Instant Replay: Strong first period vaults Sharks past Kings

Instant Replay: Strong first period vaults Sharks past Kings


LOS ANGELES – A pair of rookies helped the Sharks jump out to a first period lead, Logan Couture scored twice, and Martin Jones continued his strong play against his former team as the Sharks downed the Kings at Staples Center on Wednesday night, 4-1.

The Sharks improved to 5-1 in their last six games while increasing their advantage in the Pacific Division to three points, while snapping the Kings’ five-game winning streak in the process.

The Kings had the territorial edge for most of the first period, but the Sharks capitalized on their few opportunities in seizing a commanding 3-0 lead.

Couture and Kevin Labanc perfectly executed a two-on-one to open the scoring. Couture laid a perfect saucer pass to Labanc to his left, and the rookie fired home his second of the season at 3:32.

A pair of goals in the final minute staked San Jose its three-goal cushion at the break. Couture managed to chip through a Joonas Donskoi rebound after strong work behind the net by Joel Ward at 19:05, and just half a minute later Ryan Carpenter recorded his first career goal, finding space through Peter Budaj’s pads after Mikkel Boedker’s lead pass from the neutral zone.

Carpenter found himself in the middle of the third line for the final half of the first period when Chris Tierney had to leave the ice. Tierney went hard into the corner boards after Jake Muzzin tripped him up, but returned to start the second.

The Kings kept up the pressure early in the second and got on the board with a Dustin Brown power play score at 3:01, when the former L.A. captain lifted it over Jones from the doorstep. Trevor Lewis nearly got another one shortly after that after he had Jones beat, but Brent Burns came storming in to the blue paint and managed to deflect the puck away just before it crossed the line.

Jones finished with 26 saves, improving to 5-1-1 in his career against the Kings, not including last year’s playoffs when San Jose eliminated Los Angeles in five games in the first round.

Couture’s empty net goal from deep in his own end with 1:17 to go capped the scoring.

The Sharks, who beat the Kings in the season opener on Oct. 12, return to Staples Center on New Year’s Eve.

Special teams

The Sharks had just one power play in the game early in the third period, and failed to increase their lead.

The Kings were 1-for-2. San Jose is just 14-for-19 on the PK over its last eight games (73.6 percent).

In goal

Jones was starting back-to-back games for the first time this season, after he recorded the win against Arizona at home on Tuesday night. He’s 7-2-1 in his last 10 games, and tied for second in the NHL with 12 wins.

Budaj took the loss, allowing three goals on 23 shots. Jonathan Quick, hurt in the first game of the season in San Jose, remains out with a groin injury.


Two rookies scored road goals for the Sharks for the first time since March 3, 2015 when Melker Karlsson and Chris Tierney had goals in Vancouver.

Joe Pavelski’s seven-game point streak came to an end.

Tommy Wingels, day-to-day with a lower body injury, missed his third straight game.

Up next

The Sharks will host the top team in the NHL on Friday when the Montreal Canadiens visit SAP Center. After that, they won’t play against until Wednesday, Dec. 7 against Ottawa.

Erik Karlsson unveils Sharks' black third jersey with an on-ice skate

San Jose Sharks

Erik Karlsson unveils Sharks' black third jersey with an on-ice skate

Erik Karlsson did not play for the Sharks in Saturday's preseason game against the Vegas Golden Knights, but he still managed to suit up. 

Karlsson took the ice in front of the fans at SAP Center as a Shark for the first time, all while wearing San Jose's newest uniform. He officially unveiled a black alternate jersey that the Sharks will wear in 13 home games this season. 

Teal is the only prominent accent color aside from some orange in the shark's eye. It looks like Martin Jones' new mask design offered a bit of a thematic preview of the Sharks' new look.  

The "Stealth" jersey also features a black-and-teal version of San Jose's original secondary logo, a cool nod to the franchise's history. Sharks co-president John Tortora told NBC Sports California's Brodie Brazil in February that the logo would "start showing back up again."

In all, it's the third black jersey in the club's history, and the team's first alternate uniform since Adidas took over as the NHL's jersey manufacturer last season. 

The Sharks will wear the jersey in every Thursday night and Friday night home game -- as well as one Saturday. The full schedule for the uniform is as follows:

  • Thursday, Oct. 18 vs. Buffalo
  • Thursday, Nov. 1 vs. Columbus
  • Saturday, Nov. 3 vs. Philadelphia
  • Thursday, Nov. 15 vs. Toronto
  • Friday, Nov. 23 vs. Vancouver
  • Thursday, Dec. 13 vs. Dallas
  • Thursday, Dec. 20 vs. Winnipeg
  • Thursday, Dec. 27 vs. Anaheim
  • Thursday, Feb. 14 vs. Washington
  • Friday, March 1 vs. Colorado
  • Thursday, March 7 vs. Montreal
  • Thursday, March 14 vs. Florida
  • Thursday, March 28 vs. Chicago

After Erik Karlsson trade, Sharks in line for new defenseman pairings

After Erik Karlsson trade, Sharks in line for new defenseman pairings

SAN JOSE -- Since Peter DeBoer took over as Sharks coach ahead of the 2015-16 season, defenseman Brenden Dillon has played with plenty of partners. Seven defensive pairings have played 500 minutes of five-on-five hockey together in the regular season and playoffs during that stretch, according to Corsica Hockey, and Dillon has played for four. 

He’ll likely join a fifth this season. Dillon’s most regular partner over the last three seasons, Dylan DeMelo, now is in Ottawa after being traded to the Senators in the massive deal that brought two-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson to San Jose last week. 

Dillon, like the rest of the Sharks' defensive corps, doesn’t know who he’ll skate with to start the season. But, he said, his experience regularly playing alongside many different players will prove beneficial when he does.

“I think it’ll be to my advantage for sure,” Dillon said Friday at the Sharks' practice facility. “I’m definitely excited. We don’t really know what the lineups are going to kind of shake out as exactly. I think even during the regular season in past years, too, you might start out with a certain guy and finish the game having played with all five guys. … There’s so many different variables.”

Dillon skated with defensive prospect Jeremy Roy on Friday. Marc-Edouard Vlasic paired with Karlsson for the third consecutive practice. Justin Braun, Vlasic’s regular partner to the tune of nearly 3800 regular-season and playoff minutes over the last three years, skated with Burns. 

At least in the Braun and Burns’ case, that was due to availability. Burns’ most common defensive partner last season, Joakim Ryan, played in Thursday night’s preseason game against the Anaheim Ducks, and thus skated in the second session. 

Still, it’s possible Braun will regularly play with someone other than Vlasic for the first time in years. The eight-year veteran last played with someone else for more than 500 five-on-five minutes during the 2013-14 season, when he logged just under 505 such minutes with now-retired defenseman Brad Stuart. 

Braun said there won’t be a big learning curve if he plays with someone other than Vlasic, since he’s played spot minutes with just about everyone else (other than Karlsson). Braun said he’d hope to play a couple preseason games with a new partner, but that practice might be an ideal time to learn their tendencies and develop chemistry. 

“You can learn anywhere,” Braun said. “There’s drills set up where there’s a lot of forechecking. You might chip [the puck], and he’s not there, and you kind of talk about it after. That might be the best place since they’re not scoring goals on you where it counts.”

It might be awhile before DeBoer provides a glimpse into his potential pairings. Karlsson will not play in Saturday’s preseason game against the Vegas Golden Knights at SAP Center, and the Sharks will not cut camp down to one group of up to 26 players (five forward lines, four defensive pairs, and three goaltenders) until Tuesday or Wednesday. 

After Saturday, San Jose will play three more preseason games before hosting Anaheim in the regular-season opener Oct. 3. Who Karlsson, and the rest of the defense, play with then is still to be determined, according to DeBoer. 

“We’ll see,” DeBoer said when asked if he envisioned Karlsson and Vlasic as a long-term possibility. “We’ve had a couple practices, but honestly I’ve got a bunch of different things rolling around in my head. The nice thing about getting [Karlsson] now is that it’s not a trade deadline where you’ve basically got six weeks to figure it out.”

DeBoer added that he hopes his pairings that open the season will stick together stick throughout the season, but he knows the nature of a long schedule will require changes. As Braun and Dillon both noted, that can happen during the ebb and flow of an individual game, too.

No matter who plays with whom, Dillon said he’s confident any new-look pairings will be able to become comfortable. 

“I think that’s just going to come with time,” Dillon said. “But, for us as a group, I think we can all cover for each other if we’re struggling a bit. At the same time, I think when we’re all going well, it’s going to be a tough group to beat.”