Sharks drop second straight, fall to Flames 4-3


Sharks drop second straight, fall to Flames 4-3


SAN JOSE An egregious turnover by Colin White in the third period led to Olli Jokinen completing a hat trick and was the difference in a 4-3 Flames win over the Sharks at HP Pavilion on Wednesday night.

For the second straight game, the Sharks committed several mistakes and made soft plays with the puck, and it cost them against an opponent thats desperate to stay in the Western Conference playoff picture. Whites turnover was the most obvious mistake, but there were several others to pick and choose from as San Jose surrendered four goals in back-to-back games for just the third time this year.

In fact, Jarome Iginlas goal in the second period to give the Flames a 3-2 lead might have been even bigger than the game-winner, even though the Sharks would later tie it up early in the third with a power play goal.

Iginla's marker came after the Sharks fell behind 2-0 in the second period but came roaring back to tie the it with a pair of goals just one minute and 23 seconds apart.

First, it was Logan Couture. On a delayed penalty call, the Sharks pulled Antti Niemi for an extra attacker and patiently waited to set up their breakout and eventually bring the puck into the offensive zone. Ryane Clowe fed a perfect cross-ice pass to Couture, who rifled in his 23rd goal of the year ay 6:29.

The tying goal came when Joe Thornton found an open Joe Pavelski in the slot from behind the net, and Pavelski deposited his 20th of the season in what was his 400th game in the NHL.

It was all Sharks at that point, and the top line was buzzing in the Flames zone once again minutes later. But, defenseman Brent Burns got a bit too aggressive and was caught too far inside the blue line when Jokinen and Iginla raced the other way on an odd-man rush.

Burns managed to catch up to the play, but was not in position when Iginlas snap shot from Jokinen sailed past Niemi at 11:15, killing the Sharks momentum on what was another preventable mistake.

The formula is pretty simple for our group. Weve given up four or more goals 12 times this year, and won one game, Todd McLellan said. If we think we can screw around with the puck, and be lackadaisical with line changes and not be desperate until the last 10 minutes of the game, well give up four again and we wont win. Its as simple as that.

The Sharks lost to Phoenix on Saturday, 5-3, including an empty-net goal by the Coyotes.

You cant give them four goals. Bad bounces or not, you dont win many games, Pavelski. You see it in Phoenix, and you see it here tonight.

Trailing 3-2 entering the third period, San Jose tied the game with a power play goal less than a minute into the final frame. Michal Handzus won an offensive zone draw and then pushed in the rebound of a blast by Burns off of the back boards just 49 seconds in.

Alex Tanguay intercepted Whites pass from behind the Sharks net shortly after the equalizer, though, and Jokinen quickly released Tanguays pass over a diving White at 3:25 to give Calgary the lead back.

The Flames held on this time, beating the Sharks for the first time in three tries this season.

I tried to just kind of bank it off of the boards for our winger, tried to get him a little time with it instead of just rimming it at his feet, White said. It just took a harder bounce than obviously I wanted it, and kind of went out into the middle. I was desperate then, just trying to get into a shooting lane and he made a pass back door. They capitalized on the mistake there.

We worked to get all the way back into the game, and the winning goal makes no sense to me at all, how we can have full possession and it ends up in our net, McLellan said. Who do you point the finger at? Theres five guys out there that all could manage the puck much better than they did.

The Sharks were without the services of Dan Boyle, a late scratch due to the flu. It was the first game Boyle has missed this season.

Danny is a tremendous player and means a lot to our hockey club, but we should be able to work our way through it, McLellan said.

No excuses. Dans obviously a great player, but the guys that are back there have to pull their load when guys are injured or sick, Thornton said. Well be better next game.

The Sharks host Chicago on Friday before embarking on a nine-game, 15-day road trip.

The Sharks had some great chances to tie it up in the third period after falling behind again. One came midway through the period when Marc-Edouard Vlasic found the net, but referee Kevin Pollock correctly ruled Patrick Marleau interfered with Kiprusoff after bowling into the Flames net untouched. McLellan said it was the right call.

Pavelski, whacking at a loose puck with about three minutes to go, nearly got it past Miikka Kiprusoff but the Flames goalie somehow froze the puck between his pads after it bounced over him.

It was ridiculous, to see his legs come up when youre just watching the puck and hoping it hits the net, Pavelski said.

Kiprusoff, a former Sharks goalie, recorded the 300th win of his career with 34 saves.

The loss was the Sharks second straight in regulation after Phoenix snapped their three-game winning streak on Saturday. San Jose leads the Pacific Division with 64 points, two better than Los Angeles, and has three games in hand on the Kings.

Jokinen, who finished with three goals and an assist, staked Calgary to a 2-0 lead. The Sharks turned it over a couple times in their own zone, including a soft play by Couture along the boards, before Jokinen redirected in a shot from the point by defenseman Chris Butler at 12:30 of the first period. A power play goal at 2:36 of the second period came when Tanguays shot rebounded off of the back boards, White couldnt find it, and Jokinen was there to whack it through Niemi.

They were in their spots, and they go to the net hard, White said.

Couture extended his scoring streak to seven games, with 10 points over that span (5g, 5a). Thornton assisted on the first two Sharks goals and has eight points in his last four games (3g, 5a).

