Instant Replay: Sharks stumble in third period, fall to Oilers

Instant Replay: Sharks stumble in third period, fall to Oilers


SAN JOSE – A third period hat trick by Milan Lucic pushed Edmonton to a 4-2 comeback win over the Sharks on Thursday night at SAP Center.
Edmonton (45-26-9, 99 points) is now in the driver seat for home ice advantage in the first round, as they lead the Sharks (45-29-4, 97 points) by two points with one game in hand. 
San Jose concludes the regular season on Saturday at home against Calgary, while the Oilers – still in the running for first place in the Pacific Division – need just one point in their final two games with Vancouver to finish ahead of San Jose.
The Ducks, who beat the Blackhawks on Thursday, cannot be caught by the Sharks.
The Sharks led 2-1 to start the third, and had a golden opportunity to increase their lead when Matt Benning hauled down Marcus Sorensen resulting in a penalty shot for the rookie. He was stopped by Cam Talbot, though, 2:19 into the third.
That allowed Edmonton to take advantage of a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty to the Sharks. Lucic redirected Oscar Klefbom’s point shot at 4:26, knotting the score at 2-2.
Lucic scored again just three-and-a-half minutes later, boxing out David Schlemko in front of the net and tapping in the rebound of Klefbom shot on the rush at 7:57.
He completed the hat trick with another power play goal at 16:31, whacking in a Mark Letestu rebound.
The Sharks lost for the ninth time in their last 12 games.
Joel Ward’s second goal in as many games opened the scoring. He tipped a floating puck by Schlemko through Cam Talbot at 6:08 of the first period for his 10th goal of season.
Edmonton came on in the second period, though. Connor McDavid’s 30th goal of the season tied the score at 1-1 at 4:40, as the Edmonton captain cleaned up a puck that originated off of the stick of Klefbom and deflected off of Tomas Hertl, Justin Braun and Martin Jones’ pad on its way to McDavid’s tape. 
The Oilers kept coming after that, but Jones thwarted Leon Draisaitl with a quick right pad on an Edmonton odd-man rush with 13:18 left in the middle frame.
San Jose retook the lead at 12:30. Tomas Hertl fought for a loose puck off of an offensive zone faceoff, and pushed it to Brent Burns at the point. Burns’ wrist shot made its way through a maze of bodies for his 29th of the season, and second in his last 22.
Klefbof assisted on all four Oilers goals. Edmonton improved to 11-2-0 in its last 13 games.
The Sharks had a season-low 15 shots on goal.
Special teams 
Still looking generally lost on the power play without Joe Thornton and Logan Couture, the Sharks went 0-for-4 on the power play with just two shots on goal. They are 0-for-12 in the last five games.
Penalty shots haven’t been much better, as the Sharks are just 1-for-7 on the season after Sorensen’s miss.
Edmonton was 2-for-5 on the power play.
The Oilers were awarded a first period power play after Micheal Haley was issued an instigator on a fight with Lucic. The Oilers’ heavyweight ran over Chris Tierney with a clean open-ice check, and was immediately challenged by Haley with 3:26 left in the opening frame.
In goal
Making his seventh straight start, Jones allowed four goals on 32 shots. He played all five games of the season series with Edmonton.
Talbot, the NHL leader in games played and minutes, notched his 41st win with 13 saves. He also saw all the time in net against San Jose this season.
Timo Meier came out of the lineup for Micheal Haley, who was a scratch for the past two games against Vancouver. Meier played for the AHL Barracuda on Wednesday night.
Burns became the first defenseman with at least 75 points in consecutive seasons since the Rangers’ Brian Leetch in 1995-96 and 1996-97.
McDavid’s goal increased his point streak to 11 games (6g, 15a).
Up next
Calgary is 3-1-0 in the season series against San Jose.

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.