Sharks

Hertl's late goal lifts Sharks past Maple Leafs

Hertl's late goal lifts Sharks past Maple Leafs

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks got just what they wanted Tuesday night: a late win to maintain their cushion in the Pacific Division and a key player to provide a boost for their playoff push.

Tomas Hertl scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:24 remaining and the Sharks beat the Toronto Maple Leafs for the ninth straight time, 3-1 on Tuesday night.

San Jose made news off the ice as well, announcing a trade during the second intermission to acquire forward Jannik Hansen from Vancouver for prospect Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional draft pick. The trade deadline in Wednesday.

"He's going to help us," forward Logan Couture said. "He's a guy that's very difficult to play against as someone who is on the ice. He's got speed. He's a guy that fits in our lineup and I think this team, this organization, is in win-now mode. So it's a great pickup."

Patrick Marleau started the winning play when he skated in alone on three defenders. Marleau fed Hertl, who then beat Frederik Andersen with a quick shot to the short side for his eighth goal of the season.

"I wasn't sure if it was in, but Patty made a great play to hold the puck and free guys in the O-zone," Hertl said. "He gives the pass and I just shoot and score."

Brenden Dillon also scored and Joe Pavelski added an empty-netter off Joe Thornton's 999th career assist to help the first-place Sharks snap a three-game home losing streak to remain five points ahead of second-place Edmonton in the Pacific Division. Martin Jones made 20 saves.

But the Sharks were just as excited about their new addition. Hansen is a speedy winger who adds depth for San Jose.

"Anytime you're a team that's adding pieces like that and guys that can come in and help, it's encouraging and it's a confidence booster for us," Dillon said. "We put ourselves in a good position to get this, and obviously Hansen will come in and do well."

Rookie Auston Matthews scored his 31st goal for the Maple Leafs to start a crucial three-game California swing. Toronto has a one-point lead over Florida and the Islanders for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Andersen made 34 saves but couldn't come up with the key one late.

"It's a tough way to end a game," he said. "We were close to getting a point at least and having a chance to win it. Tough last play there. You hate to see it happen."

The Sharks had the better of the chances in a scoreless first period, but Andersen stopped all 13 shots he faced, including Joel Ward all alone from in close on a power play.

"He's been great for us," Matthews said. "We have to be better for him. A lot of times they're getting in front of him and creating odd-man situations down low and he's coming up big for us."

The Leafs then used their top-ranked power play to strike first in the second. With Justin Braun in the box, Toronto capitalized on a missed hip check by Brent Burns on a zone entry by William NylanderJosh Leivo then slid the loose puck to Matthews in the slot, and he beat Jones to make it 1-0.

The Sharks tied it later in the period when Kevin Labanc set up Dillon for a slap shot from the top of the circle to beat Andersen.

NOTES:
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer won his 300th game as an NHL coach. ... Marner returned to the lineup after missing five games with an apparent right shoulder injury. ... F Brian Boyle made his debut for the Leafs, a day after being acquired in a trade from Tampa Bay.

UP NEXT:
Maple Leafs: Visit Los Angeles on Thursday.

Sharks: Host Vancouver on Thursday.

'Concerned' Sharks can't look too far into future after loss to Vegas

'Concerned' Sharks can't look too far into future after loss to Vegas

SAN JOSE – Monday night’s contest between the Sharks and Golden Knights was billed as a potential playoff preview. So naturally, when San Jose lost 7-3, there were questions as to how concerned the team was about possibly having to play Vegas in the first round.

But the team was adamant they shouldn’t be looking too far into the future. They believe they need to stay focused on the games at hand, and fix the things that led them to drop three contests in a row – not on who they may play in the postseason.

“You can’t think about that,” Justin Braun said. “You can’t be worried about what you’re doing three weeks from now. You need to get points now.”

Bench boss Peter DeBoer agreed, telling the media afterward that no matchup is necessarily more ideal than another. 

“I don’t think there’s going to be an easy match,” DeBoer admitted. “I don’t think anyone wants to play (Arizona) the way they’re playing now or Dallas or whoever ends up in there. It doesn’t matter once you get in. Everybody you play is going to be a very good and a very good test. So we’re just going to try and win as many games as we can and whoever we get we’ll show up and be ready to play.”

Winning games now means cleaning a few things up on San Jose’s end. They haven’t been happy with how they’ve played in their last three contests, from not having enough energy on one night to making too many mistakes the next.

“I’m concerned, we haven’t played well,” Logan Couture said. “We’re giving up too many chances, too many goals. We’re giving up odd-man rushes. Every time we give them an opportunity like that they’re going to put it in the back of our net.”

Which was primarily the story of Monday’s game against the Golden Knights. The Sharks made too many small mistakes, from turning pucks over in the neutral zone to making too many trips to the penalty box. Couture went so far as to say the Sharks “handed them goals tonight.”

“Some lessons learned tonight that you can’t chase the game, or if you do get behind in a game against that team you’ve got to handle it with a little more composure," DeBoer said. "We knew that, but we shot ourselves in the foot.”

The only thing left to do now is take what went wrong against Vegas and turn it around – particularly on San Jose’s upcoming two-game road trip against the Kings and Ducks down in Southern California.

“It doesn’t matter what happened in the past, you’ve got to keep rolling forward,” Braun said.
 

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 7-3 home loss to Golden Knights

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 7-3 home loss to Golden Knights

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- Monday’s Sharks-Golden Knights showdown was billed as a hard-hitting matchup and boy, it didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, things did not swing in the home team’s favor and San Jose dropped their third game of the season against Vegas, 7-3.

Here are three takeaways from Monday’s game:

The Sharks struggled without Joe Pavelski

San Jose was without their captain for the first time this season, as was sidelined with an undisclosed injury. With their top goal-scorer out, the Sharks needed all their skaters to step up to the challenge and make up for his absence. While they scored three good-looking goals -- two of those markers coming from Logan Couture -- and made a really nice push late in the game, not enough of their grade-A chances found the back of the net.

The Sharks also got into a lot of penalty trouble. Vegas is the type of team that is really good at making their opponents pay for making little mistakes, and they were able to wear San Jose down by sending them to the penalty box six times in the first two periods alone.

The Knights survived without Marc-Andre Fleury

San Jose had an opportunity to jump on Vegas with their star netminder out of the lineup. Fleury has unmistakably been the Knights’ best player all season, and a big reason why the Sharks got shut out in their first trip to T-Mobile Arena earlier this season. But backup goaltender Malcolm Subban stood his ground and was able to minimize the damage San Jose tried to create.

Subban also had a lot of help in front of him. Vegas was very good creating barriers around him and clogging up the lanes, making even the Sharks’ best efforts moot. 

Was this an accurate playoff preview?

Not exactly. Remember, both teams are missing key players because of injury. So Monday’s game probably wasn’t the best example of how these teams could matchup up if they end up playing each other in Round 1.

That being said, we got a pretty darn good look at how contentious a playoff series between these two teams would be. The Golden Knights have quickly become one of the Sharks’ biggest rivals, and all games between the two teams have gotten vicious. (Heck, Micheal Haley tried to pull Ryan Reaves off the bench to fight, for pete’s sake.) If these two teams meet up in the postseason -- a time when the refs typically let more hits slide -- it could end up being a blood bath.