Sharks remind themselves they can play with anyone in doubling up Caps

Sharks remind themselves they can play with anyone in doubling up Caps

SAN JOSE – The Sharks already believe they’re a very good hockey team. Last season’s run to the Stanley Cup Final, and this season’s comfortable lead in the Pacific Division are examples 1A and 1B of why they’re correct about that.

But last Sunday’s lopsided loss in Minnesota, a club challenging for the President’s Trophy, was a dud. Even though it was a rare regulation defeat in the second half of a season in which the Sharks are regularly collecting points, the fact they were so soundly beaten at this late stage of the season by a club that they may have to face in the playoffs at some point had to be a bit disturbing.

Perhaps that was why they were dialed in against the NHL-leading Capitals from the drop of the puck on Thursday night, putting forth one of their more complete efforts of the season in a 4-2 victory. Every facet of their game was on point.

“That’s what it felt like. Guys came out, we didn’t miss a beat,” Joe Pavelski said. 

Despite the Capitals taking a 1-0 lead on a Daniel Winnik goal, “nothing changed in our game,” said the captain. “If anything, we kind of just dug in a little deeper and our focus kind of intensified. On the bench that’s what it felt like, everyone was in there tonight. It felt good out there.”

Special teams was crucial, as the Sharks finally got their power play going while the penalty kill was a perfect 5-for-5. Logan Couture scored two goals with a man advantage, while Pavelski tipped in a low Brent Burns shot-pass in the second period in what was officially an even strength goal, but came while Brooks Orpik still had a skate in the box.

Couture and Pavelski both spoke earlier in the week about how their power play unit had to work a little harder to generate chances, as the Sharks started the night ranked 23rd in the NHL. Joe Thornton mentioned they’ve “had a lot of meetings lately,” too.

Whether it was their work ethic, Pete DeBoer’s classroom laser pointer, or a combination of the two, something finally clicked.

“When your power play goes dry for a little bit you kind of second guess yourself, and I think with a game like that we just wanted to work hard for each other, work away from the puck hard, and I think we did that,” Thornton said.

Couture said: “We watched a lot of video, noticed some stuff the last couple days, and worked on it during practice. I think tonight the biggest difference was supporting each other and working hard.”

Newcomer Jannik Hansen had an immediate impact in his debut. He assisted on Thornton’s early game-tying goal in the first period, setting up the future Hall of Famer for a one-time blast, but perhaps his biggest effect came with the Sharks down a man.

Despite having just one practice with his new team, Hansen skated for four minutes and 52 seconds on the penalty kill – tops among forwards. While it usually takes a few practices for a new player to get used to a team’s system on the PK, Hansen indicated it wasn’t all that complicated against the Capitals.

“I think every team kills the same way against them,” Hansen said. “They have a certain way and teams seem to adjust to the way they play. It’s obviously the [role] I played the most in Vancouver. I'm not a power play guy, I'm not a setup guy. I play in the trenches in front of the net, killing penalties, digging pucks out."

Thornton said: “His penalty killing tonight was huge. He had a great game, I thought.”

Hansen was credited with a team-high five hits and one shot to go along with his primary assist. His linemates were impressed, and if one game is any indication, he should remain with Thornton and Pavelski for quite some time.

“It felt like we were playing with him for a long time, it really did,” Pavelski said. “He just went, and went hard. Made a lot of plays. His speed, kind of playing on the inside, allowed us to keep a few pucks alive.”

While Hansen’s performance was notable, most of his teammates played splendidly, too. They took advantage of a chance to remind themselves – and their home fans – they can compete with the league’s best, after all.

“We know we can play against any top team in this league, and it’s a good feeling to have,” Thornton said.

Where does Evander Kane's four-goal game rank in Sharks history?

Where does Evander Kane's four-goal game rank in Sharks history?

Sharks winger Evander Kane returns to his hometown of Vancouver on Saturday, fresh off of doing something a Vancouver-born player had not done in nearly 30 years. 

On Friday, Kane became the first such player to score four goals in an NHL game since Hockey Hall of Famer Glenn Anderson, who scored four goals with the Edmonton Oilers against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 19, 1988. It was also the first hat-trick of Kane's career, and just the fourth four-goal game in Sharks history. 

The latter point got us thinking, where does Kane's four-goal effort rank among those games? Using a rigorous, highly scientific process (read: the thoughts of this writer), we've come up with the definitive ranking. 

Without further adieu, we start with another power forward acquired in a midseason trade. 

4. Owen Nolan (Dec. 19, 1995 at Anaheim)

The Final Line: Four goals (Three power play goals), One assist, Six shots on goal

You never forget your first, so we begin with Owen Nolan, the first player to accomplish the feat in franchise history. If not for Kane and another entrant on this list (no spoilers), Nolan would still be the fastest to do it, scoring four goals in just his 27th game and just under two months after the Sharks acquired him from the Colorado Avalanche.

Nolan struck quickly throughout. He opened the scoring just 1:22 into the game against the then-Mighty Ducks, then scored his second only 57 seconds into the second period. His third and fourth, both on the power play, came 34 seconds apart in that same period. 

