Sharks

Instant Replay: Sharks fall victim to Predators, lose at home

Instant Replay: Sharks fall victim to Predators, lose at home

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – James Neal’s second period goal gave the Predators their first lead of the afternoon, and they held on in a tight-checking game at SAP Center on Saturday against the Sharks, 3-1.

The Sharks had some good chances early in the second to take the lead with the score tied 1-1, but Melker Karlsson missed the net on a wrister from the slot in the first minute, and Jannik Hansen couldn’t corral a Joe Pavelski feed on a rush shortly after that.

Nashville outskated the Sharks the rest of the frame, taking its first lead at 10:08 on Neal’s goal. Colin Wilson stripped Dylan DeMelo deep in the Sharks’ defensive zone before setting up Neal for his 19th score.

San Jose’s power play had an opportunity to tie it after Neal went off on a slashing minor at 17:30 of the third period, but instead it was Viktor Arvidsson tapping in a P.K. Subban clear after Martin Jones was pulled to make it a six-on-four.

The Sharks lost in regulation for just the second time in the last 11 games (7-2-3). They are 1-1 on their season-long six-game homestand.

Capping off a three-game California swing, Nashville snapped a four-game losing streak (1-2-2) and remains in third place in the Central Division.

The Sharks got on the board first on Paul Martin’s fourth goal. Joe Thornton pulled an offensive zone draw back to the point, and Martin’s shot skidded inside the far post with Hansen setting a screen on Juuse Saros at 6:18.

Nashville tied it about six minutes later, when a floater from Roman Josi deflected off of Justin Braun’s shin to Ryan Johansen, who whizzed in a wrist shot from close range through Jones at 12:10.

The Sharks and Predators entered the game as the two highest-scoring teams in the league by their defensemen. Martin’s goal was the Sharks’ 44th from the blue line, while Nashville has a combined 38.

The Sharks are 6-8-3 in their last 17 regular season meetings with Nashville, although they won the previous meeting on Oct. 29 at home, 4-1. The teams face off for the third and final time in exactly two weeks at Bridgestone Arena.

Special teams

The Predators had given up six power play goals in just 11 chances during their four-game skid, but shut down San Jose’s four tries, after the Sharks had scored twice with a man advantage on Thursday against Washington.

San Jose is 7-for-7 on the PK in its last two games, after allowing one power play goal-against in its previous four before that.

In goal

Jones started for the third time in the last five games, and figures to get Sunday off against Dallas in the second of a back-to-back. He made 22 saves.

Saros, a 21-year-old fourth round draft pick in 2013, was making his first career start against the Sharks. It was his third start in the last eight games, and he improved to 8-6-3 on the season with 25 saves.

Lineup

Nashville trade deadline acquisition P.A. Parenteau made his debut after he was acquired on March 1 from New Jersey. He had been dealing with a finger injury. Defenseman Ryan Ellis, who had missed two of the last three with a lower body injury, also played.

Defenseman David Schlemko missed his fourth straight game with a lower body injury.

Up next

Three of the Sharks’ final 15 games of the regular season will be against the Stars, including Sunday night in the second half of a rare back-to-back at home. The Sharks visit Dallas twice on the same road trip later this month, on March 20 and 24.

 

Sharks not satisfied with single point, believe skid will strengthen them

Sharks not satisfied with single point, believe skid will strengthen them

Well, the Sharks certainly made it interesting. Every time the Ducks scored a goal on Friday evening, the Sharks came back and were able to tie things up. They even got the game-tying goal late in the third period that took their contest into overtime – at least, before they lost 4-3.

Perhaps at a different time of year, getting their first point in five games would feel better. Not on this night. 

The focus remains on the work to be done with just seven games left in the regular season. For Team Teal, they need to clean their game up and get back into the win column.

“It’s better than nothing, but overall, we’re just not finding ways to win games now,” Timo Meier told the media in Anaheim regarding the single point. “We’ve got to find a way to win games. It’s an important time of the year. Playoffs are really close.”

