Three takeaways: Boedker gets on the scoresheet after benching

Three takeaways: Boedker gets on the scoresheet after benching

SAN JOSE – The Sharks capped off their homestand with a 2-1 overtime win over Arizona Tuesday night, thanks to goals by Chris Tierney and Brent Burns. Three takeaways from the game…

1 – Finally getting past Arizona

The Coyotes remain in a rebuild and almost certainly won’t make the playoffs this year, so the last thing the Sharks wanted was to lose to them for the third time this month. While there were getting plenty of shots on Mike Smith – again – they finally realized in the second period they were going to have to get a little dirtier in front of the net if they were going to beat him.

The fourth line put together a couple dangerous shifts, creating havoc around the net, before Tierney finally found a way.

“Huge goal by Tierney there to tie it up 1-1 at the end of the second. That gives us a little shot,” Joe Pavelski said. 

It’s encouraging that even when the Sharks are struggling for offense, they rarely take unnecessary risks that put them in a bind defensively. That’s been a theme all season long, and it’s why they find themselves in first place in the Pacific Division on Wednesday morning.

“I think the guys did a good job of not cheating for offense, were really working back, and making sure guys were above,” Tierney said. “They’ve got a lot of speed they can burn you in two-on-ones, and off the rush if we’re not careful. I thought we stuck the course, and ended up getting the win.”

2 – Boedker gets on the scoresheet

After he was benched in the third period of Saturday’s loss to the Ducks, Mikkel Boedker had his most effective game in weeks. He recorded an assist on Tierney’s goal and had one shot and three attempts in 13:16, and just seemed to be more involved in the play after coach Pete DeBoer questioned his compete level.

“I thought he was moving his feet well,” Tierney said. “He’s got great speed, and he was really getting in on the forecheck I thought, and turning pucks over. He made a great play on the goal, he kept it in and got it down to me there. I thought his speed was real effective tonight and his compete level was good.”

3 – Scrums aplenty

Likely a result of the clubs seeing one another for the third time in just four weeks, there were a number of pushes and shoves exchanged after the whistle, even if there weren’t any outright fights. Rookie Kevin Labanc showed a bit of feistiness, getting into it with Jamie McGinn, and Brenden Dillon quickly jumped in to aid his teammate.

“For us, we stick together as a team, and he's a young guy coming up,” Dillon said. “[A] couple guys, [Shane Doan] and whatnot, are probably 20 years older than him, and he's not shying away.”

As for Dillon, he was pleased to see his teammates kill off an interference minor with 7:29 to go in the third period on a call he didn’t agree with.

“One goal game, I'm just trying to come back to the blue line and we're both kind of entitled to that space,” he said. “That happens I don't know how many times in a game, two guys going to each other. One fell over and he was still able to be up. Big kill, and it was nice that we were able to capitalize on the power play [in overtime].”

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.

With Devils in town, Sharks will get firsthand look at top contender for MVP


With Devils in town, Sharks will get firsthand look at top contender for MVP

As the season winds down, whispers surrounding players’ awards candidacies are turning into full-blown conversations. None are more interesting than those surrounding the Hart Trophy, awarded to “the player judged to be the most valuable to his team,” according to the NHL’s criteria.

The Sharks have already seen their fair share of MVP candidates since the trade deadline, and will encounter yet another one on Tuesday when Taylor Hall and the New Jersey Devils stop by SAP Center. They’ll see a couple more beyond Hall over the next three weeks, too.

Who do we think has the best case? With no disrespect meant to Nikita Kucherov or Anze Kopitar, Hart Trophy candidates that the Sharks won’t play before the playoffs, we’ll look at the ones the Sharks have played since the deadline or will play before the end of the regular season.

The Dark Horses
Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals: The demise of the ‘Great Eight’ was greatly exaggerated. In his 13th NHL season, the 32-year-old is tied for the league lead in goals (43), 11th in points (78), and has led a depleted Capitals roster to the precipice of a third-straight division title. That probably won’t be enough to earn his fourth Hart Trophy, but this is undoubtedly one of Ovi’s best seasons.

Eric Staal, Minnesota Wild: Staal was a pleasant surprise when he scored 65 points last year, but has been even better this season. He’s tied for fourth in the in goals (39), tied for fifth in even strength goals (26), tied for 19th in points (71), and leading his team in each category as a 33-year-old. The Wild are a near-lock for the postseason at this point, and a resurgent Staal deserves much of the credit.

The Frontrunners
Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers: McDavid’s candidacy comes down to where you fall on the “non-playoff players winning MVP” debate, but his value to the lottery-bound Oilers cannot be denied. Edmonton is 28-19-3 when he’s scored a point, and 3-17-2 when he hasn’t.

The former is about a 97-point pace in the standings over an 82-game season, while the latter is about a 30-point pace. In other words, the Oilers are basically a playoff team when McDavid scores, and historically bad when he doesn’t.

We’re sympathetic to questions about how valuable a player can be when his team will finish so far out of the postseason. However, imagining how much worse the poorly-constructed Oilers would be without him makes him a worthy candidate alone.

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche: The Colorado Avalanche were 31 points worse than the league’s second-worst team last season, and finished 46 points out of the postseason. A full offseason with second-year coach Jared Bednar, as well as some under-the-radar acquisitions have helped the Avalanche’s remarkable turnaround into a Wild Card team, but Nathan MacKinnon is undoubtedly the catalyst.

The former No. 1 pick has put it all together this season, and is tied-for-second in points (89) with McDavid, despite playing eight fewer games. His 1.39 points per game are the most in the league, as are his 3.49 points per 60 minutes of five-on-five play, according to Natural Stat Trick (minimum 500 minutes played).

The Avalanche is the league’s fifth-worst five-on-five puck possession team overall (47.42 percent corsi-for), but are right around league-average with MacKinnon on the ice (50.96 percent). He’d be a very worthy Hart Trophy winner, and likely would be the clear-cut frontrunner if not for the man leading the Devils into SAP Center on Tuesday.

The Favorite
Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils: McDavid is not the only No. 1 pick the Oilers drafted that’s in the MVP conversation, but he’s the only one still on their roster. The other is Taylor Hall, who has the best Hart Trophy case in our eyes.

Hall strikes the sweet spot between McDavid’s case, as a superstar with little support around him, and MacKinnon’s, as an emergent force leading a resurgence, and he has a 26-game point streak to his name. He sits outside the top 10 in points (77), goals (31), and assists (46), but has scored points at a higher rate per game (1.15) than all but six qualifying players.

He also doesn’t have Mikko Rantanen or Leon Draisaitl skating alongside him as MacKinnon and McDavid do, nor does he have a supporting cast like Kucherov and Kopitar. Of all the players the Sharks have and will face down the stretch, Hall’s been the player most valuable to his team this season.