NHL Gameday: Sharks put perfect home record on the line

NHL Gameday: Sharks put perfect home record on the line

Programming note – Sharks-Flames coverage starts today at 7pm with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California.


Sharks: 6-4-0, 12 points, 2nd Pacific Division
Flames: 4-6-1, 9 points, 5th Pacific Division


***The Sharks will put their perfect 4-0 home record on the line tonight in the first of five meetings with Calgary. San Jose is in the midst of playing five of six at SAP Center, concluding with a Stanley Cup Final rematch with the Penguins on Saturday. They had won three straight, all at home, before Tuesday’s 3-2 loss in Arizona.

“When we don’t get the job done on the road it’s nice to play good at home, and hopefully we can still do that,” Melker Karlsson said.

Last season, the Sharks didn’t win their fifth home game until Dec. 30.

***Coach Pete DeBoer didn’t seem too concerned about Tuesday’s loss, as the Sharks outshot the Coyotes for the game, 41-30. If San Jose continues to get quality scoring chances, it will be fine more often than not in the coach’s view.

“You have to give some credit to the other team,” he said. “I thought the goalie (Louis Domingue) the other night was first star, and you’re going to get some of those nights. We’ve got to stick with it. 

“The bottom line is we’ve won four of our last five, and the last one despite a couple poor few minutes probably deserved to win that game, too. We’re not going to overreact to this, we’ve just got to stick with it.”

***The Flames are struggling on special teams, owning both the 28th ranked power play (9.8 percent) and penalty kill (72.3 percent). Their three shorthanded goals are tied for first in the league, however.

The Sharks have killed off 21 of 22 opponent power plays over their last seven games.

***Martin Jones will make his seventh straight start in net, as the Sharks won’t make any lineup changes. Chad Johnson goes for Calgary after newcomer and former Blues goalie Brian Elliott started the last five in a row.

The sixth overall pick in the 2016 draft, rookie Matthew Tkachuk will play in his 10th game, burning a year of his entry-level contract. Veteran Dennis Wideman is a healthy scratch.


Sharks: Patrick Marleau. The longtime Sharks forward scored in the first period on Tuesday in Arizona, and was perhaps the team’s best player in the loss to the Coyotes. Although his three goals (including an empty-netter) and one assist don’t exactly jump off the page, the 37-year-old is fourth on the Sharks with 28 shots.

Flames: Michael Frolik. The Czech native leads the Flames with five goals, including a pair of shorthanded scores. He tallied Calgary’s only goal in its decisive loss in Chicago on Tuesday. He has one point in each of the last three games (2g, 1a).


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

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones (confirmed starter)
Aaron Dell

Johnny Gaudreau – Sean Monahan – Alex Chiasson
Kris Versteeg – Sam Bennett – Troy Brouwer
Matthew Tkachuk – Mikael Backlund – Michael Frolik
Lance Bouma – Matt Stajan – Michael Ferland

Mark Giordano – T.J. Brodie
Brett Kulak – Deryk Engelland
Jyrki Jokipakka – Dougie Hamilton

Chad Johnson (confirmed starter)
Brian Elliott


Sharks: None.

Flames: Ladislav Smid (neck) is out.


“They’re the best team in the league, by far, with the way they can [get] the stick on puck. They shoot the puck from all areas, they’ve got a real good attack, they’ve got a great net-front presence where they’ve got a high guy. It seems like Pavelski can get his stick on any puck that’s remotely close to the net.” – Flames coach Glen Gulutzan

The anatomy of Jannik Hansen's recently-broken scoring drought


The anatomy of Jannik Hansen's recently-broken scoring drought

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's 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.