Sharks

Instant Replay: Sharks begin road trip with win over Lightning

nieto-goal-sharks-lightningfeb2016-ap.jpg

Instant Replay: Sharks begin road trip with win over Lightning

BOX SCORE

Matt Nieto scored the deciding goal and the Sharks started a difficult five-game road trip with a 4-2 win over the Lightning at Amalie Arena on Tuesday night.

On the winning goal, Nieto received a pass from Patrick Marleau on a two-on-one before dekeing Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop and slipping it inside the post at 1:17 of the third period, breaking a 2-2 tie.

Melker Karlsson added the dagger for San Jose, taking advantage of a slick backhanded pass from Joe Thornton before humming it through Ben Bishop with 1:43 to go in regulation.

Nieto (1g, 1a), Thornton (2a) and Joel Ward (1g, 1a) all had multiple-point nights for the Sharks, who improved to 12-2-3 in their last 16.

San Jose won its 30th game (30-20-5, 65 points) and drew to within four points of the first place Kings with a game in hand, as Los Angeles dropped a 3-1 decision to Washington earlier on Tuesday.

The Sharks withstood some early pressure by the Lightning, but eventually fell behind at 17:51 on a breakaway goal by Ryan Callahan, aided by Paul Martin going to the bench on an early change.

San Jose tied it in the second. Ward waited for a screen to develop in front of Bishop before unleashing a slap shot that squeaked through at 1:43.

Joe Pavelski snapped a six-game goal-scoring drought in giving the Sharks their first lead, when he got open in the slot and whacked home a setup from behind the net by Thornton at 6:34 of the middle frame.

The Lightning replied, though, when Cedric Paquette whipped in a loose puck at 8:46 to knot it at 2-2 after 40 minutes.

Tampa Bay won the first and only other meeting of the season series at SAP Center on Dec. 5, 4-3.

Special teams:
The Sharks finished 0-for-3 on the power play. Tampa Bay was 0-for-2, including a brief power play with just 13 seconds left in regulation.

In goal:
Martin Jones made his 10th start in the last 11 games for San Jose, finishing with 28 saves. He’s 11-2-1 in his last 14 starts overall, and was playing against the Lightning for the first time in his career.

Bishop took the loss, allowing four goals on 31 shots.

Lineup:
Thornton has at least one point in 24 of the last 26 games, with eight goals and 26 assists over that span.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic assisted on Ward’s goal, extending his point/assist streak to eight games.

Brenden Dillon missed his third straight game with an upper body injury. He is expected to play at some point on the Sharks’ road trip.

Former Sharks draft pick Matt Carle played in his 700th career NHL game.

Up next:
San Jose will remain in Florida for its next game on Thursday against the Panthers, who lost at SAP Center on Nov. 5, 5-2.

Sharks hope attention to detail 'part of their DNA' after big win vs. Devils

Sharks hope attention to detail 'part of their DNA' after big win vs. Devils

SAN JOSE – The Sharks knew Monday night’s game against the Devils wasn’t going to be easy. Even though New Jersey was entering the contest on the tail end of a back-to-back – and off a 6-5 shootout loss to Anaheim, at that – a second straight win would be no easy task.

“This is known as a trap game,” Logan Couture said afterward.

He isn’t wrong. San Jose’s schedule through the first third of the season has been grueling, and the plethora of road back-to-backs they’ve logged set them up to face adversity when the Devils came to town. Even though they would be playing on home ice, the miles they logged over the last few weeks set up a tough test against a struggling Devils squad.

Nevertheless, the Sharks found a way to grind out a 5-2 victory, giving them four wins in their last five games. It may only be a start, but they hope they are building positive momentum.

“I feel like we’re playing better,” Couture continued. “Tough stretch in that Dallas game aside, we could be on a good streak right now. We’ll stick with this and move on to Thursday.” 

[RELATED: Sharks look to take advantage of homestand after tough road schedule]

The Sharks could’ve been in deep trouble early in Monday’s contest, after they failed to register a shot on goal through the first 10 minutes. Then, they surrendered the first goal just a couple minutes later.

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer knew his team could’ve been at the mercy of New Jersey taking over the pace of the game at that point. But, instead of letting the Devils take control, the Sharks rallied behind Timo Meier’s game-tying marker off the rush and never looked back.

“Obviously, that could have led to a downturn and it didn’t,” DeBoer acknowledged. “We just kept working. It was a good effort tonight. I think our guys weren’t feeling 100 percent and we found a way to put in 60 minutes of work and get a win.”

Another big boost came from a better all-around defensive effort – something the Sharks have been saying they want to be better at for most of the early season. The stronger effort helped create offensive chances off the rush, helping to set up both of Timo Meier’s goals on the evening.

“I think our attention to detail tonight for sure was in a real good place defensively,” the coach complimented. “Our offense starts in our own end of the ice, with our breakouts or with our defensive coverage. It always leads to offense going the other way.”

Now, of course, the Sharks have to continue that pattern. They have two days before they host the Dallas Stars, a squad that has already beaten San Jose twice this year.

Carrying over all the little things they did right on Monday evening could be huge for the Sharks.

“I didn’t think we gave them a lot,” DeBoer said. “Hopefully we can make that part of our DNA here.”

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in complete 5-2 win over Devils

sharkstakeaways.jpg
USATSI

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in complete 5-2 win over Devils

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – Things looked ugly early on for the Sharks in Monday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils. But after not registering a shot on goal through over half of the first period, they found their groove and opened a two-game homestand with a 5-2 win.

Here are three takeaways from the victory:

No ‘second-period sag’

One of the biggest problems San Jose has had this season – and yes, we’ve gone over this many times already – has been following up a strong opening period with a relaxed second stanza. Letting the opposition creep back into game has cost them at times. 

Monday against New Jersey was a different story. The Sharks doubled down in the second period, and didn't let up when Devils defenseman Andy Greene beat goaltender Martin Jones to bring the bring New Jersey within one goal of tying up the score.

San Jose got an extra boost to carry into the third period thanks to winger Timo Meier’s second goal on the evening, which was topped off by Jones making some key saves late in the game to preserve the lead.

‘Timo Time’ is basically anytime

After Meier’s first game back last Wednesday against the Hurricanes, Sharks coach Peter DeBoer told NBC Sports California he liked how the Swiss forward played, but still felt Meier could reach another level. And boy, did he aim for those levels on Monday evening.

The winger tallied two goals for his third multi-goal game on the season. His goal in the first period to tie the score up 1-1 was clearly the shot of adrenaline San Jose needed after getting off to such a slow start.

The rookies are alright

San Jose’s freshman class continues to impress. On Saturday evening, fourth-liner Lukas Radil scored his first career NHL goal. Then on Monday against New Jersey, he helped set up defenseman Radim Simek for his first. Simek was working along the blue line when Radil served him the puck, and he exercised patience as he squared off to fire the puck through traffic -- all as forward Barclay Goodrow screened Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid.

Both Czech skaters may play different positions, but they both play a heavy game that adds a mix of size and speed to the lineup the Sharks’ can benefit from. The fact that both can also score goals is a welcome bonus.