Rewind: Sharks finally get the offensive explosion they've been seeking

Rewind: Sharks finally get the offensive explosion they've been seeking

SAN JOSE – The Sharks reached six goals on Saturday night the way teams typically reach six goals – by getting contributions from players that don’t often put the puck in the net, in addition to a few fortunate bounces, in a 6-3 triumph over Detroit.

While they’re still having some issues defensively and in their own zone with two of their top six defensemen injured, and goalie Martin Jones is giving up some concerning rebounds lately, those matters were masked at least one night by the Sharks becoming the final team in the NHL this season to score more than four times in a single game.

This was the offensive explosion they’ve been waiting for.

“It’s been awhile since we scored that many,” said Joe Pavelski, who had two of them. “Seen a few articles on that. It’s [been] tough to get five this year.”

Patrick Marleau, who also found the net, said: "That's not going to happen every night, but when it does, it feels good."

While Marleau’s correct that it won’t happen every night, the fact that it hadn’t happened in any night was surprising, giving San Jose’s offensive prowess from a year ago. Perhaps they can build off of Saturday’s game, though, and even Thursday’s loss to Minnesota, when they put in four against one of the league’s stingier clubs.

“It’s nice to score, but I felt like we were scoring in the Wild game,” Brent Burns said.

Along with the two from Pavelski and one from Marleau, also getting on the board for San Jose was Mirco Mueller, who rocketed a slap shot from the point in the first period to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead they would hold the rest of the night. Mikkel Boedker, a healthy scratch on Thursday, had a Burns shot swipe his jersey before sailing past goalie Petr Mrazek in the third period, pushing the San Jose lead to 5-1.

Mueller’s goal was his first in more than two years, and a span of 43 games while he’s been up and down between the NHL and AHL. Boedker, meanwhile, hadn’t recorded a goal since Nov. 1, going 28 games without one and culminating in him being a healthy scratch on Thursday.

"[It was] nice, some of the guys who scored,” Pete DeBoer said. “Boedker getting one, and Pav getting hot tonight. Hopefully that leads to more of the same.”

Boedker said: “Got to keep going to the right areas, and good things happen. Tonight it went off my jersey there, and it's always good to get on the board."

The third line, of Marleau, Joel Ward and Chris Tierney was the Sharks’ best early on. They were on the ice for Mueller’s goal at 17:29 of the first period, as well as Marleau’s just a minute-and-a-half later, increasing the Sharks’ lead to 3-1 at the intermission. 

Marleau, in particular, has been regularly finding the scoresheet lately. He has goals in three of his past five games, and has six goals and four assists in his last 13 games, overall. 

“I think Patty Marleau's playing at a really high level right now,” DeBoer said. “I like that line. I think Tierns and Ward complement him and his speed, and how he's playing. Those guys have been real solid."

Marleau said: “We got in on the forecheck right away, turned some pucks over, had some good pressure and ended up with a couple goals. It was a good start for our line."

Marleau’s shifting from the top line to the third line before the Wild game has seemingly given the Sharks a more balanced offenive attack, as Timo Meier’s promotion to the Pavelski-Joe Thornton line has also had a positive effect. Meier even recorded his first NHL assist on Pavelski’s first goal of the night, digging the puck out from behind the net and pushing it to Burns on the point.

While the offense was nice, the Sharks would have taken a win in any fashion. They had lost three straight entering the night, falling out of first place in the division in the process. They also have three critical games next week against Edmonton, Calgary and St. Louis, and nine of their next 10 games before the All-Star break are against Western Conference opponents.

"Everyone else around us is winning games. We wanted to get this back on track,” DeBoer said.

After a perfect week, Sharks have playoff breathing room with three weeks to go


After a perfect week, Sharks have playoff breathing room with three weeks to go

The Sharks’ playoff outlook is a lot rosier after winning all four of their games last week. They are now four points clear of the Los Angeles Kings in the second Wild Card spot, and three points up the Anaheim Ducks, who are third place in the Pacific Division.

Those are four-point and three-point improvements, respectively, over those same spots last week. The Sharks even picked up ground on the first-place Vegas Golden Knights, and are eight points back of the Pacific’s leaders, with two head-to-head matchups remaining.

That’s not quite close enough to warrant inclusion in a look at the playoff picture headed into the week, but could be next week if San Jose continues to make up ground. Otherwise, it’s still worth examining where the Sharks stand in regards to the Pacific and the Wild Card.

San Jose Sharks (Second in the Pacific, 89 points)

Games Remaining: 10

On the Docket:  3/20 vs New Jersey, 3/22 vs Vegas, 3/24 vs Calgary

Outlook: Over the next two weeks, the schedule really starts to become difficult. San Jose has only two games remaining against teams on the outside looking in, and is just 2-6-2 in its last 10 against teams currently in a playoff spot. If that trend continues, the newfound breathing room could start to disappear rather quickly.

Anaheim Ducks (Third in the Pacific, 86 points)

Games Remaining: Nine

On the Docket: 3/21 at Calgary, 3/23 at Winnipeg, 3/25 at Edmonton

Outlook: The Ducks have now won three in a row, including next Sunday against the red-hot New Jersey Devils. They’ll play four of their final five road games in the next nine days, and all but one of their opponents is not in playoff position. Anaheim’s just 15-14-7 away from the Honda Center, though. With the fewest games remaining of any playoff team, the Ducks will help to move up any further.

