Tortorella has 'nothing but respect' for Sharks' Pavelski


Tortorella has 'nothing but respect' for Sharks' Pavelski

COLUMBUS – Blue Jackets bench boss John Totorella is one of the higher profile coaches in the NHL, primarily due to his experience and what is often a fiery demeanor. Tortorella recently served as the head coach for Team USA in the World Cup of Hockey, and prior to their first preliminary game, Joe Pavelski was named as captain of the squad.

The tournament was a disaster for the Americans, who were quickly eliminated and lost all three games due mainly to a poorly constructed roster. But that certainly didn’t diminish Tortorella’s opinion of the Sharks captain, whom he also coached in the 2010 Olympics as an assistant when Team USA captured a silver medal.

“I’ve had him for a number of years at the international tournaments. He’s such a professional,” Tortorella said. “He’s a guy that does everything really well offensively and defensively. I used him as a sounding board in a number of different situations in the World Cup, although it was a short stay for us. 

“But, you can’t do nothing but respect that guy as far as what he’s done in his career and how he handles himself, too. Forget about what he does on the ice, just how he handles himself. In the years that I’ve known him I just have a tremendous amount of respect for him.”
Pavelski said he understands the “passion [Tortorella] brings to the group.”

As for being a “sounding board,” Pavelski said: “At times you talk, especially early in those first few games, how you want to play. … It was up to us to execute, and we could have been a little better there.”

Headed into Saturday’s Sharks-Blue Jackets game, Pavelski’s line, with Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl, and the Blue Jackets’ top line of Brandon Dubinsky, Boone Jenner and Cam Atkinson will both try to be better.

Dubinsky was a minus-five while his linemates were each a minus-four in a season opening 6-3 loss to Boston.

“It’s plain as day, they were awful,” Tortorella said. “I don’t expect that out of them ever again, they’ve been so good for us. I’m not sure if it’s our top line, [but] it’s one of our lines that defines a little bit of our identity.”

Although the Sharks’ top line didn’t score an even strength goal against the Kings on Wednesday, coach Pete DeBoer was by no means concerned.

“They didn’t score, but that’s not the measure of that line. They always draw the other team’s best players,” DeBoer said. “I thought they still had a positive impact on the game. I think our expectation is if they’re not scoring two or three goals that they’re not having a good game, but I don’t think that was the case. It’s just a matter of time with those guys.”

Pavelski said: "We could have been better. We didn’t have tons of chances, but there weren’t tons of chances out there. ... There’s definitely room for improvement.”

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.

Jones set for big workload down the stretch


Jones set for big workload down the stretch

Sharks goaltender Martin Jones is on pace for the lightest overall workload of his career as a starter. After starting 65 games in his first two seasons in San Jose, Jones can only play a maximum of 62 if he appears in each of the team's 12 remaining games. 

Yet simultaneously, he is also on pace for the largest stretch-run workload of his career. Jones will make his 10th straight start, and 51st overall, Friday night in Calgary. 

Friday will also mark his eighth consecutive start since the trade deadline. Over the last two seasons, Jones made 13 and 14 starts, respectively, from the deadline onwards. 

It's easy to envision Jones far surpassing that workload. Entering Mar. 16 each of the last two years, the Sharks held, respectively, 10-point and 18-point leads over the West's ninth-place team, the closest among the squads on the outside looking in at the postseason. As a result, James Reimer and Aaron Dell spelled Jones for eight and seven starts, respectively, to keep him rested ahead of the postseason. 

This year, San Jose's only three points clear of the ninth-place Anaheim Ducks. There's also only one back-to-back remaining on the post-deadline schedule, compared to five in 2016-17 and two in 2015-16, and 10 of the next 12 games are against teams within four points of a playoff spot. 

Taking all of that into consideration, Jones should pretty easily exceed the mark of 14 post-trade deadline starts he set last season and ultimately start more than 60 games for the third consecutive season, barring injury. 

Should the Sharks clinch a playoff spot, it will be fair to wonder what kind of effect Jones' stretch-run starts will have on his postseason performance. Jones posted a .923 save percentage in San Jose's run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2016, and a .935 save percentage in the first round last year after receiving a good amount of time off. 

But the Sharks have to get there first, and it's understandable they will rely on Jones in order to do so. The recently-extended Aaron Dell remains one of the league's better backups, but has come a bit back down to earth this season (.914 save percentage) after earning the role last year (.931). 

Jones, for his part, has handled the increased workload well so far, winning five of nine games and posting a .922 save percentage. How well handles his 10th consecutive start, and any that follow, will have a profound impact on the Sharks' hopes of making the playoffs.