Vlasic, Sharks roll over Red Wings 5-2


Vlasic, Sharks roll over Red Wings 5-2


SAN JOSE When youre a team like the Sharks, and you've made it a habit recently of beating the mighty Detroit Red Wings in the regular season and playoffs, you probably need to find an unusual way to win one of those games every once in awhile.A four-point night from Marc-Edouard Vlasic and a pair of goals generated from the fourth line? That certainly qualifies as unconventional, as the Sharks beat the Red Wings for the fifth straight time in the regular season.
The Sharks scored five unanswered goals to cruise to a victory over the Red Wings their fifth straight regular season win over Detroit in a 5-2 victory at HP Pavilion on Thursday night. San Jose concluded its homestand with nine of a possible 12 points (4-1-1).Antti Niemi made a season-high 40 saves in earning his seventh win (7-2-1).

Its a good team. We want to get up for a good team, said Vlasic, who finished with a goal and three assists and whose club has eliminated Detroit from the postseason the last two years. We have elite players, and I think guys like to play against Detroit.The Sharks fourth line, which hadnt found the scoreboard since Andrew Desjardins two goals on opening night, managed to score twice and create havoc on the forecheck for the duration.Desjardins, Andrew Murray and Brad Winchester were on the ice for Vlasics goal in the second period while Winchesters first goal as a Shark midway through the third period put the game away, making it 5-1.They were very good defensively, through the neutral zone, and probably were our best forechecking line, said Todd McLellan. They created a number of opportunities in the offensive zone, and buried themselves in and around the blue paint and scored some goals. It was really nice to see for that group of three that has worked pretty hard lately.Winchester admitted that it was nice to see some results on the scoreboard. Desjardins and Murray each finished the night with an assist, while Winchester had a helper to go with his goal.There are a lot of ways to contribute in terms of the offensive side of things. It was nice to chip in as far as that goes, he said. Well continue to build on it.It took Vlasic less than 40 minutes to double his scoring output through the first 15 games. He factored in the first four Sharks goals as San Jose led 4-1 at the second intermission.With the game tied at 1-1 entering the second, San Jose took its first lead midway through regulation. Joe Thornton and Vlasic broke up a would-be one-timer by Henrik Zetterberg, leading to a rush the other way. Logan Couture faked a shot before sending a perfect cross-ice pass back to Thornton, who fired it past Jimmy Howard.Just backcheck hard. Thats what we try to do, said Thornton. Pickles and Logan made some nice plays and I pretty much just had an open net.Less than three minutes later, it was Vlasic who tallied his second goal of the season. A strong shift by the fourth line resulted in Vlasic controlling the puck behind the net and then wrapping it around at 12:48 when Howard could not recover.Vlasic mentioned that it was probably his first wraparound goal since junior.San Jose made it a three-goal cushion with 1:42 left in the second. After Jamie McGinns wrist shot snuck through Howard, Vlasic sped to the loose puck behind the net and threw it towards the slot. There, it met the stick of an open Torrey Mitchell, who lifted it over Howard for his second of the year.The Sharks were fortunate to be tied with Detroit after the first period after the Red Wings outshot San Jose 17-6, and dominated territorially. Niklas Kronwalls power play goal at 17:23 opened the scoring, when his shot deflected in off of Dan Boyle.San Jose got a gift in tying the game on a shorthanded goal with just 11.2 seconds left in the first. Vlasic threw the puck down the ice after a defensive zone faceoff win, and Howard went behind the net to retrieve it. Kronwall, thinking Howard would play it, peeled off while the puck stopped just outside the trapezoid. Thornton picked it up and had all day to find Joe Pavelski in the slot for his 10th of the season.We didnt play well up to that point, and that probably changed the whole outlook of the game, said Thornton of the Sharks second shorthanded goal of the year. We got some momentum off of that, had a great second period and the game was over.McLellan agreed that Pavelskis goal helped to give the Sharks momentum for a second period that saw them score three more.We probably turned it around on the shorthanded goal, he said. That worked in our favor.In what may have been his best game of the season, Niemi made some key stops, none more important than a sequence early in the second period. With the game tied at 1-1 and Detroit on the power play, Niemi made two saves on Danny Cleary to give the Sharks an opportunity to take the lead later in the frame.Our goaltender earned his paycheck, said McLellan.Even so, it was Vlasics night in the spotlight.Four points for Marc-Edouard is a real nice thing, said McLellan. It doesnt happen often, but he jumped into the play and made some great passes. Heck of a night from him.Odds and ends: The Red Wings came into the game with just two power play goals on the road, but equaled that going 2-for-3 with the man advantage. Four of the five Sharks goals were even strength. Howard was pulled for Ty Conklin at the start of the third period. Jason Demers returned to the Sharks lineup in favor of Justin Braun. Demers took two minor penalties in the first period, and finished with an even rating in 18:48 of ice time. The Sharks won 60 percent of the faceoffs. San Jose has scored the first goal of the game five times this year, and just twice at home. Overall, the team is 5-5-1 when falling behind, 1-0.

