Sharks

Sharks 2017-18 schedule features first visits to Las Vegas

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Sharks 2017-18 schedule features first visits to Las Vegas

The Sharks’ full 82-game schedule was released on Thursday, featuring the team’s first-ever games against the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

San Jose will play the Golden Knights, now a Pacific Division rival, four times in 2017-18. The Sharks visit Sin City on Nov. 24, while the Golden Knights make their first of two appearances at SAP Center on Feb. 8.

The Sharks open their season with a five-game homestand, including the season-opener on Oct. 4 against Philadelphia, continuing with games against the Kings, Sabres, Islanders and Canadiens. After that, they immediately embark on a five-game swing through the Eastern Conference.

The longest homestand of the season is six games from Feb. 27 – March 12, while the Sharks have three separate five-game road trips. There are 14 sets of back-to-backs.

Other notable home games include the Western Conference champion Nashville Predators on Nov. 1; Bob Boughner’s Florida Panthers on Nov. 16; the two-time Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 20; the Oilers first of two visits Feb. 10; and the regular season finale vs. Minnesota on April 7.

There are two matinee home dates on March 10 vs. Washington and March 24 vs. Calgary, both beginning at 1 p.m.

The complete broadcast schedule will be released at a later date.

Sharks open road trip with win thanks to Donskoi's late heroics

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USATSI

Sharks open road trip with win thanks to Donskoi's late heroics

BOX SCORE

CALGARY -- Joonas Donskoi scored the game-winner late in third period and had an assist to lead the San Jose Sharks to a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.

Justin Braun began the sequence by knocking Johnny Gaudreau off the puck in the Sharks end, beginning a 3-on-2 rush.

Eventually, Joe Thornton got a shot on net that Mike Smith stopped but the rebound was loose between his legs and was tapped in by Donskoi.

Chris Tierney and Timo Meier also had a goal and an assist each to round out the scoring for San Jose (17-10-3).

Michael Frolik and Gaudreau scored for Calgary (16-13-3).

Trailing 2-1, the Flames tied it at 7:39 of the third period when Garnet Hathaway neatly set up Gaudreau on a 2-on-1 for his 13th goal.

It came after coach Glen Gulutzan had shaken up Calgary's lines late in the second in an attempt to spark the offense, moving Gaudreau off the top unit and onto a line with Hathaway and rookie Mark Jankowski.

The Sharks had taken their first lead halfway through the second period on the power play.

Off a face-off win in the Flames end, the Sharks worked the puck back to Kevin Labanc. His long wrist shot was stopped by Smith, but Tierney whacked in the rebound.

Tierney's eighth goal moves him into second place on the team behind Logan Couture. In his fourth NHL season, the 23-year-old is closing in on his career high of 11 set last year.

Power plays were a key story line in the game with the Sharks going 1 for 3 while Calgary could not generate anything in going 0 for 3. That included squandering a 37-second two-man advantage early in the second period.

San Jose tied it when the line of Tierney, Donskoi and Meier combined on a nice goal.

Calgary opened the scoring 4:42 into the first period on a giveaway by Sharks defenseman Tim Heed.

Aaron Dell made 32 stops to improve to 6-3-1.

Smith, who had 26 saves, falls to 13-10-3.

Notes: It was the first of four meetings between the teams this season. ... Kris Versteeg (hip) missed his 10th game. ... Jaromir Jagr (lower body) is back skating but is still day-to-day. He's missed the last five games. ... Donskoi (lower body) returned after missing six games. ... The Flames have led after one period only four times, the fewest in the league.

UP NEXT:

Sharks: Are at Vancouver on Friday.

Flames: Host Nashville on Saturday.

Melker Karlsson's scoring masks deeper problem

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USATSI

Melker Karlsson's scoring masks deeper problem

In the Sharks’ bid to find consistent offensive production, Melker Karlsson is the latest winger to skate alongside Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton. He’ll get another look there in San Jose’s tilt with the Calgary Flames on Thursday, the first of a three-game road trip through western Canada.

It’s not his first Joe-deo. The trio has played over 700 five-on-five minutes together dating back to Karlsson’s rookie season in 2014-15, per Corsica Hockey. 

Familiarity hasn’t necessarily bred success, however. Of the 23 lines that have played at least 100 minutes together since 2014-15, Karlsson-Thornton-Pavelski ranks 13th in goals per 60 minutes (2.5). 

If you only look at head coach Peter DeBoer’s tenure, the line is 12th, but out of 18 combinations that spent 100 minutes together (2.15). That’s, at least in part, because the trio doesn’t generate a lot of shots together.

Their 26.86 shots per 60 is the fifth-worst rate among those same lines. In fact, Karlsson’s skated on four of the five-worst lines by that metric. 

The 27-year-old has legitimate finishing talent, converting on at least 10 percent of his shots in each of his four NHL seasons. The problem is that he doesn’t shoot all that much. 

He’s shooting at an individual rate of 5.69 shots per 60 minutes during five-on-five play, which represents an improvement over last season (5.42). Should that hold, it’ll be the first time he’s shot at a higher rate than the previous season. 

A few more pucks are getting on net, but Karlsson is actually attempting less shots (10.24 individual corsi-for per 60) than he did last season (10.34). That’s the third straight season of year-over-year decline. 

Despite that, Karlsson’s scored two goals in his last three games, and has five on the season. Now, he’s on pace for a career-high in goals, on the back of a career-high 17.2 percent shooting percentage. 

His ability to convert on limited opportunities masks just that: Karlsson doesn’t generate a whole lot of opportunities. He’s shown himself to be a good enough shooter to mitigate his lack of shot generation, so long as he’s not mired in a slump. 

An injection of finishing ability may be what the top line needs, and Karlsson’s hard-working, puck-retrieving style seems like an on-paper fit alongside Thornton and Pavelski’s respective skillsets. But as long as the trio struggles to generate shots, it’s not a given that they’ll be able to make the most of limited chances.