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 should be thankful for these two players on Thanksgiving

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Sharks should be thankful for these two players on Thanksgiving

The San Jose Sharks woke up this Thanksgiving and found themselves in a playoff spot, albeit barely. 

They hold the second and final wild card spot by the thinnest of margins, edging out the Colorado Avalanche not on points, games played, regulation and overtime wins, but a single goal in the goal differential column. 

As early as it is, it’s a critical time to be in playoff position. Since the NHL expanded to 30 teams in 2000, 79 percent of teams holding playoff spots on Thanksgiving made the postseason. 

If the Sharks avoid becoming a member of the dreaded 21 percent, they’ll have two players to thank, more than anyone else, for their good fortune: Logan Couture and Martin Jones. 

Couture, along with Joonas Donskoi, seems to be the only Shark unaffected by a team-wide scoring bug. Even as he’s cooled off slightly, his 11 goals are still tied for 10th-most in the league. 

He’s held a positive share of puck possession on the ice, despite starting the fourth-lowest percentage of his shifts in the offensive zone among Sharks forwards that have played at least 50 minutes this season, according to Corsica Hockey

Couture also leads the team in power play scoring with three goals, and is one of only three San Jose players that’s scored multiple times on the man advantage. It’s hard to imagine the league’s fourth-worst power play (15.1 percent) getting worse, but it undoubtedly would be without the 28-year-old.

While Couture has stood out among a hapless offense, Jones has led one of the league’s best defensive units. The Sharks are among the best teams at limiting shots and scoring chances across all situations, but Jones has not let them down. 

Although his .922 even-strength save percentage is 27th among 51 goalies that have played at least 200 minutes, San Jose’s given him a razor thin margin of error. He had the fifth-lowest goal support of any goalie entering last night, as statistician Darin Stephens noted, and his play has been good enough to keep the Sharks in games in spite of that. 

Jones has also led the way for the league’s best penalty kill, posting a .940 save percentage in shorthanded situations. That’s the best mark among goalies that have faced at least 80 shots on the penalty kill, according to Stephens.

The sustainability of Jones’ penalty kill dominance and Couture’s 20.8 shooting percentage is an open question, but their importance to the team early in the season cannot be overstated. They’ve helped keep the Sharks afloat, and in a playoff spot with history on their side at the critical Thanksgiving mark. 

The Sharks need to not only let them have extra helpings during their holiday feast, but find a way to give them more help on the ice too.

 

Jones strong in goal, contains Coyotes to snap Sharks' three-game skid

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Jones strong in goal, contains Coyotes to snap Sharks' three-game skid

BOX SCORE

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Logan Couture scored another goal for San Jose but was happier to see the Sharks' top line get untracked.

"We've got to get those guys going to help us offensively," Couture said of teammates Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski and Timo Meier after the Sharks' 3-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday night. "We need them to produce."

Thornton opened the scoring for the Sharks, with Pavelski adding an assist, the pair's first points since November 8, a span of five games.

"I think with Timo with us last game it brought us a lot of energy and a lot of chances," said Thornton, who scored his first goal since October 26. "Me and Pavs really like playing with him."

Joel Ward added an empty-net goal with 47.8 to play for the Sharks, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

"We got enough offense to win," said Sharks coach Peter DeBoer. "That's all that matters. I thought we played a good road game. I don't care how it looks."

Brendan Perlini scored with 7:37 to go, ruining Sharks goalie Martin Jones' bid for his second shutout of the season. The Coyotes saw their season-high three-game winning streak snapped and lost for the eighth time in nine home games (1-7-1).

Jones finished with 26 saves.

"We defended really well," said Jones, who was tested seriously only twice in the first two periods. "The first 10 minutes they had a lot of jump and were buzzing around our zone, but after that not as much."

Coyotes goalie Antti Raanta left at 14:37 of the first period with an upper-body injury. Couture had collided with Raanta more than four minutes earlier, earning an interference penalty. Raanta skated to the bench during a stoppage in play and retreated to the locker room.

Scott Wedgewood took Raanta's place and was in net for only five seconds before the Sharks broke through. Wedgewood stopped Brent Burns' long shot from the top of the right circle even after it deflected off San Jose right wing Timo Meier. But the rebound kicked to the bottom of the right circle, where Thornton swept in and beat the goalie with a quick wrist shot.

"He (coach Rick Tocchet) looked at me and said go," Wedgewood. "I was like, alright. That's the tough part. Then shot, top, goal. That was tough."

San Jose made it 2-0 at 4:56 of the second, taking advantage of Arizona's inability to clear the zone while the Sharks were on a line change.

Justin Braun fought three Coyotes for the puck along the right boards before Joonas Donskoi swooped in, skated to the goal line then sent a pass across to Couture. Couture deked Wedgewood to the ice with a forehand fake, then scored on the backhand.

Perlini cut the lead to 2-1 when he redirected Derek Stepan's shot from the top of the right circle past Jones.

"We had some costly mistakes," Perlini said. "We got back within a goal but there were too many mistakes."

NOTES: Thornton has 22 goals and 83 points in 82 career games against Arizona. ... The Coyotes, who had played seven of their past eight on the road, opened a three-game homestand. ... Raanta made eight saves before leaving and has stopped 98 of the past 105 shots he's faced. ... Couture's goal was his first in five games.

UP NEXT:

Sharks: visit Las Vegas on Friday

Coyotes: host Los Angeles on Friday.