Instant Replay: Sharks fall to Flyers, losing streak reaches season high


Instant Replay: Sharks fall to Flyers, losing streak reaches season high


PHILADELPHIA – One of the strengths of this year’s Sharks team has been its ability to respond from decisive losses.
That didn’t happen on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center, as Wayne Simmonds’ breakaway goal gave the Flyers a 2-1 win in overtime.
The Sharks had been a perfect 6-0 in games following a loss of three or more goals. They were spanked by the Bruins on Thursday in Boston, 6-3.
Saturday’s defeat was their fourth straight, although they’ve picked up three points in the standings (0-1-3). The Flyers beat the Sharks in Philadelphia for the first time since Dec. 21, 2000.
On the winning goal, Simmonds stripped Brent Burns and raced ahead untouched before slipping the puck through Aaron Dell at 1:04.
It took until the third period for the game’s first goal. Andrew MacDonald’s shot rang off the far post and deflected to fellow defenseman Ivan Provorov’s stick. The rookie found the top corner with a wrist shot at 6:22 to put Philadelphia ahead.
Patrick Marleau’s 20th goal of the season tied it. Kevin Labanc, filling in for an injured Logan Couture on the top power play unit, found the veteran in the slot and Marleau chipped it through at 9:23.
The Sharks appeared to take an early 1-0 on a power play goal, when Chris VandeVelde booted a loose puck into his own net. The Flyers challenged, though, and it was ruled that Labanc – who would have gotten credit for the score – interfered with goalie Michal Neuvirth.
Other than that, the Flyers dominated the first period, outshooting the Sharks 14-4 and out-attempting them 34-7. Dell kept it scoreless, though, making a dazzling glove save on Simmonds midway through after Simmonds froze Burns on his way to the net.
In the second period, the Sharks controlled the puck in the offensive zone for the duration of a two-minute power play, but the Flyers kept them on the perimeter while Neuvirth was without a stick for much of the advantage.
Dell helped force overtime with a pad stop on Sean Couturier from the doorstep with about a minute to go in regulation. He’s 6-3-1 on the season.
Couture was a late scratch with an unspecified injury. 
Special teams 
The Sharks finished 1-for-3 on the power play, which is steadily improving lately, going 5-for-18 over the last six games. Six of Marleau’s 20 goals have come with a man advantage.
The Flyers went 0-for-3, including an advantage with 4:14 to go when Paul Martin tripped Nick Cousins. San Jose’s penalty kill was a concern entering the afternoon, going just 5-for-10 in the last three games.
In goal
Dell, who came on in relief of Martin Jones for the final two periods of Thursday’s loss in Boston, was starting for the first time Jan. 24 at Winnipeg. He made 33 saves.
Of Dell’s 11 games, nine have come against Eastern Conference opponents, including both Sharks-Flyers meetings. He had a 21-save shutout of Philadelphia on Dec. 30 at SAP Center, the first of his career.
Neuvirth started his fourth game out of five for Philadelphia. He allowed one goal on 24 shots, improving to 2-3-0 in his career against the Sharks.

Marleau stretched his point streak to nine games, with eight goals and five assists over that span. 

Labanc was recalled on Friday, and although he wasn’t expected to play shortly before the game, he got in the lineup when Couture couldn’t go. For the first time since his injury, Tomas Hertl started a game at center, skating between Timo Meier and Joel Ward on what was the Sharks’ most effective line at even strength.
Rookie Marcus Sorensen played in his second career NHL game after he sat out Thursday in Boston.
Up next
The Sharks play their final Eastern Conference road game on Sunday in New Jersey. San Jose spanked the Devils at home on Nov. 21, 4-0.

Sharks on longest winning streak since 2013 after extinguishing Flames


Sharks on longest winning streak since 2013 after extinguishing Flames


SAN JOSE -- Evander Kane scored twice to give him six goals in his past two games against Calgary and the San Jose Sharks won their seventh straight game, beating the Flames 5-1 on Saturday.

Kane followed up his four-goal performance in Calgary a week ago with another impactful performance, scoring a short-handed goal in the second period to give the Sharks a 3-1 lead and an insurance goal in the third. He also used his physical play to get into a scrum with Mikael Backlund and a fight with Travis Hamonic.

The Sharks improved to 10-2 since acquiring Kane just before the trade deadline last month, including this current streak that is the longest for San Jose since a seven-gamer from March 25 to April 5, 2013.

Brenden DillonJannik Hansen and Justin Braun also scored for the Sharks, who moved six points ahead of Los Angeles in the race for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Kings played later Saturday in Edmonton. Martin Jones made 37 saves.

Michael Stone scored the lone for the Flames, who have lost five straight to fall out of the playoff race. Calgary trails Anaheim by nine points for the final playoff spot with just six games remaining. David Rittich made 28 saves.

The Flames were controlling the play in the second period before Kane's goal turned the momentum back in San Jose's favor. Calgary held San Jose without a shot on goal for more than six minutes to start the period and had just started a power play when Kane struck for his goal.

Chris Tierney skated into the offensive zone and held the puck near the net as Johnny Gaudreau skated past Kane, who was set up in front of the crease. Tierney then slid a pass to Kane, who knocked it into the open net for his sixth goal with the Sharks and 26th on the season.

Kane then had his run-ins with the Flames late in the second and early in the third before the Sharks broke it open with goals from Braun and Kane midway through the third period.

Dillon, who assisted on Kane's second goal, then got into a fight late in the game with Garnet Hathaway to complete the Gordie Howe hat trick.

The Sharks started fast and scored twice in a span of 74 seconds midway through the first period. San Jose took advantage of a turnover by Calgary in the offensive zone to go on a rush. Timo Meier fed Chris Tierney, who gave a behind-the-back pass to Dillon, who beat Rittich from the high slot.

The Sharks kept the pressure up and quickly added to the lead when Hansen redirected Brent Burns' point shot off defenseman Mark Jankowski's skate and into the Calgary net.

The Flames got one back with a blast from the point through traffic by Stone.

NOTES: The Sharks honored Jonathan Cheechoo, who recently announced his retirement. ... Burns' assist on Hansen's goal was his 49th of the season, breaking the record he set two years ago for Sharks defensemen. ... Flames F Matthew Tkachuk (upper body) and D TJ Brodie did not make the trip for the two games in California.


Flames: Visit Los Angeles on Monday

Sharks: Visit Chicago on Monday.

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.