Sharks

Chippy game goes way of the Capitals, Sharks end roadtrip with loss

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AP

Chippy game goes way of the Capitals, Sharks end roadtrip with loss

BOX SCORE

WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 20th goal and assisted on another, helping the Washington Capitals snap their recent run of futility against the San Jose Sharks with a 4-1 victory Monday night.

The Capitals beat the Sharks for the fourth time in 18 meetings since Ovechkin entered the league in 2005-06. It's just Washington's second regulation win against San Jose in that time and first since Oct. 15, 2009. It ended a four-game skid in the series.

Halting the Sharks' recent mastery came at a cost: T.J. Oshie left in the second period with an upper-body injury and didn't return. As Oshie was already engaged with Logan Couture and falling down along the boards, he took Joe Thornton's backside to the head.

Tom Wilson took exception to Thornton's hit and fought him in the third period of a chippy game that also included a fight between Alex Chiasson and Barclay Goodrow.

Before those tensions rose, Ovechkin continued his climb up the career list with his 578th goal, passing Hall of Famer Mark Recchi for 20th. He's the 11th player in NHL history to score at least 20 goals in each of his first 13 seasons.

Ovechkin, who rooted for the Sharks while growing up in Moscow, turned several defenders inside out and made a perfect pass to set up Brett Connolly's power-play goal. Devante Smith-Pelly and Jakub Vrana also scored for Washington, which has won two in a row and six of eight.

Capitals backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 24 saves to pick up his first career victory against the Sharks. San Jose's Martin Jones allowed four goals on 29 shots in his second game back from injury, and Timo Meier scored his first goal in eight games and third of the season.

NOTES: Connolly has goals in back-to-back games since returning from being a healthy scratch for the previous two. ... Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said D Paul Martin is close to returning from an undisclosed injury that has kept him out since Oct. 12. ... Capitals F Travis Boyd made his NHL debut, replacing Chandler Stephenson, who's day-to-day with an upper-body injury. ... F Andre Burakovsky rejoined the Capitals for their morning skate as he works back from October surgery to repair his broken left thumb. He hopes to return within the next week.

UP NEXT

Sharks: Return home to face the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.

Capitals: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night.

Sharks avoid arbitration, re-sign Chris Tierney to two-year deal

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USATSI

Sharks avoid arbitration, re-sign Chris Tierney to two-year deal

Just two days before one was scheduled, the Sharks avoided an arbitration hearing with center Chris Tierney, and re-signed the restricted free agent to a two-year deal on Wednesday, the team announced. The deal is reportedly worth just shy of $2.94 million annually, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman

"Chris had his best season as a professional last year and stepped up his level of play in multiple areas," San Jose general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "We've always known he was a responsible, defensive-minded player, but he took his offensive game to the next tier and showed that he can be a productive player in all three zones. We look forward to watching him continue his evolution in 2018-19." 

Last season, the 24-year-old Tierney set career-highs in goals (17), assists (23), points (40), shots on goal (118), and ice time (16:00). Tierney also generated expected goals at the highest rate of his career (0.62 per hour), according to Corsica Hockey. 

A 2012 second-round pick, Tierney entered last season in an uncertain place. He signed his one-year, $735,000 qualifying offer last summer, and head coach Peter DeBoer challenged him to improve. 

“I came into the year wanting to prove a point. I believe in myself. I think I’m a good hockey player,” Tierney told the San Jose Mercury News in December. “I wanted to come in and show people that I could play an offensive role on the team.”  

DeBoer used Tierney slightly differently this season, as the forward started a career-high percentage of five-on-five shifts in the offensive zone (31.12 percent) and a career-low percentage of defensive zone starts (29.68 percent), per Corsica Hockey. Tierney responded in kind with his aforementioned career-best offensive numbers, and seized the third-line center role after versatile forward Tomas Hertl stayed on the wing.  

With Tierney back in the fold, the Sharks now have just under $4.4 million in salary cap space, according to CapFriendly. That’s for a roster carrying 14 forwards, seven defenseman, and two goaltenders, and San Jose’s actual cap space may change depending on the outcome of various positional battles in training camp. 

This summer, Tierney became the fourth Sharks player since 2008 to file for arbitration. In every case, including with Tierney on Wednesday, a settlement was reached prior to a hearing. 

The Sharks also signed a pair of prospects to entry-level contracts on Wednesday. Defenseman Ryan Merkley, San Jose’s first-round pick this June, and 21-year-old forward Alexander True, who scored 28 points in 68 games with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda last season, both inked deals with the organization.

Martin Jones' new goalie mask will have Sharks fans seeing double

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USATSI

Martin Jones' new goalie mask will have Sharks fans seeing double

Sharks goaltender Martin Jones won't just enter the season with a different paycheck, the result of entering the first year of a five-year, $34.5 million contract extension that he signed last July. He'll also have a new mask.

Toronto-based artist Steve Nash unveiled a look at Jones' mask design for the upcoming season Monday morning on Twitter. The design again features San Jose's secondary logo but with some subtle differences.

Eagle-eyed mask afficionados will notice a couple of tweaks. First, there now are two sharks on the side, compared to only one last season. Those sharks boast orange eyes seen on the back of his mask last season

For comparison, here's a look at Jones' mask from last year.

The 28-year-old netminder is entering his fourth season in San Jose's crease. Jones posted a .915 save percentage in 60 regular-season starts and followed that with a .928 in 10 postseason starts as the Sharks advanced to the second round. 

We'll get our best look at Jones' new mask in action when training camp opens in mid-September, and, assuming he plays, in a game as soon as the Sept. 18 preseason opener against the Ducks.