Rewind: Dell one of many contributors in Sharks win over Isles

Rewind: Dell one of many contributors in Sharks win over Isles

BROOKLYN – There were no drastic alterations to Aaron Dell’s routine in the lead up to his first career NHL start. The 27-year-old goalie said that he actually felt more nervous in the preseason than he did before Tuesday’s game at Barclays Center, when he would be counted on to help the Sharks get over an unsightly loss to the Rangers the night before.

Dell’s teammates, though, were a little standoffish.

“They kind of left me alone a little bit today. I’m not sure I liked that,” said Dell, through a wide grin.

On the ice is where it matters, of course, and Dell’s Sharks brethren played their most complete game since the opener against Los Angeles. They held the Islanders to just four shots in the first period in securing a 1-0 lead, and although New York responded with a pair of unanswered goals in the second, the Sharks found the energy to tie it up late in the middle frame and win it in the third on a Joe Pavelski deflection with 2:11 to go.

The winning goal was something that Pavelski has essentially patented at this point, getting open in the slot and perfectly angling his stick blade to redirect a floating puck.

It was even sweeter in that it secured Dell, who made 21 saves, his first NHL win.

“It was great to get a win for him and for the guys,” Pavelski said. “[Second] game on a back-to-back night, it’s not an easy position for any goalie. He came in and he did a good job for us.”

The Sharks quickly put Monday’s 7-4 loss to the Rangers, in which they were soft and confused in the defensive zone, behind them. Coach Pete DeBoer was critical of his team’s competitive level, and the Sharks looked like they weren’t really into it mentally, either.

Against the Islanders, San Jose dominated the opening frame, getting a goal from fourth liner Melker Karlsson and then not allowing a single shot to get through to Dell for about the final 13 minutes.

Dell said: “I thought the guys were going to come out and play, and they did. Especially in the first, they were real strong. They didn’t give me a whole lot of work.”

DeBoer swapped the rugged Micheal Haley in for Matt Nieto on the fourth line, and it paid immediate dividends when Tommy Wingels found Karlsson in front of the net after Haley won a board battle.

“I thought Wingels, Haley and Karlsson did a great job early in the game setting the tone, getting that first goal for us on the road,” DeBoer said. “We had contributions from a lot of different people.”

The top line also may be rounding back into form. Joe Thornton tallied his first primary assist late in the second period when he found Tomas Hertl in front of the net, and the puck ricocheted in off of Hertl’s right leg at 18:03 to make it 2-2. In the third, it was a puck off of Thornton’s stick that was in the perfect place for Pavelski to angle it through.

That line didn’t have much time to work together in training camp due to the World Cup, but if Tuesday is any indication, they are getting over their early struggles.

“It’s going to keep coming,” Pavelski said. “We just forechecked a lot better tonight. Held on to a few pucks. Hertl was around it all night. It was just a heavier game from our line, I think.”

Hertl said: “Today worked. Now just keep going. We played [the] last half season really good, and I believe we can be the same and maybe even better.”

The night, though, belonged to Dell. The Sharks were forced to kill off the final 1:06 with the Islanders on a power play and goalie Jaroslav Halak pulled for an extra attacker, to make him officially 1-0 in his career.

“You could see the guys at the end were real happy for him,” said DeBoer, mentioning shot blocks by Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Logan Couture on the late PK.

Dell said: “It took right to the very last second to make it real there. … It’s nice to get that one out of the way.”

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.