Sharks hold court over Kings in 4-2 win


Sharks hold court over Kings in 4-2 win


SAN JOSE -- They werent going to let a third period lead disappear this time. Not against the Los Angeles Kings.Logan Coutures goal at 6:40 of the final frame increased San Joses lead to three, and the Sharks held on to defeat their rivals to the south on Monday night at HP Pavilion, 4-2.San Jose was ahead of Nashville by the same 3-1 score on Saturday night, before the Predators erased it and won in overtime at HP Pavilion, 4-3.Coutures goal came when he found a juicy rebound of a Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot off of the pad of goaltender Jonathan Quick, and backhanded in his sixth goal of the year.

Very important, is how Todd McLellan described the goal. When you give up a lead in the third like we did the other day, its always in the back of your mind.The game was won in the second period, though. The Sharks trailed after Jack Johnsons rocket of a one-timer on a two-man advantage opened the scoring at 6:19 of the second, but San Jose took over from there.The Sharks scored three times before the period was through, outshooting the Kings 21-8 in the process.Joe Thornton got it started. The Sharks captain controlled the puck behind the net, skated around towards the slot, and caught Quick leaning the wrong way as he lifted a backhand in off of the Kings goaltenders glove at 11:39.I kind of just saw that he was cheating at the very, very end, and I just wanted to get it on net and hopefully bank it in, said Thornton. I got lucky, I guess.San Jose took its first lead less than a minute later. Dan Boyle skated the puck over the blue line and patiently waited as defensemen Johnson and Rob Scuderi faded back towards the crease. Boyles low wrister found the tape of Marleau for a deflection goal at 12:35.Kings forwards Simon Gagne and Justin Williams got tangled up on the backcheck as Boyle skated it up the ice, giving the defenseman plenty of time to survey the landscape before his feed to Marleau.Obviously when I put the brakes on, I have to make a decision. Im no longer in position to skate the puck in because Im standing still, explained Boyle. Its either right side, left side, or on net, and I figured Id go with my chances on Patty going to the net there.The Sharks got a two-man advantage goal of their own at 17:02, when the puck squirted out to Boyle in the high slot and he ripped it home.Boyle seemed relieved to get his first goal of the season out of the way.I felt like Ive been playing with a tennis ball most of this year, the puck has been bouncing around a lot, he said. With an open net like that, everybody in the building expects you to put it in. It was nice to get rewarded, finally, for putting the puck on net.Coutures third period goal gave the Sharks their 4-1 lead, but the Kings didnt go away easily. Colin Whites cross-checking penalty in the third period put L.A. back on the power play, and Boyle gave Anze Kopitar a little too much room on the wing as the Kings leading scorer managed to put in his own rebound at 8:28.That was as close as L.A. would get, though, despite having a six-on-four advantage in the games final minute-and-a-half with Couture in the box and Quick pulled for an extra attacker.Antti Niemi finished the night with 29 saves, in a solid bounce-back performance from his previous two games. The goaltender allowed two third period goals to the Predators that he would have liked to have back on Saturday, and was pulled just 2:04 into last Thursdays game against Pittsburgh.In the first period, he stopped all 15 Kings shots thrown his way, including a pair on the snake bitten Dustin Penner. The Kings forward was denied on a breakaway midway through, and Niemi gloved his quick wrist shot on a setup from Mike Richards with less than a minute before intermission.Niemi explained both chances. On the breakaway, I tried to make him go first, and thats what happened. I got the paddle down so I dont think he had too much there. On the glove save, he caught me moving a little bit and put the puck back to the same side he was coming from. Pretty good shot, but I was able to catch it.He played great, said Thornton. Penner had a couple good shots on him and he made some big saves. I think after the first period, we kind of said lets let Nemo relax and score some goals and give him a comfort zone. But, he kept us in it early in the first.Penner, who was acquired from Edmonton at last years trade deadline and has been nothing short of a bust for the Kings, is still looking for his first goal.The victory, the Sharks third of the year at home, extends the Kings winless streak to five games (0-3-2).Odds and ends: Marleau finished with a goal and two assists for three points. Other Sharks with multiple-point nights included Joe Pavelski (2a), Thornton (1g, 1a) and Boyle (1g, 1a). The Sharks have both scored and allowed two goals on the two-man advantage this season The Sharks and Kings next meeting is on Nov. 28 at Staples Center. Ryane Clowe had a breakaway at the end of the second period but lost control of the puck at the last second. ... The Sharks have a complete day off on Tuesday.

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


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


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


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.


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.