NHL Gameday: Jets surging as they host Sharks

NHL Gameday: Jets surging as they host Sharks

Programming note – Sharks-Jets coverage starts today at 4:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California


Sharks: 38-19-7, 83 points, 1st Pacific Division
Jets: 30-30-6, 66 points, 5th Central Division


***The Sharks had their eight-game point streak snapped last night in Minnesota, losing 3-1 to the Wild in a game that wasn’t as close as the score. San Jose, 18-12-3 on the road this season, is wrapping up a brief two-game road trip before opening a season-long six-game homestand on Thursday with the Capitals.

***Winnipeg brings a 5-1-2 record in its last eight games into tonight’s third and final game with San Jose. The Jets, who have scored at least three goals in each of their last eight games, are three points behind St. Louis for the second and final wild card spot with the Kings also above them in the standings.

***The Sharks won the first two meetings of the season series: Jan. 16 at home, 5-2; and on Jan. 24 in Winnipeg, 4-3. Aaron Dell got the win in the Sharks’ only other visit to MTS Centre, making 31 saves, and could start again in the second of a back-to-back.

***Joonas Donskoi, who was considered healthy yesterday, is expected to play for the first time since getting hurt on Jan. 23. He has 15 points (6g, 9a) in 44 games.

***Joe Thornton remains stuck on 999 career assists, just one shy of becoming the 13th player in NHL history to have 1,000 for his career. He has just one assist, on an emtpy net goal, in his last five games.

Sharks: Kevin Labanc. The rookie left wing has now gone 25 games without a goal, and could be due for a stint in the AHL once Jannik Hansen finally sorts out his immigration issues. The Sharks’ top line managed a combined two shots on goal on Sunday in Minnesota, one each for Labanc and Joe Pavelski, and has been disturbingly quiet since the bye week.

Jets: Patrik Laine. The youngster tallied his 32nd goal on Saturday, leading all rookies and trialing only Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby for most in the NHL. His 58 points is three more than Toronto’s Auston Matthews, despite Laine playing six fewer games. At this moment, the 18-year-old is probably the Calder Trophy favorite.


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

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

Martin Jones
Aaron Dell

Mathieu Perreault – Mark Scheifele – Patrik Laine
Nikolaj Ehlers – Bryan Little – Blake Wheeler
Shawn Matthias – Adam Lowry – Joel Armia
Marko Dano – Andrew Copp – Chris Thorburn

Toby Enstrom – Dustin Byfuglien
Josh Morrissey – Jacob Trouba
Ben Chiarot – Paul Postma

Connor Hellebuyck
Michael Hutchinson


Sharks: David Schlemko (lower body) is questionable.

Jets: Tyler Myers (lower body) and Ondrej Pavelec (arthroscopic surgery) are out. 


“They came as advertised. They were very good. We were not as good as them. It was the proper result.” – Pete DeBoer to reporters after the Sharks’ 3-1 loss in Minnesota on Sunday

Paul Martin rewarding Peter DeBoer's faith in NHL return


Paul Martin rewarding Peter DeBoer's faith in NHL return

When Sharks defenseman Paul Martin confirmed reports in January that he was willing to go elsewhere for more playing time, his head coach was insistent that the team would need the veteran blueliner. 

"I really believe we need eight NHL defenseman here," DeBoer told reporters in January (via The Mercury News). "If it happens that he isn't here, then that'll be disappointing for us. I'm not hoping that's where this goes. I'm hoping this goes to a place where he can maybe go down, play some games and keep himself ready, because I know we're going to need eight defensemen."

That's pretty much exactly what's happened.

After clearing waivers in January and playing with the AHL's San Jose Barracuda, Martin was called up ahead of the Sharks' four-game road trip at the end of February. He did not play until last Saturday in Vancouver, when an upper-body injury to rookie defenseman Joakim Ryan, whose play pushed Martin down the depth chart in the first place, created an opening alongside Brent Burns. 

Martin's now played three straight games with Burns, his defensive partner for the vast majority of the previous two seasons. It's the first time Martin's played in three consecutive NHL games all season, and although he hasn't played much (11:53 in average time-on-ice), he's acquitted himself nicely in a sheltered role.

