NHL Gameday: Sharks offered chance to bounce back against Stars

NHL Gameday: Sharks offered chance to bounce back against Stars

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


Sharks: 40-20-7, 87 points, 1st Pacific Division
Stars: 27-30-10, 64 points, 6th Central Division


***The Sharks have had success in the second half of back-to-backs lately, with a 4-0-1 mark in their last five. 

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that speaks to a veteran team, a team that knows how to prepare and knows how to handle a little bit of fatigue, manage the puck, and do the right things,” Pete DeBoer said. “I think it also speaks to our goaltending. We’ve split most of the back to backs, and we’ve gotten some great performances from [Aaron Dell].”

Dell will be in net after it was Martin Jones who played in the 3-1 loss to Nashville on Saturday. The backup has allowed two or fewer goals in nine of his 12 starts.

***Saturday’s 3-1 home loss to the Predators wasn’t a stinker, but the Sharks have some things to correct. They didn’t match Nashville’s desperation level, and turned the puck over more than usual.

They’ll try to get back in the win column after Saturday’s defeat was just their second in regulation over the last 11 games (7-2-3).

“I think it gives you an opportunity to come right back to the rink and correct a couple things and have a quality game,” Paul Martin said after Saturday’s loss.

Joe Pavelski said: “We’ve got a desperate team in Dallas coming in, and we want to bounce back.”

***The Stars may be out of playoff contention but they should be well rested, having not played since Wednesday in a 5-2 home loss to Ottawa. They are 5-3-0 in their last eight games, including wins over Washington and Pittsburgh.

“They’re a talented team,” DeBoer said. “They’ve got some real game-breaking type players there up front and on defense. We’re going to have to be aware.”

Goaltending has been an issue with Dallas all season as their team save percentage of .895 is last in the NHL, and their 3.19 goals-against average is 28th.

The Stars have needed both of their goalies in 11 of 67 games, including Wednesday against Ottawa, when Kari Lehtonen was pulled for Antti Niemi early in the second period after giving up three goals on 18 shots.

***The Sharks will see Dallas three times over their final 15 games. They visit American Airlines Center twice on an upcoming road trip on March 20 and 24, sandwiched around a visit to Minnesota.

***Melker Karlsson will miss Sunday’s game with what DeBoer called a “minor” lower body injury, so rookie Marcus Sorensen will return to the lineup. Ryan Carpenter has been recalled from the Barracuda, as well.

Sharks: Paul Martin. The defenseman scored his fourth goal of the season against the Predators on Saturday, and DeBoer said he was probably San Jose’s best blueliner in the loss. The 36-year-old veteran has missed just one game this season, and with 15 points and a plus-eight rating, his value to the team as Brent Burns’ partner probably doesn’t get enough recognition.

Stars: Tyler Seguin. The Stars’ forward scored on Wednesday against Ottawa, and brings a four-game point streak into tonight’s game (1g, 5a). Seguin has 23 points (7g, 16a) in his last 20 games overall. Against the Sharks he has points in five straight games, with a whopping 10 overall (5g, 5a).


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

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

Aaron Dell (starter)
Martin Jones

Jamie Benn – Jason Spezza – Tyler Seguin
Devin Shore – Radek Faksa – Patrick Sharp
Remi Elie – Cody Eakin – Ales Hemsky
Curtis McKenzie – Adam Cracknell – Brett Ritchie

Esa Lindell – John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis – Stephen Johns
Patrik Nemeth – Jamie Oleksiak

Kari Lehtonen
Antti Niemi


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

Stars: Antoine Roussel (hand) is day-to-day.


“We want to play to our strengths, and that’s not turning pucks over, that’s not feeding team rush coming the other way, and we got away from that today for whatever reason.” – Brenden Dillon, after the Sharks’ 3-1 loss to Nashville on Saturday


The anatomy of Jannik Hansen's recently-broken scoring drought after nearly one year


The anatomy of Jannik Hansen's recently-broken scoring drought after nearly one year

Jannik Hansen's game-winning goal against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday marked the first time he scored in 355 days. 

Hansen last scored on Mar. 30, 2017 against the Edmonton Oilers, his second goal with the Sharks following an in-season trade. His scoring drought, in all, lasted 44 regular season games, 50 if you include the postseason. 

