Joonas Donskoi

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.

Donskoi's shootout winner vs Ducks clinches Sharks' fourth straight

Donskoi's shootout winner vs Ducks clinches Sharks' fourth straight

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- Joonas Donskoi scored the deciding goal in the sixth round of the shootout and the San Jose Sharks rallied for their season-high fourth straight win, beating the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 on Saturday night.

Joel Ward tied the game midway through the third, setting the stage for the shootout that kept the Sharks perfect through three games of this homestand. Martin Jones made 25 saves to win for the seventh time in eight starts.

Corey Perry scored to highlight his 900th career game but it wasn't enough to prevent the Ducks from losing their third straight game.

Ryan Miller made 44 saves, but couldn't stop Donskoi's nifty stickhandling move in the shootout.

Jones then sealed the game when he stopped Brandon Montour.

This game followed the pattern of the previous meetings between the California rivals. This marked the ninth straight game between the teams decided by one goal or in a shootout with neither scoring more than three goals in any of those contests. San Jose has now won three of those.

The Sharks tied the game midway through the third period. The play started when Ward and Barclay Goodrow went in short-handed on a 2-on-1 rush. Ward passed to Goodrow, whose shot was stopped by Miller. But Ward was there to knock the rebound into the open net just one second after Dylan DeMelo got out of the box.

There were chances in the second period when there were a combined 31 shots on goal, but neither team managed to get a puck past the goalie. Miller made a strong save on a rebound attempt by Chris Tierney midway through the period and then stopped him again from in close late in the second to preserve a 1-0 lead.

Jones made sure San Jose didn't get into a deeper hole when he robbed Jakob Silfverberg twice late after a bad giveaway in the defensive zone by Justin Braun.

The Ducks, playing the second half of a back-to-back, struck first when Perry got past defenseman Brenden Dillon for a breakaway off a nice feed from Derek Grant and beat Jones less than seven minutes into the game.

NOTES: Ducks F Andrew Cogliano became the fourth player to play in 800 consecutive games and joined Doug Jarvis (964) as the only players to do it from the start of their careers. ... Sharks D Marc-Edouard Vlasic missed the game with a concussion and D Paul Martin remained sidelined by a lower-body injury.

UP NEXT

Ducks: Host Los Angeles on Tuesday night.

Sharks: Host Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.