Colorado Avalanche (First Wild Card, 86 points)

Games Remaining: 10

On the Docket: 3/20 at Chicago, 3/22 vs Los Angeles, 3/24 vs Vegas

Outlook: Give it up for surefire Hart Trophy finalist Nathan MacKinnon and the Avalanche, winners of three of four last week. Other than a slip-up on the second night of a back-to-back in Nashville, Colorado was outright dominant, outscoring opponents 16-7. A midweek matchup against Los Angeles could create some Wild Card separation.

Los Angeles Kings (Second Wild Card, 84 points)

Games Remaining: 10

On the Docket: 3/19 at Minnesota, 3/20 at Winnipeg, 3/22 at Colorado, 3/24 at Edmonton

Outlook: The Kings picked up points in three of four, including on both nights of a back-to-back. Their schedule really picks up this week, as they’ll face three playoff-bound teams from the Central on the road. The struggling Stars remain on their heels, although the Kings have a game in hand.

Dallas Stars (Ninth in the West, 84 points)

Games Remaining: Nine

On the Docket: 3/20 at Washington, 3/23 vs Boston. 3/25 vs Vancouver

Outlook: Is Dallas in the middle of a Lone Star letdown? We wrote last week that a difficult schedule could create openings for the teams chasing them and boy, did it ever. The Stars went 0-2-2 on the week, and picked up just one point against the lottery-bound Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators. They’ll surely relish a matchup against the Canucks in six days, as it’s their only remaining game against a non-playoff team.

St. Louis Blues (10th in the West, 83 points)

Games Remaining: 10

On the Docket: 3/21 vs Boston, 3/23 vs Vancouver, 3/24 at Columbus

Outlook: For the second straight season, it’s not quite time to stick a fork in the St. Louis Blues. Yes, they are once again in the playoff hunt after trading one of their best players at the trade deadline, and won three out of four to move with in a point of the final Wild Card spot. The Blues have now won four of five, and still have an uphill climb ahead. After last season, is it ever safe to rule them out?

The Departed: Calgary Flames (11th in the West, 80 points)

This section is reserved for teams that have fallen out of the playoff picture since our last look at the playoff picture, and the Calgary Flames have earned(?) the inaugural (dis)honor. The Flames failed to keep the door to the playoffs ajar thanks to a 7-4 loss to the Sharks on Friday, and it slammed shut after a 4-0 loss in Sin City on Sunday. They have to jump three teams and cover four points of ground to earn a Wild Card spot. The latest stretch stings, but the Flames will likely look on a four-game, post-trade deadline losing streak as when their playoff hopes burned out.

Sharks overcome early deficit, injuries to finish road trip with third straight win


Sharks overcome early deficit, injuries to finish road trip with third straight win

VANCOUVER --Timo Meier's second goal of the game snapped a third-period tie and the San Jose Sharks beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-3 on Saturday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Logan Couture and Kevin Labanc each had a goal and an assist, and Tomas Hertl scored into an empty net with 25 seconds remaining for the Sharks, who are 7-2-0 in their last nine games.

Nikolay Goldobin, Alex Edler and Bo Horvat scored power-play goals and Sam Gagner had two assists for the Canucks, who lost their sixth consecutive game - their longest losing streak of the season.

Goldobin's goal at 10:48 of the first period snapped a scoreless streak of 222 minutes, 57 minutes for the Canucks, who had been shut out in three consecutive losses.

The Sharks had allowed just two power-play goals in their previous 17 games, but gave up three against Vancouver. The only other time San Jose allowed three power-play goals in a game was in an opening-night loss to Philadelphia.

Aaron Dell, making his first start since Feb. 22, made 28 saves for the Sharks. Vancouver's Jacob Markstrom stopped 25 shots.

Meier put the Sharks ahead at 6:07 of the third with a shot from the faceoff circle that went under Markstrom's blocker. The Canucks came close with just over six minutes left, but Hertl scooped a loose puck off the goal line.

Vancouver scored twice with the man-advantage in the second period to tie the game at 3.

The Sharks took a 3-1 lead just 1:47 into the period when Meier tipped in Brenden Dillion's shot from the point.

Horvat started Vancouver's comeback, scoring just 6 seconds into a power play. Dell stopped Gagner's slap shot but Horvat jammed home the rebound. Edler tied it with a blast from the point at 11:48. It was his first power-play goal in 88 games dating to Feb. 17, 2017.

The Sharks scored 1:10 apart in the first period to erase a 1-0 deficit.

Goldobin opened the scoring when he took a pass from defenseman Derrick Pouilot and snapped a shot from the face-off circle that sailed over Dell's shoulder. The San Jose goalie was screened by Jake Virtanen.

Labanc tied it on a power play at 14:48. Joe Pavelski's shot was stopped by Markstrom, but he managed to get his own rebound and passed it to Labanc at the side of the net.

The Sharks went ahead on Couture's 29th of the season at 16:08. He took a feed from Hertl, fought off a check by Virtanen and chipped the puck past Markstrom.

NOTES: Defenseman Chris Tanev returned to Vancouver lineup for his first game since breaking his leg Feb. 8 against Tampa Bay ... San Jose center Melker Karlsson went to the dressing favoring his right leg early in the first period after blocking a shot. ... San Jose's Marc-Edouard Vlasic left in the second period after being hit in the chest by a puck. ... The Canucks' franchise record for a scoring drought is 234 minutes, 52 seconds, set March 16-24, 2016. ... The longest goal drought by a team in the expansion era is 262 minutes, 3 seconds, set by the Minnesota North Stars from Jan. 28-Feb. 6, 1988.


Sharks: vs. New Jersey on Tuesday night.

Canucks: at Vegas on Tuesday night.