Just as Kane did on Friday, Nolan scored as many goals as the opposing team in a 7-4 win. It didn't quite have the same impact on the playoff race, however, as San Jose picked up its seventh win....of the entire season (in its 34th game) thanks to Nolan.

3. Patrick Marleau (Jan. 23, 2017 at Colorado)

The Final Line: Four goals (including the game-winner), Six shots on goal

The 1,459th time was the charm for the longest-tenured player in Sharks history, and the then-37-year-old Marleau became the second-oldest since 1987 to score four in a game. The oldest, Martin St. Louis, actually reached the feat against the Sharks as a 38-year-old in 2014. 

Marleau scored all four goals in a span of 13-and-a-half minutes in the third period, which began with the game tied at one. Three of those goals constituted a natural hat trick, in just a 7:42 stretch.

This game also jumpstarted Marleau's pursuit of a major milestone, as the goals were No. 494, 495, 496, and 497 of his career. He scored No. 500 a week-and-a-half later, but the four-goal game gave Marleau yet another signature moment in teal. 

2. Evander Kane (Mar. 16, 2018 at Calgary)

The Final Line: Four goals, Seven shots on goal 

Of all the players to score four goals in Sharks history, Kane certainly had the best timing. With San Jose in the thick of a playoff race and in need of a win, the newly-acquired forward delivered. 

He only needed eight games to score four goals for the first time in teal, but needed 565 for the first hat-trick of his career. The exuberance (and relief) was palpable after Kane scored his third, and that goal put the Sharks up by two. 

The desperate Flames, now four points out of the playoffs, would never get closer than that again, and Kane essentially put the game out of reach with his fourth goal 62 seconds into the third period. No Sharks player has scored four goals in a playoff game, but this one comes the closest. 

1. Tomas Hertl (Oct. 9, 2013 vs New York Rangers)

The Final Line: Four goals (One power play goal), Seven shots on goal

In just his third NHL game, and in front of his griflriend and mother visiting from the native Czech Republic, Tomas Hertl became then the fourth-youngest player in NHL history (now the sixth-youngest) to score a hat-trick-plus-one. If not for Auston Matthews scoring four in his debutHertl has arguably the most memorable four-goal game by a young player to his name. 

Of all the Sharks to score four in a game, Hertl did it the most efficiently. He only played 11:12 in that game against the Rangers, and still scored four goals on seven shots. 

Yes, it was in an October blowout, but no other four-goal game has had the same impact on the rest of the hockey world. From a fourth goal tailor-made to go viral, to the ensuing Hot Takes ("Hertl's disrespecting the game!") and subsequent jokes (Joe Thornton's still looking for four goals) it spawned, Hertl captivated the hockey world in a way no other Shark that's scored four has, and all by living his "dream, no reality."

Kane leads Sharks to critical win on four-goal night

Kane leads Sharks to critical win on four-goal night


CALGARY, Alberta -- Evander Kane scored four goals to lead the San Jose Sharks past the Calgary Flames 7-4 on Friday night.

Tomas Hertl had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, who have won three straight and four of five. Kevin Lebanc and Eric Fehr also scored, and Martin Jones made 30 saves.

It was the first NHL hat trick for Kane, acquired from Buffalo just before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

Micheal Ferland had a goal and an assist for the Flames, who are four points out of a playoff spot. Troy BrouwerMark Jankowski and Johnny Gaudreau also scored for Calgary.

Three nights after stopping all 28 shots he faced against the Oilers, Calgary goalie Mike Smith had a rough outing as he made just 14 saves before being replaced by David Rittich early in the third period. Rittich went on to stop all seven shots he faced in a relief appearance.

The Sharks opened the scoring six minutes into the first period when Kane's wrist shot beat Smith to the glove side.

The Flames pulled even at 16:42 when Brouwer chipped a pass from Curtis Lazar into the top corner behind Jones. Matt Stajan stole the puck from Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon behind the San Jose net to get the play started.

Jankowski took a pass from linemate Garnet Hathaway and wired a shot to the top corner, glove side behind Jones to put Calgary up 2-1 at 2:10 of the second period.

Kane then redirected Dillon's point shot past Smith at 6:29 before Gaudreau cut into the slot and snapped a shot past Jones at 10:16 to put Calgary back up by a goal.

That lead lasted just 1:26 as Lebanc fired a shot from a sharp angle into the top corner past Smith to pull the Sharks into a 3-all tie.

Kane completed his hat trick at 16:32 when he swatted in his own rebound before Hertl poked the puck through Smith's legs with 1:58 remaining before the second intermission.

The Sharks added an insurance goal 62 seconds into the third when Kane redirected a pass from Joe Pavelski past Smith.

Ferland backhanded a shot past Jones to pull Calgary within two goals with 5:35 left in regulation and Rittich on the bench for an extra attacker. Fehr rounded out the scoring with an empty-net goal 1:37 later.

NOTES: Jankowski suited up for the Flames after sitting out Tuesday's 1-0 win over Edmonton. Fellow forward Kris Versteeg returned to Calgary's lineup after missing the past 49 games with a hip injury. ... Gaudreau extended his point streak to six games (three goals, five assists).


Sharks: At the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.

Flames: At the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday.