Sharks

Sharks blanked by Ducks 1-0

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Sharks blanked by Ducks 1-0

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM A virtual unknown and an old nemesis teamed up to give the Sharks their first loss of the season.

Jonas Hiller made rookie Maxime Macenauers first period goal stand up, as the Anaheim Ducks beat the Sharks at the Honda Center on Friday night. Hiller stopped all 31 shots the Sharks threw his way in what was a sloppy game at times, as both clubs had not played since last Saturday.

Hes a world class goalie, but we have some world class players here that can score, said Joe Thornton. Im disappointed we couldnt score on him.

Hillers biggest save came early in the game. Joe Pavelski, who had two goals in the season opening 6-3 win against Phoenix, beautifully skated the puck through Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman and fired a wrist shot on net. Hiller snagged it with his quick glove hand halfway through the first period.

Pavelski blamed himself for the failed opportunity, which could have led to an entirely different outcome.

I believe the corner was there, I just didnt get it up, he said. You get a chance like that you want to finish, especially early in the game. It changes the whole dynamic.

Still, it would have been hard to imagine Hiller would have been any less spectacular even if he had given up that goal. The All-Star goalie was strong from start to finish, especially in the third period, when the Sharks applied good pressure on a late power play.

Ryane Clowe had a great opportunity to tie it at 1-1, but couldnt get a handle on a bouncing puck.

I think if I get that on net, its in. It just hit the side of the net, he said.

Clowe was asked if he was discouraged to get blanked so early in the season. The Sharks are now 1-1 after two games.

I dont think its real discouraging, to be honest, he said. I think if we felt like we played a bit better and controlled most of the game it would be discouraging. The second period they completely outworked us and in the third it was back and forth. Its discouraging we didnt play better, but not so much about the shutout.

The Sharks came out of the gate strong, winning the puck possession game as well as most of the first period faceoffs. The problem was they didnt generate enough when they had the puck.

We were one-and-done in their end, said Logan Couture. We didnt really create second chances. Thats why they beat us.

Too much one-and-out tonight, agreed Todd McLellan.

On the other end, it was Macenauer taking advantage of what McLellan categorized as a missed assignment. Hes likely referring to Andrew Desjardins, who failed to pick up Macenauer in front of the crease.

You have a simple assignment and youve got to accomplish it, said McLellan. Thats the difference between winning and losing at this level. There is so much parity that you have to be sharp all the time.

Among the 36 skaters dressed for the game, Macenauer was as unlikely a name as any to score the games lone goal. A 2007 third round pick by the Ducks, the 22-year-old was playing in just his third career NHL game.

Its always a lift when those guys can contribute, said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. We had a short side play on and they executed it to a tee.

On a positive note for the Sharks, goaltender Thomas Greiss was outstanding. After allowing the goal to Macenauer, the German native held his ground and kept the Sharks within reach, especially in the second period when Anaheim controlled the pace.

Hiller played an exceptional game tonight, but I guess the good news for us is that I thought our goalie matched it, said McLellan.

Greiss finished with 22 saves.

It was tough for him to not get the win, said Clowe.

The Sharks return Saturday night to face the St. Louis Blues at HP Pavilion. Theyll get another shot at Hiller and the Ducks on home ice on Monday night a fine opportunity to put tonights frustration behind them.

We have to play them Monday so its a good chance to improve, said Clowe.
Notes

Ducks winger Jason Blake was taken to the hospital after being cut by Brent Burns' skate in the third period. ... Antti Niemi served as Greiss backup, and will likely play in one of the two upcoming home games. Jim Vandermeer was the healthy scratch, but look for him to play Saturday, probably in place of White. ... The Sharks were 0-for-4 on the power play, and killed off both Ducks chances. ... San Jose won 28 of 44 faceoffs (64 percent).

Sharks headed in right direction, road trip to reveal who they really are

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USATSI

Sharks headed in right direction, road trip to reveal who they really are

The difference between a 2-3-0 start and a 1-4-0 start is bigger than two standings points.

The former is far from ideal, but if you squint hard enough, there's enough wiggle room to improve. There's still time with the latter, too, but the margin for error is much thinner moving forward.

The Sharks experienced that difference firsthand after Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. It's not an ideal record, but they’ve managed to salvage a poor start. 

There are still some flaws, to be sure. The power play isn't just the Kevin Labanc show after the top unit scored all three power play goals Tuesday, but is still carrying a disproportionate offensive load. The penalty kill’s scoreless streak came to an end, but they were called into action six times.

