Sharks

NHL Gameday: Sharks down another forward headed into Ducks game

NHL Gameday: Sharks down another forward headed into Ducks game

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

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 12-8-1, 25 points, 2nd Pacific Division
Ducks: 9-8-4, 22 points, 4th Pacific Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***The Sharks will try to keep it rolling at home, as they are a perfect 3-0 so far on their five-game homestand, and 7-2 overall. On Friday afternoon, Patrick Marleau’s late score and 26 saves by Aaron Dell pushed the club to a 3-2 win over the Islanders. 

Anaheim brings a three-game losing streak into tonight’s meeting, going 0-2-1 over that span, including a 3-2 loss to the Blackhawks on Friday afternoon at home in which it had a 36-25 advantage in shots.

“They outshot and outchanced Chicago, just didn’t win,” Pete DeBoer said. “They’re going to be desperate. This is a swing of either we’re up five [points] or we’re up one. That’s a big swing at this point of the season. It’s an important game to both teams.”

***The Sharks lost yet another forward on Friday when Tommy Wingels left in the first period with a lower body injury. He joins Melker Karlsson and Tomas Hertl on the shelf, and was termed as day-to-day by DeBoer on Saturday morning. He won’t play against Anaheim.

Ryan Carpenter and Barclay Goodrow have been recalled from the Barracuda. At least one of them will make his Sharks season debut against the Ducks.

“We’ll make a game-time decision on who’s in and who’s out,” DeBoer said.

***The Sharks’ depth players have been producing lately, including Chris Tierney, who brings a three-game point streak into Saturday. Matt Nieto, who has struggled to keep his place in the lineup, has been effective, too.

“We need that,” DeBoer said. “The depth of this team is always we’ve been something we’ve talked about and always been key. It’s a real race to three goals here, and it’s not realistic that [the top line is] going to score three goals every night. Our power play has been chipping in, but not consistently enough lately. So, we have to get some depth scoring and contributions from those guys.”

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Matt Nieto. After he was scratched for eight of nine games, Nieto has played the previous six and made some nice plays. Against the Islanders, his saucer pass to Chris Tierney helped to generate Joe Pavelski’s score, and he also rang a shot off the post. The Long Beach native has four points (1g, 3a) in 12 career games against the Ducks.

Ducks: Jakob Silfverberg. The right wing has been Anaheim’s most consistent scorer of late, with nine points (4g, 5a) in the last seven games. He potted one of the Ducks’ two goals in their loss to Chicago on Friday afternoon.

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Joonas Donskoi – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Mikkel Boedker – Chris Tierney – Matt Nieto
Micheal Haley – Ryan Carpenter – Kevin Labanc

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

Martin Jones (starter)
Aaron Dell

Ducks
Rickard Rakell – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano – Ryan Kesler – Jakob Silfverberg
Nick Ritchie – Antoine Vermette – Ondrej Kase
Ryan Garbutt – Chris Wagner – Logan Shaw

Cam Fowler – Sami Vatanen
Hampus Lundholm – Josh Manson
Shea Theodore – Kevin Bieksa

John Gibson
Jonathan Bernier

INJURIES

Sharks: Tommy Wingels (lower body), Melker Karlsson (left foot) and Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) are out.

Ducks: Nic Kerdiles (concussion), Nate Thompson (Achilles surgery), Simon Despres (concussion), Clayton Stoner (lower body) and Joe Cramarossa (lower body) are out.

QUOTEABLE

"It was just get right back out there and go after it. You don't like to see another team tying it up that late in the game, but I think we had the right mindset going right back out there and trying to get the win right away." – Patrick Marleau, on his late game-winning goal on Friday against the Islanders

Sharks still searching for answers after 3-2 loss to Red Wings

Sharks still searching for answers after 3-2 loss to Red Wings

SAN JOSE – On paper, the Sharks’ problems over their six-game losing streak may appear easy to fix – especially since they had previously won six games in a row and were sitting atop the Western Conference standings just before the slide.

But according to forward Logan Couture, things are more complex than that.

“If it was easily fixable, we wouldn’t be on a six-game losing streak,” he told the media matter-of-a-factly following Team Teal’s 3-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. “We’ve got to fix it. There are certain things that we need to do better.”