San Jose put a better effort on the ice on Friday than they did the previous evening in LA against the Kings, but the opportunistic Ducks were able to bury more of their chances,

"I don’t think we gave them very much," Peter DeBoer said. "Every chance they got, they stuck in the net, though."

DeBoer was more critical of the team a second night in a row, and rightfully so. Despite outshooting the opposition, the Sharks weren’t able to find the back of the net enough times. They allowed two goals while playing on the penalty kill and tallied 14 giveaways. Plus, outside of Meier’s power-play marker, San Jose still went one-for-five on the man advantage. Despite tying the score up three times, the Sharks couldn’t keep the Ducks from responding.

Clearly, all areas of the game need to be tweaked.

“We’ve got to find a way to get an extra save, and on (the other) end we’ve got to find a way to get another goal,” DeBoer said. “We could’ve used a power-play goal tonight -- another one.”

Perhaps the only silver lining, as Meier put it, is that the Sharks are going through this stretch now instead of once they get into the playoffs. San Jose is still trying to get some of its key players healthy and into the lineup so they can make a deep playoff run with the lines and pairs they want. The goal, at least at the moment, is to make sure this five-game skid is a lesson to learn from and not a prelude to the future.

"Get stronger as a team, get tighter as a group, and learn," Meier said. "It’s going to make us stronger going into the playoffs because there are going to be lots of ups and downs coming up. It’s going to make us stronger and we’ve got to react the right way.”

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from overtime loss to Ducks

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from overtime loss to Ducks

BOX SCORE

All the Sharks needed was a win. Just one win on Friday evening against the Ducks. Two points to salvage the road trip, stop the losing streak, and get back to hunting for first place in the division.

Not surprisingly, Team Teal made things interesting with a game that stayed tied up heading down the stretch. Unfortunately for San Jose, the Ducks were the victors in overtime 4-3.

Here are three takeaways from Friday’s game:

How did the power play look?

In a few words: nonexistent until the third. San Jose had three opportunities on the man advantage through the first 40 minutes of play and couldn’t make anything happen. They even gave up a couple breaks the other way that Dell had to stop. Had the power play converted, the Sharks might’ve been up by two or three goals after two period of play.

Timo Meier came up big with the power-play goal in the third period to tie the score up 2-2. While they couldn’t capitalize on the power-play opportunity immediately followed, Meier’s marker will hopefully open up the flood gates for the power play.

Who else stepped up?

Sharks’ bench boss Peter DeBoer didn’t mince words after Thursday’s loss to the Kings, saying that the team needed someone to step up during this stretch with injured superstars and be a hero.

“You’ve got to get a great performance from somebody in a game like this and I don’t think we got that,” DeBoer said on Thursday.

In all honesty, the whole team looked better even with the loss. The fourth line had a couple very memorable shifts, cycling low and establishing pressure. Joe Thornton’s line was clicking, which was clear from Kevin Labanc’s goal.

Gustav Nyquist was a solo standout – despite not finding the back of the net, he played a heck of a game and had some incredible looks. Of course, you can’t talk about this game without talking about Justin Braun scoring the big game-tying goal in the third frame, which was his first marker since December 2.

How did Aaron Dell do?

In all fairness, Dell gave the Sharks a chance to win for the majority of the game. No. 30 has looked good in his last couple of outings – save his relief effort against the Golden Knights earlier in the week when he had little defense to help him out – and he made a couple great saves in Anaheim as well, especially when the Ducks had a couple short-handed breakaways.

Unfortunately for Dell, he gave up the two power-play goals in the third frame. While Braun was the hero and scored the tying goal late in the third to help take the game into overtime, Dell still couldn’t hold down the fort in overtime. It doesn’t matter if he’s the backup or not – at this time of the season, playing too loose late in games isn’t good.