Instant Replay: Sharks light up Flames for four goals in second period

Instant Replay: Sharks light up Flames for four goals in second period


SAN JOSE – Joonas Donskoi entered Tuesday night without a goal since the end of October.
In the second period, though, he scored a pair in less than two minutes, helping the Sharks break their game with the Flames at SAP Center wide open. San Jose won, 4-1, its fifth victory in its last six.
All four of San Jose’s goals came at even strength in the middle frame, staking the Sharks a four-goal lead and essentially putting the game out of reach by the second intermission.
Patrick Marleau opened the scoring, when a point shot by Marc-Edouard Vlasic hit traffic in front and bounded to Marleau’s tape in the slot. The franchise’s all-time leading scorer easily slipped the puck over the line on his backhand at 5:35.
Paul Martin upped the lead to 2-0, when his point shot took a few odd bounces on its way inside the far post at 9:18.
That’s when Donskoi, who had just two goals, doubled his season output in just one minute and 56 seconds. On the first, Donskoi was set up by Tommy Wingels, who chipped the puck ahead and chased it down behind the net. Donskoi had all kinds of room to fire it home after receiving Wingels’ pass, as Chad Johnson left the cage wide open at 14:23.
Shortly after that, Mikael Backlund pushed a loose puck right to Donskoi’s stick in the high slot, and the 24-year-old Finnish winger swiped it in with a backhand at 16:19.
Donskoi, who was a healthy scratch on Dec. 14 in Ottawa, hadn’t scored since Oct. 29 against Nashville. He has four points (2g, 2a) in three games since coming out of the lineup.
Sam Bennett scored Calgary’s only goal at 1:19 of the third period.
After a seven-game winning streak earlier this month, the Flames lost for the third time in four games (1-3-0).
The Sharks beat the Flames for just the second time in San Jose in the last seven meetings (2-3-2). The teams have spilt the first two games of the season series, both in San Jose.
Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton each had two assists. Thornton became just the 37th player in league history to appear in 1400 games.
Special teams 
The Flames’ streak of eight straight games with at least one power play goal came to an end, as they went 0-for-1. Calgary had been 13-for-33 with a man advantage entering the game.
The Sharks went 0-for-5, including a third period power play after Lance Bouma drove hard into Martin Jones, drawing a goalie interference minor and Wingels, who promptly pounced on the Flames forward.
In goal
Starting his fifth straight game and 11th in the last 12, Jones made 20 saves. Early in the second period he made a pair of pretty saves on Michael Ferland, keeping it scoreless.
Johnson, who seems to have supplanted Brian Elliott as the Calgary starter, took the loss with four goals allowed on 34 shots.
David Schlemko was a healthy scratch, paving the way for Dylan DeMelo to get back in the lineup. Joel Ward also sat for the second time in three games in favor of Micheal Haley.
Melker Karlsson played despite leaving Sunday’s game in Chicago with an apparent head injury.
Brent Burns’ eight-game point streak (4g, 5a) came to an end.
Up next
The Sharks will get a two-day break before welcoming Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers on Friday. Following a three-day break for Christmas, the schedule resumes on Dec. 27 in Anaheim.

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.