Sharks can't solve Quick in 2-0 loss to Kings


Sharks can't solve Quick in 2-0 loss to Kings


LOS ANGELES -- The Sharks showed effort, energy and focus in the third period of Mondays loss to the Kings at Staples Center.Thats what makes it so much harder to figure out where they were in the first two.Jonathan Quick pitched a shutout in net and Ethan Moreau and Mike Richards provided the offense in a 2-0 Kings win over San Jose, in which the visitors were missing in action for most of the first 40 minutes. It was the Kings' first home shutout of the Sharks since March 23, 2002.
All I can say is, there are 82 games. You have to find a way to get up for every game, said Dan Boyle, whose team lost consecutive games in regulation for the first time since Oct. 15-17. Some nights are tougher than others, but at the end of the day you have to find a way.Im going to pick work-ethic, commitment, passion, said an ornery Todd McLellan, when asked what the problem was at the outset. I wanted to know where they went between the second and third to find it. Really disappointing, and probably more disappointing because we came out and played hard in the third. It made it even tougher to swallow.
The Sharks have played a number of physical and fast paced games lately against the likes of Detroit, Dallas, Chicago and Vancouver. Could it be that they were emotionally or physically drained, and looking ahead to a couple days off before hosting Montreal on Thursday?Boyle doesnt want to hear any excuses.Theres no reason why we shouldnt be ready for these guys, he said. Theyre in our division. As well as weve played, we talked about how were one point out of a playoff spot after 20 games. Its that close.He's right. The Sharks entered Mondays action with 27 points and the third seed in the Western Conference, while the ninth-seeded Edmonton Oilers had 26. The Kings, who improved to 6-1-2 in the Pacific while dropping the Sharks to 3-4-0, leapfrogged over three teams to take the division lead with 28 points.Quick, playing in his 200th career NHL game, recorded his 18th career shutout and second against San Jose. He didnt have to do a whole lot until late in the second when the Sharks had back-to-back power plays while trying to cut into the Kings two-goal lead.The 25-year-old goalie got some help on one shot when Boyle blasted it off of the post, and later snagged a wrist shot by a cutting Joe Pavelski late in the frame.In the third, Quick made a chest stop on Jamie McGinn after a bouncing puck ended up on McGinns stick in the slot with about seven minutes left, and shortly after he stoned Patrick Marleau who was alone in front, trying to redirect in a nice feed from Joe Thornton.Thirteen of Quicks 33 saves came in the third period.It didnt matter who was in goal for them, we werent near the net and didnt create anything, said McLellan of the first 40 minutes. In the third period he played very, very well."Hes an elite goaltender. We had our chances, we just couldnt finish, said Thornton.The Kings jumped out to a first period lead for just the third time this season on a pair of Sharks mistakes. After an unfathomable turnover by Justin Braun in the defensive zone, Moreau picked it up on the corner and quickly threw it on net. Antti Niemi misplayed it, and it snuck behind him at 8:37.Same thing as last game, I just have to see the puck and follow the puck, said Niemi, referring to a similar goal he surrendered on Saturday to Vancouvers Manny Malhotra.The goal was Moreaus first in 59 games, with the last coming on Oct. 9, 2010 in San Jose, when he was a member of the Edmonton Oilers.Los Angeles increased that lead to 2-0 during a four-on-four situation with Thornton and Jarret Stoll off on coincidental minors. This time it was Richards, who scored his ninth goal in the last 10 games on a feed from behind the net by Simon Gagne. Gagne patiently waited for Marc-Edouard Vlasic to give him an opening before feeding Richards in front of the net.Despite being down and showing little fight up to that point, the Sharks had a couple of golden opportunities to get back into it before the second period ended, as Stoll and Matt Greene were whistled for infractions at 15:24 and 17:52, respectively.The Sharks finished 0-for-5 on the power play, though, and McLellan chalked up that failure to San Joses general approach to the game.Its typical of these nights, he said. When you dont contribute, you dont give effort early in the game and wait for the power play to come, youre usually not sharp enough to score. You create a number of opportunities, but youre not going to get rewarded for it.The hockey gods dont work that way.Odds and ends: The Sharks were without Michal Handzus (sick) and Colin White (personal). Jason Demers was scratched, while Frazer McLaren made his season debut. There was a long delay in the third period after an apparent goal by the Kings that would have made it 3-0. The ruling came down that Slava Voynov kicked it in, although it appeared to go in off of the heel of Dustin Browns stick. Just before that, Brown made a dazzling move to skate around Braun and feed Voynov. Niemi finished with 31 saves. The Kings were 0-for-3 on the power play. The Sharks won 40 of 69 faceoffs.