Odds and ends: Miikka Kiprusoff is the 27th goalie in NHL history to reach 300 wins. ... Olli Jokinens hat trick was the seventh of his career. Owen Nolan, who announced his retirement in a press conference at HP Pavilion on Wednesday, took part in a ceremonial faceoff before the game. He got a lengthy standing ovation. Cory Sarich, who found with Andrew Desjardins in the second period, was forced to wear a nameless 65 sweater for the remainder of the game after his normal 6 sweater apparently ripped during the altercation. The Sharks were 39-31 in the faceoff circle, including a 14-3 performance from Joe Pavelski, the leagues leading faceoff man.

Something smells fishy about Sharks' early success on power play

Something smells fishy about Sharks' early success on power play

By many traditional measures, the Sharks’ power play is off to a strong start.

They’ve scored seven times on 30 opportunities, including once in Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders. That mark, 23.3%, would have been good enough for third in the league last season, and is nearly seven percent better than the Sharks were in 2016-17.

San Jose’s made some changes on the man advantage, and are getting a different look on their top power play unit with Tim Heed there instead of another forward. Second-year forward Kevin Labanc is playing a significant role on the second unit, operating as something of a focal point.

The puck’s found the net a lot for the Sharks on the power play, but a deeper look at the numbers reveals that success may be a house of cards.

According to Natural Stat Trick, San Jose ranks in the bottom third of the league in shots, shot attempts, and unblocked shot attempts per 60 minutes. Using those rates allow us to compare teams empirically, equalizing for the amount of time each team has spent on the power play. Those rates, by the way, are not very good.

And each of those are lower than last season, when the Sharks finished 25th in power play percentage. This season, the Sharks are converting more shots, despite attempting less.

It would be tempting to think San Jose can hang their helmets on higher shot quality, but they’ve struggled in that area, too. The Sharks finished just shy of the top ten in high danger chances per 60 minutes last season, but are in the bottom third of the league this season, according to Natural Stat Trick.

So the Sharks are shooting at a lower rate and generating chances at a lower rate than last season, when they had one of the league’s worst power plays, but are scoring at a much higher clip. They’ve converted on about 19% of their shots on the power play, almost doubling their conversion rate (10.5%) from a season ago.

If this doesn’t seem like a sustainable mix, that’s because it’s not. In a small sample size of seven games, the power play’s been good enough, but the Sharks can’t count on converting nearly a fifth of their power play opportunities if they continue to struggle generating shots and chances.

Of course, stranger things have happened in a hockey season, so it’s possible the Sharks can ride a sky-high shooting percentage all season long. Banking on that, however, would be foolhardy.

Sharks come up short in New York despite Couture's hat trick

Sharks come up short in New York despite Couture's hat trick


NEW YORK — Anders Lee had two goals and an assist to lead the New York Islanders to a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.

John Tavares had a goal and two assists, Josh Bailey added a goal and an assist, and Andrew Ladd also scored to help the Islanders win for the third time in four games. Thomas Greiss stopped 28 shots.

Logan Couture scored all three goals for the Sharks, completing the hat trick with 1:52 remaining to pull them within one. Aaron Dell finished with 18 saves.

Ladd's goal at 3:12 of the third period broke a 2-2 tie. Rookie Mathew Barzal created the scoring chance by taking the puck around the net and then setting up Ladd in the high slot for his second of the season.

Lee's second of the game and fifth of the season gave the Islanders a two-goal cushion with 8:13 remaining as he converted an odd-man rush.

Tavares sealed the win with an empty-netter with 55.4 seconds remaining and helped improve to 22-4-4 in their two-plus seasons at Barclays Center. Tavares points were his first since he had two goals and an assist Oct. 7 against Buffalo, ending a five-game drought.

The Sharks scored the game's opening goal at 6:26 of the second period on the power play. San Jose came away with the offensive draw and Couture scored from the slot, redirected Brent Burns' point shot past Greiss.

The lead lasted just over a minute as Nick Leddy worked his way to the back of the net and then quickly fed Lee for the tying goal.

The Islanders went ahead 58 seconds later after Joe Thornton made a costly turnover in his own end to give Bailey a point-blank chance. Bailey was able to sneak the puck with a backhander between his skates and past Dell to put New York ahead 2-1.

However, an impressive effort by Jannik Hansen to spin past Brock Nelson in the neutral zone led to a quick feed to Couture, who took a few strides and then fired a shot past Greiss to even the score once again.

NOTES: The Islanders held a special pregame ceremony to honor alumni of the organization who were in town for an Islanders Alumni Weekend. Among the players on the ice were Bobby Nystrom, Clark Gillies, Bryan Trottier and Ed Westfall. ... The Islanders scratched D Scott Mayfield, F Josh Ho-Sang and F Nikulay Kulemin. ... San Jose scratched F Joel Ward, F Barclay Goodrow and D Dylan Demelo. ... The Islanders honored Tragically Hip front man Gord Downie by playing music from the band during warmups. Downie passed away on Oct. 17 after succumbing to brain cancer.


Sharks: At the New York Rangers on Monday night.

Islanders: Host Arizona on Tuesday night.