Notes: Injured Sharks Hansen, Karlsson return to practice

Notes: Injured Sharks Hansen, Karlsson return to practice

DALLAS – Injured Sharks forwards Jannik Hansen and Melker Karlsson both returned to the ice for Thursday’s practice in Dallas, in what Pete DeBoer called “a good first step” in their recoveries.

The coach left open the possibility that one or both could play against the Stars on Friday night, even though neither was skating on a set line for practice.

“We’ll have to wait and see how they feel [Friday] morning and what the recovery is,” DeBoer said. “I’m not prepared to say they’re in tomorrow, but it’s a good sign they’re on the ice and participated.”

Hansen has been out for the past two games since getting a stick in the head from defenseman Brandon Montour on Saturday against Anaheim. 

“Took a couple days [off] to make sure everything was aright,” Hansen said. “Getting better, back on the ice today.”

Officially, it’s an upper body injury. When pressed if it was a concussion issue, Hansen said: “I don’t know. It’s tough to say to begin with, but obviously you do all the precautionary things that [are] involved now.”

Although he has just one assist in his first six games with the Sharks, Hansen seemed to spark the Sharks’ top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, as the line generated one even strength goal in each of the first four games Hansen played.

Karlsson has missed the last six games with a lower body injury. He has 19 points (9g, 10a) in 60 games with a plus-nine rating.

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The lines remained the same for Thursday’s practice. Patrick Marleau was with Thornton and Pavelski; Logan Couture centered Joel Ward and Mikkel Boedker; Tomas Hertl was between Joonas Donskoi and Marcus Sorensen, while the fourth line sweaters were worn by Chris Tierney, Micheal Haley, Timo Meier and Danny O’Regan.

San Jose stayed over in St. Paul on Tuesday night and flew to Dallas on Wednesday morning on their day off.

The Wild game, a 3-2 loss, was the Sharks’ fourth straight. They’ve generated just four goals over that span.

That game also capped off a stretch of seven games in 11 days for the Sharks, who now have just a two-point lead on Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division – a lead that was nine points before the losing streak began.

Was the day off good?

“Yeah. We’ve been kind of struggling scoring goals, so just to kind of relax yesterday and then kind of get back and refocus today,” Thornton said. “But sometimes you just need a little time away from the rink. I think yesterday was needed.”

DeBoer said: “I think our group is pretty mature. I don’t think we’re overeating to the situation. No one’s happy we’ve lost a few, but we also know that we’ve done enough good things that we could have won two or three of those games. We’ve just got to stick with it, clean up a couple things, and score some goals.”

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Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic skated after missing Tuesday’s game with the flu. Tierney missed Monday’s game in Dallas, also due to illness.

Is that all gone now?

“Knock on wood. Nothing today. Hope so,” DeBoer said.

Sharks get back to roots and back in win column against Flames

Sharks get back to roots and back in win column against Flames

SAN JOSE - When Sharks winger Evander Kane opened the scoring 50 seconds into Sunday’s game against the Calgary Flames, it looked as though San Jose was already on the way to notching a victory.

But as captain Joe Pavelski pointed out afterwards, getting out to a quick lead doesn’t always result in keeping it.

“We’ve proven it this year, if you don’t keep playing it can disappear quick.,” he said.  “It’s not the end of the game if you get off to a good start or fall behind.”

Sunday night’s 3-1 win over the Flames was different, though. The Sharks kicked off a season-long, six-game with a better collective effort than they had in their previous games. They didn't sag in the defensive end, and kept the Flames from making a big push.

“I thought we tightened things up and played a better brand of hockey than we’ve played the last couple of games,” coach Peter DeBoer summarized. “More characteristic of how we want to play.”

“I thought we played a consistent game throughout,” Kane agreed. “Working for one another, supporting one another. Fast and just moving our legs. That was the key to success for our entire team – and especially with our line tonight.”

That line was, without a doubt, a catalyst in Sunday’s victory. The combination of Pavelski, Kane, and Joonas Donskoi was responsible for all three of San Jose’s goals on the evening, generating the kind of offense they did together late last season after Kane was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres. 

It has taken a couple games to get that chemistry going again, but it was on full display Sunday. Kane's spectacular dish from behind Calgary's net set up Donskoi for a one-timer in the second period, adding the eventual winning goal to the trio's growing highlight reel. 

“I think yesterday we had a good practice and talked a little bit before the game about getting back to what we did well last year,” Kane explained. “We started off really well, obviously with getting the goal and everybody touching the puck. Had a lot of opportunities that we didn’t finish on tonight as well.”

“We got to play in the o-zone, it’s more fun that way than getting it stuffed down your throat every night,” Pavelski said.

The captain added he thought that offensive surge was something they could build off of. The Sharks will need  thatas the homestand continues.

After losing two straight on the road last week, San Jose needs positive momentum with tough competition like the Nashville Predators and the Toronto Maple Leafs coming into town. There’s no denying getting the home win after the tough road trip was a big deal.

“It’s a huge win, reset our game,” DeBoer said. “This league is about limiting your losing streaks and extending your winning streaks. We want to make sure we nip we nip that in the bud tonight.”

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 3-1 bounce-back win over Flames


Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 3-1 bounce-back win over Flames

SAN JOSE – The Sharks needed a major improvement over their last performance if they wanted to start out their six-game homestand on the right foot. Sunday night, they did just that.

A day after pointing out their defense in front of their goalie needed to be better, San Jose put a tougher, more determined product out on the ice. Paired with a strong showing in net from Martin Jones, the Sharks extinguished the Calgary Flames, 3-1.

Here are three takeaways from Sunday’s game:

Kane and Donskoi stay hot against the Flames

You may recall that Sharks winger Evander Kane scored four goals against Calgary last season, tallying six goals overall in two games. Fellow forward Joonas Donskoi, for his part, entered Sunday’s contest with five goals of his own against the Flames. While on a line together, the two created some of the Sharks' best chances.

Kane’s game-opening goal, which was set up by center Joe Pavelski and Donskoi, was impressive enough. What was even better was the way Kane set Donskoi up for the second goal of the contest. No.9 held the puck patiently behind Calgary’s net as Donskoi got into position. Mikael Backlund and Noah Hanifin had Donskoi bookended, but they were no match for the Finnish winger’s quick one-timer.

The defensive effort was better

The big talk after the Sharks’ 4-0 loss to the Blues on Friday was that the team’s collective defense wasn’t up to snuff. In talking to the team at practice on Saturday, they identified playing a better all-around defensive game as their key focus.

They were undeniably better Sunday, which achieved another goal they identified ahead of the game – taking pressure off their goalie. Jones for his part made some very important saves to keep the Flames from tying things up, particularly late in the final frame.

On that note …

The third period belonged to Martin Jones

The Sharks' third period had the potential to set the tone for the rest of their homestand. Although they skated into the final frame with a 2-1 lead, their ability to keep the Flames from knotting up the score was crucial. 

Calgary was able to creep up on the shot clock and create some chances, but Jones saved some of his best stuff for those final 20 minutes. Perhaps his best saves came on a flurry of shots from Johnny Gaudreau and Mark Jankowski with a little other seven minutes to go in regulation, as he stretched out his legs in both directions in order to keep a wrap-around attempt and a subsequent rebound attempt from finding the back of the net.