Sharks

Kurz's Instant Replay: Giants 7, D'backs 3

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Kurz's Instant Replay: Giants 7, D'backs 3

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO It was the final game of the regular season at AT&T Park, and not a very important one at that, as the Giants are likely locked into their postseason position.
Sure, San Francisco used a six-run second inning to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 7-3, sending the 165th straight sellout crowd home happy. But whats more important, of course, is that there is more baseball to be played here.
In the meantime, the Giants completed their 10-game homestand with an impressive 8-2 mark, including winning two of three against Arizona. Overall at home, the Giants posted a 48-33 mark this season (.593).
Hunter Pence got the offense rolling with a two-run homer after a Buster Posey single led off the second inning. Later, a Hector Sanchez double plated Brandon Belt with no outs, while a passed ball by catcher Miguel Montero allowed Sanchez to score.
Marco Scutaro capped the inning with the Giants second two-run home run in the inning, scoring pitcher Barry Zito. Sanchezs solo shot in the bottom of the eighth capped the scoring.
San Franciscos bullpen tossed three scoreless innings after Zito left in the sixth with a three-run lead. Overall, the Giants have won Zitos last 10 starts, the longest streak of its kind for the franchise since 1992 (Bill Swift -- 11 startswins).
Starting pitching report
Zitos performance wasnt exactly dominant, but the Giants starter went six innings while allowing three runs (all earned). He struck out three and walked three while throwing 102 pitches, 63 for strikes. After allowing a leadoff triple to start the game to A.J. Pollock, Zito got Aaron Hill and Justin Upton to pop out before a groundout to Paul Goldschmidt kept the game scoreless.
Arizona managed to cut into San Franciscos lead in the fourth off of Zito, when Chris Youngs RBI single plated Goldschmidt and Cody Ransom to make it 6-2.
All six Giants runs in the second inning were earned and charged to starter Patrick Corbin. The lefty lasted just three innings total, allowing seven hits, with no walks or strikeouts.
Bullpen report
George Kontos, Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo each tossed a scoreless inning after Zitos departure.
The Diamondbacks pen kept the Giants off of the board for more than four innings until Sanchezs two-out blast off of Brad Ziegler in the eighth.
At the plate
With his homer in the second, Scutaro increased his career-high hitting streak to 15 games, the longest active streak in the majors. It was Scutaros only hit of the afternoon, and hes 28-for-62 during the streak (.452 average).
Posey had two hits, but grounded into a 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the seventh with a chance to break the game open.
Goldschmidt was 2-for-4 for Arizona, while Ransom was 1-for-2 with a pair of walks.
In the field
Getting a rare start in left field, Brandon Belt struggled with the glove. A one-out double by Jason Kubel was catchable by Belt, and in the sixth, Arizonas Jake Elmore smacked a liner to left that Belt appeared to lose in the sun. Ransom, who doubled to left just before Elmores at-bat, scored on the play.
Gregor Blanco made the defensive play of the game after Belt moved to first, with a sliding catch in foul territory in the ninth off of the bat of Adam Eaton.
Leading off the third inning, Posey appeared to lift a routine pop-up into short right field. Goldschmidt, Hill and Upton all converged on the ball, but it fell harmlessly between the three of them.
Up next
The Giants head to San Diego for a three-game series against the Padres beginning Friday night. Ryan Vogelsong goes again Andrew Werner in the first game, while Madison Bumgarner takes the hill against Eric Stults on Saturday. Bruce Bochy said before Thursdays game that he has yet to decide who will face Edinson Volquez on Sunday.
The Giants close out the season with three games in Los Angeles on Oct. 1-3.

Time is now for Sharks to experiment with new lines

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USATSI

Time is now for Sharks to experiment with new lines

The San Jose Sharks were shut out for the first time this season on Thursday night, but it sure didn't feel like it.

You’d be forgiven, albeit mistaken, if you didn't think the loss was their first goose egg of the season. San Jose’s been one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league this year, and has scored two or fewer goals in all but two of their six games in November.