Time is now for Sharks to experiment with new lines


Time is now for Sharks to experiment with new lines

The San Jose Sharks were shut out for the first time this season on Thursday night, but it sure didn't feel like it.

You’d be forgiven, albeit mistaken, if you didn't think the loss was their first goose egg of the season. San Jose’s been one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league this year, and has scored two or fewer goals in all but two of their six games in November.

The Sharks controlled play, but their raw possession numbers were misleading: Through the first two periods, San Jose was outshot 23-18, and poured it on in the third looking for the game-tying goal.

In order to break out of his team’s extended slump, head coach Peter DeBoer appeared to throw his lines in the proverbial blender. The changes weren't very significant, though, as DeBoer worked mostly around the edges.

Joe Thornton remained with Joe Pavelski, while Melker Karlsson and Timo Meier rotated in on their wing. Joonas Donskoi swapped in with Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl, and on and on.

The core pair of each line remained intact, while DeBoer swapped complimentary wingers. Subtle changes, unsurprisingly, didn't lead to drastically different results.

He’s been amenable to bigger changes at times, briefly breaking up longtime linemates Thornton and Pavelski last Sunday against Los Angeles. The bottom six, especially the fourth line, has mostly been a revolving door.

That's a start, but far from enough. 

As long as the Sharks struggle to score, similarly significant changes are in order.

DeBoer shouldn't want to sacrifice the team’s defensive dominance, or its strong possession game. But, the Sharks haven't scored enough through 17 games to justify using the same forward combinations. 

In Thornton and Pavelski’s case, those struggles date back to last season. For just about everyone else, the sample size is getting increasingly more significant as the season approaches the quarter pole.

The Sharks bench boss expressed a willingness to mix up his power play units earlier this week, and needs to do the same at even strength. It's time to try Pavelski on Couture's wing, Meier on Thornton's, or any number of permutations.

Tweaking around the edges hasn't made much of a difference, so far more comprehensive adjustments are not only welcome, but necessary. Of course, DeBoer may not find the perfect lineup solutions.

At this point, though, it's worth a shot. It's hard to imagine the Sharks scoring any less than they have so far this season, and the Sharks need to explore if any line changes can provide a remedy.

Luongo picks up a career first in Panthers win over Sharks


Luongo picks up a career first in Panthers win over Sharks


SAN JOSE — Roberto Luongo made 35 saves for his 74th career shutout and the Florida Panthers blanked the San Jose Sharks 2-0 Thursday night on goals by Colton Sceviour and Nick Bjugstad.

Florida coach Bob Boughner won in his return to San Jose. He served as an assistant coach for the Sharks the last two years.

Luongo earned his first shutout of the season and first in 32 games against San Jose.

Martin Jones was nearly as good for the Sharks. He stopped 26 shots, but that wasn't enough to keep the Panthers from winning for the seventh time in their last eight trips to San Jose.

Sharks defenseman Tim Heed had a goal disallowed on a coach's challenge a little less than five minutes into the second period. Replays showed he came into contact with the puck just behind the blue line, making the play offside.

San Jose had another goal overturned after a replay review. Brent Burns took a hard shot that Luongo nearly caught but couldn't handle and it bounced along his pads. Marc-Edouard Vlasic was one of three Sharks trying to poke at the puck and he used his stick to push both the puck and Luongo's pad into the net.

Sceviour scored a minute into the second after digging out the puck along the boards behind the net. He skated around the cage and poked a shot that hit Jones' pads. He took a second shot that got over the goalie's pads and went in.

Sceviour has four points in six games since returning from injury. He had two points in his first six games this season.

The Panthers, who have won three of four, added an insurance goal with less than eight minutes remaining. Radim Vrbata intercepted a pass in the Sharks zone and played it to Jamie McGinn, who got Jones to commit before dishing to Bjugstad for the score.

NOTES: Panthers C Michael Haley received a warm ovation from Sharks fans. He played in San Jose the last couple of years. ... Sharks D Paul Martin missed his 15th game with a lower-body injury, though he has been skating pain-free for the past two weeks. ... Florida center Vincent Trocheck has 12 points in his last 10 games. ... The Sharks have not scored on their past 15 power plays.


Panthers: At the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

Sharks: Host the Boston Bruins on Saturday.