Sharks

NHL Gameday: First place Sharks resume schedule in Anaheim

NHL Gameday: First place Sharks resume schedule in Anaheim

Programming note – Sharks-Ducks coverage starts today at 6:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 21-12-1, 43 points, 1st Pacific Division
Ducks: 17-12-6, 40 points, 3rd Pacific Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***The Sharks and Ducks will be meeting for the fourth time this season. San Jose won in overtime at home on Oct. 25, 2-1, but Anaheim has captured the previous two, each by a 3-2 score in regulation.

Due to the mandatory days off for Christmas, the Sharks were not permitted the regular routine of traveling to southern California last night. They held their Tuesday morning skate in San Jose a little earlier than normal before boarding the team charter.

“It’s always tricky getting back into it, flying the same day and playing a game,” Paul Martin said. “I think we know how important these points are, so I’m sure we’ll be focused and ready to go.”

Pete DeBoer believes the key after three days off will be to keep it simple. “The team that makes the fewest mental mistakes usually wins these games,” he said. “I think that the trap is to try and do too much and get a little bit fancy. We’re going to concentrate on that, just trying not to beat ourselves.”

Anaheim is 5-0-1 in the last six head-to-head meetings against San Jose, but 2-3-1 in its last six games overall.

***The Sharks will ice the same lineup they used against the Oilers on Friday, meaning Tommy Wingels and David Schlemko will remain healthy scratches.

San Jose has won six of its last seven, including a 3-2 overtime win against Edmonton in its most recent game in which it had a 31-18 advantage in shots.

“We played I thought one of our better games of the year. We didn’t give up much,” DeBoer said. “No need to change [the lineup].”

***After finishing a run of nine games in 17 days before Christmas, the Sharks will play their only game in a six-day stretch on Tuesday night. They host the Flyers on Friday.

How can one of the older teams in the league utilize that time?

“I’m looking forward to some good practices,” DeBoer said. “We haven’t had much of that.”

Patrick Marleau said: “When you rest up here, you refill the tanks, get some energy back, and now it’s time to go use it to our advantage.”

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Micheal Haley. Now centering the fourth line, Haley will be suiting up for the 15th time in the last 18 games. His role of playing a hard, physical style and dropping the gloves when necessary tends to become more important in certain Pacific Division games, including the Oilers on Friday and, of course, Anaheim, as there is no love lost between the intra-state rivals.

Ducks: Rickard Rakell. The 23-year-old has scored in each of his two games against the Sharks, and leads the Ducks with 14 in just 24 games. The former first rounder from the 2011 draft recently had a career-best six-game point streak from Dec. 3-17. 

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi
Melker Karlsson – Micheal Haley – Joel Ward

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – Dylan DeMelo

Martin Jones (starter)
Aaron Dell

Ducks
Rickard Rakell – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano – Ryan Kesler – Jakob Silfverberg
Nick Ritchie – Antoine Vermette – Ondrej Kase
Joseph Cramarossa – Logan Shaw – Jared Boll

Cam Fowler – Sami Vatanen
Hampus Lindholm – Josh Manson
Korbinian Holzer – Kevin Bieksa

John Gibson
Jonathan Bernier

INJURIES

Sharks: Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) is out.

Ducks: Nic Kerdiles (concussion), Nate Thompson (Achilles surgery), Simon Despres (concussion) and Clayton Stoner (lower body) are out.

QUOTEABLE

“They’re always tough games, playing your division rivals. We expect the same tonight. It’s going to be probably a good game to have right after the holiday, you get everybody right back into it. Big points.” – Patrick Marleau

Sharks' offense comes alive, leads charge in win over Canadiens

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AP

Sharks' offense comes alive, leads charge in win over Canadiens

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Logan Couture credited a teammate for scoring his second goal. He took credit for the first one.

Couture scored a pair of goals and the San Jose Sharks extended their dominance of the Montreal Canadiens with a 5-2 victory on Tuesday night.

Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl also scored for the Sharks, who have won the past 11 home games against the Canadiens, a streak that dates to Nov. 23, 1999.

On a power play late in the third period, rookie Tim Heed took a shot off a face-off that bounced free in front of the net. Pavelski couldn't get his stick on it but managed to kick it across the net for Couture, who found a huge opening.

"That was pretty special," Couture said. "I don't know if he knew I was there but he kept his balance and kicked it over."

Couture opened the scoring 3:30 into the first period, grabbing a rebound off the back board, skating across the front of the net to get Price to commit and then firing into an open net.