His five-on-five possession numbers (52.78 percent corsi-for; 53.33 percent fenwick-for) are the second-best marks among Sharks defensemen over the last three games. Burns, too, has posted better possession numbers with Martin (47.62 percent corsi-for; 50 percent fenwick-for) during the last three contests than without his longtime partner (43.40 percent corsi-for; 41.67 percent fenwick-for). 

The Sharks have also outscored (3-0) and outchanced (17-16) opponents with Martin on the ice, neither of which was the case in Martin's first three appearances earlier this season. The former is owed to a decent amount of puck luck, as the Sharks have converted on 17.65 percent of their shots with him on the ice, but the latter is an extension of his solid underlying numbers. 

Martin's played the least amount of total minutes among Sharks defensemen since coming back, even as Marc-Edouard Vlasic missed time in two of the last three games, and has barely been used in special teams. His days of averaging 20-or-more minutes a night are likely behind him, but the 37-year-old has played well in a limited role. 

Considering Martin's NHL days appeared to be behind him as recently as last month, his play has been a pleasant surprise. With the exception of his head coach, that is. 

Couture scores in OT, helps Sharks make up ground on Golden Knights

Couture scores in OT, helps Sharks make up ground on Golden Knights


SAN JOSE -- Seconds after almost costing the San Jose Sharks a game with a turnover, Logan Couture ended it with his backhand.

Couture scored 39 seconds into overtime after getting bailed out by goalie Martin Jones and the San Jose Sharks won their season-high sixth straight game, 2-1 over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night.

"I was able to make a move on their guy," Couture said. "(Marc-Edouard Vlasic) did a good job of driving their backchecker back and I was able to go far side."

Couture's goal came at the end of an opening shift of the overtime that started with him losing the puck in his own zone, giving Jonathan Marchessault a chance alone in front. Jones got enough of the shot to stop it, and then Vlasic sent the puck ahead to Couture for the winning goal that moved San Jose within seven points of first-place Vegas with eight games remaining in the regular season.

Brent Burns also scored and Jones made 24 saves to help the Sharks open a four-point lead over third-place Los Angeles in the Pacific Division with a game in hand as the Sharks close in on home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

"For us to get a win tonight was important," captain Joe Pavelski said. "Plus, just plant that seed. If we stay hot, you never know, we might be able to catch them and get home ice. We took care of business tonight and we'll try to keep playing well."

Tomas Tatar scored the lone goal for the Golden Knights, who were kept in the game by a sterling performance by goalie Malcolm Subban. He stopped 42 shots but it wasn't enough for Vegas to come up with the win, although he helped earn a point that gave the expansion team 100 this season.

"It's impressive," forward James Neal said. "It's a great season for our guys. Guys came together real quick. A great job so far but we're not done yet."

The Golden Knights struck first on a pretty passing play early in the first period that ended when Marchessault found Tatar cutting through the slot ahead of Justin Braun. Tatar skated past Jones and backhanded the puck into the open net.

Vegas has been dominant when getting off to a lead, posting an NHL-best 31-5-1 record when scoring first heading into this game. But the Sharks carried the play in the second period, outshooting the Golden Knights 18-4 and getting the equalizer on a blast by Burns from the point after another strong shift by San Jose's fourth line.

"We want to be playing really good hockey this time of year and heading into the playoffs. I think that's the goal," coach Peter DeBoer said. "Whether we would have won tonight or lost, I like how we played for most of the game, so that's what I'm concentrating on."

Vegas managed to keep it tied despite the lopsided shot totals, killing off a four-minute penalty to Colin Miller and another late power play that started late in the second.

That penalty carried over until the third period and the Sharks got 25 seconds of a two-man advantage after Brayden McNabb was called for throwing his stick but still couldn't get anything past Subban.

The Golden Knights squandered a power-play chance later in the period when Miller was called for cross checking with the man advantage. That nearly led to a power-play goal for San Jose but Subban appeared to get a piece of a shot from in close to Joe Pavelski to keep the game tied at 1.

"He's the main reason we got the point," coach Gerard Gallant said. "He looked comfortable."

NOTES: Vegas G Marc-Andre Fleury didn't make the trip to San Jose with an undisclosed injury but is expected to join the team for Saturday's game in Colorado. ... Burns became the 15th player to play 500 career games with the Sharks.

Golden Knights: Visit Colorado on Saturday.

Sharks: Host Calgary on Saturday.