Sharks

Instant Replay: Burns nets two, Sharks put an end to losing streak

Instant Replay: Burns nets two, Sharks put an end to losing streak

BOX SCORE

NEWARK – The Sharks salvaged the final game of their road trip on Sunday at Prudential Center, due in large part to their bearded duo.
 
Brent Burns scored twice and Joe Thornton added a goal and an assist, as San Jose downed the Devils, 4-1. The Sharks snapped a season-long four-game losing streak, after dropping games in Buffalo, Boston and Philadelphia to start the four-game trip.
 
The Sharks scored three consecutive goals in less than nine minutes in the second period to take a 3-1 lead.
 
The first two came from Burns, on similar looking shots. After keeping a rolling puck in at the blue line, the defenseman picked the top corner from high in the zone, tying the game at 1-1 at 2:27 of the middle frame.
 
A little more than five minutes later, Burns snuck another shot from even higher in the zone inside the post at 7:46, for his 24th goal of the year.
 
Thornton added to the lead at 11:22, zipping in a wrister. It was his second goal in the last three games, after he scored his first in a manned net in Boston on Thursday.
 
Martin Jones was playing his first game since getting pulled on Thursday in Boston, and entered having given up seven goals on his last 23 shots faced. He allowed a goal on the first shot he saw, but shut the Devils down after that.
 
Tomas Hertl’s empty net goal with 1:24 left in regulation sealed the San Jose victory. The Sharks now have a five-point lead on second place Anaheim in the Pacific Division.
 
New Jersey, playing in its first game after its bye week, lost for the first time in five games (3-1-1).
 
The Sharks held a 19-3 edge in shots in the first period, but the Devils took a 1-0 lead at 11:42 on their first shot. P.A. Parenteau deposited a short pass through the slot from Taylor Hall, after Jacob Josefsen pressured Brenden Dillon into a turnover behind the net.
 
San Jose went 0-for-4 in the first period on the power play, including a lengthy two-man advantage.
 
The Sharks welcomed Logan Couture back into the lineup after the center was a late scratch on Saturday in Philadelphia with an upper body injury.
 
San Jose also won the first meeting between the teams on Nov. 21 at home, 4-0. This was their final road game of the season in an Eastern Conference city.
 
Special teams 
 
Neither team scored a special teams goal, as the previously effective Sharks went 0-for-6 and Devils 0-for-2.
 
The Sharks are having particular trouble on five-on-three advantages lately. They didn’t score on a one minute and 42 second two-man advantage on Sunday, and failed on Feb. 4 against Arizona on a two-man advantage that lasted a little more than two minutes.
 
In goal
 
Jones made 21 saves in improving to 3-1-0 all-time against New Jersey. His best sequence came late in the second period, when he denied Hall with 1:40 to go, and turned away a redirection by a cutting Stefan Noesen with 1:08 left, preserving the Sharks’ 3-1 lead.
 
Schneider was impressive early, but took the loss with three goals allowed on 37 shots. He’s just 4-6-2 in his career against San Jose.
 
Lineup
 
Marcus Sorensen came out of the lineup to make way for Couture.
 
Patrick Marleau saw a nine-game point streak come to an end.
 
Up next
 
The Sharks have three games remaining before the bye week starting with the Panthers, who beat them in overtime on Nov. 3, 4-3. San Jose visits Arizona next Saturday, and hosts the Bruins next Sunday before five mandatory days off from Feb. 20-24.

Sharks' crazy comeback over Capitals is a testament to their character

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USATSI

Sharks' crazy comeback over Capitals is a testament to their character

Suffice to say, just about anyone watching the end of the Sharks-Capitals contest Tuesday night probably assumed the game was over in the last few seconds. Heck, even members of the Sharks thought they were about to lose to the defending Stanley Cup champs before Evander Kane scored the tying goal with one second left in regulation.

“I thought the game was over,” Logan Couture admitted. “I came to the bench and I changed, and I was frustrated. Broke my stick over the bench. And then I look up and Kane’s putting the puck in the net.”

You really do have to hand it to the Sharks. They went into Tuesday’s game on the back end of yet another back-to-back with travel involved. They were coming off their third straight loss --- not to mention their third consecutive game where they’d given up six goals. Plus, they have a banged up starting lineup going up against a desperate Capitals team looking to snap a five-game losing streak of their own. 

