Sharks

Instant Replay: Sharks' offense erupts, blank Devils to snap losing skid

Instant Replay: Sharks' offense erupts, blank Devils to snap losing skid

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – Headed into Monday night, no NHL team had been on the road this season more than the dozen games played by San Jose. That peripatetic schedule has likely played a role in the Sharks’ middling start to the season.

Now, though, they’ll get a chance at home to make up some points that they’ve left on the table. They got two on Monday in the first of a five-game homestand, as the Sharks comfortably defeated the Devils at SAP Center, 4-0.

Chris Tierney, Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture and Brent Burns were the goal scorers, while Martin Jones made 26 saves to record his second shutout.

The Sharks snapped a three-game losing streak (0-2-1), improving to 5-2 at home. New Jersey lost its third in a row in regulation, getting swept by the three California clubs.

A shorthanded goal got the Sharks on the board. An errant point shot by Jacob Josefson ricocheted all the way out to Tierney, who charged ahead on a two-on-one. Tierney took the shot himself, cleanly beating Keith Kincaid just 1:59 into the game for his long awaited first goal of the season.

Marleau, looking rejuvenated on the top line, increased it to 2-0. Joe Pavelski pushed the puck towards the crease, defenseman Damon Severson fell down leaving Marleau alone in front, and the Sharks forward nailed the post before slapping in the airborne rebound at 6:43.

The Sharks increased their lead with the only goal of the second period. On a power play, Joe Thornton’s attempted pass deflected off of Andy Greene’s skate to the stick of Couture, who had all kinds of room to fire home his fifth of the season at 10:33.

Burns got credit for the Sharks’ fourth goal in the final frame. The defenseman’s wrist shot from the circle was too hot for Kincaid to handle, and Kyle Quincey inadvertently played the puck off of his skates before swiping it over the line at 7:38.

Center Danny O’Regan made his NHL debut, centering the fourth line. The 22-year-old is tied for the AHL Barracuda team lead with 11 points (5g, 6a).

The Sharks are 7-3 in their last 10 games against the Devils. They visit New Jersey on Feb. 12.

Special teams

The Sharks finished 1-for-5 on the power play, scoring just their second power play goal in the last eight games. Tierney’s goal was the Sharks’ first shorthanded this season.

New Jersey was 0-for-3, and is now a miserable 0-for-29 in its last nine games.

In goal

Jones has now started 17 of the Sharks’ first 19 games. His most significant stop came in the first period, when he denied Beau Bennett after Burns was caught cheating ahead in the neutral zone.

Kincaid got the start over Cory Schneider, after shutting out the Sharks at SAP Center last season with 30 saves. He had no such luck this time, allowing four goals on 41 shots and taking his first regulation loss of the season in four starts (2-1-1).

Lineup

Earlier in the day, the Sharks announced that Tomas Hertl would be out indefinitely with a right knee injury. The 23-year-old was scheduled to undergo a “minor procedure” on Tuesday.

Thornton recorded his 900th point with the Sharks with the assist on Couture’s goal. He is now tied with Brendan Shanahan for 25th all-time in the NHL with 1,354 points.

Kevin Labanc was scratched for the first time, after playing in the previous six games.

Up next

The Sharks have a busy week ahead, hosting the Blackhawks on Wednesday, Islanders on Friday and Ducks on Saturday. The homestand concludes with the Coyotes next Tuesday, Nov. 29.

Sharks avoid arbitration, re-sign Chris Tierney to two-year deal

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USATSI

Sharks avoid arbitration, re-sign Chris Tierney to two-year deal

Just two days before one was scheduled, the Sharks avoided an arbitration hearing with center Chris Tierney, and re-signed the restricted free agent to a two-year deal on Wednesday, the team announced. The deal is reportedly worth just shy of $2.94 million annually, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman

"Chris had his best season as a professional last year and stepped up his level of play in multiple areas," San Jose general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "We've always known he was a responsible, defensive-minded player, but he took his offensive game to the next tier and showed that he can be a productive player in all three zones. We look forward to watching him continue his evolution in 2018-19." 

Last season, the 24-year-old Tierney set career-highs in goals (17), assists (23), points (40), shots on goal (118), and ice time (16:00). Tierney also generated expected goals at the highest rate of his career (0.62 per hour), according to Corsica Hockey. 

A 2012 second-round pick, Tierney entered last season in an uncertain place. He signed his one-year, $735,000 qualifying offer last summer, and head coach Peter DeBoer challenged him to improve. 

“I came into the year wanting to prove a point. I believe in myself. I think I’m a good hockey player,” Tierney told the San Jose Mercury News in December. “I wanted to come in and show people that I could play an offensive role on the team.”  

DeBoer used Tierney slightly differently this season, as the forward started a career-high percentage of five-on-five shifts in the offensive zone (31.12 percent) and a career-low percentage of defensive zone starts (29.68 percent), per Corsica Hockey. Tierney responded in kind with his aforementioned career-best offensive numbers, and seized the third-line center role after versatile forward Tomas Hertl stayed on the wing.  

With Tierney back in the fold, the Sharks now have just under $4.4 million in salary cap space, according to CapFriendly. That’s for a roster carrying 14 forwards, seven defenseman, and two goaltenders, and San Jose’s actual cap space may change depending on the outcome of various positional battles in training camp. 

This summer, Tierney became the fourth Sharks player since 2008 to file for arbitration. In every case, including with Tierney on Wednesday, a settlement was reached prior to a hearing. 

The Sharks also signed a pair of prospects to entry-level contracts on Wednesday. Defenseman Ryan Merkley, San Jose’s first-round pick this June, and 21-year-old forward Alexander True, who scored 28 points in 68 games with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda last season, both inked deals with the organization.

Martin Jones' new goalie mask will have Sharks fans seeing double

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USATSI

Martin Jones' new goalie mask will have Sharks fans seeing double

Sharks goaltender Martin Jones won't just enter the season with a different paycheck, the result of entering the first year of a five-year, $34.5 million contract extension that he signed last July. He'll also have a new mask.

Toronto-based artist Steve Nash unveiled a look at Jones' mask design for the upcoming season Monday morning on Twitter. The design again features San Jose's secondary logo but with some subtle differences.

Eagle-eyed mask afficionados will notice a couple of tweaks. First, there now are two sharks on the side, compared to only one last season. Those sharks boast orange eyes seen on the back of his mask last season

For comparison, here's a look at Jones' mask from last year.

The 28-year-old netminder is entering his fourth season in San Jose's crease. Jones posted a .915 save percentage in 60 regular-season starts and followed that with a .928 in 10 postseason starts as the Sharks advanced to the second round. 

We'll get our best look at Jones' new mask in action when training camp opens in mid-September, and, assuming he plays, in a game as soon as the Sept. 18 preseason opener against the Ducks.