Sharks

Sharks fall to last-place Ducks 3-2, winning streak snapped

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Sharks fall to last-place Ducks 3-2, winning streak snapped

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE If the Anaheim Ducks played the San Jose Sharks 82 times this season, they might not be among the NHLs bottom dwellers.

The Ducks beat the Sharks for the third time in three tries or, 30 percent of their 10 wins with a 3-2 victory at HP Pavilion on Monday night. Andrew Coglianos marker at 12:46 the second period broke a 2-2 tie and held up as the game-winner, as the Ducks survived a late charge by the Sharks in the third period.

While Coglianos goal was the difference, the game turned on a bad turnover by captain Joe Thornton early in the second period. The Sharks were dominating territorially with the score knotted at 1-1 before Thorntons blunder led to a breakaway marker by Bobby Ryan at 3:42.

Less than a minute before the goal, the Sharks forced the Ducks into a pair of icing calls that left a tired group of five on the ice for Anaheim, and coach Bruce Boudreau had to use his time out at 2:48.

But, San Jose squandered that energy.

The disappointing thing is we had a lot of momentum in the second period, to the point where they had to use their time out, Todd McLellan said. We had them pinned in their end, and then we turn it over, and it affected us. It really did. We didnt handle it well, and in my opinion they outworked us the last 13 or 14 minutes of the period.

Thornton said: I had so much time, and I just mishandled it at the end. I have to make a better decision at that point.

Jamie McGinn tied the game at 7:13 of the second with his eighth goal, firing a wrist shot into the top corner from the faceoff circle on a cross-ice feed by Justin Braun. But Coglianos soft wrister beat Antti Niemi inside the far post on the second of two goals the Sharks netminder should have stopped.

I have no idea what happened there, said Niemi. Id have to see it on tape to see what happened. Maybe I was too deep there, and I should have been more aggressive on the puck.

Niemi, making his 14th start in the last 15 games, also allowed a shot by Luca Sbisa to beat him at 2:27 of the first period to make it 1-0. It was the young defensemans first goal in 69 games as the puck fluttered awkwardly through the air.

It wasnt flying straight, so I think thats why it went in, Niemi said. I think it was kind of a knuckle-puck.

Still, the Sharks came on strong in the third period, and Niemis play improved, as well. He made a beautiful save on Niklas Hagman with 12 minutes left, robbing the Ducks winger with his left pad.

I thought Nemo made two or three incredible saves that kept us alive, McLellan said, but then, hell tell you that hed like to have a couple of them back. Its got to be a little frustrating for him and for us, as well.

San Joses best chances to tie it in the third came on its first power play of the night when Corey Perry high-sticked Dan Boyle with just 4:34 left in regulation. Patrick Marleau had a couple of good looks at the open net, but misfired on both.

Getting those chances, you think one is going to go in, but missing the net doesnt help, he said.

The Sharks got another power play with just 39 seconds left when Perry was called for slashing, but failed to get the equalizer on a six-on-four advantage with Niemi pulled for an extra attacker, losing for the first time in regulation since Dec. 10 (4-1-2).

Anaheim ended its road losing streak at 13 games, having dropped nine of those in regulation. The Ducks hadnt won away from the Honda Center since Oct. 27, but its their second victory on HP Pavilion ice this season. The Ducks have just three road wins total.

Even though they are buried in last place in the Pacific Division by 13 points, the Ducks seem to have the Sharks number. Theyll meet again three more times, with the next coming on Jan. 4 in Anaheim.

I think when we, meaning you guys and maybe even us a little bit, come into the game, we look at the record and say you know what? The Sharks will win. It doesnt just happen that way, he said. You have to go out and earn it. When I see Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan, Perry, Cam Fowler, and some of those guys, it scares me as a coach because they have the ability to be a very dynamic team and very offensive team.

They were good enough tonight to win.

After Sbisas goal opened the scoring, Joe Pavelski tied it at 19:33 of the first period. Neither team was particularly sharp in the early going after the mandatory two days off for Christmas on Saturday and Sunday, though.

Pavelski agreed that the first period was a little disjointed on both sides.

Yeah, there were some plays that we havent done in the last four games. Just a lot of light plays," he said.

Hiller, who has struggled this season, entering with a goal-against average of 3.10, picked up his second win against San Jose including a 31-save, 1-0 shutout on Oct. 14. His best stop came with 5:21 left in second, when he got his pad on a chance by Marleau at the side of the net to preserve the Ducks 3-2 lead.

A pass by Ryane Clowe "went off of Hillers pad and I reached behind the goal line to get it," Marleau said. "I brought it back in towards the net and tried pulling it over, but he recovered and made a good save."

Hiller finished with 36 saves, while Niemi stopped 20 of 23.

Odds and ends: Dan Boyle had a team-high eight shots. Of the Sharks' 38 shots, 17 came from defensemen. Joe Pavelskis goal was just his second against Anaheim in 32 career games, the fewest he has against any Western Conference opponent. The Sharks conclude their six-game homestand on Wednesday against Vancouver. Its the first of two straight games against the Canucks, whom the Sharks visit on Jan. 2. Joe Thornton had a game-high five giveaways. ... The Sharks won the faceoff battle, 25-24.

