Sharks to face McLellan, Oilers in first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs

Sharks to face McLellan, Oilers in first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Sharks will face their former head coach Todd McLellan and league-leading scorer Connor McDavid in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with the series beginning this week at Edmonton’s Rogers Place.
The schedule is as follows:

Game 1 - Wednesday, April 12 @ Edmonton (7 p.m.)
Game 2 - Friday, April 14 @ Edmonton (7:30 p.m.)
Game 3 - Sunday, April 16 @ San Jose (7 p.m.)
Game 4 - Tuesday, April 18 @ San Jose (7 p.m.)
*Game 5 - Thursday, April 20 @ Edmonton (TBD)
*Game 6 - Saturday, April 22 @ San Jose (TBD)
*Game 7 - Monday, April 24 @ Edmonton (TBD)
*if necessary

Anaheim beat the Los Angeles Kings in overtime on Sunday, clinching its fifth straight division title and locking the Oilers into second place.
Edmonton has won each of the last three games against San Jose, after the Sharks took the first two games of the season series.
The Sharks and Oilers have faced each other in the playoffs just once, when eighth-seeded Edmonton knocked off fifth-seeded San Jose in six games in the second round in 2006. The Oilers have not played in the postseason since that year, when they lost to Carolina in the Stanley Cup Final.
McLellan is in his second season as head coach of the Oilers, after the Sharks fired him on April 20, 2015. He is the Sharks’ all-time winningest head coach, posting a 540-311-163 record from 2008-09 through 2014-15.
The Oilers are led by McDavid, the league’s leading scorer with 100 points (30g, 70a). Selected with the first overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Game 1 will be McDavid’s first career playoff game.
It will also be the first-ever playoff game at Rogers Place, the gleaming new home of the Oilers that opened at the beginning of the 2016-17 season.
The Sharks wrapped up the regular season with a 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames on Saturday, finishing in third place in the Pacific Division for the second straight year with a 46-29-7 record (99 points). They had a nine-point cushion on first place in the division on March 15, before losing eight of their next nine in regulation.
The status of the Sharks’ top two centers for the series remains in question, as Joe Thornton and Logan Couture finished the season hurt. Thornton missed the last three games with an apparent left knee injury, while Couture missed the last seven games after taking a deflected puck to the face on March 25 in Nashville.
Couture resumed skating last week, but there is no timetable as to when he can resume a full-contact practice. Thornton has not been spotted on the ice since Tuesday, and was seen leaving SAP Center on Saturday night walking with a slight limp while carrying a knee brace.

The winner of Sharks-Oilers will face the winner of Ducks-Flames in the second round. 

Joe Pavelski proves hard work pays off with hot start to Sharks season

Joe Pavelski proves hard work pays off with hot start to Sharks season

SAN JOSE – Sharks fans were undoubtedly happy when they woke up on Monday morning and saw that Joe Pavelski was named one of the NHL’s Stars of the Week.

He deserved it, too. The captain has lit up the scoresheet all throughout San Jose's season-long six-game homestand, tallying a multi-point effort in four consecutive games dating back to a three-point effort against the Calgary Flames last Sunday. He registered nine points over those four games after tallying just seven points up to that point on the early season.

This isn’t to say Pavelski wasn’t getting good looks in the earlier part of the 2019 campaign – quite the opposite, actually. The difference through this homestand is that those looks are finding the back of the net. 

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer told the media after Monday’s practice that Pavelski’s point streak is no surprise given how he “stuck with it” despite not depositing as many goals right at the start of the season.

“I think like all scorers, just reminding himself that he was getting looks, he was getting chances, that they were going to eventually go in,” the coach explained.

And go in they have. While continuing to grind and get good chances – leading all Sharks skaters with a 21.3 shooting percentage, mind you -- Pavelski now has a team-leading 13 goals with four markers coming on the power play. 

His second period goal against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday evening was indicative of the work he’s put into getting that goal streak going. With just a little over six minutes gone in the frame, Pavelski set up linemate Timo Meier for a shot right in front of the net. Meier’s shot bounced off netminder Chad Johnson’s skate and ended up on Pavelski’s stick. No. 8 was falling over, but stayed committed to the play as he flipped the puck into the back of the net. 

[RELATED: Sharks’ win over Blues has them 'back in the right place']

It was like many of the goals that have become staples in Pavelski’s repertoire. It perfectly encompassed how hard work leads to production.

“That’s the big thing with scoring,” DeBoer said. “As long as the foundation is there, you can’t overreact to the fact that maybe the puck isn’t going in for you that week or that month. Keep reminding yourself to stick with it, that you will come out the other end of it.”

The Sharks would certainly love it if their captain’s hot streak continues as the homestand wraps up. San Jose hosts two division rivals in the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks this week – two teams giving up more goals than almost everyone else in the league. Pavelski keeping that hot streak alive could help the Sharks not just win games, but create some space between them and their opponents in the Pacific Division. 

[RELATED: Sharks hopeful Hertl can return to lineup Tuesday vs. Oilers]

“We know that a lot of these teams are going to get their footing and be hanging around in the second half,” DeBoer said. “You want to give yourself as much cushion as possible.”

Sharks hopeful Tomas Hertl can return to lineup Tuesday vs. Oilers


Sharks hopeful Tomas Hertl can return to lineup Tuesday vs. Oilers

SAN JOSE – After missing the last two games with a lower-body injury, Tomas Hertl may be ready to return to the San Jose Sharks lineup.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer told the media after Monday’s practice he hopes the 25-year-old winger will be ready to see game action when San Jose hosts the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.

“We’ll see how he feels after his first full practice,” DeBoer told the media. 

Hertl had participated in team practice since being injured in Team Teal’s game a week ago against the Predators but hadn’t taken line rushes until Monday. DeBoer reunited Hertl on a line with Logan Couture and Timo Meier, with whom he has found a lot of success through the start of the season.

Prior to being injured, Hertl registered 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists) through 16 games.

Hertl’s return means the Sharks' other forward lines could look a little different from how they lined up in Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Blues. Joe Pavelski skated with Evander Kane and Joonas Donskoi, while the Joe Thornton-led line with Marcus Sorensen and Kevin Labanc. Barclay Goodrow, Antti Suomela, Melker Karlsson, and Dylan Gambrell comprised the fourth line.

If Hertl is ready to play in Tuesday’s game, it’s likely Gambrell, who was recalled from the San Jose Barracuda over the weekend, will be scratched from the lineup.