Time is now for Sharks to experiment with new lines


Time is now for Sharks to experiment with new lines

The San Jose Sharks were shut out for the first time this season on Thursday night, but it sure didn't feel like it.

You’d be forgiven, albeit mistaken, if you didn't think the loss was their first goose egg of the season. San Jose’s been one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league this year, and has scored two or fewer goals in all but two of their six games in November.

The Sharks controlled play, but their raw possession numbers were misleading: Through the first two periods, San Jose was outshot 23-18, and poured it on in the third looking for the game-tying goal.

In order to break out of his team’s extended slump, head coach Peter DeBoer appeared to throw his lines in the proverbial blender. The changes weren't very significant, though, as DeBoer worked mostly around the edges.

Joe Thornton remained with Joe Pavelski, while Melker Karlsson and Timo Meier rotated in on their wing. Joonas Donskoi swapped in with Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl, and on and on.

The core pair of each line remained intact, while DeBoer swapped complimentary wingers. Subtle changes, unsurprisingly, didn't lead to drastically different results.

He’s been amenable to bigger changes at times, briefly breaking up longtime linemates Thornton and Pavelski last Sunday against Los Angeles. The bottom six, especially the fourth line, has mostly been a revolving door.

That's a start, but far from enough. 

As long as the Sharks struggle to score, similarly significant changes are in order.

DeBoer shouldn't want to sacrifice the team’s defensive dominance, or its strong possession game. But, the Sharks haven't scored enough through 17 games to justify using the same forward combinations. 

In Thornton and Pavelski’s case, those struggles date back to last season. For just about everyone else, the sample size is getting increasingly more significant as the season approaches the quarter pole.

The Sharks bench boss expressed a willingness to mix up his power play units earlier this week, and needs to do the same at even strength. It's time to try Pavelski on Couture's wing, Meier on Thornton's, or any number of permutations.

Tweaking around the edges hasn't made much of a difference, so far more comprehensive adjustments are not only welcome, but necessary. Of course, DeBoer may not find the perfect lineup solutions.

At this point, though, it's worth a shot. It's hard to imagine the Sharks scoring any less than they have so far this season, and the Sharks need to explore if any line changes can provide a remedy.

Luongo picks up a career first in Panthers win over Sharks


Luongo picks up a career first in Panthers win over Sharks


SAN JOSE — Roberto Luongo made 35 saves for his 74th career shutout and the Florida Panthers blanked the San Jose Sharks 2-0 Thursday night on goals by Colton Sceviour and Nick Bjugstad.

Florida coach Bob Boughner won in his return to San Jose. He served as an assistant coach for the Sharks the last two years.

Luongo earned his first shutout of the season and first in 32 games against San Jose.

Martin Jones was nearly as good for the Sharks. He stopped 26 shots, but that wasn't enough to keep the Panthers from winning for the seventh time in their last eight trips to San Jose.

Sharks defenseman Tim Heed had a goal disallowed on a coach's challenge a little less than five minutes into the second period. Replays showed he came into contact with the puck just behind the blue line, making the play offside.

San Jose had another goal overturned after a replay review. Brent Burns took a hard shot that Luongo nearly caught but couldn't handle and it bounced along his pads. Marc-Edouard Vlasic was one of three Sharks trying to poke at the puck and he used his stick to push both the puck and Luongo's pad into the net.

Sceviour scored a minute into the second after digging out the puck along the boards behind the net. He skated around the cage and poked a shot that hit Jones' pads. He took a second shot that got over the goalie's pads and went in.

Sceviour has four points in six games since returning from injury. He had two points in his first six games this season.

The Panthers, who have won three of four, added an insurance goal with less than eight minutes remaining. Radim Vrbata intercepted a pass in the Sharks zone and played it to Jamie McGinn, who got Jones to commit before dishing to Bjugstad for the score.

NOTES: Panthers C Michael Haley received a warm ovation from Sharks fans. He played in San Jose the last couple of years. ... Sharks D Paul Martin missed his 15th game with a lower-body injury, though he has been skating pain-free for the past two weeks. ... Florida center Vincent Trocheck has 12 points in his last 10 games. ... The Sharks have not scored on their past 15 power plays.


Panthers: At the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

Sharks: Host the Boston Bruins on Saturday.