Sharks

Instant Replay: Sharks blow past Canucks in first game back from break

Instant Replay: Sharks blow past Canucks in first game back from break

BOX SCORE

VANCOUVER – Playing for the first time since their bye week, the Sharks scored two goals in each of the final two periods to down the Canucks at Rogers Arena on Saturday, 4-1.

San Jose improved to 11-2-5 in its last 18 games, and increased its lead in the Pacific Division to five points over Anaheim and Edmonton.

After a lackluster first period without much action, the Sharks opened the scoring in the second.

Joel Ward took advantage of some confusion at the Vancouver bench, plowing ahead untouched for a breakaway. His attempt squirted just wide, but Chris Tierney pushed the loose puck to the front of the net where Tomas Hertl pounded it home at 3:31.

Vancouver tied it later. Brent Burns’ defensive zone turnover resulted in Daniel Sedin buzzing in a wrist shot short side on Martin Jones at 12:02.

The Canucks had a chance to take the lead on the power play later, after Micheal Haley jumped Joseph Labate for hammering Melker Karlsson along the wall. Bo Horvat was staring at an empty net, but fired the puck high with four minutes to go in the middle frame.

That allowed the Sharks to reclaim the lead on Patrick Marleau’s 22nd goal. The forward was set up beautifully by David Schlemko, who passed the puck through the seam, confusing Ryan Miller and allowing Marleau to tuck it in at 19:04.

Jones, who was outstanding for the duration of the game, made a key stop on Alex Edler’s wrist shot from the top of the circle with 20 seconds to go, keeping it a 2-1 San Jose advantage after two.

Mikkel Boedker added to the Sharks’ lead at 11:31, whooshing a wrist shot past Miller on two-on-one with Logan Couture. The goal, Boedker’s first in 20 games, was unassisted after defenseman Ben Hutton gave the puck away to the San Jose winger.

Couture capped the scoring with a power play goal, picking the top corner from the faceoff dot at 14:20.

Karlsson returned to start the third period. Early in the third, Labate answered the bell and fought Brenden Dillon, with Dillon seemingly landing more punches.

Vancouver was without five players due to a mumps outbreak in their dressing room, while defenseman Luca Sbisa did not finish the game due to the stomach flu.

The Sharks won their 10th straight game in Vancouver, including both this season, increasing what was already the longest winning streak ever by a Canucks home opponent. The road team has won 15 in a row, extending an NHL record.

Special teams

The Sharks capitalized on their only advantage of the evening, scoring just their second power play goal in the last five games (2-for-13).

Vancouver finished 0-for-2 on the power play, with both of its advantages in the second period. The Sharks are 10-for-10 on the PK over the last six games.

In goal

Jones, a North Vancouver native, improved to 4-0 in his career at Rogers Arena with 35 saves. He’s 29-15-6 on the season, starting 51 of the Sharks’ 61 games.

Miller fell to 16-18-3 on the season, allowing four goals on 26 shots. He’s 10-6-0 in his long career against San Jose.

Lineup

The Sharks were carrying just 12 healthy forwards, as Joonas Donskoi did not make the trip after coming down with the flu. Donskoi, who has been out since Jan. 24 after suffering an upper body injury, is close to a return.

Barclay Goodrow played in his second game of the season, skating on the fourth line.

Vancouver defenseman Evan McEnany was making his NHL debut, while Labate was playing in just his fourth career game.

Up next

The Sharks return home to host the Maple Leafs on Tuesday, and see the Canucks again on Thursday at SAP Center.

Saturday’s game in Vancouver kicked off a stretch of 22 games over 43 days before the playoffs.

Sharks get back to roots and back in win column against Flames

Sharks get back to roots and back in win column against Flames

SAN JOSE - When Sharks winger Evander Kane opened the scoring 50 seconds into Sunday’s game against the Calgary Flames, it looked as though San Jose was already on the way to notching a victory.

But as captain Joe Pavelski pointed out afterwards, getting out to a quick lead doesn’t always result in keeping it.

“We’ve proven it this year, if you don’t keep playing it can disappear quick.,” he said.  “It’s not the end of the game if you get off to a good start or fall behind.”

