Sharks

Instant Replay: Sharks shut out again, Oilers take 2-1 series lead

Instant Replay: Sharks shut out again, Oilers take 2-1 series lead

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – Joe Thornton made his return to the lineup, but it didn’t help the Sharks offense in a 1-0 loss to the Oilers in Game 3 of their first round series on Sunday night at SAP Center.

The Oilers have won the last two games after San Jose claimed the opener.

The only goal came with 9:15 to go in the third period. David Schlemko turned the puck over to Zack Kassian, who pushed a backhand from the slot through Martin Jones to break the scoreless tie.

It was the second straight game that Kassian found the scoresheet, including a shorthanded goal in Edmonton’s Game 2 win on Friday.

The Sharks have not scored since Melker Karlsson’s overtime winner in Game 1.

The Sharks are 3-10 when trailing a series two-games-to-one in their history. In NHL history, when teams are tied 1-1 in a series, the winner of Game 3 wins the series 67.6 percent of the time (202-97 record).

In their first home game of the series, the Sharks came out hitting everything in sight after losing the physicality battle in games one and two. They also dominated territorially, but Joe Pavelski missed an open net on a backhand from the slot less than five minutes in, and Chris Tierney fired high on a partial breakaway with six-and-a-half minutes to go.

Play evened out to start the second before Edmonton started to press. Connor McDavid generated a pair of chances with about four minutes to go, but his wraparound try was thwarted by Jones, and Patrick Maroon couldn’t find a handle on the loose puck.

Jones swallowed up a McDavid one-time shortly after that, keeping it scoreless with 3:38 to go before the second intermission.

The Sharks outshot the Oilers 13-6 in the first period, but Edmonton registered 12 of the 16 total shots in the middle frame. The Sharks outshot the Oilers for the game, 23-22.

Special teams

After getting six power plays in each of the first two games, the Sharks went 0-for-2 in Game 3. They didn’t register a single shot on goal, and are just 1-for-14 in the series along with two shorthanded goals-against. Thornton returned to the top unit in his regular place.

Edmonton had just one power play, late in the first period, and did not score. The Oilers are 1-for-8 in the series.

In goal

Talbot notched his second straight shutout with 23 saves, as he continues his first career playoff run as a number one starter. His biggest stop came on Joel Ward with 6:20 to go in regulation.

Jones played admirably, but fell to 15-12 career in the postseason with one goal allowed on 22 shots.

Lineup

Mikkel Boedker was a healthy scratch to make way for Thornton.

Edmonton defenseman Oscar Klefbom was able to play despite missing the final few minutes of Game 2 after blocking a Brent Burns shot.

Up next

Game 4 remains in San Jose on Tuesday, before the teams go back to Edmonton for Game 5 on Thursday.

The winner of the Sharks-Oilers series will face the winner of Ducks-Flames in the second round. Anaheim leads that series, two games to none, winning the first two at Honda Center.

Sharks headed in right direction, road trip to reveal who they really are

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USATSI

Sharks headed in right direction, road trip to reveal who they really are

The difference between a 2-3-0 start and a 1-4-0 start is bigger than two standings points.

The former is far from ideal, but if you squint hard enough, there's enough wiggle room to improve. There's still time with the latter, too, but the margin for error is much thinner moving forward.

The Sharks experienced that difference firsthand after Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. It's not an ideal record, but they’ve managed to salvage a poor start. 

There are still some flaws, to be sure. The power play isn't just the Kevin Labanc show after the top unit scored all three power play goals Tuesday, but is still carrying a disproportionate offensive load. The penalty kill’s scoreless streak came to an end, but they were called into action six times.

Despite all that, Tuesday's win was San Jose’s best effort this season. Brent Burns, Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, and Joe Thornton all had multi-point games for the first time this year. Martin Jones had another strong game, and appears to have shaken off his slow start.

In short, San Jose’s game is headed in the right direction. It needs to be, with a five-game road trip beginning on Friday. 

Now comes the hard part.

It's on the road where we’ll get our best sense of who this team really is. Peter DeBoer won’t have the benefit of last change, and won't be able to dictate matchups. 

Under these circumstances, we’ll begin to really see if Joakim Ryan is ready for a top-four role, whether Kevin Labanc is a viable first-line winger, and how the rest of the young reinforcements stack up. They will have less time off, too, as all but one game occurs after one day (or less) of rest and travel. That missed practice time isn't ideal for any team, let alone one still trying to work out the kinks.

Fortunately, the competition is forgiving, at least on paper. Other than the Devils, none of the Sharks’ four other road trip opponents have winning records as of this writing. The topsy turvy nature of the standings, though, show how little “on paper” means this early in the season.

We’ll know a lot more about who these San Jose Sharks are by the time their road trip ends. Their record still won't tell the whole story, but by then, they'll have played about an eighth of the season. 

And by then, we’ll have a much better idea of how good this team really is.

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.