Sharks

Erik Karlsson mum on signing contract extension after trade to Sharks

Erik Karlsson mum on signing contract extension after trade to Sharks

The Sharks acquired Erik Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators on Thursday with the intention of ultimately re-signing him, but the defenseman stayed mum on the possibility of extending his contract beyond this season.

"As of right now, that's a private discussion, and that's [not] something I'm going to elaborate on," Karlsson said in a conference call with reporters Thursday when asked about his eagerness to sign an extension in San Jose. 

The 28-year-old defenseman is entering the final year of a seven-year, $45.5 million contract that he signed with Ottawa in 2012, and he's eligible to hit unrestricted free agency next summer. Karlsson said his focus lies on this season, as it did this morning when he said he woke up assuming he'd be a Senator. He fought back tears in his exit press conference in Ottawa. He told reporters there he "never wanted to leave" the Senators.

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said Thursday that he envisions Karlsson as a fixture on San Jose's blueline for years to come.

"When you get a highly competitive guy like this that comes available ... you step up." Wilson told reporters, speaking after Karlsson. "Yes, it's a long-term approach and we think Erik fits for us for now, and for a long time."

Wilson has reason to believe he can get a deal done. Evander Kane, who faced a similar future when the Sharks acquired him at the trade deadline in February, skipped free agency entirely and signed a seven-year, $49-million contract extension in May. Kane told NBC Sports California in an interview earlier this week that he always envisioned hitting the market, but his time in San Jose made his decision to re-sign rather straightforward.

"It was a lot easier to make the decision not to test free agency than I thought it would ever be," Kane said. 

It appears the Sharks made a strong impression on Karlsson, who said he was "extremely appreciative" the team gave up a package featuring two roster players, two prospects, a 2020 first-round pick, a second-round pick and conditional picks. Karlsson hasn't spent much time in the Bay Area, beyond a trip to San Francisco and Napa earlier this summer with his wife, Melinda, but he likes what he's seen of the team from afar. 

"They've been a good team for a number of years now," Karlsson said. "They were really good last year. I obviously know most of their players from playing against them and watching them on [television]. It's a real good team that I'm going to be joining, so I'm obviously excited about that and looking forward for the the challenge that we have ahead of us, and again, I'm going to do everything I can to be as good and ready as possible for when I do arrive."

The Swede isn't sure when that will be, as he still has to work through visa issues after being traded across the continent. When he does, the Sharks will hope to win him over. 

Sharks overcome late game struggles with 'best period of the season'

Sharks overcome late game struggles with 'best period of the season'

SAN JOSE -- The Sharks were well aware of the score when they went into the dressing room at the second intermission. They had a 2-1 lead, just like they had in the previous two tilts on the road against the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils. In both of those games, San Jose gave away the lead in the third frame on their way to losing both games.

On Thursday night, however, Team Teal came out buzzing against the Buffalo Sabres. They lit the lamp three times during that frame, easily having their best third period of the early 2018-19 campaign. And while converting on the power play and scoring more than two goals on the evening weres keys to the victory, having a strong third frame really solidified it.

"I thought it was probably our best period of the season so far," Sharks' head coach Peter DeBoer said after the 5-1 victory. "Playing with the lead in a 2-1 game and handling it that way."

The response certainly paid dividends. The Sharks' offense managed to hem the speedy Sabres in their own zone, and just shy of five minutes into the frame Logan Couture found the back of the net to give San Jose a much-needed 3-1 lead.

When asked after the game about getting the two-goal cushion, Couture called it the turning point of the game. Evander Kane agreed. "We wanted to make sure we're not going to be a team that lets third period leads slip away," Kane said. "I thought that third goal was really big."

DeBoer mentioned that a couple players did extra work to pump the team up during the second intermission, including Joe Pavelski. When asked what the conversation was like, the Sharks' captain said it came down to knowing the Sharks have to be a dominant third-period team.

"We've been in that position a time or two. We've given up leads, we haven't been as good," Pavelski said after the game. "These are periods that we have to be good. We've got to lock these down."

The strong finish no doubt gives the Sharks the confidence they need headed into Saturday night's tilt against the Islanders. The Isles blanked the Sharks in New York on October 8. Having a third period like San Jose surely gives them confidence headed into that game.

"It's been uncharacteristic of us to have poor third periods with the lead," DeBoer said. "We wanted to nip that in the bud, and I thought the guys did tonight. I thought the third was excellent."

Sharks takeaways: Three things we learned from 5-1 win over Sabres

Sharks takeaways: Three things we learned from 5-1 win over Sabres

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- For the third time in just as many games, the San Jose Sharks entered the third frame of Thursday night's tilt with a 2-1 lead. But this time, they weren't going to let the game slip away from them in the waining minutes of regulation.

Logan Couture scored a hat trick and the power play looked the best it has all season as Team Teal's 5-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.

Here are three takeaways from tonight's game:

We finally got a glimpse of how good the power play can be

After going 2-for-21 through their first six bouts, San Jose notched three power play goals in Thursday's game -- scoring two of those goals in the first five minutes of Thursday night's game. 

With Sabres' big man Kyle Okposo in the box for a four-minute double minor, Joonas Donksoi was posted up in the perfect spot in front of Buffalo's net to deflect Erik Karlsson shot past netminder Carter Hutton. Just 27 seconds later, Logan Couture eluded Hutton to give San Jose the early 2-0 lead. 

The powerplay lit up again in the third with the Sharks buzzing out of the second intermission. Just seven seconds into Marco Scandella's penalty, Joe Pavelski lit the lamp to give San Jose a nice 4-1 cushion.

With that being said ...

San Jose is still taking too many penalties

One thing that hurt the Sharks in their Sunday matinee against the New Jersey Devils was that they took too many penalties. And a similar pattern began to arise in Thursday's tilt as San Jose and Buffalo took turns dancing in and out of the sin bin. 

While the Sabres took their fair share of penalties as well, the Sharks still weren't able to capitalize on the chances they were getting in the latter half of the second frame. While they were able to gain much-needed momentum in the third period, they would likely like to stay out of the box more in upcoming games.

Martin Jones came up big when the team needed him the most

San Jose's starting netminder had his best game of the season speedy Sabres' squad, particularly with how many times the Sharks were on the kill Thursday evening. 

He almost ran into trouble in the third frame when Jeff Skinner's shot skimmed his jersey and almost went into the net. But Jones readjusted in time to sprawl out and keep the rebound out. 

His performance will no doubt earn him the chance at a redemption start against the Islanders on Saturday night.