Process there even if results aren't for Sharks early in new season

Process there even if results aren't for Sharks early in new season

Saturday’s loss to the New York Islanders is one with which Sharks fans have become all too familiar.

The Sharks held a decided 41-23 edge on the shot count, but trailed 3-1 on the scoreboard. Since 2005, no team in the league has lost more games (59) in which they shot 35 or more times, and held their opponent to 25 or fewer shots.

No, your instincts haven’t deceived you over the Joe Thornton era: San Jose has lost a lot of games where they’ve otherwise outplayed their opponent. Of course, they’ve won plenty of those games too. More often than not, in fact, winning 72 of 131 times under those circumstances.

Frustration under those circumstances became readily apparent in the second period on Saturday, when Joe Pavelski broke his stick over Thomas Greiss’ net. The captain had plenty of reason to be unhappy, as his goalless drought to start the season has mirrored his team’s inability to finish at even strength.

So far this season, only Dallas and Montreal have scored on a lower percentage of their shots at even strength than San Jose, according to Natural Stat Trick. Both the Stars and Canadiens, unsurprisingly, are seventh in their respective divisions. The Sharks are sixth in the Pacific, thanks only to the still-winless Coyotes.

This early in the season, bad results can mask a strong process. They can’t finish, but the Sharks have been, statistically, one of the league’s best puck possession teams at even strength. That can happen over such a short stretch, but that’s easy to lose sight of when the team’s sitting in the division’s basement.

Right now, the Sharks just aren’t scoring enough at even strength, even as they’re playing well elsewhere. The power play’s begun to find an identity, particularly on the Kevin Labanc-led second unit. The penalty kill hasn’t allowed a goal since allowing three in the season opener, and have climbed all the way to 13th in the league.

If the Sharks continue to play this way, the goals, and wins, should come. They may not, of course, especially if Peter DeBoer struggles to find combinations that click for more than a game at a time. But eventually, the results should align with the process.

Saturday night was “one of those games” that have been surprisingly common in recent Sharks history, but it shouldn’t be chalked up as anything more than an amusing anomaly. Sometimes, one team is better, and still finds a way to lose.  

Sometimes, it truly is that simple.

Greiss strong in net as Islanders hand loss to Sharks

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USATSI

Greiss strong in net as Islanders hand loss to Sharks

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- Thomas Greiss guided the New York Islanders on a night when they played it a little bit too safe.

Greiss stopped 40 shots, Brock Nelson scored a tiebreaking goal in the second period and the New York Islanders rallied to beat the slumping San Jose Sharks 3-1 on Saturday.

The Islanders improved to 1-1 on their three-game, five-day West Coast trip. The Sharks are 1-3 on their season-opening five-game homestand.

Nelson made it 2-1 at 13:33 of the second period, capitalizing on an open look in front of the goal after Joshua Ho-Sang's pass from behind the net.

"After we got the lead we just kind of held on, we bent but we didn't break and we needed some big saves from Thomas," Islanders coach Doug Weight said.

"These teams, when they're down, they're gonna push. ... You don't want to sit back but I think it's human nature. We have to get it out of our heads. We want to play aggressive and we want to put the puck in good spots. We started making some shoddy decisions, our feet stopped moving for a while, but give (the Sharks) credit, they made a good push. Tommy was great."

The Sharks led after Kevin Labanc's power-play goal at 4:16 of the first. Labanc was in the left circle when he rebounded a deflection and fired a wrist shot that slipped through Greiss' pads.

The Islanders tied it when Anders Lee tipped one in at 17:02 of the first.

Cal Clutterbuck scored an empty-net goal at with 1:10 left in the game.

"It's nice, first road win of the year, a good bounce back," Nelson said, referencing a 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.

"I thought we did some good things in Anaheim and weren't rewarded. It's nice to come out on top here."

The Islanders failed to score on three power plays. The Sharks penalty killing unit hasn't allowed a power-play goal in 12 chances over its last three games.

The Sharks had a short-handed scoring chance after Joakim Ryan was called for holding at 14:33 in the third period, when Greiss turned away Chris Tierney's shot in front of the goal.

Greiss survived relentless pressure in a third period in which the Sharks had 15 shots on goal.

"It felt like it was going to break, it just never did," Sharks center Joe Pavelski said. "A little bit of credit to Greisser over there, but with us, we've got to keep pushing and find a way.

"I thought we were going to tie it, but encouraging to see the way guys played for a second straight game here. Wanted a better result, for sure, but guys played hard."

NOTES: Islanders C Alan Quine (wrist) is with the team on its West Coast trip and has been practicing. He'll likely go to Bridgeport of the AHL on a conditioning assignment if he's ready when the team returns home on Monday. ... RW Clutterbuck (hip) was in Saturday's lineup after missing the last three games and C Jordan Eberle was on the ice a day after missing Friday's practice with an injury he suffered in practice the previous day. ... Sharks D Paul Martin missed a second straight game with a lower body injury. Coach Pete DeBoer said the injury is day-to-day.

UP NEXT

Islanders: At the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night.

Sharks: Host the Montreal Canadians on Tuesday night.