Three takeaways: Vlasic's monster game in return to Sharks lineup

Three takeaways: Vlasic's monster game in return to Sharks lineup

EDMONTON – The Sharks improved to a perfect 2-0 against the upstart Oilers on Tuesday night in what was their first of two games this season at the brand new Rogers Place. Mikkel Boedker played a starring role – yes, Mikkel Boedker – in the 5-3 victory. The three takeaways from the game, below…

1 – Boedker’s night

Immediately after Saturday’s Sharks win over Detroit, when Boedker was credited for a goal when a Brent Burns shot deflected in off of his sweater, I asked the winger if he was hopeful that the goals might start coming “in bunches” now.

"They always seem to, in some ways. Got keep going to the right areas, and good things happen,” he said.

His first goal was a direct result of getting to the front of the net, when a deflected puck made its way to his stick just outside of the blue paint. He patiently waited to pick his spot before flicking it through. It was the kind of situation that he might have panicked in and flubbed earlier this season when he was struggling with his game and his confidence.

“His first goal really got us going,” Joe Pavelski said. “It was a nice play by him to wait. There's not much space, and he puts it up there.”

Now with six goals and 12 points in 40 games, Boedker seems to be finding some chemistry with Melker Karlsson on the fourth line, too. If that keeps up, the Sharks should have a dangerous four-line attack.
“He’s a hard-working guy," Boedker said of Karlsson. “He’s simple to play with, and he doesn’t do anything that is not needed. He goes with a purpose, and it’s easy to follow that, and it’s easy to play off of that. [Micheal Haley] today did the same thing, so we were a good line today.”

2 – Vlasic’s return

Marc-Edouard Vlasic not only played for the first time in five games, but he skated for 25:44 – a season high. The Sharks lost defenseman Dylan DeMelo in the second period, so Vlasic and Burns (29:33) saw extended ice time.

Vlasic finished with a pair of assists and a plus-three rating while blocking a game-high seven shots, playing mostly against the Connor McDavid line.

“It's fun playing a fast, skilled team,” Vlasic said. “Had a lot of fun playing against their best line. We got caught a little bit turning the puck over, and when you do that, they made us pay. But other than that, I thought we played well against a very good team.”

Pete DeBoer said: “We probably don’t win without him. [To] sit for as long as he did, played 25 minutes, [seven] blocked shots, two assists. He’s a real important piece for us, obviously. It’s nice to have him back there.”

There was a scary moment late in the second period when Vlasic was caught up high with a stick, but he returned to start the third. Fortunately for him, Jordan Eberle’s blade caught him below his damaged face.

"Spear right in the throat,” Vlasic said. “It’s accidental, but unlucky that this crap keeps happening to me."

3 – Timeout calms the troops

Pete DeBoer obviously holds his players accountable, as evidenced by the numerous healthy scratches this season to important players. But he also holds himself accountable, and several players indicated after the game that DeBoer admitted to them that he should have used his timeout in the disastrous third period against Minnesota last Thursday.

He used it after Edmonton scored a pair of goals in the third to get back into the game, and it had the desired effect as Logan Couture added some important insurance shortly after.

“We talked about it the other day. Pete brought it up to us, maybe he could have used his time out in the Minnesota game,” Pavelski said.

A coach has to balance whether to use the timeout, or save it for a potential coach’s challenge.

“I just felt after what happened the last game when we didn’t use it, that we wanted to,” DeBoer said. “I don’t think it was the difference in the [Edmonton] game, but we kind of regrouped and settled in, and that next goal was obviously a big one.”

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.