How exactly does a goal-scoring drought last nearly a year? The right (wrong?) circumstances all need to come together, and that was certainly the case for Hansen for much of the last year.

For one, the Danish forward was in and out of the lineup. San Jose played 83 regular season and postseason games between Hansen's second and third goals, and he did not play in 33 of those games. Plenty of players have had rough 50-game stretches, and that's often without not playing for weeks at a time, as Hansen has done a couple of times this season. 

When Hansen did draw into the lineup this year, however, he wasn't generating offense at the same rate he had in the past. This season, Hansen's five-on-five shot rate (6.19 shots per 60 minutes), shot attempt rate (10.53 individual corsi per 60), and unblocked shot attempt rate (8.95 individual fenwick per 60) were all down from his career averages, according to Corsica Hockey. 

That decline is natural, considering Hansen turned 32 just six days ago. Those rates were not down enough, however, to expect him to fail to score in his first 39 appearances this season. Naturally, a long run of bad luck played a big role in Hansen's dry spell.

Hansen went 0-for-66 in shots over the 50 consecutive regular season and playoff games in which he did not score. He's a career 11-percent shooter, and had he shot at his career average, he would have scored seven goals during that time. That feels about right for a bottom-six forward. 

In many ways, all of these factors fed into one another. Hansen wasn't generating shots or scoring, then was scratched, then couldn't find the back of the net when he returned and was scratched again. All the while, fellow fourth-liners Marcus Sorensen (26.7 percent shooting percentage this season), Joel Ward (14.3 percent) and Barclay Goodrow (13.2 percent) were converting on their chances, forcing Peter DeBoer's hand. 

His possession play has been solid all season (50.74 percent corsi-for, per Natural Stat Trick), but the offense hasn't followed. When it does, as was the case Tuesday night, he can be an effective fourth-line forward, and the goal on Tuesday bought him more time to prove it. 

Sharks blow out Devils for season-high fifth straight win

Sharks blow out Devils for season-high fifth straight win


SAN JOSE -- Jannik Hansen scored his first goal of the season and fellow fourth-liners Eric Fehr and Barclay Goodrow also scored to help the San Jose Sharks win their season-high fifth straight game, 6-2 over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.

Logan Couture added his 30th goal of the season, and Joe Pavelski and Mikkel Boedker also scored to give the Sharks a four-point lead over third-place Los Angeles in the Pacific Division with one game in hand.

Brent Burns added three assists and Martin Jones made 26 saves.

The scoring barrage by San Jose spoiled Cory Schneider's return to net for the Devils. Schneider allowed four goals on 14 shots before getting pulled midway through the second period of his first start since March 8. Schneider has lost 11 starts in a row since his last win for the Devils on Dec. 27.

Taylor Hall scored his 32nd goal of the season and Blake Coleman also scored for the Devils, who lead Florida by just one point in the race for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers have two games in hand.

After Hansen and Fehr scored in the first period, Goodrow chipped one in midway through the second period on a surprising night of scoring from the fourth line when he beat Schneider on a 2-on-1.

Couture then scored 40 seconds later on San Jose's first shot against Keith Kinkaid for his third career 30-goal season. Boedker added San Jose's second power-play goal of the night late in the second and the rout was on.

The Sharks got off to a fast start in their first game back from a 3-0 Canadian road trip, scoring three goals in the first period and killing 1:20 of a two-man advantage for New Jersey.

The teams traded goals to start with Fehr beating Schneider over the shoulder from a bad angle and Hall answering when he stole a bouncing puck from Justin Braunand beat Jones with a quick shot.

San Jose then scored twice in a span of less than three minutes to take the lead. Pavelski tipped in a shot from Kevin Labanc on the power play to give the Sharks the lead.

Then after Jones denied Damon Severson from in close at one end, Dylan DeMelo sent a long pass that Hansen chased down and then beat Schneider on a breakaway for his first goal since March 30, 2017.

NOTES: DeMelo has 10 assists this month. ... San Jose D Brenden Dillon has a five-game point streak. ... Devils F Miles Wood (upper body) was scratched and Jesper Bratt played in his place.


Devils: Visit Pittsburgh on Friday.

Sharks: Host Vegas on Thursday.