Sharks

NHL Gameday: Sharks can distance themselves from Ducks

NHL Gameday: Sharks can distance themselves from Ducks

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

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 42-21-7, 91 points, 1st Pacific Division
Ducks: 37-23-11, 85 points, 2nd Pacific Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***The Sharks and Ducks will get together for the fifth and final time tonight. San Jose has two wins in overtime, while Anaheim has gained a point in all four meetings (2-0-2).

The Ducks could draw to within four points of the Sharks in the Pacific Division with a regulation win (San Jose would still have one game in hand). They are playing the second of a back-to-back, losing in a shootout at home to Buffalo on Friday, 2-1. 

Pete DeBoer said: “They always give us a hard time and a hard game. They're physical. What are you going to say? We know what these games are.”

Anaheim is 4-1-1 in its last six games, and 5-2-1 since its bye week.

***The Sharks are closing out a six-game homestand, having won three of the first five (3-2-0), but coming off of a disappointing 4-1 loss to St. Louis on Thursday in which they managed a season-low 20 shots.

“Any time you get beat in your own rink like that it's a little bit of a wakeup call for the next game,” DeBoer said. “At the same time, we didn't have our A game. It happens at this level with the number of games you're playing.”

Paul Martin said: “I think after [Thursday’s] performance we’re going to want to make sure that we tighten things up and have a better effort and fix some things we should be able to correct.”

San Jose opens a four-game road trip on Monday in Dallas.

“We’ve got one more big game here before we head out on the road, and it will be important for us to play our game,” Joe Pavelski said.

***It’s been more than two months since the Sharks lost back-to-back games in regulation (Jan. 11-14). It's happened just once at home all season (Nov. 3-5).

What has allowed this team to routinely rebound from a poor performance?

“I just think that the guys we have in the room, we have a lot of character, and it’s real good leadership,” Martin said. “I think we push each other to make sure that we’re giving that effort. If we come up short in one game we have to make sure we deliver that effort and the expectations that we have to bounce back, just like that.”

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Brent Burns. The NHL’s leading scorer among defenseman with 70 points, Burns hasn’t scored a goal in his last 11 games despite 43 shots (and 14 in his last two games combined). Burns has failed to find the scoresheet in six of the past seven games, with a minus-two rating over than span. He has three points (2g, 1a) in four games against Anaheim this season.

Ducks: Patrick Eaves. The Ducks acquired the forward from Dallas just before the trade deadline, and in nine games with Anaheim, Eaves has posted two goals and two assists for four points and a plus-two rating. He’s gotten time on the top power play unit, too, and is tied for seventh in the NHL with 11 power play goals.

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Jannik Hansen – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Joonas Donskoi – Tomas Hertl – Mikkel Boedker
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Marcus Sorensen

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

Martin Jones (starter)
Aaron Dell

Ducks
Rickard Rakell – Ryan Getzlaf – Patrick Eaves
Andrew Cogliano – Ryan Kesler – Jakob Silfverberg
Nick Ritchie – Antoine Vermette – Corey Perry
Chris Wagner – Nate Thompson – Jared Boll

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

Jonathan Bernier
Jhonas Enroth

INJURIES

Sharks: David Schlemko (right knee) and Melker Karlsson (lower body) are out.

Ducks: John Gibson (lower body) is day-to-day. Simon Despres (concussion) and Clayton Stoner (abdominal surgery) are out.

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

sharks-postgame.jpg
USATSI

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.