Instant Replay: Sharks power their way past NHL-best Capitals

Instant Replay: Sharks power their way past NHL-best Capitals


SAN JOSE – The power play is alive, after all.
The Sharks scored a pair of goals with a man advantage in downing the NHL-leading Washington Capitals on Thursday at SAP Center, 4-2.
The score was knotted at 2-2 late in the second, but Chris Tierney drew a tripping minor on Beagle late in the frame to give the Sharks an advantage. 
Six seconds after Joe Pavelski won an offensive zone draw and Brent Burns’ shot was stopped by Braden Holtby, Logan Couture found the rebound and whipped it high over the Caps’ goalie with 1:56 left in the middle frame to put the Sharks ahead to stay.
Couture got the second one, too, adding some insurance. He cut to the net and opened up the blade of his stick for Burns, who squarely hit it with a low laser for a redirection at 8:05 of the third period.
The Sharks had been 0-for-10 over their last four games on the power play, and just 2-for-23 over the previous nine.
San Jose (40-19-7, 87 points) secured a 40-win season for the 14th time since 2000-01, the most of any NHL team in that span.
The Sharks improved to 13-0-3 against the Capitals in the last 16 meetings in San Jose. They swept the two-game season series, including a 3-0 win at Verizon Center on Nov. 8.
Washington (44-15-7, 95 points) dropped to 5-4-1 since its bye week.
The Capitals took an early lead, when Daniel Winnik got loose in front of the net and backhanded in a slick feed from Beagle on the end wall at 5:26.
The Sharks responded three-and-a-half minutes later. Jannik Hansen, making his Sharks debut after a trade on Feb. 28, set up Joe Thornton for a one-timer at 8:43 after a nice play by Paul Martin to keep the play alive in the offensive zone.
A double-minor to Brooks Orpik late in the first carried over into the second. While Orpik was stepping out of the box as the extended power play expired, Burns’ low wrister was redirected by Pavelski in the slot at 2:32 to put San Jose ahead, 2-1.
The Caps tied it when Brett Connolly finished off a give-and-go with Kevin Shattenkirk at 14:40.
Burns finished with three assists.
San Jose was opening its longest homestand of the season (six games).
Special teams 
The Sharks officially finished 2-for-5 on the power play. They scored multiple power play goals for just the fourth time this season, and the second time since Dec. 18.
Washington went 0-for-5, nearly tying the game early in the third period on a T.J. Oshie deflection that glanced off of the far post while Melker Karlsson was serving a slashing minor. San Jose had allowed one power play goal-against in each of its last four games.
In goal
Martin Jones improved to 4-0 in his career against Washington with 25 saves. 
Holtby, a Vezina Trophy candidate, fell to 34-10-5 with four goals allowed on 24 shots. He’s 2-4-0 in his career when facing the Sharks, including two regulation losses this season. 
Kevin Labanc was reassigned to the AHL on Tuesday, while rookie Marcus Sorensen was a healthy scratch. David Schlemko missed his third straight game with a lower body injury, and is not yet skating again.
Thornton was honored before the game for scoring his 1,000th assist on Monday in Winnipeg.
Up next
The Sharks have a rare home back-to-back this weekend, hosting the Nashville Predators on Saturday afternoon and Dallas Stars on Sunday night.
San Jose downed P.K. Subban and the Preds in the only other previous meeting between the two on Oct. 29, 4-1.

The anatomy of Jannik Hansen's recently-broken scoring drought after nearly one year


The anatomy of Jannik Hansen's recently-broken scoring drought after nearly one year

Jannik Hansen's game-winning goal against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday marked the first time he scored in 355 days. 

Hansen last scored on Mar. 30, 2017 against the Edmonton Oilers, his second goal with the Sharks following an in-season trade. His scoring drought, in all, lasted 44 regular season games, 50 if you include the postseason. 

How exactly does a goal-scoring drought last nearly a year? The right (wrong?) circumstances all need to come together, and that was certainly the case for Hansen for much of the last year.

