Sharks

Instant Replay: Sharks burned by Flames, keep on falling

Instant Replay: Sharks burned by Flames, keep on falling

BOX SCORE

CALGARY – A pair of games in Alberta presented the Sharks with a chance to solidify their grasp on one of the top two spots in the Pacific Division. Instead, they continued their limp towards the regular season finish line.
 
Calgary scored three goals in the second period on Friday night at Saddledome, opening up a commanding lead and cruising to a 5-2 win over the Sharks. The Flames (43-30-4, 92 points) are now within one point of the Sharks (43-28-7, 93 points) for third place in the division, with four games remaining for each.
 
The Sharks have lost eight of their last nine games, all in regulation, and continue to look more and more like first round fodder for whichever team they meet in the postseason. 

They lost to the Oilers on Friday in the first game of a three-game road trip that concludes on Sunday in Vancouver.
 
Calgary clinched a playoff spot after missing out on the postseason in six of the last seven. The Flames have won 10 of their last 12 at home.
 
The Sharks trailed 2-0 in the second period when Marc-Edouard Vlasic got one back for San Jose. He finished off a rush with Marcus Sorensen and Micheal Haley at 8:25, cutting the lead in half.
 
Calgary responded. After the Sharks just couldn’t move the puck up through the neutral zone, Matt Stajan slipped in his sixth goal against some tired skaters at 12:38. Later, Vlasic was caught flat-footed in front of the net as Alex Chiasson cut towards the crease and lifted a backhand over Martin Jones with 2:51 left before the second intermission, giving the Flames a commanding 4-1 lead.
 
Melker Karlsson redirected a Joe Pavelski offering at 13:06 of the third period to cut the lead to 4-2, but seconds later Brian Elliott made a flashy glove save on Kevin Labanc to preserve the 4-2 edge.
 
The Sharks fell to 2-10-0 in their last 12 games against Western Conference opponents. In their last eight road games the Sharks are 1-7-0, including six straight losses, and have been outscored 30-13.
 
The Flames jumped in front on a Johnny Gaudreau goal, as the forward slipped behind Brent Burns and easily directed home a pass from Sam Bennett at 2:26 of the first period as the Sharks got confused in their own end. It was the only goal before the break.
 
Sean Monahan’s power play goal at 3:39 of the second period made it 2-0, as he stayed with the rebound of a Kris Versteeg blast with Haley in the box.
 
Bennett added a late empty net goal.
 
Joonas Donskoi and Joel Ward did not dress for the Sharks, presumably as healthy scratches. Donskoi is scoreless in his last 15 games and without a goal in his last 18, while Ward has gone eight in a row without a point.
 
Calgary has taken three of the four games of the season series. The teams meet again in the regular season finale for both at SAP Center on April 8.
 
Special teams 
 
It was another unproductive night on the power play for the Sharks, who went 0-for-4 with seven shots on goal.
 
Calgary was 1-for-2. The Sharks have allowed six power play goals-against over the last six games (11-for-17, 64.7 percent).
 
In goal
 
Playing on back-to-back nights for the first time since mid-December, Jones was pulled after two periods, allowing four goals on 22 shots. Aaron Dell stopped all 12 shots he faced.
 
Elliott improved to 15-1-1 in his last 17 starts, making 36 saves.
 
Lineup
 
Labanc and Sorensen returned to the Sharks lineup in place of Ward and Donskoi.
 
Gaudreau increased his point streak to seven games (3g, 8a). 
 
Up next
 
The Sharks play their final road game of the regular season on Sunday in Vancouver, in the first of a home-and-home. They return to San Jose for a three-game homestand to close out the regular season next week against the Canucks, Oilers and Flames.

After beating Vegas, Sharks can't suffer emotional letdown vs. Avalanche

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USATSI

After beating Vegas, Sharks can't suffer emotional letdown vs. Avalanche

SAN JOSE -- The Sharks and Avalanche enter their second-round series of the NHL playoffs on very different pages. San Jose will be just three days removed from their Game 7 overtime victory over the Vegas Golden Knights, while the Avs haven't played since booting the Calgary Flames from the playoffs on April 19. 

