Sharks

Sharks storm back for shootout win in Anaheim

sharksloseusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Sharks storm back for shootout win in Anaheim

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM -- Logan Couture had a goal and an assist and then scored in the shootout to help the San Jose Sharks beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on Sunday night.

San Jose's Timo Meier tied it with 53.7 seconds remaining. Martin Jones made 25 saves in the Sharks' second straight win.

Ondrej Kase had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who had won three straight home games. Cam Fowler also scored, Nick Ritchie had two assists and John Gibson made 37 saves.

San Jose moved into second place in the Pacific Division, two points ahead of Calgary in third. Anaheim is fourth, two points behind the Flames.

Joe Pavelski also scored in the shootout. Jones stopped Adam Henrique's shot in the first round, and Rickard Rakell hit the post in the second.

Meier positioned himself on the edge of the crease to tip in Couture's shot and secure at least a point for the Sharks. Couture trimmed the deficit to 2-1 at 10:56 of the third on a wrist shot into the top corner for his team-leading 23rd goal.

Fowler's seventh goal of the season put the Ducks ahead 2-0 at 6:28 of the third.

Anaheim jumped in front on Kase's third goal in the last four games. Kase sped in down the right boards and fired a long shot that snuck in between Jones' legs 2:39 into the opening period.

Jones seemed rattled by the play and nearly gave up another goal a minute later after losing track of Derek Grant's shot at his own feet. But Jones settled in by making a glove save on a shot by Chris Wagner after the Sharks turned the puck over in their own zone.

Corey Perry had a power-play goal with 18 seconds remaining in the first overturned on a successful challenge by the Sharks, with defenseman Kevin Bieksa being ruled offside.

NOTES: Bieksa played in his 800th career game. . Sharks RW Joel Ward (shoulder) missed his second straight game. . Ducks C Antoine Vermette was a healthy scratch for the second time in three games. Derek Grant replaced Vermette on the fourth line.

UP NEXT

Sharks: Host the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday to open a three-game homestand.

Ducks: Visit the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday to begin a four-game trip.

Sharks still in position to dominate at home despite recent loss at SAP

sharkssidebar.jpg
USATSI

Sharks still in position to dominate at home despite recent loss at SAP

SAN JOSE -- The Sharks made no excuses after their 5-1 loss to the Washington Capitals on Thursday night. They had their winning streak snapped and they weren’t happy with how they played. 

To add to it, the loss came on home ice, where the Sharks expect to play their absolute best. Regardless of whether they’re playing with a jam-packed schedule or coming off a whirlwind road trip – as they had before the game against Washington – San Jose expects their home game to be top notch.

“This is our home rink. We’ve taken a lot of pride playing here and we’ve played some of our best hockey at home,” Brenden Dillon told the media after the loss.

He isn’t wrong. Heck, nearly every team that comes into the building will agree with him -- it’s often said by opposing players that SAP is a tough building to be the visiting team in. 

Even when you factor in Team Teal going through some defensive struggles at the start of the season, they’ve remained consistently good when playing at home, no matter how their schedule is structured or who the competition is. With much of the remainder of their 2018-19 schedule being played in the cozy confines of SAP Center, they have plenty of opportunities to improve on Thursday’s performance on home ice. 

San Jose currently holds a staggering 18-5-4 record in their home barn so far through the 2018-19 campaign. Even when the Sharks have come off long and difficult road trips – and they’ve had quite a few of those this season – they have a 7-3-0 record in first games back on home ice. At this rate, they could easily top their home record from last season, when they went 25-13-3 at SAP Center through the regular season, with an 8-4-1 record when returning from the road.

That home record will have the perfect opportunity to be built upon given how the rest of San Jose’s campaign is planned out. Starting with Saturday night’s contest against the Vancouver Canucks, 14 of the Sharks last 24 games of the regular season will be played on home ice. Of those matchups, 10 will take place against Western Conference teams, where the Sharks currently hold a 23-8-3 record against.

To make things even more interesting, there’s one more matchup with the Calgary Flames and two more meetings with the Vegas Golden Knights, who currently sandwich the Sharks in the division standings.

The long and short of it is that too much can’t be invested in Thursday’s loss against the Capitals, a game when players said afterward that they were simply “out-competed” by the defending Cup champs and were ready to move on and be better. Lucky for them, they have plenty of opportunities to be better on home ice as the last games of the season get underway.

Sharks not making excuses after being 'out-competed' by defending champs

sharkssidebarusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Sharks not making excuses after being 'out-competed' by defending champs

SAN JOSE -- It’s never fun to see a winning streak come to an end. For the Sharks, it was a six-gamer that both started and ended with the Washington Capitals. 

There was no complex reason why San Jose failed to dominate the defending Stanley Cup champions like they had dominated the few teams they had just faced on the road. Nobody on the team was going to point the finger or make excuses. The Sharks said it themselves -- they didn’t have that jump on Thursday night.

“We’ve had some pretty good nights in the last month, but tonight wasn’t our best,” Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said after the 5-1 loss. “We couldn’t outscore our problems tonight.”

Evander Kane agreed, telling NBC Sports California there wasn’t too much to dissect when it came to looking at the defeat. “They out-competed us,” he summarized. “We weren’t good with the puck tonight, that’s really all you can dissect from that. If we get back to where our compete level (was) the last little while here and manage the puck better, we’ll give ourselves a better chance to win.”

The Sharks looked more than ready to compete at puck drop, even getting on the scoreboard first thanks to an early goal from Kevin Labanc. But the Capitals quickly took over the pace of the game, hemming the Sharks in their own zone and tangling up the offense every chance they created. The Capitals even outshot the Sharks in the game -- something rarely seen this season from a Sharks squad currently ranked second in the league with an average 34.1 shots per game

San Jose was within reach of tying things up when they were down just 2-1, but Washington didn’t give them much room to create any momentum. After Alex Ovechkin was left open to find the back of the net and extend the Capitals’ lead to 3-1, Washington all but controlled the pace for the rest of the game. 

“We didn’t have much pace and execution as the game went on,” captain Joe Pavelski admitted, adding that, with a couple days of practice and preparation, the team should’ve had more jump. “There’s never an explanation why you do that,” he said, shaking his head. “We were prepared and there’s no excuses.”

[RELATED: Sharks can benefit from topsy-turvy division down stretch]

The only course of action from here on, then, is to be better for the next game -- Saturday, when the Canucks visit. The Sharks have just two more games at home before heading back on the road, and not a lot of room for hiccups with just 24 games left in the regular season.