Sharks

Jones allows four more goals, Sharks crushed by Kings in San Jose

Jones allows four more goals, Sharks crushed by Kings in San Jose

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- Anze Kopitar and the Los Angeles Kings were mostly pleased with their first road game of the season.

Kopitar scored twice, Dustin Brown and Nick Shore also scored and the Kings beat the San Jose Sharks 4-1 on Saturday night.

"That's a good indication of what we want to accomplish and how we want to play," Kopitar said. "We didn't score on the power play but we moved the puck around and if we continue to move it like that, we'll create a lot of opportunities."

Jonathan Quick stopped 24 of 25 shots to earn the victory for the Kings, who won their road opener for first-year coach John Stevens.

"I thought we created a lot and didn't give up much," Stevens said. "That was a scenario for a good start. Johnny again, his leadership was solid. He got out and handled a lot of pucks. He steered pucks away, got whistles. He just was a calming force back there whenever they did get some momentum."

Mikkel Boedker scored for the Sharks, who have lost their first two home games. Martin Jones, a former Kings goalie, turned back 25 of 29 shots before he was replaced by Aaron Dell with 5:55 left in the second period.

"We really weren't in the game," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "There were some stretches where we kidded ourselves that we were in the game but we weren't in the game."

The teams traded goals in the first 6:14 of the contest. Brown took a pass from Kopitar and flipped a shot off Jones' left shoulder pads and into the net.

"We're just trying to get up the ice quicker," Brown said. "My goal was the result of just transitioning from a turnover deep in our zone and getting up the ice and just attacking the net."

Boedker redirected a shot by Brenden Dillon in front of the net to get it past Quick. The goal was set up by Jannik Hansen's steal near the net. Hansen got it out to Dylan DeMelo to start the scoring sequence.

"That was just horrible. You can't make excuses because that was a very poor effort," the Sharks' Logan Couture said. "From the first minute to the 60th minute, from the power play to the penalty kill, that was just garbage hockey from us tonight."

It was all Los Angeles afterward. Kopitar scored with eight seconds left in the first period after Drew Doughty knocked down a lazy clearing pass and got the puck to Jake Muzzin. Kopitar took the pass and sailed the puck low, beating Jones to the stick side.

"I knew there was not a lot of time left and I saw a little opening," Kopitar said. "I figured it I'd shoot it and see what happens."

Kopitar scored again midway through the second period, this time shooting over Jones' right shoulder and into the net.

The Kings added an own goal, credited to Shore. Jones came out to challenge a shot but was unable to control the puck. Shore got it and sent a slow shot toward the net.

Melker Karlsson tried the clear the puck but sent it into the net instead.

NOTES: Neither team has swept a season series in the rivalry. ... Sharks C Joe Thornton has 75 career points against the Kings. ... Shore is the only player to record a point in the Kings' first two games.

UP NEXT

Kings: Host the Calgary Flames on Wednesday.

Sharks: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.

Process there even if results aren't for Sharks early in new season

Process there even if results aren't for Sharks early in new season

Saturday’s loss to the New York Islanders is one with which Sharks fans have become all too familiar.

The Sharks held a decided 41-23 edge on the shot count, but trailed 3-1 on the scoreboard. Since 2005, no team in the league has lost more games (59) in which they shot 35 or more times, and held their opponent to 25 or fewer shots.

No, your instincts haven’t deceived you over the Joe Thornton era: San Jose has lost a lot of games where they’ve otherwise outplayed their opponent. Of course, they’ve won plenty of those games too. More often than not, in fact, winning 72 of 131 times under those circumstances.

Frustration under those circumstances became readily apparent in the second period on Saturday, when Joe Pavelski broke his stick over Thomas Greiss’ net. The captain had plenty of reason to be unhappy, as his goalless drought to start the season has mirrored his team’s inability to finish at even strength.

So far this season, only Dallas and Montreal have scored on a lower percentage of their shots at even strength than San Jose, according to Natural Stat Trick. Both the Stars and Canadiens, unsurprisingly, are seventh in their respective divisions. The Sharks are sixth in the Pacific, thanks only to the still-winless Coyotes.

