Sharks

NHL Gameday: Sharks can distance themselves from Ducks

NHL Gameday: Sharks can distance themselves from Ducks

Programming note – Sharks-Ducks coverage starts today at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 42-21-7, 91 points, 1st Pacific Division
Ducks: 37-23-11, 85 points, 2nd Pacific Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***The Sharks and Ducks will get together for the fifth and final time tonight. San Jose has two wins in overtime, while Anaheim has gained a point in all four meetings (2-0-2).

The Ducks could draw to within four points of the Sharks in the Pacific Division with a regulation win (San Jose would still have one game in hand). They are playing the second of a back-to-back, losing in a shootout at home to Buffalo on Friday, 2-1. 

Pete DeBoer said: “They always give us a hard time and a hard game. They're physical. What are you going to say? We know what these games are.”

Anaheim is 4-1-1 in its last six games, and 5-2-1 since its bye week.

***The Sharks are closing out a six-game homestand, having won three of the first five (3-2-0), but coming off of a disappointing 4-1 loss to St. Louis on Thursday in which they managed a season-low 20 shots.

“Any time you get beat in your own rink like that it's a little bit of a wakeup call for the next game,” DeBoer said. “At the same time, we didn't have our A game. It happens at this level with the number of games you're playing.”

Paul Martin said: “I think after [Thursday’s] performance we’re going to want to make sure that we tighten things up and have a better effort and fix some things we should be able to correct.”

San Jose opens a four-game road trip on Monday in Dallas.

“We’ve got one more big game here before we head out on the road, and it will be important for us to play our game,” Joe Pavelski said.

***It’s been more than two months since the Sharks lost back-to-back games in regulation (Jan. 11-14). It's happened just once at home all season (Nov. 3-5).

What has allowed this team to routinely rebound from a poor performance?

“I just think that the guys we have in the room, we have a lot of character, and it’s real good leadership,” Martin said. “I think we push each other to make sure that we’re giving that effort. If we come up short in one game we have to make sure we deliver that effort and the expectations that we have to bounce back, just like that.”

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Brent Burns. The NHL’s leading scorer among defenseman with 70 points, Burns hasn’t scored a goal in his last 11 games despite 43 shots (and 14 in his last two games combined). Burns has failed to find the scoresheet in six of the past seven games, with a minus-two rating over than span. He has three points (2g, 1a) in four games against Anaheim this season.

Ducks: Patrick Eaves. The Ducks acquired the forward from Dallas just before the trade deadline, and in nine games with Anaheim, Eaves has posted two goals and two assists for four points and a plus-two rating. He’s gotten time on the top power play unit, too, and is tied for seventh in the NHL with 11 power play goals.

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Jannik Hansen – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Joonas Donskoi – Tomas Hertl – Mikkel Boedker
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Marcus Sorensen

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – Dylan DeMelo

Martin Jones (starter)
Aaron Dell

Ducks
Rickard Rakell – Ryan Getzlaf – Patrick Eaves
Andrew Cogliano – Ryan Kesler – Jakob Silfverberg
Nick Ritchie – Antoine Vermette – Corey Perry
Chris Wagner – Nate Thompson – Jared Boll

Cam Fowler – Sami Vatanen
Hampus Lindholm – Josh Manson
Korbinian Holzer – Kevin Bieksa

Jonathan Bernier
Jhonas Enroth

INJURIES

Sharks: David Schlemko (right knee) and Melker Karlsson (lower body) are out.

Ducks: John Gibson (lower body) is day-to-day. Simon Despres (concussion) and Clayton Stoner (abdominal surgery) are out.

Why Sharks' tension with Nazem Kadri boiled over in loss to Maple Leafs

Why Sharks' tension with Nazem Kadri boiled over in loss to Maple Leafs

SAN JOSE -- Barclay Goodrow wasn’t happy with Nazem Kadri.

The two jawed before the opening face-off Thursday night, and Goodrow grabbed the Toronto Maple Leafs center once the puck was dropped, trying to make him drop the gloves. Kadri would not, and the Sharks forward alone headed to the box for roughing eight seconds in.

It was a chippy start for teams that only play twice a season. So, what set off Goodrow?

“[Kadri] chose to fight Jumbo last year off of the opening face-off,” Goodrow told reporters after the Sharks’ 5-3 loss, “who quite frankly shouldn’t have to do that. So, I thought I would try to return the favor.” 

Let’s rewind to Jan. 4 in Toronto, when the teams last met. 

Kadri and Thornton jockeyed for stick position ahead of the opening face-off. The two traded slashes, then words, and finally punches after they were kicked out of the face-off circle before the puck was dropped. 

