Instant Replay: Sharks surge past Preds for third straight win

Instant Replay: Sharks surge past Preds for third straight win


SAN JOSE – A pair of goals in quick succession in the second period gave the Sharks a commanding lead they would not renounce, as they downed the Predators at SAP Center on Saturday night, 4-1.

San Jose swept its three-game homestand, and is a perfect 4-0 in its own building this season.

A series of events early in the middle frame helped stake the Sharks a 3-0 lead.

The Sharks were up 1-0 when Nashville’s Craig Smith had a breakaway attempt less than two minutes into the second, when Melker Karlsson inadvertently left the speedy Predators forward all alone. Martin Jones bailed out his teammate, though, denying Smith’s attempt to preserve the slim advantage.

About a minute later Yannick Weber was called for cross-checking, giving San Jose a power play. It took just six seconds for Joe Pavelski to swipe in a Brent Burns rebound off of the back boards, banking it off of a fallen Pekka Rinne at 2:47.

On the next shift, the Sharks’ fourth line found the scoresheet. David Schlemko’s shot hit Micheal Haley and bounded to the slot, where Tommy Wingels backhanded it inside the far post at 3:04.

Nashville didn’t relent, though. On its first and only power play, Mike Fisher hit the far post with five-and-a-half minutes left in the second, while Ryan Johansen rang a shot off the crossbar with 50 seconds to go before the break.

Finally, the Predators solved Jones at 19:18, when James Neal tipped a Ryan Ellis blast, cutting the Sharks’ lead to 3-1 after two.

Nashville continued to pressure in the third period, but couldn’t get any closer. Jones stopped Smith again at the side of the net with about 11:20 to go, and Burns made a spectacular shot block on Colton Sissons with seven minutes remaining, diving in front of the blast and deflecting the puck into the safety netting with his skate.

Joe Thornton got credit for his first goal when he was tripped by Filip Forsberg while staring at an empty net with 1:19 to go.

By winning their first four games at SAP Center, the Sharks equaled their longest home winning streak of last season.  The Predators, who traded captain Shea Weber to Montreal for P.K. Subban in the offseason, have lost six of their last seven (1-5-1).

Joonas Donskoi got his second goal in as many games to open the scoring. A mad scramble ensued when Rinne inadvertently came charging out of his net to play a loose puck, but the goalie eventually got back to the crease after Donskoi and Joel Ward couldn’t find room to shoot into the open net around Nashville defenders. San Jose still got one, though, when Donskoi whacked in a loose puck in the blue paint through Rinne at 15:28.

The teams were meeting for the first time since the Sharks eliminated the Predators in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in seven games last May.

The Sharks improved to 5-2-2 against Nashville in the last nine regular season meetings in San Jose.

Special teams

The Sharks got a power play goal for the third straight game, finishing 1-for-2. They are 4-for-9 in their last their last three games.

The Preds had just one advantage and did not convert. San Jose is an impressive 19-for-20 on the PK over their last six games.

In goal

Jones made his fifth straight start, and has played in all but one of the Sharks’ first nine games. He’s now 5-3 on the season after making 27 stops, and beat the Predators in the regular season for the first time in his career (1-2-2).

Rinne looked unsteady for most of the night, seemingly having trouble with the puck every time he left the crease. He dropped to 10-6-4 in his career against San Jose, allowing three goals on 26 shots.


Ward left the game in the third period after taking a high hit from Nashville’s Mike Ribeiro, but returned before the conclusion.

Among the players that dressed for Nashville was former Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin. He got the call over another former Shark, Matt Carle.

Up next

The Sharks visit Arizona for the first of five meetings on Tuesday, and return home to host the Flames on Thursday and Penguins on Saturday, Nov. 5.

After a perfect week, Sharks have playoff breathing room with three weeks to go


After a perfect week, Sharks have playoff breathing room with three weeks to go

The Sharks’ playoff outlook is a lot rosier after winning all four of their games last week. They are now four points clear of the Los Angeles Kings in the second Wild Card spot, and three points up the Anaheim Ducks, who are third place in the Pacific Division.

Those are four-point and three-point improvements, respectively, over those same spots last week. The Sharks even picked up ground on the first-place Vegas Golden Knights, and are eight points back of the Pacific’s leaders, with two head-to-head matchups remaining.

That’s not quite close enough to warrant inclusion in a look at the playoff picture headed into the week, but could be next week if San Jose continues to make up ground. Otherwise, it’s still worth examining where the Sharks stand in regards to the Pacific and the Wild Card.

San Jose Sharks (Second in the Pacific, 89 points)

Games Remaining: 10

On the Docket:  3/20 vs New Jersey, 3/22 vs Vegas, 3/24 vs Calgary

Outlook: Over the next two weeks, the schedule really starts to become difficult. San Jose has only two games remaining against teams on the outside looking in, and is just 2-6-2 in its last 10 against teams currently in a playoff spot. If that trend continues, the newfound breathing room could start to disappear rather quickly.

Anaheim Ducks (Third in the Pacific, 86 points)

Games Remaining: Nine

On the Docket: 3/21 at Calgary, 3/23 at Winnipeg, 3/25 at Edmonton

Outlook: The Ducks have now won three in a row, including next Sunday against the red-hot New Jersey Devils. They’ll play four of their final five road games in the next nine days, and all but one of their opponents is not in playoff position. Anaheim’s just 15-14-7 away from the Honda Center, though. With the fewest games remaining of any playoff team, the Ducks will help to move up any further.

