Sharks

Instant Replay: Couture, Burns push Sharks past Kings

Instant Replay: Couture, Burns push Sharks past Kings

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SAN JOSE – The Sharks, who unveiled their shiny new Western Conference Champions banner on Wednesday night, are well aware that the road back to the Stanley Cup Final will be a long one. A win over their biggest rival in front of a raucous sellout crowd at SAP Center, though, is a solid first step.

Brent Burns’ tiebreaking goal early in the third period put San Jose ahead to stay in a 2-1 triumph over the Kings. Not only did the Kings suffer a season-opening loss to the Sharks for the third straight season, but goalie Jonathan Quick left after the first period with what could be a significant injury.

Burns, who finished third in Norris Trophy voting last season, found a loose puck between the circles and whizzed it past Jeff Zatkoff at 3:20 of the final frame. Joonas Donskoi was trying to feed Mikkel Boedker on a pass through the slot, but it deflected off of Drew Doughty to Burns’ stick as the defenseman crept in from high in the zone.

[GALLERY: Sharks open 2016-17 season with victory over Kings]

San Jose has won its last seven season openers, the longest active streak in the NHL. The Sharks are 9-1-1 overall in their last 11 openers, including 5-0 at home.

Martin Jones allowed the first shot he saw to get past him before shutting the door. On a Kings power play, Tyler Toffoli found a small space over Jones’ near shoulder and lifted it into the twine just 1:22 into the game.

The Kings continued pressuring the Sharks for the next few shifts, but San Jose controlled the final half of the opening period. A power play goal from Logan Couture on a buzzing wrist shot from the high slot tied the score at 14:05.

The Sharks registered the final 11 shots of the first period, and in the closing seconds Quick seemingly hurt himself protecting the goal line on a Joe Pavelski wraparound try. Quick did not return for the second period with a lower body injury, replaced by newcomer Zatkoff.

Quick made 14 saves on 15 shots before his exit. According to the official team website, his time on the shelf “could be awhile.”

Special teams

San Jose was 1-for-3 on the power play, while the Kings cashed in on their only chance early in the game. All of the penalties occurred in the first period, including coincidental minors on Quick and Pavelski after Couture’s goal

In goal

For the second straight season, Jones allowed a goal on his first shot. On Oct. 7, 2015, he couldn’t stop a Nick Shore deflection early in the first period of an eventual 5-1 Sharks win in Los Angeles. He secured the win with 21 saves.

Zatkoff, who signed as a free agent with the Kings out of Pittsburgh over the summer, took the loss with just one goal allowed on 16 shots.

Lineup

Boedker and defenseman David Schlemko made their debuts for San Jose after signing as free agents in the offseason.

Among the players dressing for the Kings was former Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi, who signed a one-year deal after a training camp tryout. The Kings were without the injured Marian Gaborik and suspended Tanner Pearson.

Up next

The best team on the road last season, the Sharks will get tested right away on a five-game trip against the Eastern Conference. It begins on Saturday in Columbus, and continues to New York, Brooklyn, Pittsburgh and Detroit.

San Jose does not have another home game until Oct. 25 against Anaheim.

'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

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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.