Oh, and Alex Ovechkin registered a hat trick. Don’t forget about that part.

But the Sharks hung around. Although San Jose was down two goals partway through the third frame, they kept pushing so Kane could find the back of the net at 19:59 to send it to overtime -- where the Sharks would eventually seal the win.

“The guys knew we were in a tough one tonight,” Sharks’ coach Peter DeBoer told the media after the 7-6 overtime victory. “With the scheduling of it and the way the road trip has gone and some of the injuries we’ve got. We could’ve used it as an excuse and mailed it in at a bunch of different points tonight and we didn’t.

“I think that’s a testament to our character.”

That character helped to catapult the Sharks offense in the third frame after Ovechkin tallied his third goal to give Washington a 6-4 advantage at 5:52 in the period. San Jose kept grinding, with Tomas Hertl capitalizing on the power play halfway through frame and Kane beating Braden Holtby at the final buzzer. The push culminated in overtime when Martin Jones stood his ground in three-on-three play so Couture, Hertl, and Timo Meier could carry the puck the other way. Hertl scored the game-winner, notching his third career hat trick -- which also made him the first player in team history to register a hat trick that included a game-winning goal in overtime.

To top it off, the Sharks didn’t just hand the Capitals their sixth straight loss. It was also the first time Washington lost a game in which Ovechkin scored a hat trick

Kane gave a nod to the team’s resilience while being down. “We never stopped thinking we could get back,” he said. “As long as we kept getting that next goal and [Washington] didn’t make it a three-goal lead. Big win going into the break.”

Speaking of that break, the majority of the Sharks get a 10-day breather with their bye week occurring immediately after All-Star weekend. This team has had a crazy schedule and is facing adversity with the injuries. Getting that win over Washington no doubt allows the team to start that break in a positive frame of mind.

“It’s been a grind,” DeBoer acknowledged. “It’s nice to go into the break with a big emotional win like that. Makes the time a little more enjoyable.”

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in wild 7-6 overtime win over Capitals

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AP

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in wild 7-6 overtime win over Capitals

BOX SCORE

Fans probably weren’t expecting a goal-scoring clinic when the Sharks and Capitals met up for the first time this season Tuesday night, but it turned into a goal-scoring frenzy, as the teams went back and forth for the good part of 60 minutes. 

It was an absolutely insane sequence of events between San Jose and the defending Stanley Cup champs -- especially when Evander Kane tied the game up at 19:59 in the third frame to send the contest into overtime. In the end, Tomas Hertl played the role of the hero, securing a hat trick in overtime to give the Sharks the 7-6 victory.

Here are three takeaways from the Sharks' last game before the break:

The defense struggled again

Neither the Sharks nor the Capitals were particularly successful at breaking up plays in their own end, which didn’t give either starting netminder much help. Braden Holtby and Martin Jones didn't exactly do themselves a lot of favors, though, as they weren’t particularly good at preventing rebounds.

Nevertheless, this is an aspect of San Jose’s game that has suffered as of late, and can't be entirely attributed to top members of their blue line being sidelined with injury. The Sharks’ overall defense was stellar before they went on this road trip. They have to get back to that way of playing heading down the stretch toward the playoffs.

Special teams produce, but still room for improvement

Neither team’s special teams were particularly consistent -- Washington gave up a 3-on-0 for crying out loud. San Jose’s improved as the game went on, as Logan Couture scored a short-handed goal in the second stanza, and Tomas Hertl found the back of the net on the man advantage in the third. 

While the short-handed goal proved to be crucial, the Sharks' penalty kill still has to be better when play resumes out of the All-Star break. San Jose had the second-best kill in the league earlier in the season. That’s a level they need to return to if they’re going to get back in the win column on a regular basis.

Defensive identity

Even though the Sharks won Tuesday’s game, they can't be happy with how many goals they gave up. Six goals in four straight games? The Sharks haven't done that since 1995, and it’s not the mark of a sound defensive club. This team has to play a tighter game, and getting a little time off could help them reset and do just that.

After the All-Star break, the Sharks' travel schedule is more forgiving than it has been up to this point in the season. Plus, San Jose should get a couple injured players back and healthy. They've stumbled a bit going into the long break, but all they can do at this point is look ahead to how they can be better after the 10-day bye.