Instant Replay: Sharks burned by Flames, keep on falling

Instant Replay: Sharks burned by Flames, keep on falling


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.
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.

Sharks vs. Ducks watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs


Sharks vs. Ducks watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs

After losing four straight games, the Sharks have to find a way to get back in the win column against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night. 

San Jose dropped its fourth straight game on Thursday, losing to the Pacific Division-worst Los Angeles Kings. Top-line center Logan Couture was a late scratch from Thursday’s lineup due to flu-like symptoms, further hampering a lineup already missing top goal-scorer Joe Pavelski and defenseman Erik Karlsson.

The Sharks recalled forward Dylan Gambrell and defenseman Nick DeSimone from the AHL's San Jose Barracuda, according to the AHL's transactions page. Defenseman Jacob Middleton, who didn't play in his recent stint with the big club, returned to the AHL on Thursday night. 

After gaining zero points in the last four games, San Jose remains in second place in the Pacific Division. The Sharks are five points behind the Calgary Flames and five points ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Ducks, much like the Kings, haven’t exactly had the season they hoped for -- thanks in large part to injuries the roster has sustained throughout the course of the season. With just 69 points on the season, Anaheim sits nine points out of the second wild card spot. The Ducks have won three of their last six games, but are coming off a 3-0 shutout at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets. 

This is the fourth and final time the Sharks and Ducks will play each other this season, with the Sharks leading the season series 2-1-0. In 139 total meetings between the franchises, San Jose has a 72-54-4-9 record against Anaheim.

Sharks projected lines and pairs

Timo Meier – Logan Couture – Gustav Nyquist
Evander Kane – Tomas Hertl – Joonas Donskoi
Marcus Sorensen – Joe Thornton – Kevin Labanc
Micheal Haley – Barclay Goodrow – Melker Karlsson

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Tim Heed
Joakim Ryan – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Justin Braun

Aaron Dell – projected starter
Martin Jones

[RELATED: Watch Ron Burgundy show off hilarious Sharks knowledge on Kings broadcast]

Ducks projected lines and pairs

Nick Ritchie – Ryan Getzlaf – Daniel Sprong
Rickard Rakell – Devin Shore – Jakob Silfverberg
Corey Perry – Adam Henrique – Troy Terry
Max Jones – Derek Grant – Carter Rowney

Hampus Lindholm – Josh Manson
Cam Fowler – Andy Welinski
Jaycob Megna – Korbinian Holzer

John Gibson – projected starter
Ryan Miller

Banged-up Sharks make no excuses for losing streak after loss to Kings

Banged-up Sharks make no excuses for losing streak after loss to Kings

After the Sharks' losing streak hit four games in a 4-2 loss to the cellar-dwelling Los Angeles Kings, defenseman Brent Burns summarized it best to reporters in L.A.

“Every loss is doomsday, and every win feels good.”

Unfortunately for the Sharks, that doesn’t make Thursday’s defeat at the hands of the Kings sting any less.

With the defeat, the Sharks matched their season-long losing streak at four games – against the second-worst team in the entire NHL, no less. San Jose even entered the third period with a 2-1 lead, having taken over the pace of play in the second stanza and hemming even the Kings' best players in their own end.

Then, the Kings scored three unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes to emerge victorious. 

Meanwhile, the two Pacific Division teams bookending the Sharks in the standings – the Calgary Flames and the Vegas Golden Knights – are both on hot streaks and kept winning on Thursday while Team Teal was in L.A.

Nobody’s going to sugarcoat it – the Sharks know they have to be better.

“It’s a wake-up call for us,” center Tomas Hertl said. “We have to be ready because we have just eight games left. We saw how Calgary is playing right now, and we have to step it up.”

As if the Sharks weren’t already desperate for a win after dropping three straight contests, they got some bad news just before pregame warmups that center Logan Couture was a late scratch due to flu-like symptoms. With captain Joe Pavelski and defenseman Erik Karlsson already out, San Jose needed someone else to fill that void. 

“It’s always tough when you’re missing players like that,” Hertl said. “But we have a lot of skill and we didn’t improve (on) it today.”

Coach Peter DeBoer doubled down on not making excuses for big players being out of the lineup.

“You got to win this game anyway,” he told reporters. “You’ve got to find a way. Someone’s got to step up and be a first star. You’ve got to get a great performance from somebody in a game like this and I don’t think we got that.”

[RELATED: Watch Ron Burgundy's funny call of Hertl's goal vs. Kings]

With only eight games left in the regular season, San Jose needs to right the ship before embarking on a playoff run.

Getting Couture, Pavelski, and Karlsson back in the lineup healthy will certainly help. But, the Sharks' defensive effort and overall level of intensity has to be better. They’ve been outscored 19-9 over these last four games, and gone 1-for-13 on the power play. While there’s concern over this losing stretch, the Sharks have to buckle down and find a way to win immediately. 

“We’ve got to find a way to win some games,” DeBoer said. “We’re a little bit beat up, but you can’t use excuses this time of year. We need some guys to find another level for us. At this time of year, you need someone to give you a first-star performance either in net or up front or somewhere to stop the bleeding. We haven’t gotten that.”