Rewind: Sharks can't complete comeback in the desert

Rewind: Sharks can't complete comeback in the desert

GLENDALE, Az. – The result wasn’t what they were looking for, but the Sharks took some solace in erasing a two-goal third period deficit against Arizona in a 3-2 overtime defeat to the Coyotes on Saturday night at Gila River Arena.

They never got discouraged, trailing 2-0 after two frames despite throwing a ton of rubber on goalie Mike Smith and controlling play for lengthy stretches. Goals by Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels in the third forced overtime before Martin Hanzal’s redirection won it for the home team in extra time.

“I thought we played well. I thought we carried the play for most of the night,” Joe Thornton said. “It’s nice to get one, but I feel like we probably deserved two tonight.”

Pete DeBoer said: “We wanted two points tonight, and thought we played hard and maybe deserved them, but we didn’t get them.”

The Sharks deserve some credit for the way they played and the energy they showed, despite being on the road for the past 13 days. On the other hand, the Coyotes entered with the worst record in the NHL, while San Jose is supposed to be a Stanley Cup contender. Two of Arizona's six wins have come against the Sharks.

In the first period, San Jose had a 17-4 shot advantage yet trailed 1-0 on Tobias Rieder’s goal. Paul Martin snuck in a little too far in the offensive zone, resulting in a two-on-one the other way that Rieder finished off on a pass through the seam by Jordan Martinook.

“We played really well [in the first period],” Martin said.

Smith made some of his best stops in the second, but the Sharks stayed with it and came out flying again in the third, registering another 18 shots on goal. They finished with a season-high 45.

Finally, they were rewarded for their work in the third. A Joe Pavelski redirection was, not surprisingly, one of the two, while the tying goal was another deflection, when Tommy Wingels apparently got a piece of a Matt Nieto shot from the high slot.

“We brought a lot of energy, I thought,” said Wingels, who has three goals in his last five games. “We dictated the pace of play for the majority of the game, yet you find yourself down 2-0. It was a good battle back in the third there to tie up the game.”

Goals remain hard to come by for the Sharks, who have just 18 in their past nine games (3-5-1). Whether they are playing fairly well, like they did against Arizona, or laying an egg like last Tuesday in Carolina in a 1-0 defeat, they just aren’t getting consistent results. 

They remain the only team that hasn’t scored more than four goals in a single game, and have reached four goals just twice in their last 15 – both of which included an empty-netter.

“We’re still looking for another goal,” Pavelski said. “We just [need to] stay with it right now. You don’t shy away, you keep trying to get on the inside, and it’s going to come. It’s going to break.”

Three players that have struggled to get results all season comprised the Sharks’ second line on Saturday. Logan Couture, Joel Ward and Joonas Donskoi combined for 15 shots, yet none of them beat Smith. Ward, in particular, had several good looks. That was the only line DeBoer didn’t tinker with in the third period, as the coach was again forced to shuffle the deck in search of offense.

Perhaps a return home will spark something. San Jose has played 12 of 18 on the road to start the season, the most in the NHL to this point, but will now enjoy five straight at SAP Center and eight of their next 10.

“It’s always nice when you get off a road trip and they’re behind you and you can look forward to a little bit of time at home,” Pavelski said.

Martin said: “It’s [been] a long trip. We’ll get back at it.”

Kane leads Sharks to critical win on four-goal night

Kane leads Sharks to critical win on four-goal night


CALGARY, Alberta -- Evander Kane scored four goals to lead the San Jose Sharks past the Calgary Flames 7-4 on Friday night.

Tomas Hertl had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, who have won three straight and four of five. Kevin Lebanc and Eric Fehr also scored, and Martin Jones made 30 saves.

It was the first NHL hat trick for Kane, acquired from Buffalo just before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

Micheal Ferland had a goal and an assist for the Flames, who are four points out of a playoff spot. Troy BrouwerMark Jankowski and Johnny Gaudreau also scored for Calgary.

