Sharks

Sharks show off their post-deadline depth in win over Canucks

Sharks show off their post-deadline depth in win over Canucks

SAN JOSE – Now that the NHL trade deadline has passed, the Sharks know that the players currently in the organization are the ones that they’re going to go to battle with potentially for the next three months. Contributions will be necessary from up and down the lineup if the season is to be extended that long.

On Thursday against the Canucks, Logan Couture led the way with a goal and an assist, centering the Sharks’ most effective line with Mikkel Boedker and Patrick Marleau. But its was rookie Marcus Sorensen that provided the game-winning score, his first career goal in the NHL, while goalie Aaron Dell continued to give the club reliable backup goaltending in a 3-1 win.

“There are times in different games where we need different ingredients, and I think with the group of 23-to-25 guys that we have, we’re looking pretty good,” Couture said.

Sorensen, whose development is part of the reason Nikolay Goldobin was shipped to the Canucks for Jannik Hansen, had a dazzling shift in the second period that eventually resulted in his score. He twirled around in the offensive zone, pushed the puck to linemate Joel Ward, got to the front of the net, and played a Tomas Hertl pass off of his skate before slithering it through at 9:28.

That put the Sharks up to stay, 2-1, before Couture added another goal four-and-a-half minutes later.

“It was a great shift by our line,” Sorensen said. “We were cycling, and I was trying to [crash] the net.”

Sorensen made the most of his chance on the third line, which is where Pete DeBoer put him after he impressed the coach on Tuesday against Toronto.

"He had another strong game for us. He did a lot of good stuff,” DeBoer said. “Glad he got rewarded with the goal. He deserved it. He's making a case to stick around."

Dell didn’t have an overly taxing night, seeing just 18 shots and allowing only Bo Horvat’s redirection in front of the crease on the power play to give the Canucks a 1-0 lead. There were certainly no indications that the organization erred in keeping the 27-year-old around as the backup to Martin Jones, when it was thought that the Sharks might be looking for a more experienced option.

The goaltender, who was starting for just the second time in a non back-to-back situation, figures to get more playing time over the final 19 games than he’s seen so far. He’s pumped for that prospect.

“It's always exciting to get to play a few more games. I kind of prepared for that throughout the year,” Dell said. “[James Reimer] came in last year and gave Jonesy the rest he needed, so hopefully I can do that."

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the win for San Jose is that Sharks played a strong defensive game despite being down one injured defenseman in David Schlemko after the first period. Since the bye week ended the Sharks have allowed just three goals in three games, all wins, including two against Vancouver.

There wasn’t much of an update on Schlemko after the game, although partner Brenden Dillon said it didn’t look like “anything too crazy” after Schlemko tested out whatever was bothering him when the teams came out to start the second before deciding he couldn’t continue.

"He tried it, which is a good sign,” DeBoer said. “He had the ability to get out there and thought he might be able to come back. He didn't obviously, so we'll see how he is tomorrow."

Even if Schlemko can’t go on Sunday at Minnesota, the Sharks have to be confident that someone else can take his spot. The club has gotten contributions from all over the place this season, including on Thursday.

“We’re deep,” Couture said. “That’s all you ask for going into the end of the year and a playoff run. You need a lot of guys to step up.”

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.