Kadri also grabbed a piece of Thornton’s beard in the fight, but said at the time that it was unintentional. He told reporters Thursday he figured that fight caused the immediate tension.

“I’m not quite sure why they were still so bitter about it,” Kadri said, “especially when he’s the one [who] initiated it with me, so it’s not like I went out looking for it. … I kind of knew they were pretty agitated from the start, and I figured I’d run with that.” 

The Leafs scored seconds after the ensuing power play expired. 

With the man advantage winding down, Toronto center John Tavares threw the puck in front of the net from behind the goal line. The puck bounced off San Jose defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s skate and helplessly through goaltender Martin Jones’ pads.

Up to that point, the Sharks allowed one shot on goal and three attempts on the penalty kill. 

"The biggest thing is [Kadri] got us a power play to start the game,” Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “They're gonna say it's not a power-play goal because I think there was one second or something [on the clock], but that's a power-play goal. It's a great way to start the game.”

Kadri, who is known for getting under his opponents’ skin, was hit a game-high six times. He drew another penalty later in the first period, then drew and received two of his own when he and Sharks winger Melker Karlsson were twice penalized for roughing in the third.

Still, the Sharks out-attempted (18-16), outshot (11-7), and out-chanced (9-5) the Leafs with Kadri on the ice five-on-five, according to Natural Stat Trick. San Jose tied the score 3:18 after Tavares’ tally, and held a lead at the end of the first period. 

[RELATED: DeBoer talks Sharks' defensive woes against Leafs]

Goodrow and Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said they did not think Kadri threw the Sharks off their game. DeBoer thought Kadri “crossed the line” fighting Thornton, but said the pre-puck drop confrontation “was the end of it.”

If there is any remaining tension, we’ll know in fewer than two weeks. The Sharks and Leafs conclude their season series Nov. 28 in Toronto. 

Peter DeBoer, Sharks riddled by defensive woes in loss to Maple Leafs

Peter DeBoer, Sharks riddled by defensive woes in loss to Maple Leafs

SAN JOSE — The Sharks knew the test they had ahead of them Thursday night, with the fast, skilled Toronto Maple Leafs coming into town.

“We talked about what their strengths were and what we wanted to do to try and negate them,” coach Peter DeBoer said.

San Jose tried to do just that for the first 20 minutes, skating into the dressing room at the first intermission with a one-goal lead. Then in the second frame, the wheels came off. San Jose allowed Toronto to use its speed to dictate the pace of the game and tilt the ice in their favor.

“It was the one thing we talked about not doing, and then we did it,” DeBoer said after the Sharks’ 5-3 loss at SAP Center. “We turned pucks over. Gave them a short-handed goal. Let them in behind us on some breakaways. Allowed them to play to their strengths." 

“I thought we beat ourselves tonight.”

[RELATED: Sharks fall to Leafs]

This isn’t the first time the Sharks’ bench boss has said something of this nature through the 20-game season. San Jose now is 9-3-3 on the season when it scores first, meaning it has given up the lead six times on the early campaign. That’s not even counting each time the opposition has rallied from a deficit and left the Sharks making a late-game push.

After the loss, DeBoer revealed he didn’t believe the Sharks should’ve even had the lead against the Leafs.

“I thought — yes, we had the lead in that game. But I didn’t feel like either we deserved to have a lead or played well enough at that point to be in that spot,” he said. “I think when you find yourself in that spot and you haven’t really earned it, you probably end up getting what you deserve.”

This hasn’t necessarily been the case in every game where the Sharks have given up a lead to a tough team. In their contest earlier in the week against the Nashville Predators, the Sharks’ first period easily was the best period of hockey they’d played all season.

A similar scenario occurred in the second frame of that game as with the second period of the Toronto game. After a period playing up to their strengths, the Sharks started giving up too many odd-man rushes and let the opposing team make a comeback.

It’s a habit the Sharks don’t identify as being part of their game philosophy. Unfortunately for them, it’s happening with some regularity.

“The frustrating part is just that we haven’t played to our identity,” Joe Pavelski said. “We do it for a few minutes ... and then all of a sudden there’s a breakaway, and another breakaway. (Martin Jones), we’re just hanging him out to dry at times with these odd man rushes and chances.”

Brenden Dillon agreed: “We have the foundation. When we’re playing at our best, we see how successful it makes us. We’re really not doing that for a full 60 minutes right now. We’re doing it in spurts.”

Both Pavelski and Dillon said the uneven play likely is a mental block the Sharks have, and that it’s something they’re both confident the team can improve upon. As the hockey season rolls on, it’s something they’re going to need to improve quickly.

“We’re only 20 things in, but we are 20 games in,” Dillon said. “It’s something we just have to continue to emphasize.”