The Sharks controlled play, but their raw possession numbers were misleading: Through the first two periods, San Jose was outshot 23-18, and poured it on in the third looking for the game-tying goal.

In order to break out of his team’s extended slump, head coach Peter DeBoer appeared to throw his lines in the proverbial blender. The changes weren't very significant, though, as DeBoer worked mostly around the edges.

Joe Thornton remained with Joe Pavelski, while Melker Karlsson and Timo Meier rotated in on their wing. Joonas Donskoi swapped in with Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl, and on and on.

The core pair of each line remained intact, while DeBoer swapped complimentary wingers. Subtle changes, unsurprisingly, didn't lead to drastically different results.

He’s been amenable to bigger changes at times, briefly breaking up longtime linemates Thornton and Pavelski last Sunday against Los Angeles. The bottom six, especially the fourth line, has mostly been a revolving door.

That's a start, but far from enough. 

As long as the Sharks struggle to score, similarly significant changes are in order.

DeBoer shouldn't want to sacrifice the team’s defensive dominance, or its strong possession game. But, the Sharks haven't scored enough through 17 games to justify using the same forward combinations. 

In Thornton and Pavelski’s case, those struggles date back to last season. For just about everyone else, the sample size is getting increasingly more significant as the season approaches the quarter pole.

The Sharks bench boss expressed a willingness to mix up his power play units earlier this week, and needs to do the same at even strength. It's time to try Pavelski on Couture's wing, Meier on Thornton's, or any number of permutations.

Tweaking around the edges hasn't made much of a difference, so far more comprehensive adjustments are not only welcome, but necessary. Of course, DeBoer may not find the perfect lineup solutions.

At this point, though, it's worth a shot. It's hard to imagine the Sharks scoring any less than they have so far this season, and the Sharks need to explore if any line changes can provide a remedy.

Luongo picks up a career first in Panthers win over Sharks

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AP

Luongo picks up a career first in Panthers win over Sharks

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Roberto Luongo made 35 saves for his 74th career shutout and the Florida Panthers blanked the San Jose Sharks 2-0 Thursday night on goals by Colton Sceviour and Nick Bjugstad.

Florida coach Bob Boughner won in his return to San Jose. He served as an assistant coach for the Sharks the last two years.

Luongo earned his first shutout of the season and first in 32 games against San Jose.

Martin Jones was nearly as good for the Sharks. He stopped 26 shots, but that wasn't enough to keep the Panthers from winning for the seventh time in their last eight trips to San Jose.

Sharks defenseman Tim Heed had a goal disallowed on a coach's challenge a little less than five minutes into the second period. Replays showed he came into contact with the puck just behind the blue line, making the play offside.

San Jose had another goal overturned after a replay review. Brent Burns took a hard shot that Luongo nearly caught but couldn't handle and it bounced along his pads. Marc-Edouard Vlasic was one of three Sharks trying to poke at the puck and he used his stick to push both the puck and Luongo's pad into the net.

Sceviour scored a minute into the second after digging out the puck along the boards behind the net. He skated around the cage and poked a shot that hit Jones' pads. He took a second shot that got over the goalie's pads and went in.

Sceviour has four points in six games since returning from injury. He had two points in his first six games this season.

The Panthers, who have won three of four, added an insurance goal with less than eight minutes remaining. Radim Vrbata intercepted a pass in the Sharks zone and played it to Jamie McGinn, who got Jones to commit before dishing to Bjugstad for the score.

NOTES: Panthers C Michael Haley received a warm ovation from Sharks fans. He played in San Jose the last couple of years. ... Sharks D Paul Martin missed his 15th game with a lower-body injury, though he has been skating pain-free for the past two weeks. ... Florida center Vincent Trocheck has 12 points in his last 10 games. ... The Sharks have not scored on their past 15 power plays.

UP NEXT

Panthers: At the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

Sharks: Host the Boston Bruins on Saturday.