For one, the Danish forward was in and out of the lineup. San Jose played 83 regular season and postseason games between Hansen's second and third goals, and he did not play in 33 of those games. Plenty of players have had rough 50-game stretches, and that's often without not playing for weeks at a time, as Hansen has done a couple of times this season. 

When Hansen did draw into the lineup this year, however, he wasn't generating offense at the same rate he had in the past. This season, Hansen's five-on-five shot rate (6.19 shots per 60 minutes), shot attempt rate (10.53 individual corsi per 60), and unblocked shot attempt rate (8.95 individual fenwick per 60) were all down from his career averages, according to Corsica Hockey. 

That decline is natural, considering Hansen turned 32 just six days ago. Those rates were not down enough, however, to expect him to fail to score in his first 39 appearances this season. Naturally, a long run of bad luck played a big role in Hansen's dry spell.

Hansen went 0-for-66 in shots over the 50 consecutive regular season and playoff games in which he did not score. He's a career 11-percent shooter, and had he shot at his career average, he would have scored seven goals during that time. That feels about right for a bottom-six forward. 

In many ways, all of these factors fed into one another. Hansen wasn't generating shots or scoring, then was scratched, then couldn't find the back of the net when he returned and was scratched again. All the while, fellow fourth-liners Marcus Sorensen (26.7 percent shooting percentage this season), Joel Ward (14.3 percent) and Barclay Goodrow (13.2 percent) were converting on their chances, forcing Peter DeBoer's hand. 

His possession play has been solid all season (50.74 percent corsi-for, per Natural Stat Trick), but the offense hasn't followed. When it does, as was the case Tuesday night, he can be an effective fourth-line forward, and the goal on Tuesday bought him more time to prove it. 

Sharks blow out Devils for season-high fifth straight win

Sharks blow out Devils for season-high fifth straight win


SAN JOSE -- Jannik Hansen scored his first goal of the season and fellow fourth-liners Eric Fehr and Barclay Goodrow also scored to help the San Jose Sharks win their season-high fifth straight game, 6-2 over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.

Logan Couture added his 30th goal of the season, and Joe Pavelski and Mikkel Boedker also scored to give the Sharks a four-point lead over third-place Los Angeles in the Pacific Division with one game in hand.

Brent Burns added three assists and Martin Jones made 26 saves.

The scoring barrage by San Jose spoiled Cory Schneider's return to net for the Devils. Schneider allowed four goals on 14 shots before getting pulled midway through the second period of his first start since March 8. Schneider has lost 11 starts in a row since his last win for the Devils on Dec. 27.

Taylor Hall scored his 32nd goal of the season and Blake Coleman also scored for the Devils, who lead Florida by just one point in the race for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers have two games in hand.

After Hansen and Fehr scored in the first period, Goodrow chipped one in midway through the second period on a surprising night of scoring from the fourth line when he beat Schneider on a 2-on-1.

Couture then scored 40 seconds later on San Jose's first shot against Keith Kinkaid for his third career 30-goal season. Boedker added San Jose's second power-play goal of the night late in the second and the rout was on.

The Sharks got off to a fast start in their first game back from a 3-0 Canadian road trip, scoring three goals in the first period and killing 1:20 of a two-man advantage for New Jersey.

The teams traded goals to start with Fehr beating Schneider over the shoulder from a bad angle and Hall answering when he stole a bouncing puck from Justin Braunand beat Jones with a quick shot.

San Jose then scored twice in a span of less than three minutes to take the lead. Pavelski tipped in a shot from Kevin Labanc on the power play to give the Sharks the lead.

Then after Jones denied Damon Severson from in close at one end, Dylan DeMelo sent a long pass that Hansen chased down and then beat Schneider on a breakaway for his first goal since March 30, 2017.

NOTES: DeMelo has 10 assists this month. ... San Jose D Brenden Dillon has a five-game point streak. ... Devils F Miles Wood (upper body) was scratched and Jesper Bratt played in his place.


Devils: Visit Pittsburgh on Friday.

Sharks: Host Vegas on Thursday.