Jonathan Drouin and Shea Weber scored for the Canadiens, who are winless since an opening night victory at the Buffalo Sabres.

"It's a very poor start from our team, from myself, from a lot of individuals," Canadiens' Max Pacioretty said. "It's a good time to look in the mirror and see what we're made of because a lot of people are probably doubting this team right now."

Martin Jones stopped 28 of 30 shots for the Sharks, who finish their season-opening homestand with a 2-3 record.

"The biggest thing is finding that energy for the whole game," Jones said. "We started OK and then we got better as the night went on."

Carey Price, who stopped 31 of 35 shots, fell to 2-7-1 in 10 games against the Sharks.

The Canadiens responded 36 seconds later when Drouin picked up a pass from Artturi Lehkonen close in and fired it over Jones' left shoulder and into the net.

Pavelski gave the Sharks the lead for good when he redirected Kevin Labanc's shot just under a minute into the second period. The shot hit Weber's left shin pad and bounced into the net.

"There were a lot of good things out there," Pavelski said. "We didn't have the homestand we wanted but we can leave on a positive note to take on the road."

Hertl padded the lead midway through the second on a power play. Standing on the right side of the net, he was trying to control a pass from Joe Thornton but the puck fluttered off his stick and got behind Price.

"I'll take it any way I can get it," Hertl said. "There are times I've had great shots that just bounced off the post."

Weber's power-play goal two minutes later kicked off Jones' skates for the score.

The Sharks needed five seconds to score on a power play late in the second period. Tim Heed shot on goal and it bounced off Pavelski's skate. Couture picked it up and found a huge opening.

NOTES: After allowing three power play goals over their first five penalty kills, the Sharks killed off 14 straight until Weber scored in the second period. ... Couture recorded his 24th career multi-goal game. ... Sharks D Tim Heed recorded his first NHL point with an assist on Couture's power-play goal. ... Brendan Gallagher needs one assist for 100 with the Canadiens.

UP NEXT:

Canadiens: plays at the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday in their second back-to-back of the season.

Sharks: open a five-game road trip on the east coast with a game at the New Jersey Devils on Friday.

There's one key difference between struggling Sharks, Canadiens

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AP

There's one key difference between struggling Sharks, Canadiens

The San Jose Sharks and Montreal Canadiens could not be more different in terms of tradition. But, on the ice this season, they couldn’t be more similar.

Both teams have placed their faith in a goalie that wears #31. The top defensemen on each team, Brent Burns and Shea Weber, are 32 and signed until 2025 and 2026, respectively. Tomas Hertl and Alex Galchenyuk are 2012 first round picks playing on the wing after being drafted as centers. Tomas Plekanec and Joe Thornton are favorites on the wrong side of 30, who may head elsewhere next summer.  Heck, both teams miss defenseman David Schlemko, who San Jose lost in the expansion draft and was eventually traded to Montreal, where he hasn’t yet played due to injury.

And both have struggled mightily so far. San Jose and Montreal have combined to win just two games, and sit 29th and 30th, respectively, in goals scored this season. It’s hard to imagine the Sharks and Canadiens scoring so little with all of that talent, but they can’t bank on good fortune, either.

Something’s got to give when the two face off at SAP Center tonight. After tonight, one team will feel much better about themselves, and the other team will be much closer to hitting the panic button.

That’s where the critical difference lies: Montreal’s already hit it, and San Jose probably won’t.

Last season, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin fired Michel Therrien and replaced him with Claude Julien in February. Seven months after essentially siding with Therrien and trading star defenseman P.K. Subban, Bergevin ended Therrien’s time in Montreal, too. He surely can’t fire another coach, but a Galchenyuk trade is reportedly a possibility, according to TSN.

The Sharks, on the other hand, likely won’t do any of that. Even with the burden of high expectations in his tenure, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson’s never traded away a star player or fired a coach midseason. Even though Vegas pegs Peter DeBoer as the odds-on favorite to lose his job, it’s hard to envision Wilson making a change behind the bench during the year. He didn’t in 2015 when Todd McLellan seemed to lose the room, so why would he now?

Patience is what truly separates the Sharks and Canadiens, and that difference will likely determine how each front office reacts if their teams continue to struggle. Wilson’s shown a willingness to swing for the fences under these circumstances. He acquired Joe Thornton in 2005, after all.

But if you’re waiting on Wilson to take a page out of Bergevin’s book and fire the coach or trade away a key piece approaching their prime? Don’t hold your breath.