Rewind: Sharks out-chance 'Hawks, but end road trip with a loss

Rewind: Sharks out-chance 'Hawks, but end road trip with a loss

CHICAGO – Concluding a stretch of four road games in six nights against the best team in the National Hockey League wasn’t going to be easy, and the Sharks surely knew that when they looked at their agenda for the road trip.

“This was the game we were worried about and wanted to win,” Joe Pavelski said.

Although they did enough to deserve more than just one goal, that second one never came. Pavelski’s marker early in the middle frame opened the scoring, but Chicago responded with four unanswered goals to beat San Jose, 4-1.

After a first period in which both teams looked sluggish and sloppy from playing so much hockey lately – Chicago was in the second of the back-to-back, after winning in St. Louis on Saturday night – Pavelski got the game going with one of his patented redirections from the slot at 1:13 of the second period.

San Jose continued to press, including a couple more open looks for Pavelski on a power play. The Sharks had 12 of the next 16 shots after Pavelski’s score, seeking to increase that slim one-goal advantage.

Duncan Keith had other ideas, when his slap shot cleanly beat Martin Jones on a night that the Sharks’ goalie was outplayed at the other end by Chicago’s Scott Darling, who was outstanding. That stretch of play from Pavelski’s goal to Keith’s was the turning point, according to Pete DeBoer.

“I thought the second period was probably the difference in the game, to come out 1-1 after we played the way we did,” DeBoer said. “I thought we deserved a little better.”

Pavelski said: “There were a few good looks. There’s more than one goal out there, I’d say that for sure. We didn’t get it, though.”

A tie game going into the third period was still a comfortable position for the Sharks, especially in a building that they had lost eight of their previous 10. San Jose was 6-2 on the season in a tie game after 40 minutes, to boot.

Chicago got the break it needed, though, when Ryan Hartman scored the game winner after Mikkel Boedker, who was only taking the faceoff because Logan Couture was kicked out of the circle, lost a draw to Vinnie Hinostroza and Kevin Labanc whiffed on his attempt to push it forward.

DeBoer, who was puzzled as to why Couture got kicked out of the circle, said: “It was just one of those ones where the puck is laying around, the guy got good wood on it, and put it in the right spot.”

The Sharks kept at it, though, including one extended shift by Chris Tierney, Joel Ward and Tommy Wingels in which they were in the offensive zone for a full minute. The chances were there again for them to tie it up at 2-2.

But Hinostroza’s conversion on a two-on-one with 2:20 to go essentially sealed it for Chicago.

“I thought we played pretty well,” Couture said. “We created enough, but we’ve got to find a way to score some more goals. It’s not enough right now.”

Tierney said: “We had a lot of chances. A bunch in the second. After they tied it up I thought we had a couple chances, too. We had that long shift there in the third where I thought we were going to get one, it just didn’t go in. That’s just how hockey works sometimes.”

The road trip was a bit of a strange one for the Sharks in that they didn’t play their best in shootout wins over the Maple Leafs and Senators, but played admirably, and lost, to the Blackhawks. 

They ended up gathering six of eight points, which has to be considered an achievement. But, beating the NHL-leading Blackhawks in their own building would have made it that much sweeter.

“Good trip, but you leave with a little bit of an empty feeling after losing tonight, because I really thought this might have been our best effort of the trip,” DeBoer said.

* * *

Melker Karlsson, who took a nasty shot to the head and had to be helped off the ice in the third period, was seen walking around the Sharks dressing room after the game.

“I think he’s OK, but we’ll see tomorrow," DeBoer said.

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.