NHL Gameday: Offense-starved Sharks look for boost from rookie vs 'Canes

NHL Gameday: Offense-starved Sharks look for boost from rookie vs 'Canes

Programming note – Sharks-Hurricanes coverage starts today at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California


Sharks: 15-10-1, 31 points, 4th Pacific Division
Hurricanes: 11-10-6, 28 points, 7th Metropolitan Division


***Aaron Dell will start in net tonight in the second of a back-to-back. On Nov. 15 in Carolina, Dell made 32 saves but got no goal support in a 1-0 Hurricanes win over San Jose.

Coach Pete DeBoer believes that Dell's previous game against the Hurricanes should give him confidence. The backup is 2-1-0 with a 1.93 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in four games this season.

“I think for all young players coming into the league, you always want that reinforcement that, hey, I can do this. He’s done it. He’s played well when he’s gone in, and the guys are confident in him.”

***The Sharks are concluding a stretch tonight of eight games out of 10 in their own building, where they are 9-4-0 on the season. A four-game road trip begins on Tuesday in Toronto. Carolina is wrapping up a three-game trip through California, losing to the Ducks in a shootout on Wednesday, 6-5, and beating the Kings on Thursday, 3-1.

For San Jose, they'll have to avoid that proverbial trap game after a disappointing loss to a rival on Friday night, and with their next roadie around the corner.

"I think our group understands," DeBoer said. "But, at the same time these are tough games to play. Last night is an emotional loss, and when you lose a game like that you’re emotionally drained. To play a team 24 hours later that’s sitting waiting for you in your building that plays as hard as Carolina does isn’t easy."

"We’ve lost two in a row. I would expect that we’ll be a desperate team here tonight.”

***Carolina brings the NHL’s best penalty kill into the game, allowing just six goals on 75 chances (92.0 percent). San Jose has one power play goal in six of its last nine games (6-for-26, 23.0 percent), not including Brent Burns’ score on Friday, which came just one second after a power play had expired.

***San Jose has two or fewer goals in nine of its last 12 games, going 6-5-1 over that span. Of their 27 goals during that time, nearly half of them have come from Logan Couture (7g) and Burns (6g).

Burns brings a three-game goal streak into tonight’s game.


Sharks: Kevin Labanc. The rookie forward, who turns 21 on Monday, scored against the Ducks on Friday for his third in 14 games. All three of Labanc’s goals have either tied the game or put San Jose ahead. The Sharks are desperately looking for players other than their stars to put the puck in the net, and Labanc seems to be gaining confidence after a brief stint in the AHL last weekend. 

Hurricanes: Teuvo Teravainen. Acquired from Chicago in the offseason, the 22-year-old center recorded his first career multi-goal game with Carolina on Wednesday in Anaheim. The18th overall pick in the 2012 draft, and a Finland native, has seven goals and 12 points in 27 games.


Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Mikkel Boedker – Chris Tierney – Joonas Donskoi
Matt Nieto – Tommy Wingels – Melker Karlsson

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

Aaron Dell (starter)
Martin Jones

Jeff Skinner – Victor Rask – Phil DiGiuseppe
Sebastian Aho – Teuvo Teravainen – Lee Stempniak
Brock McGinn – Derek Ryan – Andrej Nestrasil
Joakim Nordstrom – Jay McClement – Viktor Stalberg

Ron Hainsey – Justin Faulk
Jaccob Slavin – Brett Pesce
Noah Hanifin – Matt Tennyson

Cam Ward
Eddie Lack


Sharks: David Schlemko (right ankle) is questionable. Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) is out.

Hurricanes: Elias Lindholm (lower body) is day-to-day. Bryan Bickell (MS), Jordan Staal (concussion) are out.


“If we keep playing our game, we feel confident. We’re not giving up a whole lot. Moments in the season like this you’ve got to push through.” – Joe Pavelski, after the Sharks’ 3-2 loss in Anaheim on Friday

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.