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 win third straight, 'starting to grow' into team they want to be

Sharks win third straight, 'starting to grow' into team they want to be

SAN JOSE – The Sharks needed to get two points on Thursday evening in a major way. From how the game against the Stars looked in the first period, those points were looking far out of reach.

“Kind of just a fairly boring game early on,” captain Joe Pavelski admitted after the contest with Dallas, who was playing the second night of a back-to-back. “We probably could’ve had a little more energy early, but they didn’t have that much either.”

But behind a critical second-period goal from Timo Meier, Team Teal was able to rally late and put on a third-period performance that helped them snag those highly-coveted two points. The effort showed that, despite that slow first frame, the Sharks’ overall game is trending in the right direction.

“This was a big win for us tonight,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “Took us a couple periods to create some room for ourselves. We got some good contributions from everyone.”

The victory didn’t just give San Jose some much-needed points in the Pacific Division standings. (Not to mention help them improve to 10-5-1 against Western Conference teams with 21 points earned in 16 games.) It also gave them a third win in a row – a feat they’ve had trouble with so far this season.

The only other time the Sharks tallied more than two wins in a row was back in mid-October when they defeated the Sabres, Islanders, and Predators in succession. Since then they’ve battled with finding consistency all while having a very unforgiving travel schedule. Despite finally having a couple days at home to work on their game, it took a bit on Thursday night for San Jose to find that fire in their game.

When they did find it, however, their battle to take over the game was evident.

“As the season goes on and you travel – some nights you feel better than others, and tonight was a night I thought we were off a little bit,” DeBoer acknowledged. “But we battled and found a way to win and got two critical points.”

Much of that battle came for the Sharks in the latter part of the game. Where San Jose faltered against Dallas in the third frame of their previous meeting, the final stanza was where the Sharks thrived on Thursday evening. Not bad for a team who entered Thursday’s game scoring as many goals in third-period situations as they were giving up.

“We’ve been wanting to play aggressive in the third and I think you saw that,” Joe Thornton said. “We were just more aggressive, staying on pucks and attacking. It was good to see.”

Now with those three wins all lined up in a row, the Sharks need to keep improving. They hit the road yet again for a two-game stint against Chicago and Minnesota, into two buildings that aren’t particularly easy to play in. But while there are still things to work on, San Jose is trending in the right direction.

“As a team, we’re starting to grow into what we need to be, and we still have a long way to go,” Erik Karlsson said. “I think we’re starting to find our groove here a little bit, hopefully. We just need to keep building on that.”

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from 3-2 win over Stars

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from 3-2 win over Stars


SAN JOSE – One thing is for sure – the Sharks are probably stoked they don’t have to play the Stars anymore this season.

It was another close one between San Jose and Dallas that came right down to the wire as the teams played their third and final game of the regular season series. And while the Stars tried to make things interesting, Team Teal held on to get the 3-2 victory.

Here are three takeaways from Thursday night’s game:

Putting the lines in the blender did the trick

When asked ahead of Thursday’s contest what it would take to beat the Stars, Sharks bench boss Peter DeBoer said he wanted to see a full 60-minute effort from the team.

So, did the Sharks meet those expectations?

Not exactly. Then again, neither did Dallas. The Stars were playing the second game in a back-to-back and were beaten by the Ducks 6-3 the night before. Both the Sharks and Stars looked fairly even through the first 20 or so minutes. It took a little line shuffling on DeBoer’s part to get San Jose’s offense going. The mixing and matching did the trick however, because San Jose’s offense got rolling part way through the second frame.

Speaking of offense …

Timo Meier is a one-man wrecking crew

Heck, what can we say about No. 28 that we haven’t already said? Even before he scored the Sharks’ first two goals on the evening, he was creating chances off the rush and grinding to get the Sharks on the board. 

It’s almost easy to forget Meier missed a few games with an injury, especially since he barely missed a beat. In five games since returning to the ice, he’s notched five goals and four assists, in addition to registering his third and fourth goals in seven career contests against the Stars.

The Sharks finally have three wins in a row …

… now they really need to capitalize on it. Although they got the two points, San Jose looked like they could be in danger of letting the Stars take the game over late – just like they did in Dallas a week ago.

One criticism DeBoer has had, even when the Sharks have won games, is that they aren’t making games easy on themselves. Instead of keeping pressure on the opposition and hemming them in their own zone, San Jose is letting teams stick around. If they want to really get a winning streak going and put teams away, this is an area they need to tighten up.