Sunday night’s 3-1 win over the Flames was different, though. The Sharks kicked off a season-long, six-game with a better collective effort than they had in their previous games. They didn't sag in the defensive end, and kept the Flames from making a big push.

“I thought we tightened things up and played a better brand of hockey than we’ve played the last couple of games,” coach Peter DeBoer summarized. “More characteristic of how we want to play.”

“I thought we played a consistent game throughout,” Kane agreed. “Working for one another, supporting one another. Fast and just moving our legs. That was the key to success for our entire team – and especially with our line tonight.”

That line was, without a doubt, a catalyst in Sunday’s victory. The combination of Pavelski, Kane, and Joonas Donskoi was responsible for all three of San Jose’s goals on the evening, generating the kind of offense they did together late last season after Kane was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres. 

It has taken a couple games to get that chemistry going again, but it was on full display Sunday. Kane's spectacular dish from behind Calgary's net set up Donskoi for a one-timer in the second period, adding the eventual winning goal to the trio's growing highlight reel. 

“I think yesterday we had a good practice and talked a little bit before the game about getting back to what we did well last year,” Kane explained. “We started off really well, obviously with getting the goal and everybody touching the puck. Had a lot of opportunities that we didn’t finish on tonight as well.”

“We got to play in the o-zone, it’s more fun that way than getting it stuffed down your throat every night,” Pavelski said.

The captain added he thought that offensive surge was something they could build off of. The Sharks will need  thatas the homestand continues.

After losing two straight on the road last week, San Jose needs positive momentum with tough competition like the Nashville Predators and the Toronto Maple Leafs coming into town. There’s no denying getting the home win after the tough road trip was a big deal.

“It’s a huge win, reset our game,” DeBoer said. “This league is about limiting your losing streaks and extending your winning streaks. We want to make sure we nip we nip that in the bud tonight.”

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 3-1 bounce-back win over Flames

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AP

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 3-1 bounce-back win over Flames

SAN JOSE – The Sharks needed a major improvement over their last performance if they wanted to start out their six-game homestand on the right foot. Sunday night, they did just that.

A day after pointing out their defense in front of their goalie needed to be better, San Jose put a tougher, more determined product out on the ice. Paired with a strong showing in net from Martin Jones, the Sharks extinguished the Calgary Flames, 3-1.

Here are three takeaways from Sunday’s game:

Kane and Donskoi stay hot against the Flames

You may recall that Sharks winger Evander Kane scored four goals against Calgary last season, tallying six goals overall in two games. Fellow forward Joonas Donskoi, for his part, entered Sunday’s contest with five goals of his own against the Flames. While on a line together, the two created some of the Sharks' best chances.

Kane’s game-opening goal, which was set up by center Joe Pavelski and Donskoi, was impressive enough. What was even better was the way Kane set Donskoi up for the second goal of the contest. No.9 held the puck patiently behind Calgary’s net as Donskoi got into position. Mikael Backlund and Noah Hanifin had Donskoi bookended, but they were no match for the Finnish winger’s quick one-timer.

The defensive effort was better

The big talk after the Sharks’ 4-0 loss to the Blues on Friday was that the team’s collective defense wasn’t up to snuff. In talking to the team at practice on Saturday, they identified playing a better all-around defensive game as their key focus.

They were undeniably better Sunday, which achieved another goal they identified ahead of the game – taking pressure off their goalie. Jones for his part made some very important saves to keep the Flames from tying things up, particularly late in the final frame.

On that note …

The third period belonged to Martin Jones

The Sharks' third period had the potential to set the tone for the rest of their homestand. Although they skated into the final frame with a 2-1 lead, their ability to keep the Flames from knotting up the score was crucial. 

Calgary was able to creep up on the shot clock and create some chances, but Jones saved some of his best stuff for those final 20 minutes. Perhaps his best saves came on a flurry of shots from Johnny Gaudreau and Mark Jankowski with a little other seven minutes to go in regulation, as he stretched out his legs in both directions in order to keep a wrap-around attempt and a subsequent rebound attempt from finding the back of the net.