Sharks

Marleau's late score gives Sharks 2-1 win

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Marleau's late score gives Sharks 2-1 win

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COLUMBUS Patrick Marleaus late marker was the difference in the Sharks' 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night, in a game marred by an ugly hit on San Joses Andrew Desjardins in the second period at Nationwide Arena.After Rick Nash tied the game earlier in the third, Marleau put home a juicy rebound of a wrist shot by Joe Pavelski with 2:57 remaining. The puck went from the pad of goalie Curtis Sanford right to the tape of Marleau for an easy conversion.You dream of those ones, thats for sure, Marleau said. It was a great play by Pav, and Dan Boyle to get it going up the ice, and I was in the right spot at the right time, I guess.

The win was the Sharks sixth in their last seven games (6-0-1), but may have come at a cost, as an elbow from Columbus Dane Byers nailed Desjardins in the head at 3:01 of the second period. The rookie had been seeing increased ice time of late.NEWS: Desjardins feels "fine" after dirty hit
Desjardins said he felt fine after the game, but he did not return after the blindsided collision. Byers received a match penalty for intent to injure, but not before he had to answer to Brad Winchester, who decided to stick up for his linemate by dropping the gloves.I kind of saw it out of the corner of my eye. I saw Desjardins go down, and jumped in, Winchester said.Winchester received 17 minutes of penalties himself, including an instigating minor and misconduct, so the Sharks ensuing power play was just three minutes instead of five. But, that didnt matter to coach Todd McLellan.I think its appropriate at that time to take care of a teammate, McLellan said. Winnie has done that for our team all year. Were very happy with the way hes been playing.Ryane Clowe, whose power play goal gave the Sharks a 1-0 second period lead, took the opportunity to vent about the instigator penalty in general.Winnie will pick up for his teammates, no doubt. Its great to see, Clowe said. To get two, five and a 10, thats a rule that frustrates me. He didnt go up and jump the guy, the guy saw him coming and he gets 17 minutes and misses half the game. Thats kind of frustrating, but thats the way it is. Well take those penalties any night.The Sharks conclude a four-game road trip on Sunday in Chicago.The San Jose power play capitalized on its fifth opportunity on a goal by Clowe in the second period.Brent Burns fired a heavy slapper towards the net, ringing it squarely off of the far post. Goalie Curtis Sanford was unable to locate the puck, and Logan Couture chipped it into midair, while Clowe whacked it into the net just under the crossbar on the other side at 14:59.Clowe had no problem seeing the puck through his cage, which he is wearing due to a facial injury incurred on Tuesday in Minnesota."Whats that thing they say, you see three and swing at the middle one? he joked. I couldnt see it until the last minute, actually. Cant really whine about the cage when Im doing that. Ill take it.There was a thought right away that Clowe may have knocked it in with a high stick, as the puck was still several feet in the air when he swatted it in.I knew right away. You can feel when the stick is too high and I knew it was at the cross bar or below, he said.The San Jose power play had been generally ineffective up to that point, including the Byers penalty and a four-minute power play in the first period with Nash off on a double minor for high sticking Douglas Murray.We shuffled it around a little bit and changed some things, then it got real urgent, McLellan said of the power play. Then, it did what its supposed to do, shoot and get it back. That was a big goal for us, obviously.Thomas Greiss kept it that way at the intermission, making his best save of the night with six seconds left in the period. Derek Brassard looked like he was about to fire a wrist shot on net, but instead found an open Fedor Tyutin. Greiss quickly dove from his left to his right to snuff out Tyutins attempt.I just saw the rush coming. I saw Brassard, and he had a pretty good scoring chance, too, but I saw Tyutin in the back door and just jumped at it, said Greiss, who finished with 25 saves. It just hit my pad.The Blue Jackets tied it, though, on a great effort from Nash. Columbus best player skated across the blue line and fired a perfectly placed wrist shot into the corner, high past the stick side of Greiss at 8:53 of the third.The goal was Nashs 16th career marker against the Sharks in 31 games, and was one of those goals that few players in the NHL have the ability to convert.He put that in a good spot, Greiss said, laughing.Greiss finished with 25 saves to record his sixth win of the season. He also beat the Blue Jackets on Jan. 5, in what are his only two appearances in the last six weeks.I thought Greisser was very good. His last two starts, both against Columbus, were exceptional, McLellan said. It makes us feel very good heading into this busy stretch.Odds and ends: The Sharks killed off both Columbus power plays. San Jose lost 28 of 46 faceoffs. Each team had 13 blocked shots.

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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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.