From not having enough jump from the drop of the puck to giving up too many breakaway opportunities, the Sharks look like a very different team than they did a couple of weeks ago. The loss to Detroit is the third consecutive game the Sharks have been beaten by a team out of playoff contention. While the team is obviously banged up and trying to get healthy before the playoffs, the current dip in their performance can’t continue.

“We’re too good of a team to go on a slide like this,” Couture said. “These losses at home are not good, especially this one tonight. I thought we’d come with a better effort.”

San Jose did put up a fight late in the game, finding the back of the net twice to cut Detroit’s 3-0 lead to 3-2. It was an effort Sharks’ head coach Peter DeBoer wanted to see much earlier in the contest.

“I didn’t think we had great energy until the third period,” he said. “I thought we had desperation in the third that we needed for 60 minutes. We only came with 20 of it.”

Detroit, on the other hand, was able to capitalize on its breakaway opportunities right from the first shift of the game. Dylan Larkin got the Red Wings on the board just 38-seconds into the contest.

“We gave them way too much respect. We sat back too much,” Evander Kane summarized. “We’ve got to get there first, we’ve got to get there quicker.”

Since this is the longest losing streak the Sharks have been on this season, the press asked DeBoer if there was a mental component creeping into the team’s game. To DeBoer, no matter what it is, the team can only grind out of it.

“I don’t know if it’s mental,” he admitted. “It’s work. It’s desperation. I don’t know if there’s a complacency about where we’re sitting in the standings or what. But, we’ve got to get out of it. And the only way to get out of it is to work out of it.”

[RELATED: What we learned from Sharks' loss to Red Wings]

They have precisely six games left in the regular season to get that work in.

“If you’re going to go through something like this you’re better off doing it now than in two weeks,” DeBoer said. “But we’ve got to get healthy and guys have to get to another level here. It’s that time of year.”

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from disappointing loss to Red Wings

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USATSI

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from disappointing loss to Red Wings

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – With both the Calgary Flames and Vegas Golden Knights losing their respective contests Monday evening, the Sharks had a prime opportunity to gain some ground in the Pacific Division standings. But their efforts proved to be too little, too late as Team Teal dropped their sixth straight game, 3-2, to the Detroit Red Wings.

Here are three takeaways from Monday’s game:

The offense didn't get going in time

As the Sharks have done for much of the season, they outshot their opponent.

While trailing 1-0 partway through the second stanza, the Sharks got some really good zone time and began putting extra pressure on Detroit netminder Jonathan Bernier. Nevertheless, San Jose couldn’t find the back of the net. Even as Sharks coach Peter DeBoer threw the line combos into the blender, they didn’t light the lamp until Evander Kane’s third-period goal. At that point, the Red Wings already had a 3-0 lead.

To be fair, Bernier made some pretty good saves, especially the toe stop on Gustav Nyquist’s back-handed attempt on the power play. But the Sharks are going to be facing much tougher goalies than him during this last stretch and into the playoffs. With just six games left in the regular season, the offense needs to get going right from puck drop.

Shaky defense

San Jose’s all-around defensive play has been shoddy as the Sharks' losing streak has gone on, and Monday’s game was another example of that.

There were neutral zone turnovers and hiccups this blue line wasn’t making at the midway point of the season when they really found their game and began stringing wins together. Part of the defense’s troubles is an offshoot of how the whole team is banged up and not playing at 100 percent. It’s also hard to ignore that Radim Simek’s presence is greatly missed.

Whatever the solution is, San Jose needs to find it fast. A team can’t make it out of the first round of the playoffs without playing a tighter defensive game.

Level of concern?

Yes, this team is dealing with injury and illness and is trying to get healthy for the playoffs. And after taking last Friday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks into overtime, it really looked like San Jose was going to start turning things around. However, Monday's game looked like a step backward – against a team that has been eliminated from playoff contention, no less.

After Friday’s overtime loss in Anaheim, Timo Meier told the media it was better to go through these struggles now as opposed to once the playoffs start. While you can’t disagree with that logic, the continued losing streak can’t be good for the team’s confidence.