Colorado Avalanche (First Wild Card, 86 points)

Games Remaining: 10

On the Docket: 3/20 at Chicago, 3/22 vs Los Angeles, 3/24 vs Vegas

Outlook: Give it up for surefire Hart Trophy finalist Nathan MacKinnon and the Avalanche, winners of three of four last week. Other than a slip-up on the second night of a back-to-back in Nashville, Colorado was outright dominant, outscoring opponents 16-7. A midweek matchup against Los Angeles could create some Wild Card separation.

Los Angeles Kings (Second Wild Card, 84 points)

Games Remaining: 10

On the Docket: 3/19 at Minnesota, 3/20 at Winnipeg, 3/22 at Colorado, 3/24 at Edmonton

Outlook: The Kings picked up points in three of four, including on both nights of a back-to-back. Their schedule really picks up this week, as they’ll face three playoff-bound teams from the Central on the road. The struggling Stars remain on their heels, although the Kings have a game in hand.

Dallas Stars (Ninth in the West, 84 points)

Games Remaining: Nine

On the Docket: 3/20 at Washington, 3/23 vs Boston. 3/25 vs Vancouver

Outlook: Is Dallas in the middle of a Lone Star letdown? We wrote last week that a difficult schedule could create openings for the teams chasing them and boy, did it ever. The Stars went 0-2-2 on the week, and picked up just one point against the lottery-bound Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators. They’ll surely relish a matchup against the Canucks in six days, as it’s their only remaining game against a non-playoff team.

St. Louis Blues (10th in the West, 83 points)

Games Remaining: 10

On the Docket: 3/21 vs Boston, 3/23 vs Vancouver, 3/24 at Columbus

Outlook: For the second straight season, it’s not quite time to stick a fork in the St. Louis Blues. Yes, they are once again in the playoff hunt after trading one of their best players at the trade deadline, and won three out of four to move with in a point of the final Wild Card spot. The Blues have now won four of five, and still have an uphill climb ahead. After last season, is it ever safe to rule them out?

The Departed: Calgary Flames (11th in the West, 80 points)

This section is reserved for teams that have fallen out of the playoff picture since our last look at the playoff picture, and the Calgary Flames have earned(?) the inaugural (dis)honor. The Flames failed to keep the door to the playoffs ajar thanks to a 7-4 loss to the Sharks on Friday, and it slammed shut after a 4-0 loss in Sin City on Sunday. They have to jump three teams and cover four points of ground to earn a Wild Card spot. The latest stretch stings, but the Flames will likely look on a four-game, post-trade deadline losing streak as when their playoff hopes burned out.

Sharks overcome early deficit, injuries to finish road trip with third straight win


Sharks overcome early deficit, injuries to finish road trip with third straight win

VANCOUVER --Timo Meier's second goal of the game snapped a third-period tie and the San Jose Sharks beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-3 on Saturday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Logan Couture and Kevin Labanc each had a goal and an assist, and Tomas Hertl scored into an empty net with 25 seconds remaining for the Sharks, who are 7-2-0 in their last nine games.

Nikolay Goldobin, Alex Edler and Bo Horvat scored power-play goals and Sam Gagner had two assists for the Canucks, who lost their sixth consecutive game - their longest losing streak of the season.

Goldobin's goal at 10:48 of the first period snapped a scoreless streak of 222 minutes, 57 minutes for the Canucks, who had been shut out in three consecutive losses.

The Sharks had allowed just two power-play goals in their previous 17 games, but gave up three against Vancouver. The only other time San Jose allowed three power-play goals in a game was in an opening-night loss to Philadelphia.

Aaron Dell, making his first start since Feb. 22, made 28 saves for the Sharks. Vancouver's Jacob Markstrom stopped 25 shots.

Meier put the Sharks ahead at 6:07 of the third with a shot from the faceoff circle that went under Markstrom's blocker. The Canucks came close with just over six minutes left, but Hertl scooped a loose puck off the goal line.

Vancouver scored twice with the man-advantage in the second period to tie the game at 3.

The Sharks took a 3-1 lead just 1:47 into the period when Meier tipped in Brenden Dillion's shot from the point.

Horvat started Vancouver's comeback, scoring just 6 seconds into a power play. Dell stopped Gagner's slap shot but Horvat jammed home the rebound. Edler tied it with a blast from the point at 11:48. It was his first power-play goal in 88 games dating to Feb. 17, 2017.

The Sharks scored 1:10 apart in the first period to erase a 1-0 deficit.

Goldobin opened the scoring when he took a pass from defenseman Derrick Pouilot and snapped a shot from the face-off circle that sailed over Dell's shoulder. The San Jose goalie was screened by Jake Virtanen.

Labanc tied it on a power play at 14:48. Joe Pavelski's shot was stopped by Markstrom, but he managed to get his own rebound and passed it to Labanc at the side of the net.

The Sharks went ahead on Couture's 29th of the season at 16:08. He took a feed from Hertl, fought off a check by Virtanen and chipped the puck past Markstrom.

NOTES: Defenseman Chris Tanev returned to Vancouver lineup for his first game since breaking his leg Feb. 8 against Tampa Bay ... San Jose center Melker Karlsson went to the dressing favoring his right leg early in the first period after blocking a shot. ... San Jose's Marc-Edouard Vlasic left in the second period after being hit in the chest by a puck. ... The Canucks' franchise record for a scoring drought is 234 minutes, 52 seconds, set March 16-24, 2016. ... The longest goal drought by a team in the expansion era is 262 minutes, 3 seconds, set by the Minnesota North Stars from Jan. 28-Feb. 6, 1988.


Sharks: vs. New Jersey on Tuesday night.

Canucks: at Vegas on Tuesday night.