Sharks snap skid with 3-2 win in Edmonton


Sharks snap skid with 3-2 win in Edmonton


EDMONTON Logan Coutures power play goal early in the third period keyed a 3-2 Sharks win over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night at Rexall Place, ending San Joses five-game losing streak.

Just 38 seconds into the third period and with Linus Omark still in the box for a delay of game penalty late in the second, Couture got a piece of Dan Boyles blast from high in the zone for his team-leading 28th of the season.

San Jose entered 0-for-14 in its last six games with a man advantage, but scored twice in two chances in the much-needed win. It moves them into ninth place in the Western Conference with 78 points, one behind Colorado and Phoenix.

The Sharks visit the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night, looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since Jan. 31 Feb. 2.

After killing off a holding call to Douglas Murray earlier in the second period, the Sharks got their first power play when Taylor Hall was called for tripping at 11:29. It took all of seven seconds for Patrick Marleau to feed Joe Thornton in the slot for a one-timer that beat Devan Dubnyk to give the Sharks a 2-1 advantage.

For the second time in the game, the lead didnt last. Hall made up for his penalty when he blocked an ill-advised shot at the point by Brent Burns and raced the other way. His wrist shot from a tough angle got past Antii Niemi at 14:54 to make it a 2-2 game at the intermission.

After Coutures goal, the Sharks clamped down on the young and speedy Oilers, ending the four-game season series against Edmonton with a 2-0-2 mark.

It took San Jose just 67 seconds after the faceoff to take a 1-0 lead, thanks to a great shift by Torrey Mitchell. The Sharks winger made a nice move along the boards and got the puck to Marc-Edouard Vlasic at the point. Dubnyk stopped Vlasics wrister, as was the rebound try by Tommy Wingels, before Mitchell charged in to deposit his eighth goal.

Mitchell, an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, has three goals in the last five games.

Edmonton controlled play for much of the rest of the first, though, and finally tied it during a four-on-four. On a two-on-two rush, Murray backed off of Ryan Whitney and allowed the Oilers defenseman to blast a slap shot past Niemi at 19:10.

The Sharks have allowed eight goals during four-on-four play, and scored just two.

In a desperate search for more offense, Sharks coach Todd McLellan drastically altered his forward lines for the game. Thornton played with Joe Pavelski and Couture; Marleau was between Daniel Winnik and Ryane Clowe; while Dominic Moore centered Wingels and Mitchell.

Andrew Desjardins, Benn Ferriero and TJ Galiardi made up the fourth line, while defenseman Colin White was scratched for the first time in 25 games.

Odds and ends: Jim Vandermeer, Brad Winchester and Michal Handzus were the healthy scratches for the Sharks. Joe Thornton has four goals and 16 assists in his last 12 games vs. Edmonton.

Jones strong in goal, contains Coyotes to snap Sharks' three-game skid


Jones strong in goal, contains Coyotes to snap Sharks' three-game skid


GLENDALE, Ariz.  — Logan Couture scored his team-best 11th goal to help lift the San Jose Sharks to a 3-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday night.

Joe Thornton also scored and Joel Ward added an empty-net goal with 47.8 to play for the Sharks, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

Brendan Perlini scored with 7:37 to go, ruining Sharks goalie Martin Jones' bid for his second shutout of the season. The Coyotes saw their season-high three-game winning streak snapped and lost for the eighth time in nine home games (1-7-1).

Jones finished with 26 saves.

Coyotes goalie Antti Raanta left at 14:37 of the first period with an upper-body injury. Couture had collided with Raanta more than four minutes earlier, earning an interference penalty. Raanta skated to the bench during a stoppage in play and retreated to the locker room.

Scott Wedgewood took Raanta's place and was in net for only five seconds before the Sharks broke through. Wedgewood stopped Brent Burns' long shot from the top of the right circle even after it deflected off San Jose right wing Timo Meier. But the rebound kicked to the bottom of the right circle, where Thornton swept in and beat the goalie with a quick wrist shot.

San Jose made it 2-0 at 4:56 of the second, taking advantage of Arizona's inability to clear the zone while the Sharks were on a line change.

Justin Braun fought three Coyotes for the puck along the right boards before Joonas Donskoi swooped in, skated to the goal line then sent a pass across to Couture. Couture deked Wedgewood to the ice with a forehand fake, then scored on the backhand.

Perlini cut the lead to 2-1 when he redirected Derek Stepan's shot from the top of the right circle past Jones.

NOTES: Thornton has 22 goals and 83 points in 82 career games against Arizona. ... The Coyotes, who had played seven of their past eight on the road, opened a three-game homestand. ... Raanta made eight saves before leaving and has stopped 98 of the past 105 shots he's faced. ... Couture's goal was his first in five games.


Sharks: visit Las Vegas on Friday

Don't blame Joakim Ryan for Brent Burns' struggles


Don't blame Joakim Ryan for Brent Burns' struggles

Over the last three years, Brent Burns played with only one defensive partner more in a single season than he has with Joakim Ryan in 2017-18.

That partner, of course, is Paul Martin, who’s missed all but two games this season due to complications from offseason ankle surgery. Martin is set to miss yet more time after experiencing a setback in his recovery, although the injury is not related to his ailing ankle, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Martin’s absence, combined with the fact that Burns has gone 20 games without a goal this season, has naturally led to questions about whether their separation is causing Burns to struggle.

That’s not the case.

Burns is actually playing a bit better alongside Ryan than he was with Martin. In just over 257 minutes together at even strength, the Sharks have controlled 55.74 percent of the shot attempts with Burns and Ryan on the ice, according to Corsica Hockey, up from Burns and Martin’s 52.13 percent mark together.

The Sharks are attempting more shots than their opponents when Burns and Ryan play, they’re doing so at a higher rate. With Burns and Ryan on the ice, the Sharks are attempting nearly nine more shots per 60 minutes than when Burns and Martin together, and just over two more shots per 60 minutes are hitting the net.

As we’ve written about previously, Burns’ scoring struggles date back to the stretch run last season, when he was playing alongside Martin. It wasn’t Martin’s fault then, just as it’s not Ryan’s fault now.

The puck simply isn’t going in. Through 20 games this season, Burns has 82 shots on goal and zero goals. Through 20 games in his Norris Trophy-winning campaign, Burns had 83 shots on goal and seven goals.

It’s not like Burns was super lucky then, either, as his 8.3 percent shooting percentage through 20 games last season was only one percent higher than his career average. Shooting at a zero percent clip after 20 games is, clearly, the outlier.

Together, Burns and Ryan have been more unlucky than anything else. When the two skate during five-on-five play, the Sharks are scoring on only 3.45 percent of their shots, much lower than the 8.26 percent San Jose scored on when Martin and Burns played together.

At 32 years old, it would be a stretch to expect Burns to match or exceed his heights from a season ago, but it would be an even bigger one to expect him to struggle much longer alongside Ryan. 

They've done everything right, they just haven't scored.