Three nights after stopping all 28 shots he faced against the Oilers, Calgary goalie Mike Smith had a rough outing as he made just 14 saves before being replaced by David Rittich early in the third period. Rittich went on to stop all seven shots he faced in a relief appearance.

The Sharks opened the scoring six minutes into the first period when Kane's wrist shot beat Smith to the glove side.

The Flames pulled even at 16:42 when Brouwer chipped a pass from Curtis Lazar into the top corner behind Jones. Matt Stajan stole the puck from Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon behind the San Jose net to get the play started.

Jankowski took a pass from linemate Garnet Hathaway and wired a shot to the top corner, glove side behind Jones to put Calgary up 2-1 at 2:10 of the second period.

Kane then redirected Dillon's point shot past Smith at 6:29 before Gaudreau cut into the slot and snapped a shot past Jones at 10:16 to put Calgary back up by a goal.

That lead lasted just 1:26 as Lebanc fired a shot from a sharp angle into the top corner past Smith to pull the Sharks into a 3-all tie.

Kane completed his hat trick at 16:32 when he swatted in his own rebound before Hertl poked the puck through Smith's legs with 1:58 remaining before the second intermission.

The Sharks added an insurance goal 62 seconds into the third when Kane redirected a pass from Joe Pavelski past Smith.

Ferland backhanded a shot past Jones to pull Calgary within two goals with 5:35 left in regulation and Rittich on the bench for an extra attacker. Fehr rounded out the scoring with an empty-net goal 1:37 later.

NOTES: Jankowski suited up for the Flames after sitting out Tuesday's 1-0 win over Edmonton. Fellow forward Kris Versteeg returned to Calgary's lineup after missing the past 49 games with a hip injury. ... Gaudreau extended his point streak to six games (three goals, five assists).


Sharks: At the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.

Flames: At the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday.

Jones set for big workload down the stretch


Jones set for big workload down the stretch

Sharks goaltender Martin Jones is on pace for the lightest overall workload of his career as a starter. After starting 65 games in his first two seasons in San Jose, Jones can only play a maximum of 62 if he appears in each of the team's 12 remaining games. 

Yet simultaneously, he is also on pace for the largest stretch-run workload of his career. Jones will make his 10th straight start, and 51st overall, Friday night in Calgary. 

Friday will also mark his eighth consecutive start since the trade deadline. Over the last two seasons, Jones made 13 and 14 starts, respectively, from the deadline onwards. 

It's easy to envision Jones far surpassing that workload. Entering Mar. 16 each of the last two years, the Sharks held, respectively, 10-point and 18-point leads over the West's ninth-place team, the closest among the squads on the outside looking in at the postseason. As a result, James Reimer and Aaron Dell spelled Jones for eight and seven starts, respectively, to keep him rested ahead of the postseason. 

This year, San Jose's only three points clear of the ninth-place Anaheim Ducks. There's also only one back-to-back remaining on the post-deadline schedule, compared to five in 2016-17 and two in 2015-16, and 10 of the next 12 games are against teams within four points of a playoff spot. 

Taking all of that into consideration, Jones should pretty easily exceed the mark of 14 post-trade deadline starts he set last season and ultimately start more than 60 games for the third consecutive season, barring injury. 

Should the Sharks clinch a playoff spot, it will be fair to wonder what kind of effect Jones' stretch-run starts will have on his postseason performance. Jones posted a .923 save percentage in San Jose's run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2016, and a .935 save percentage in the first round last year after receiving a good amount of time off. 

But the Sharks have to get there first, and it's understandable they will rely on Jones in order to do so. The recently-extended Aaron Dell remains one of the league's better backups, but has come a bit back down to earth this season (.914 save percentage) after earning the role last year (.931). 

Jones, for his part, has handled the increased workload well so far, winning five of nine games and posting a .922 save percentage. How well handles his 10th consecutive start, and any that follow, will have a profound impact on the Sharks' hopes of making the playoffs.