This early in the season, bad results can mask a strong process. They can’t finish, but the Sharks have been, statistically, one of the league’s best puck possession teams at even strength. That can happen over such a short stretch, but that’s easy to lose sight of when the team’s sitting in the division’s basement.

Right now, the Sharks just aren’t scoring enough at even strength, even as they’re playing well elsewhere. The power play’s begun to find an identity, particularly on the Kevin Labanc-led second unit. The penalty kill hasn’t allowed a goal since allowing three in the season opener, and have climbed all the way to 13th in the league.

If the Sharks continue to play this way, the goals, and wins, should come. They may not, of course, especially if Peter DeBoer struggles to find combinations that click for more than a game at a time. But eventually, the results should align with the process.

Saturday night was “one of those games” that have been surprisingly common in recent Sharks history, but it shouldn’t be chalked up as anything more than an amusing anomaly. Sometimes, one team is better, and still finds a way to lose.  

Sometimes, it truly is that simple.

Greiss strong in net as Islanders hand loss to Sharks

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USATSI

Greiss strong in net as Islanders hand loss to Sharks

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- Thomas Greiss guided the New York Islanders on a night when they played it a little bit too safe.

Greiss stopped 40 shots, Brock Nelson scored a tiebreaking goal in the second period and the New York Islanders rallied to beat the slumping San Jose Sharks 3-1 on Saturday.

The Islanders improved to 1-1 on their three-game, five-day West Coast trip. The Sharks are 1-3 on their season-opening five-game homestand.

Nelson made it 2-1 at 13:33 of the second period, capitalizing on an open look in front of the goal after Joshua Ho-Sang's pass from behind the net.

"After we got the lead we just kind of held on, we bent but we didn't break and we needed some big saves from Thomas," Islanders coach Doug Weight said.

"These teams, when they're down, they're gonna push. ... You don't want to sit back but I think it's human nature. We have to get it out of our heads. We want to play aggressive and we want to put the puck in good spots. We started making some shoddy decisions, our feet stopped moving for a while, but give (the Sharks) credit, they made a good push. Tommy was great."

The Sharks led after Kevin Labanc's power-play goal at 4:16 of the first. Labanc was in the left circle when he rebounded a deflection and fired a wrist shot that slipped through Greiss' pads.

The Islanders tied it when Anders Lee tipped one in at 17:02 of the first.

Cal Clutterbuck scored an empty-net goal at with 1:10 left in the game.

"It's nice, first road win of the year, a good bounce back," Nelson said, referencing a 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.

"I thought we did some good things in Anaheim and weren't rewarded. It's nice to come out on top here."

The Islanders failed to score on three power plays. The Sharks penalty killing unit hasn't allowed a power-play goal in 12 chances over its last three games.

The Sharks had a short-handed scoring chance after Joakim Ryan was called for holding at 14:33 in the third period, when Greiss turned away Chris Tierney's shot in front of the goal.

Greiss survived relentless pressure in a third period in which the Sharks had 15 shots on goal.

"It felt like it was going to break, it just never did," Sharks center Joe Pavelski said. "A little bit of credit to Greisser over there, but with us, we've got to keep pushing and find a way.

"I thought we were going to tie it, but encouraging to see the way guys played for a second straight game here. Wanted a better result, for sure, but guys played hard."

NOTES: Islanders C Alan Quine (wrist) is with the team on its West Coast trip and has been practicing. He'll likely go to Bridgeport of the AHL on a conditioning assignment if he's ready when the team returns home on Monday. ... RW Clutterbuck (hip) was in Saturday's lineup after missing the last three games and C Jordan Eberle was on the ice a day after missing Friday's practice with an injury he suffered in practice the previous day. ... Sharks D Paul Martin missed a second straight game with a lower body injury. Coach Pete DeBoer said the injury is day-to-day.

UP NEXT

Islanders: At the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night.

Sharks: Host the Montreal Canadians on Tuesday night.