Despite all that, Tuesday's win was San Jose’s best effort this season. Brent Burns, Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, and Joe Thornton all had multi-point games for the first time this year. Martin Jones had another strong game, and appears to have shaken off his slow start.

In short, San Jose’s game is headed in the right direction. It needs to be, with a five-game road trip beginning on Friday. 

Now comes the hard part.

It's on the road where we’ll get our best sense of who this team really is. Peter DeBoer won’t have the benefit of last change, and won't be able to dictate matchups. 

Under these circumstances, we’ll begin to really see if Joakim Ryan is ready for a top-four role, whether Kevin Labanc is a viable first-line winger, and how the rest of the young reinforcements stack up. They will have less time off, too, as all but one game occurs after one day (or less) of rest and travel. That missed practice time isn't ideal for any team, let alone one still trying to work out the kinks.

Fortunately, the competition is forgiving, at least on paper. Other than the Devils, none of the Sharks’ four other road trip opponents have winning records as of this writing. The topsy turvy nature of the standings, though, show how little “on paper” means this early in the season.

We’ll know a lot more about who these San Jose Sharks are by the time their road trip ends. Their record still won't tell the whole story, but by then, they'll have played about an eighth of the season. 

And by then, we’ll have a much better idea of how good this team really is.

Sharks' offense comes alive, leads charge in win over Canadiens

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AP

Sharks' offense comes alive, leads charge in win over Canadiens

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE — Logan Couture credited a teammate for scoring his second goal. He took credit for the first one.

Couture scored a pair of goals and the San Jose Sharks extended their dominance of the Montreal Canadiens with a 5-2 victory on Tuesday night.

Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl also scored for the Sharks, who have won the past 11 home games against the Canadiens, a streak that dates to Nov. 23, 1999.

On a power play late in the third period, rookie Tim Heed took a shot off a face-off that bounced free in front of the net. Pavelski couldn't get his stick on it but managed to kick it across the net for Couture, who found a huge opening.

"That was pretty special," Couture said. "I don't know if he knew I was there but he kept his balance and kicked it over."

Couture opened the scoring 3:30 into the first period, grabbing a rebound off the back board, skating across the front of the net to get Price to commit and then firing into an open net.

Jonathan Drouin and Shea Weber scored for the Canadiens, who are winless since an opening night victory at the Buffalo Sabres.

"It's a very poor start from our team, from myself, from a lot of individuals," Canadiens' Max Pacioretty said. "It's a good time to look in the mirror and see what we're made of because a lot of people are probably doubting this team right now."

Martin Jones stopped 28 of 30 shots for the Sharks, who finish their season-opening homestand with a 2-3 record.

"The biggest thing is finding that energy for the whole game," Jones said. "We started OK and then we got better as the night went on."

Carey Price, who stopped 31 of 35 shots, fell to 2-7-1 in 10 games against the Sharks.

The Canadiens responded 36 seconds later when Drouin picked up a pass from Artturi Lehkonen close in and fired it over Jones' left shoulder and into the net.

Pavelski gave the Sharks the lead for good when he redirected Kevin Labanc's shot just under a minute into the second period. The shot hit Weber's left shin pad and bounced into the net.

"There were a lot of good things out there," Pavelski said. "We didn't have the homestand we wanted but we can leave on a positive note to take on the road."

Hertl padded the lead midway through the second on a power play. Standing on the right side of the net, he was trying to control a pass from Joe Thornton but the puck fluttered off his stick and got behind Price.

"I'll take it any way I can get it," Hertl said. "There are times I've had great shots that just bounced off the post."

Weber's power-play goal two minutes later kicked off Jones' skates for the score.

The Sharks needed five seconds to score on a power play late in the second period. Tim Heed shot on goal and it bounced off Pavelski's skate. Couture picked it up and found a huge opening.

NOTES: After allowing three power play goals over their first five penalty kills, the Sharks killed off 14 straight until Weber scored in the second period. ... Couture recorded his 24th career multi-goal game. ... Sharks D Tim Heed recorded his first NHL point with an assist on Couture's power-play goal. ... Brendan Gallagher needs one assist for 100 with the Canadiens.

UP NEXT:

Canadiens: plays at the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday in their second back-to-back of the season.

Sharks: open a five-game road trip on the east coast with a game at the New Jersey Devils on Friday.