When asked if there was an advantage to not having time to get rusty, Sharks’ coach Peter DeBoer tried to suppress a laugh. 

“If you’re asking me if I’d rather have a week off, I’ll take the week off,” he told NBC Sports California with a smile.

Granted, San Jose is dealing with multiple injuries sustained during their contentious first-round bout with the Golden Knights. But more than anything, DeBoer wants his team to be able to keep their intensity high after a come-from-behind series win over Vegas. Extracurriculars, off-ice chatter, and back-to-back games going extra long can really zap the energy out of a team, and San Jose has to be ready to bounce back from that. 

“I’m more worried about our emotional level than our physical,” DeBoer admitted. “You’re fighting for your life for three games in a row, that taxes you emotionally. So we’ve got to get our emotional levels back up when we come out on the ice on Friday night.”

There is one advantage San Jose has over their next opponent, however: getting to start the series in their own building.

“It’s nice to not be traveling today to Colorado,” DeBoer said. “It’s nice, especially after a seven-game series, to not have to travel.”

Defenseman Brenden Dillon agreed. “I think any time you get to play at home and you don’t have to travel three or four hours, different time zones, it’s going to play to our advantage. Especially after a big series like that, a physical series where guys are banged up. Any time you’re able to sleep in your own bed I think is a positive.”

Dillon and the rest of the Sharks’ defensemen have a tall task ahead of them in shutting down Colorado’s speedy offense, which did quite a bit of damage against the Flames in their first-round series. Top-line center Nathan MacKinnon and second-line winger Mikko Rantanen led the charge with a combined 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) against Calgary, while Hobey Baker winner Cale Makar finished his first NHL playoff series with two points (one goal, one assist) and a plus-four. 

[RELATED: Sharks' Pavelski unlikely to play in Game 1 vs. Avs]

Much like shutting down Vegas’ Mark Stone line, San Jose will have to solve the MacKinnon combo if they’re going to be successful. 

“We’ve got to be aware of them,” DeBoer said, explaining that facing the Avs' offense in the playoffs will be different than facing them during the regular season. “The regular season you throw out the window this time of year. We watched them against Calgary and what they did to them against a really good d-corps. We know what we’re dealing with and that’s going to be the challenge of the series.”

Sharks' Joe Pavelski day-to-day but unlikely to play in Game 1 vs. Avalanche

Sharks' Joe Pavelski day-to-day but unlikely to play in Game 1 vs. Avalanche

SAN JOSE – Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer is classifying Joe Pavelski as day-to-day after the captain sustained a scary injury during San Jose's Game 7 win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.

Pavelski left Game 7 at the 9:13 mark of the third period after getting cross-checked off a faceoff by Cody Eakin and falling to the ice and hitting his head. No. 8 was bleeding profusely and had to be helped off the ice by a few of his teammates with a towel being held to his head. DeBoer wouldn’t specify exactly what Pavelski’s ailment was, but said the top-line forward was “feeling the effects” of the injury and likely won’t be in the lineup for Game 1 of the Sharks' second-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Colorado Avalanche.

“It could’ve been worse, you could’ve been dealing with a fractured skull,” DeBoer told the media after Thursday’s morning skate. “Thankfully, we weren’t.”

Pavelski did not take the ice for practice Thursday, although the press was told he was in the building.

Teammates Melker Karlsson and Tim Heed were also missing from practice Thursday morning. Joonas Donskoi, who missed Game 7 against the Knights with an unspecified injury, skated in a non-contact orange sweater early Thursday morning but left the ice before practice got underway. Micheal Haley returned to practice for the first time since sustaining an injury during Game 3 against the Knights.

When questioned about the status of players missing from practice, DeBoer chalked it up to the team being banged-up just like every other team still in the hunt for the Stanley Cup.

“Like anybody this time of year, we have a lot of game-time decisions,” DeBoer said.

[RELATED: NHL apologizes to Vegas for mistake on major penalty call]

The Sharks will open up their second-round series against the Avalanche at SAP Center on Friday.