Momentum swings help, hurt Sharks


Momentum swings help, hurt Sharks

SAN JOSE - After last nights 3-2 shootout loss to the Oilers, the Sharks specifically mentioned two points in the game one they were proud of, and one they would like to eliminate from their repertoire.

More specifically, the Sharks liked the way they responded after a fluky goal just 10 seconds after the opening faceoff the quickest goal against to start a game in franchise history, that put them immediately behind the eight ball.

REWIND: Missed opportunities doom Sharks in loss

Conversely, they were peeved that they surrendered the game-tying goal just 54 seconds after taking their first lead of the game in the second period. It was the second time in two games the Sharks have seemingly fallen asleep on the shift following a key goal.

Since last nights recap focused more on the goal against (hey, it was still a 3-2 loss), heres what some of the Sharks had to say about the way they responded after Dan Boyle let a puck get away from him early leading to Jordan Eberles 30th goal. Jim Vandermeer tied the game at 1-1 about three minutes later.

One of those weird goals right off the start, but it really didnt discourage us, Joe Thornton said. We worked through it.

Ryane Clowe said: We responded really well when Jimmy scored on that tough break by Boiler. That was a good sign.

Todd McLellan, coaching in his first game since getting whacked in the head with a stick in Minnesota a week ago Sunday, was also encouraged by the way the Sharks played out the rest of the period after falling behind.

San Jose outshot the Oilers in the frame, 12-7.

The good sign is we get scored on, on a lucky play 10 seconds in when the guy bats it out of the air. If we were going to fold or welt up it would have been right after that, but I thought we showed some resiliency and came back and played well there, McLellan said.

The Sharks gained their first lead when Clowe took advantage of a misplay by Devan Dubnyk behind the net, and a nice play by Logan Couture to poke a loose puck in front of the crease for Clowe to flip in. Just when the crowd sounded like it was ready to get behind its team, after seeing just two goals in the first three games of the homestand, Ryan Smyth scored a deflating goal when a slap shot by Jeff Petry deflected in off of his body.

On Saturday against the Blues, T.J. Oshie scored what turned out to be the game-winner just 20 seconds after Torrey Mitchell tied the game at 1-1. The Blues went on to a 3-1 victory.

In fact, the Sharks were fortunate to escape the second period on Tuesday still tied at 2-2 after Smyths goal. The Oilers applied heavy pressure for the final four minutes of the period, and the dangerous San Gagner barely missed the net on a laser of a wrist shot when he found himself open in the slot.

That sequence of events was the low point of the game for San Jose, not counting Gagners shootout winner.

I think the shift that stands out is, we take the lead, 2-1, and then we give it right back. That one stands out to me, Boyle said.

Whether you get scored on or score a goal, that next shift is very important to either turn the momentum or keep it going. That was a tough one to give up there. Then, we just dont bury our chances. Thats been kind of the name of the game the last few.

Time is now for Sharks to experiment with new lines


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


Luongo picks up a career first in Panthers win over Sharks


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.


Panthers: At the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

Sharks: Host the Boston Bruins on Saturday.