Sharks outworked by Blues after failing on early chances

Sharks outworked by Blues after failing on early chances

SAN JOSE – It was a play that Joe Pavelski finishes off nearly every time.

On a five-on-three power play in a scoreless game early in the second period, Pavelski was given a perfect feed through the seam from Joe Thornton. The Sharks captain settled the puck and was staring at a wide open net, as goalie Carter Hutton didn’t have time to react.

But instead of smacking it through, Pavelski pulled the shot just a little bit, hitting the outside of the net. Eight seconds later he hauled down Colton Parayko for an interference minor, and about a minute after that it was Parayko who gave the Blues a 1-0 lead on a brief power play with Pavelski still in the box.

St. Louis gradually took the game over from there, polishing off the Sharks at SAP Center on Saturday, 4-0.

“I think I put that in every other time, and missed it,” Pavelski said. “Next thing you know [Parayko] is spinning and falling down. It takes away a little momentum drawing that penalty then. So, it just can’t happen. It’s an area we should go up 1-0, so I’ll take [the blame] for that part.”

Pete DeBoer said: “The five-on-three, that’s a game changing moment. You get a couple, there’s a positive reaction, and we don’t. It’s downhill after that. That’s something that we have to cash in on.”

The Blues entered the game as one of the worst defensive teams in the league, especially lately. They had given up 10 goals in their last two games, both decisive losses, and 30 in their last eight before shutting down the Sharks on Saturday. It was just their sixth road win of the season (6-11-1).

San Jose’s best chances came in the first period. Chris Tierney hit the post on a partial breakaway, Thornton was denied on a one-timer from between the circles, and Mikkel Boedker’s open look from the slot was also denied by Hutton.

It was consecutive penalties to Alex Steen and Alex Pietrangelo just 11 seconds apart in the second period presented the best chance of all. The Sharks couldn’t crack the scoreboard, though, and the Blues survived being two men down for nearly two minutes despite going just 26-for-36 on the PK over their last nine games.

The Sharks just didn’t look the same after Parayko’s goal, while the Blues upped their intensity.

DeBoer said: “They won more battles, they won more races. You’re not going to win a game when the other team is more desperate than you unless you have everything go right. We didn’t tonight.”

“I think the first period we had a couple [chances], but that’s deceiving,” Logan Couture said. “I don’t think we were very good from the start of the game.”

The Blues also seemed to gain some steam from Thornton’s five-minute major in the second period, when he speared Paul Stastny at center ice and was kicked out of the game with 29 minutes left. Stastny's teammates, including the captain Pietrangelo, let Thornton know they didn't appreciate the dirty gesture.

The Sharks were hoping that might get them going. The opposite happened.

“That should fire us up, if anything. When he gets mixed up, it normally does,” Pavelski said. “If we lose a guy or something happens, we need to respond better than what we did.”

Couture said: “The game declined from that point on. It’s unfortunate. For guys like Pav, myself, [Patrick Marleau] – we want to elevate and try to fill that void. The younger guys should try to elevate and fill that void as well with the opportunity, and it didn’t happen tonight.”

The anatomy of Jannik Hansen's recently-broken scoring drought after nearly one year


The anatomy of Jannik Hansen's recently-broken scoring drought after nearly one year

Jannik Hansen's game-winning goal against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday marked the first time he scored in 355 days. 

Hansen last scored on Mar. 30, 2017 against the Edmonton Oilers, his second goal with the Sharks following an in-season trade. His scoring drought, in all, lasted 44 regular season games, 50 if you include the postseason. 

How exactly does a goal-scoring drought last nearly a year? The right (wrong?) circumstances all need to come together, and that was certainly the case for Hansen for much of the last year.

For one, the Danish forward was in and out of the lineup. San Jose played 83 regular season and postseason games between Hansen's second and third goals, and he did not play in 33 of those games. Plenty of players have had rough 50-game stretches, and that's often without not playing for weeks at a time, as Hansen has done a couple of times this season. 

When Hansen did draw into the lineup this year, however, he wasn't generating offense at the same rate he had in the past. This season, Hansen's five-on-five shot rate (6.19 shots per 60 minutes), shot attempt rate (10.53 individual corsi per 60), and unblocked shot attempt rate (8.95 individual fenwick per 60) were all down from his career averages, according to Corsica Hockey. 

That decline is natural, considering Hansen turned 32 just six days ago. Those rates were not down enough, however, to expect him to fail to score in his first 39 appearances this season. Naturally, a long run of bad luck played a big role in Hansen's dry spell.

Hansen went 0-for-66 in shots over the 50 consecutive regular season and playoff games in which he did not score. He's a career 11-percent shooter, and had he shot at his career average, he would have scored seven goals during that time. That feels about right for a bottom-six forward. 

In many ways, all of these factors fed into one another. Hansen wasn't generating shots or scoring, then was scratched, then couldn't find the back of the net when he returned and was scratched again. All the while, fellow fourth-liners Marcus Sorensen (26.7 percent shooting percentage this season), Joel Ward (14.3 percent) and Barclay Goodrow (13.2 percent) were converting on their chances, forcing Peter DeBoer's hand. 

His possession play has been solid all season (50.74 percent corsi-for, per Natural Stat Trick), but the offense hasn't followed. When it does, as was the case Tuesday night, he can be an effective fourth-line forward, and the goal on Tuesday bought him more time to prove it. 

Sharks blow out Devils for season-high fifth straight win

Sharks blow out Devils for season-high fifth straight win


SAN JOSE -- Jannik Hansen scored his first goal of the season and fellow fourth-liners Eric Fehr and Barclay Goodrow also scored to help the San Jose Sharks win their season-high fifth straight game, 6-2 over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.

Logan Couture added his 30th goal of the season, and Joe Pavelski and Mikkel Boedker also scored to give the Sharks a four-point lead over third-place Los Angeles in the Pacific Division with one game in hand.

Brent Burns added three assists and Martin Jones made 26 saves.

The scoring barrage by San Jose spoiled Cory Schneider's return to net for the Devils. Schneider allowed four goals on 14 shots before getting pulled midway through the second period of his first start since March 8. Schneider has lost 11 starts in a row since his last win for the Devils on Dec. 27.

Taylor Hall scored his 32nd goal of the season and Blake Coleman also scored for the Devils, who lead Florida by just one point in the race for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers have two games in hand.

After Hansen and Fehr scored in the first period, Goodrow chipped one in midway through the second period on a surprising night of scoring from the fourth line when he beat Schneider on a 2-on-1.

Couture then scored 40 seconds later on San Jose's first shot against Keith Kinkaid for his third career 30-goal season. Boedker added San Jose's second power-play goal of the night late in the second and the rout was on.

The Sharks got off to a fast start in their first game back from a 3-0 Canadian road trip, scoring three goals in the first period and killing 1:20 of a two-man advantage for New Jersey.

The teams traded goals to start with Fehr beating Schneider over the shoulder from a bad angle and Hall answering when he stole a bouncing puck from Justin Braunand beat Jones with a quick shot.

San Jose then scored twice in a span of less than three minutes to take the lead. Pavelski tipped in a shot from Kevin Labanc on the power play to give the Sharks the lead.

Then after Jones denied Damon Severson from in close at one end, Dylan DeMelo sent a long pass that Hansen chased down and then beat Schneider on a breakaway for his first goal since March 30, 2017.

NOTES: DeMelo has 10 assists this month. ... San Jose D Brenden Dillon has a five-game point streak. ... Devils F Miles Wood (upper body) was scratched and Jesper Bratt played in his place.


Devils: Visit Pittsburgh on Friday.

Sharks: Host Vegas on Thursday.