Sharks

Barracuda advance to second round in thrilling fashion

Barracuda advance to second round in thrilling fashion

SAN JOSE – Ryan Carpenter’s shorthanded goal in overtime gave the AHL Barracuda a thrilling 2-1 win on Tuesday night at SAP Center, as the Sharks’ top minor league affiliate advanced to the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

The Barracuda downed Stockton, the primary affiliate of the Calgary Flames, three-games-to-two by capturing the decisive Game 5. San Jose will now face the San Diego Gulls, the Ducks’ top affiliate, beginning on Friday at SAP Center.

Carpenter’s goal, his team-leading fourth of the series, came with Joakim Ryan in the penalty box on a delay of game minor. Barclay Goodrow hustled to a loose puck that was gliding towards the offensive corner, and dished it to a trailing Carpenter who was alone between the circles. Carpenter’s wrist shot cleanly beat goalie Jon Gillies at 8:52 of the extra session, and the home bench erupted.

“[Goodrow] made a heck of a play,” Carpenter said. “It looked like a 50-50 puck and he just beat the guy to it and made a heck of a backhand pass. I was all alone, just tried getting it off quick. Didn’t want to do too much with it. It was just nice it went in.”

The Barracuda registered a whopping 54 shots on goal to just 27 for the Heat, but it took until the third period for them to dent the scoreboard. Timo Meier tied the game at 1-1, taking advantage of an Oliver Kylington turnover and buzzing a wrist shot from the faceoff dot into the top far corner at 9:47.

“Slipped off the Stockton guy’s stick and I was right there,” Meier said. “I was able to put it behind him and go for a two-on-one, and just picked a corner and put it in.”

In four games in the series, Meier finished with two goals and an assist for three points. In Game 5 he registered eight shots on goal, while his linemate, Carpenter, had a game-high nine shots as San Jose enjoyed the territorial advantage for much of the night.

Still, the Barracuda needed goalie Troy Grosenick, especially late. The AHL’s top netminder in the regular season made a pair of late stops to force overtime, denying Hunter Shinkaruk breaking in alone with 5:40 to go, and then robbing Michael Angelidis a few minutes later with a dazzling glove save.

“They didn’t get a ton of shots, but they had some grade A [chances],” Grosenick said.

In overtime, Shinkaruk had a breakaway in the second minute but his attempt caught iron.

How did that sound?

“Some sound good and some sound bad,” Grosenick said. “That one sounded pretty good.”

Coach Roy Sommer said: “The plays [Grosenick] made late in the third – the one on Angelidis – woof. Then, Shankiruk – I thought it was over.”

Instead of it being over, though, Sommer and his club assured that the ice at SAP Center would remain in place at least a little while longer with the Sharks’ already on summer vacation.

“I thought we deserved to win,” Sommer said. “I thought we were the better team tonight.”

Grosenick said: “We had a big series here with probably our biggest rival, and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We battled through, so it feels good.”

 

Sharks' fourth line must keep rolling to force decisive Game 7 vs. Vegas

Sharks' fourth line must keep rolling to force decisive Game 7 vs. Vegas

SAN JOSE – Sure, it’s something of a cliché to say a team has to “roll four lines” in order to be successful. But it’s true. When the Sharks have been at their best this season, it’s because their depth has shown through. 

In their crucial Game 5 victory over the Golden Knights on Thursday evening, San Jose’s depth was a key factor yet again, with their fourth line putting on a show. It’s something Team Teal needs if the Sharks are going to play past the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, especially since their current opponent also has a fourth line that can have an impact on the game.

“I thought those guys were good,” Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said of the trio of Barclay Goodrow, Melker Karlsson and Joonas Donskoi. “They’re getting some effective minutes from their fourth line, whether it’s on the scoresheet or just softening up the next group going out there. We have to do the same thing and I thought those guys did.”

When asked about his line’s performance, Goodrow told the press they accomplished what any fourth line should.

“You just look to create energy,” he said. “We want to spend as much time in the offensive zone as possible. Hold onto pucks, create cycles, make plays.”

