk are 2012 first round picks playing on the wing after being drafted as centers. Tomas Plekanec and Joe Thornton are favorites on the wrong side of 30, who may head elsewhere next summer.  Heck, both teams miss defenseman David Schlemko, who San Jose lost in the expansion draft and was eventually traded to Montreal, where he hasn’t yet played due to injury.

And both have struggled mightily so far. San Jose and Montreal have combined to win just two games, and sit 29th and 30th, respectively, in goals scored this season. It’s hard to imagine the Sharks and Canadiens scoring so little with all of that talent, but they can’t bank on good fortune, either.

Something’s got to give when the two face off at SAP Center tonight. After tonight, one team will feel much better about themselves, and the other team will be much closer to hitting the panic button.

That’s where the critical difference lies: Montreal’s already hit it, and San Jose probably won’t.

Last season, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin fired Michel Therrien and replaced him with Claude Julien in February. Seven months after essentially siding with Therrien and trading star defenseman P.K. Subban, Bergevin ended Therrien’s time in Montreal, too. He surely can’t fire another coach, but a Galchenyuk trade is reportedly a possibility, according to TSN.

The Sharks, on the other hand, likely won’t do any of that. Even with the burden of high expectations in his tenure, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson’s never traded away a star player or fired a coach midseason. Even though Vegas pegs Peter DeBoer as the odds-on favorite to lose his job, it’s hard to envision Wilson making a change behind the bench during the year. He didn’t in 2015 when Todd McLellan seemed to lose the room, so why would he now?

Patience is what truly separates the Sharks and Canadiens, and that difference will likely determine how each front office reacts if their teams continue to struggle. Wilson’s shown a willingness to swing for the fences under these circumstances. He acquired Joe Thornton in 2005, after all.

But if you’re waiting on Wilson to take a page out of Bergevin’s book and fire the coach or trade away a key piece approaching their prime? Don’t hold your breath.