Instant Replay: Pavelski powers Sharks to 3-2 lead over Preds


Instant Replay: Pavelski powers Sharks to 3-2 lead over Preds


SAN JOSE –- This playing at home thing may not be so concerning for the Sharks, after all.

After a miserable regular season in their own building, the Sharks won their fourth straight game at SAP Center –- including all three of their second round playoff series games against Nashville -– 5-1 on Saturday night. 

The Sharks, now up three-games-to-two, are one win away from their first appearance in the Western Conference final since 2011. Game 6 is at Bridgestone Arena on Monday.

Joe Pavelski led the way with a pair of goals, while Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture and Melker Karlsson also found the net. Martin Jones snapped a two-game losing streak with 24 saves.

The teams traded first-period goals before Pavelski gave San Jose the lead for good.

Less than two minutes after Mike Fisher tied the game, Pavelski one-timed a brilliant backhanded dish from Joe Thornton along the wall at 17:21 to the top corner, giving the Sharks a 2-1 edge before the first intermission.

San Jose tacked on two more in the second. Just 35 seconds into the middle frame, Couture slipped a breakaway attempt through Pekka Rinne’s five-hole. The play began with a neutral zone turnover by Colin Wilson to Joonas Donskoi, who spotted his centerman with a step on the defense.

The Sharks got their first power play of the night in the final minute of the second, on Roman Josi’s trip of Couture. It took all of nine seconds of Pavelski to whack home his second of the evening, set up by Patrick Marleau. It was the captain’s eighth marker, which ties him for the NHL lead with Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov.

Marleau, who was bumped up to the second line wing for the game, scored the Sharks’ first goal, capping off a dominant first half of the first period for the home team. Donskoi set it up from behind the net with a slick backhanded pass across the grain, which Marleau promptly cracked inside the near post at 10:47.

Fisher, who was the Game 4 hero with his triple overtime goal, tied it at 15:40 when Justin Braun lost track of him. He flicked in a short pass from James Neal in front of the net for his fifth goal.

There were a number of penalties handed out at 16:01 of the third period. Ryan Johansen and Mike Ribeiro were given 10-minute misconducts, while Johansen and Thornton also earned minors.

Karlsson’s goal with 48 seconds left capped the scoring.

The Sharks altered their active lineup for the first time in the postseason, as Dainius Zubrus made his playoff debut in place of Tommy Wingels, who was a healthy scratch.

The Sharks are 4-1 at home in the playoffs, while Nashville fell to 3-4 on the road.

Special teams

The Sharks finished 1-for-3 on the power play, although their second was negated just 10 seconds in after Joel Ward high-sticked Paul Gaustad. They are 5-for-17 in the series.

Nashville was 0-for-3, and is 3-for-18 in the series.

The game was penalty-free until Brenden Dillon’s interference minor at 10:31 of the second period.

In goal

Jones improved to 7-2 in his brief playoff career. He got some help in the first period when Filip Forsberg rang one off the post in the second minute while the game was still scoreless.

Rinne allowed more than three goals for the first time in seven games, allowing four scores on 27 shots. He’s 6-6 this playoff season, and 21-25 in his career.

Carter Hutton entered the game for the final few minutes of the third after the multiple penalties, allowing Karlsson’s marker on two shots.


Along with inserting Zubrus for the first time, the Sharks shuffled up their lines. Marleau skated on the Couture line with Donskoi; Chris Tierney moved up to the third line center with Ward and Matt Nieto, while Zubrus, Karlsson and Nick Spaling comprised the fourth line.

For Nashville, Ribeiro returned for rookie Pontus Aberg after sitting out the previous two games.

Colin Wilson increased his playoff scoring streak to six games (3g, 5a).

Up next

Game 6 in Nashville on Monday begins at 6 p.m. PT. The Sharks are 7-3 all-time when leading a playoff series three-games-to-two, and improved to 14-16 all-time in Game 5’s.

The Blues lead the Stars in the other Western Conference second round series, three-games-to-two.

Sharks' Tomas Hertl, wife Aneta expecting first child due in November

Sharks' Tomas Hertl, wife Aneta expecting first child due in November

I think we’re all due for some good news. So is Sharks’ All-Star center Tomas Hertl and his wife Aneta.

Aneta announced on her Instagram account the two are expecting a baby in November.

The first photo is the two of them posing together with the sonogram picture. The second is of a baby onesie with “Born in 2020” embroidered on it.

This is fresh off the couple's one-year wedding anniversary which, rumor has it, the big day was quite a fun time.

Back in May, Hertl spoke to the media about his rehab after tearing the ACL and MCL in his right knee where he vowed he would be better than he was before. But he’ll have to wait.

