Sharks

Wingels hurt, Vandermeer close to return

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Wingels hurt, Vandermeer close to return

SAN JOSE The Sharks suffered another injury to their forward group in Thursday nights loss to Ottawa, as Tommy Wingels was hurt in the third period. Hell miss at least the next three games leading up to the NHL All-Star break with an upper body injury, according to Todd McLellan.

Wingels was recalled on Jan. 5, and was skating on Joe Thorntons line along with winger Joe Pavelski in the previous two games with Ryane Clowe out.

Wingels collided with Pavelski and Ottawas Chris Neil in front of the Sharks bench with 15:34 remaining in the third period, and appeared to grab his right arm in pain on what seemed like an innocent play.

With Wingels out, forward Andrew Desjardins took some shifts in his place late against the Senators. Thats how they lined up for Fridays practice at Sharks Ice, too.

We have some options, but probably no different from what weve been doing, McLellan said. Well try and audition a bunch of people. We cant just focus on the one player thats auditioning there, the other two have to perform and help out in that area, too.

Desjardins seems likely to get the first crack at it, though, just as Jamie McGinn did on Tuesday against Calgary before Wingels replaced him after the first period of the 2-1 shootout win.

Its just another opportunity, Desjardins said. Try to stick to my game and still do the same things. Hopefully, it works out.

Desjardins returned on Thursday from a two-game absence with to a head injury after getting hit illegally by Columbus Dane Byers last Saturday, playing just over 11 minutes. His first shift was a good one, as he set up Brad Winchester for what was the Sharks only goal against Ottawa.

He tried not to shy away from any physical play, despite the frightening moment his last time out.

You try to think about, youre healthy, youre good to go, and that youre ready to play, Desjardins said. You try not to stay away from physical stuff just because of that reason, because again, youre healthy and back ready to play. You move on, and get your game going to how it was before.

The Sharks are expected to recall a forward from Worcester in time for Saturday afternoons game in Vancouver.

Frazer McLaren remains on waivers until Saturday, at which time he will be reassigned to Worcester if he goes unclaimed.

Vandermeer close

Sharks defenseman Jim Vandermeer could make his return on the teams three-game road trip through Canada, McLellan said.

His injury, right now I would say its probably 99 percent, said the coach. Now, its about getting his game, his foot speed and reaction time back. So, were that close. If we get the clearance, it would be nice to get him in before the break so he doesnt go longer.

Vandermeer has missed the last 20 games with a left hand injury.

Sharks winger Joonas Donskoi has officially arrived

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AP

Sharks winger Joonas Donskoi has officially arrived

It turns out the top-six winger the Sharks needed to replace Patrick Marleau was on the roster all along.

Joonas Donskoi skated on Logan Couture’s line in Monday night’s shootout loss to the Ducks, and was San Jose’s best player. He scored the Sharks’ only two goals, and tied for the team-lead among forwards with four shots on net.

Donskoi added another goal in the ninth-round shootout, but his two goals in regulation were his sixth and seventh on the season. With those goals, he surpassed his total from an injury-riddled campaign a year ago, and stands three tallies clear as San Jose’s second-leading goal-scorer this season.

Due to Melker Karlsson’s injury, Donskoi skated with the Sharks’ leading goal-scorer, Logan Couture, and rekindled the strong chemistry the pair has shown since the Finnish winger arrived in San Jose in 2015.

Of the nine lines Couture has skated on for at least 50 minutes dating back to the beginning of the 2015-16 season, the three best in terms of puck possession have had Donskoi on his wing. Those three combinations have controlled at least 54 percent of the five-on-five shot attempts, according to Corsica Hockey.

Adding Tomas Hertl, who’s already a strong possession player, to that line bodes well for an even stronger second line moving forward. With Karlsson on the wing, the line controlled only 47.7 percent of the shot attempts, per Corsica, meaning the Sharks have been routinely out-possessed with them on the ice.

That was not the case with Donskoi in Karlsson’s place, as Donskoi posted positive possession numbers alongside Couture and Hertl on Monday, according to Natural Stat Trick. The results were there, as evidenced by the game’s opening goal, but it’s a good sign that the process was, too.

The same, frankly, can be said of Donskoi’s entire season up to this point. He likely won’t convert on over 18 percent of his shots all season, of course, but the Sharks have the puck more often than their opponents when he’s on the ice, and should continue to generate pressure, chances, and ultimately goals, even if Donskoi’s personal scoring comes down.

When Karlsson comes back, Donskoi should remain on Couture and Hertl’s line. That would allow the former to slide into a role better-suited to his game, and the latter to bolster San Jose’s top-six forward group.

Donskoi’s earned an extended look in that spot thanks to his resurgence, and subsequent emergence, this season. Thanks to him, replacing Marleau’s production suddenly seems much less daunting.

Two Donskoi goals not enough as Sharks fall to Ducks in shootout

Two Donskoi goals not enough as Sharks fall to Ducks in shootout

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Antoine Vermette beat goalie Martin Jones in the ninth round of a shootout to give the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Monday night.

Corey Perry, Cam Fowler and Brandon Montour also scored during the tiebreaker for Anaheim.

Joonas Donskoi, Tim Heed and Brent Burns had shootout goals for the Sharks. Tomas Hertl missed his attempt in the ninth round, leaving Vermette a chance to win it.

Perry and Rickard Rakell scored in regulation for the Ducks. Reto Berra made 40 saves in his first start of the season.

Donskoi had two goals for the Sharks, including the tying score in the third period. Jones stopped 28 shots.

Donskoi helped create his own goal by knocking the puck away from a Ducks defender and getting it to Logan Couture for a give-and-go as the Sharks took a 1-0 lead 3:31 into the game.

The Ducks came back in the second period to even the score 45 seconds in. After winning a faceoff in the San Jose zone, Brandon Montour sent a sharp pass to Perry's stick. Perry settled it and fired into the net for the equalizer.

Rakell gave the Ducks a 2-1 advantage midway through the second, just as a power play ended. Perry took a shot that bounced off Jones' pads, and Rakell knocked it into the net before Jones could cover up.

The Sharks snapped an 0-for-17 streak on the power play with a goal midway through the third to tie it. Donskoi tracked down a rebound and flipped it off Berra's right pad and into the net for his second career multi-goal game.

NOTES: Ducks D Cam Fowler returned to action after missing 12 games with a knee injury. ... Sharks C Melker Karlsson missed the game with an upper-body injury. ... Sharks forward Kevin Labanc, who hasn't played much recently, started on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. Donskoi was moved to the second line. ... Ducks G Ryan Miller missed the game with a lower-body injury. Berra made his fourth appearance this season. ... Perry has seven points in his last five games. ... Rakell has a point in seven of his past eight games, with a total of 11 during that span. ... The Sharks scored their second power-play goal in eight November games.

UP NEXT

Ducks: Host the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday.

Sharks: Play at the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday.