Sharks

NHL Gameday: Sharks begin final week down top two centers

NHL Gameday: Sharks begin final week down top two centers

Programming note: Sharks-Canucks coverage starts tonight at 7pm with Sharks Pregame Live on NBC Sports California, and streaming with the NBC Sports App. (CHANNEL LISTINGS)

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 44-28-7, 95 points, 3rd Pacific Division
Canucks: 30-39-9, 69 points, 6th Pacific Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***Minus their top two centers, the Sharks will go for the season sweep against Vancouver tonight after beating them at Rogers Arena on Sunday, 3-1. San Jose has won each of the first four games with the Canucks in regulation by a combined 14-4 score.

Neither Joe Thornton (left knee) nor Logan Couture (face) will be in the lineup.

“I think we’re built for this type of adversity,” Pete DeBoer said. “We have depth, we have guys that can play multiple positions. It’s an exciting challenge.”

Tuesday’s morning skate was optional, so there were no indications on the Sharks’ lines or power play units. Take the lines listed below with a grain of salt.

“We’re still sorting that out. We’ve got lots of options,” DeBoer said.

***In the Pacific Division, the Sharks are two points behind Edmonton for second place, which would give them home ice advantage in the first round. The Oilers, who have a game in hand on San Jose, visit the Kings tonight.

The Sharks are 2-8-0 in their last 10 games, while Vancouver has dropped four straight. Tonight marks the first of a three-game homestand for San Jose to conclude the regular season. Edmonton and Calgary visit on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

***Martin Jones will start his sixth straight game as the coaching staff tries to get him in a rhythm for the playoffs. In his last six starts, Jones is 2-4-0 with a 3.90 goals-against average and .865 save percentage, although he made 29 saves in beating Vancouver on Sunday. He’ll face Richard Bachman, who will be playing in just his fourth game of the season (2-1-0, 1.69 GAA, .946 SP).

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Tomas Hertl. Without Thornton and Couture for the forseeable future, Hertl will be an important player for the Sharks and will look to build off of his game in Vancouver on Sunday when he snapped a 16-game goal drought with two scores in the first period. The 23-year-old could take Thornton’s spot on the top power play unit, too, so perhaps he can even give that unproductive group a boost.

Canucks: Nikolay Goldobin. After he was scratched against the Sharks on Sunday, and coach Willie Desjardins was critical of his work ethic, Goldobin will apparently return to the Vancouver lineup tonight at SAP Center on a line with the Sedin twins. After scoring in his first game with the Canucks on March 4, Goldobin is scoreless in his last nine games.

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Melker Karlsson – Joe Pavelski – Joel Ward
Jannik Hansen – Tomas Hertl – Mikkel Boedker
Joonas Donskoi – Patrick Marleau – Timo Meier
Kevin Labanc – Chris Tierney – Marcus Sorensen

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones (starter)
Aaron Dell

Canucks
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Nikolay Goldobin
Sven Baertschi – Bo Horvat – Brock Boeser
Reid Boucher – Brandon Sutter – Michael Chaput
Griffen Molino – Drew Shore – Jason Megna

Alex Edler – Troy Stacher
Luca Sbisa – Chris Tanev
Ben Hutton – Nikita Tryamkin

Richard Bachman (starter)
Ryan Miller

INJURIES

Sharks: Logan Couture (face) and Joe Thornton (left knee) are out.

Canucks: Loui Eriksson (leg), Brendan Gaunce (upper body), Joe Cramarossa (foot),) and Jack Skille (ankle) are day-to-day. Derek Dorsett (back surgery), Erik Gudbranson (wrist) Anton Rodin (knee), Jacob Markstrom (lower body) and Marcus Granlund (wrist) are out. 

QUOTEABLE

“Just talking about a lot of d-zone. … Just [one goal against on Sunday], that’s how we play. Last year we [went] so far because we [had], like, the best d-zone in the NHL.” – Tomas Hertl

'Concerned' Sharks can't look too far into future after loss to Vegas

'Concerned' Sharks can't look too far into future after loss to Vegas

SAN JOSE – Monday night’s contest between the Sharks and Golden Knights was billed as a potential playoff preview. So naturally, when San Jose lost 7-3, there were questions as to how concerned the team was about possibly having to play Vegas in the first round.

But the team was adamant they shouldn’t be looking too far into the future. They believe they need to stay focused on the games at hand, and fix the things that led them to drop three contests in a row – not on who they may play in the postseason.

“You can’t think about that,” Justin Braun said. “You can’t be worried about what you’re doing three weeks from now. You need to get points now.”

Bench boss Peter DeBoer agreed, telling the media afterward that no matchup is necessarily more ideal than another. 

“I don’t think there’s going to be an easy match,” DeBoer admitted. “I don’t think anyone wants to play (Arizona) the way they’re playing now or Dallas or whoever ends up in there. It doesn’t matter once you get in. Everybody you play is going to be a very good and a very good test. So we’re just going to try and win as many games as we can and whoever we get we’ll show up and be ready to play.”

Winning games now means cleaning a few things up on San Jose’s end. They haven’t been happy with how they’ve played in their last three contests, from not having enough energy on one night to making too many mistakes the next.

“I’m concerned, we haven’t played well,” Logan Couture said. “We’re giving up too many chances, too many goals. We’re giving up odd-man rushes. Every time we give them an opportunity like that they’re going to put it in the back of our net.”

Which was primarily the story of Monday’s game against the Golden Knights. The Sharks made too many small mistakes, from turning pucks over in the neutral zone to making too many trips to the penalty box. Couture went so far as to say the Sharks “handed them goals tonight.”

“Some lessons learned tonight that you can’t chase the game, or if you do get behind in a game against that team you’ve got to handle it with a little more composure," DeBoer said. "We knew that, but we shot ourselves in the foot.”

The only thing left to do now is take what went wrong against Vegas and turn it around – particularly on San Jose’s upcoming two-game road trip against the Kings and Ducks down in Southern California.

“It doesn’t matter what happened in the past, you’ve got to keep rolling forward,” Braun said.
 

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 7-3 home loss to Golden Knights

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 7-3 home loss to Golden Knights

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- Monday’s Sharks-Golden Knights showdown was billed as a hard-hitting matchup and boy, it didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, things did not swing in the home team’s favor and San Jose dropped their third game of the season against Vegas, 7-3.

Here are three takeaways from Monday’s game:

The Sharks struggled without Joe Pavelski

San Jose was without their captain for the first time this season, as was sidelined with an undisclosed injury. With their top goal-scorer out, the Sharks needed all their skaters to step up to the challenge and make up for his absence. While they scored three good-looking goals -- two of those markers coming from Logan Couture -- and made a really nice push late in the game, not enough of their grade-A chances found the back of the net.

The Sharks also got into a lot of penalty trouble. Vegas is the type of team that is really good at making their opponents pay for making little mistakes, and they were able to wear San Jose down by sending them to the penalty box six times in the first two periods alone.

The Knights survived without Marc-Andre Fleury

San Jose had an opportunity to jump on Vegas with their star netminder out of the lineup. Fleury has unmistakably been the Knights’ best player all season, and a big reason why the Sharks got shut out in their first trip to T-Mobile Arena earlier this season. But backup goaltender Malcolm Subban stood his ground and was able to minimize the damage San Jose tried to create.

Subban also had a lot of help in front of him. Vegas was very good creating barriers around him and clogging up the lanes, making even the Sharks’ best efforts moot. 

Was this an accurate playoff preview?

Not exactly. Remember, both teams are missing key players because of injury. So Monday’s game probably wasn’t the best example of how these teams could matchup up if they end up playing each other in Round 1.

That being said, we got a pretty darn good look at how contentious a playoff series between these two teams would be. The Golden Knights have quickly become one of the Sharks’ biggest rivals, and all games between the two teams have gotten vicious. (Heck, Micheal Haley tried to pull Ryan Reaves off the bench to fight, for pete’s sake.) If these two teams meet up in the postseason -- a time when the refs typically let more hits slide -- it could end up being a blood bath.