[RELATED: Ranking Sharks top playoff moments in overtime]

The Sharks will not be participating in the NHL’s a modified 24-team return-to-play format.

That’s OK though, he has something even better to look forward to … a baby Shark. 

NHL expansion draft: Who Sharks might be forced to leave unprotected

NHL expansion draft: Who Sharks might be forced to leave unprotected

We don't know when the next NHL season will begin or end, but once it does, a new team officially will join the fold.

The still-unnamed Seattle expansion franchise will become the league's 32nd team, and in the process, the Sharks will lose a player from their roster as part of the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft.

Not everyone in San Jose will be up for grabs. The Sharks, along with the other 30 current NHL teams, will be permitted to protect a group of their players from the expansion draft according to one of two options. Either a) protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or b) protect eight skaters and one goalie.

So, where does that leave the Sharks? 

By narrowing down who San Jose is likely to protect, we can zero in on which players are likely to be exposed.

Automatically protected: Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (no-movement clauses)
Certain to be protected: Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier
Very likely to be protected: Evander Kane

That's six pretty-darn-sure things already, plus an unnamed goalie. So, under this assumption, the Sharks would only be able to protect three more forwards and one additional defenseman under Option A, or just two more skaters under Option B.

Though nearly all of San Jose's top prospects will be automatically exempt due to lack of service time, Jonathan Dahlen -- generally regarded as the Sharks' second-best prospect -- will be eligible for inclusion due to his playing AHL games in 2017-18. So, chances are, they'll protect him as well.

Regardless of which option San Jose goes with, that doesn't leave them many more choices. As such, here are some of the more notable names that the Sharks might be forced to make available to Seattle in the expansion draft:

Brent Burns

What the Sharks decide to do with Burns likely will depend on the trajectory of the team heading into the 2021 offseason. If San Jose successfully turns things around in short order, then keeping the 36-year-old Burns -- who has another four years left on his contract at $8 million per season -- will make a lot more sense than if an extended rebuild appears to be on the horizon.

The Sharks have several large salaries on their books, and making Burns available would be one possible way to alleviate some of that building pressure. Of course, if Burns has a Norris-type season next year, San Jose likely will do everything it can to keep him. More than anything, Burns' performance next season likely will have the most determining effect on who the Sharks make available.

[RELATED: Why Sharks shouldn't be counted out if Eichel seeks trade]

Martin Jones

Assuming he's still on the roster and doesn't have a major bounce-back season, Jones would seem to be one of the more likely inclusions on San Jose's unprotected list. He carries a hefty price tag and hasn't lived up to it for the last couple of years.

Of course, the Sharks don't really have anything in the way of an established goalie behind him -- Aaron Dell is an unrestricted free agent -- so if one doesn't emerge, they might be forced to protect him. If San Jose makes Jones available, that likely means one of the Sharks' goaltending prospects made a significant leap or a free agent outperformed him in the year ahead.

Kevin Labanc

He brings plenty of talent to the table and has been useful on the power play. But Labanc's problem is consistency. On some nights, he's one of the best players on the ice. Others, you hardly notice him. He bet on himself last offseason, but it didn't appear to pay off.

A restricted free agent, San Jose should be able to re-sign him at an affordable price. He still is only 24 years old, though. Should Labanc take a couple steps forward next season, it likely will come at a discount, which the Sharks would likely want to protect. If he's ultimately made available, he could offer the combination of youth and talent that would pique Seattle's interest.

Stefan Noesen

Acquired early in the season, Noesen, 27, made a strong impression during his first year in San Jose. He provided the occasional offense, scoring six goals in 34 games, as well as some sorely-needed toughness. He also immediately became a leader in the locker room.

Noesen currently is an unrestricted free agent, but it would be surprising if he didn't start next season in a Sharks sweater, and he shouldn't be too costly either. If he can build off this past season's performance, one would imagine San Jose would prefer to keep him around. Who else the Sharks protect likely will determine if he can be protected or not.

Dylan Gambrell/Antti Suomela/Alex True

Gambrell has accomplished the most of the three, but he's running short on time. A restricted free agent at the end of next season, he'll be eligible for inclusion in the expansion draft if he plays in at least 20 games. Unless he breaks out, Gambrell seems likely to be one of the names the Sharks leave unprotected.

You could say the same thing about Suomela -- assuming the restricted free agent is re-signed -- who has notched four goals and 11 assists over 47 NHL games across the last two seasons. He's still only 26, but has yet to live up to his potential. True, on the other hand, is younger (22 years old) and was fairly noticeable over the course of his NHL debut this season. He should have a good opportunity to begin the season with San Jose, and would seem to be the most likely of the three to carve out a long-term role with the big club.