Goodrow and Karlsson have been staples on that fourth line since the start of the regular season, while Donskoi only recently joined them after an injury took Micheal Haley out of the lineup. While Donskoi didn’t get on the scoresheet in Game 5, his hard work was rewarded when DeBoer moved him up the lineup in the third frame. 

“I thought Donskoi was on,” DeBoer said. “He had good jump, he had good energy, he was inside.”

Of course, the biggest contribution the fourth line made was in the second stanza when Goodrow found the back of the net. San Jose was holding onto a 2-1 lead when the fourth-line center redirected a Justin Braun shot from up top to give the Sharks a much-needed two-goal cushion.

“That’s a big goal for us by Goodie at that point,” DeBoer said of the goal, which was also Goodrow’s first playoff marker. “We needed that.” 

The goal also countered the attack of Vegas’ fourth line, which thrives off of strong physical play and knocking their opponent around. Goodrow’s line was able to halt that attack by playing a more offense-forward game.

“Whenever you can keep their fourth line out of your end, it kind of limits their physicality,” Goodrow summarized.

[RELATED: Why two-day break before Game 6 is crucial for Sharks]

San Jose will need those fourth-line contributions to continue if they’re going to have success Sunday when the series returns to Las Vegas.

They have yet to hold a lead at T-Mobile Arena, and the fourth line has yet to contribute to the Sharks’ cause in a game played in that building. But if they can put forward the same effort they did in Game 5, the Sharks are going to have a much better chance at bringing the series back to San Jose for Game 7.

Banged up Sharks making full use of two-day break ahead of Game 6 in Vegas

Banged up Sharks making full use of two-day break ahead of Game 6 in Vegas

SAN JOSE – Up until this point in the first round, the Sharks and Golden Knights have squared off every other night. Now, after staving off elimination with a crucial Game 5 victory, Team Teal has a whopping two days to prepare for Game 6 back in Las Vegas.

“We have two days now,” Tomas Hertl said after San Jose’s 5-2 victory. “Have to take a little breath and rest and be ready for that.”

This isn’t to say that San Jose is playing at any more of a grueling pace than other teams in the playoffs. But bumps and bruises are quite common this time of year. Marc-Edouard Vlasic missed two straight playoff games after being hit by a puck during Game 2, Erik Karlsson is still bouncing back from a regular- season injury -- heck, Logan Couture is the second player who has had to make a trip to the dentist after losing teeth during a game.

Between the ailments being common and the current series being incredibly physical, getting an extra 24 hours in between games is a big help, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer told the media on Friday morning following.

“We’ve got to use it to get rest, to get guys healthy,” DeBoer said, before adding: “But also to prepare. I think we’re going to have to find another level in our game obviously to win Game 6 in there. That’s what the two days have to be used for, too.”

DeBoer isn’t wrong. The Sharks haven’t faired well in many of their visits to the Knights’ home barn, particularly during the current best-of-seven series. San Jose was outscored 11-3 in Games 3 and 4 at T-Mobile Arena and went 1-for-7 on the power play, which is not good when you’re trying to defeat a team that is stealthy at capitalizing on their opponents mistakes. While their Game 5 performance was a vast improvement – they finally kept that Pacioretty-Stastny-Stone line off the scoreboard, for starters – they still need to use the two days prep for Game 6 wisely.

Plus, Vegas gets that time to prepare as well.

“They get the same luxury,” Karlsson pointed out, before adding that San Jose isn’t putting too much thought into what the other team is doing. “I think our biggest focus is on ourselves and what we have to do to be successful.”

[RELATED: Five observations from Game 5 win]

After finding that success on their home ice, the Sharks are even more motivated to put on a good showing in Sin CIty on Easter Sunday, forcing a Game 7 back in San Jose. It's no easy feat, but two days worth of prep can help.

"We know it will be really hard, but we are ready for this challenge," Hertl said on Friday morning. "We want to show them we can beat them there too."