Sharks

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 4-2 win in Game 3 vs. Avalanche

sharkstakeawaysusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 4-2 win in Game 3 vs. Avalanche

BOX SCORE

If you were able to get past the many times the puck rang off the post for both teams Tuesday night, Game 3 of the Sharks' Stanley Cup playoff second-round series was incredibly interesting. The Sharks made things a little too interesting for their liking late in the game, but hung on to beat the Avalanche 4-2 thanks to Logan Couture's first career postseason hat trick. 

Here are three takeaways from the Sharks taking a 2-1 series lead. 

Changing the first-period narrative

The Avs came out with a big push at the drop of the puck, hemming the Sharks in their own zone for several shifts. Had goaltender Martin Jones not been on his A-game yet again, Colorado might've jumped out to an early lead. But halfway through the period, San Jose got a nice boost of energy that carried over to the impressive shift that produced Logan Couture's game-opening goal.

The Sharks' fourth line deserves a lot of credit in giving their teammates that much-needed push before San Jose took a 2-0 lead. Micheal Haley was particularly noticeable and carried that good play into the second stanza, even drawing a penalty to give the Sharks a chance on the power play.

Speaking of under-the-radar heroes ...

Gustav Nyquist made a big impact

Couture's three goals on the evening might be the big highlights of the evening, but you can't talk about Game 3 without mentioning Gustav Nyquist. The new father created both plays that produced Couture's first two goals.

Nyquist did especially strong work on Couture's second goal in the third period, holding the puck in at the Avalanche blue line so he could set Couture up for the eventual game-winning goal. Not bad for a guy who was on a plane earlier that day after the birth of his first kid.

[RELATED: Watch Couture, Meier go bar down to give Sharks early lead]

The Sharks are leaving goals on the board

Although San Jose jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and outshot Colorado through 40 minutes, the Sharks still didn't cash in on all of the opportunities in front of them. They went 0-for-4 on the power play, and a goal on one of those would have helped them to build more of a lead.

Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer deserves credit for stopping a couple of the Sharks' choice chances. He made one particularly impressive stop on Evander Kane's breakaway halfway through the second period that would have been given San Jose a big three-goal cushion. Instead, the Sharks ended up living dangerously through the end of the game because the score was so close.

In Game 4, they might want to make things a little easier on themselves.

NHL rumors: Sharks' Brenden Dillon of interest to Bruins, 'half dozen' teams

brendendillonap.jpg
AP

NHL rumors: Sharks' Brenden Dillon of interest to Bruins, 'half dozen' teams

The market for Brenden Dillon is heating up. It's sounding like more of a "when" rather than an "if" the Sharks' defenseman will be moved.

In a season where very little has gone right for San Jose, Dillon has been one of the few, consistent bright spots. He has appeared in every game while averaging over 19 minutes of ice time, and he leads all Sharks' defensemen in plus-minus. According to TSN Insiders Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun, the closer the NHL gets to the trade deadline, the more teams reportedly are inquiring about the blue-liner who is on pace to lead the Sharks in hits for the fourth straight season. 

"Most definitely the Winnipeg Jets are in the market for a specific top-four defenseman," Dreger reported Tuesday. "Now, it could be a rental player, it could be a player with some term. They're not ruling out anything at this point."

Dillon is in the final year of his contract and is due to hit unrestricted free agency this summer, so he would fall into the rental category. Given the price Dillon is likely to command, that might not be ideal for Winnipeg, but Dreger noted that the Dustin Byfuglien situation -- as well as Bryan Little and Adam Lowry's respective recoveries from injury -- could force the Jets' hand.

LeBrun agreed that Dillon would make plenty of sense for Winnipeg, but didn't stop there.

"I don't think he would be on the top of their list, but certainly on the list of players that the Jets would have compiled already, I think Brenden Dillon would be on there somewhere," LeBrun said. "Pending UFA, he's a defenseman that's going to be dealt by the San Jose Sharks. He's a No. 4 for some teams, a No. 5 for others. I can tell you half-a-dozen teams so far have shown interest, including, I'm told, the Boston Bruins. Obviously a rugged, defensive defenseman in Brenden Dillon would be a nice fit there in Boston. Carolina Hurricanes, who just lost Dougie Hamilton, have also been among the teams that have shown interest." 

"It will not be an issue moving Brenden Dillon," LeBrun summarized. "The question is what can San Jose get out of it? I think it's probably going to be a second-round pick, and maybe a prospect."

[RELATED: If Sharks' Marleau doesn't pick goal song, his wife will]

The Sharks are still holding out hope for a playoff push, but whether or not they are successful in that pursuit, Dillon might be of more value to them elsewhere.

Why Patrick Marleau's goal song didn't play in Sharks' win over Ducks

marleaugoalsongap.jpg
AP

Why Patrick Marleau's goal song didn't play in Sharks' win over Ducks

SAN JOSE -- The Sharks are ready to spice up their goal celebrations. In a 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night, San Jose brought the heat, but the SAP Center DJ failed to bring the expected flavor.

It wasn't his or her fault, though. It's sort of hard to play the right song when there is no song to be played.

Before being robbed of a much-deserved All-Star Game MVP award over the weekend in St. Louis, Tomas Hertl broke the news to Sharks fans that he and his fellow teammates would each have their own goal songs when the team returned from the All-Star break. Each player's song was supposed to be kept a surprise until they scored a goal, so when Stefan Noesen lit the lamp less than two minutes into the game Monday night, it came as a surprise to many -- Noesen included -- when the team's default goal song came on over the loudspeakers.

A few minutes later, Patrick Marleau scored to make it 2-0 San Jose. Again, 2 Unlimited's "Get Ready for This" played. In the second period, Marleau scored his second goal of the night. Same thing. So what gave?

It turns out that it was part operator error, part old-fashioned procrastination.

Noesen had actually picked a song out, and lucky for the Sharks, the SAP Center crowd would get to hear it before the night was over. Marleau, on the other hand, is still deliberating.

"Still working it out to see what it is," Marleau said of his yet-to-be-decided goal song after San Jose's win. "Probably leave it up to my family. They'll pick it."

Last week, Marleau's wife took to Twitter to ask Sharks fans for suggestions as to what his goal song should be. Apparently, none were to his liking, but his better half won't allow him to go without one for much longer.

After he scored his first goal of the night, Marleau's wife threatened to choose "Wheels on the Bus" on his behalf if he didn't figure one out soon. The couple has four boys between the ages of 5 and 13 so one would imagine Marleau has heard plenty of that song over the last decade.

Chances are, he has heard plenty of Noesen's song, too.

Early in the third period, Noesen ripped a slapshot from the slot into the back of Anaheim's net after receiving what he called an "all-world" pass from Erik Karlsson. The goal increased San Jose's lead to 4-1, and as fans rose out of their seats to celebrate the goal that put the game out of reach, their ears were greeted by the unmistakable sounds of "Hakuna Matata."

"I had something else picked out and then somebody else was watching 'The Lion King,' and I thought that would be kind of funny to put on and maybe get a little reaction from the crowd, too," Noesen said of his song choice. "And they seemed to enjoy it. It was fun."

[RELATED: Would Sharks really trade Thornton or Marleau this year?]

While Marleau still needs to come to a decision, Noesen plans to stick with his.

"Yeah, unless someone tells me otherwise," he said with a laugh following his first two-goal game with San Jose. "I thought it was good. They messed it up on the first one, and I wasn't sure if I'd ever have another chance to hear it.

"It was a good thing I got that nice pass."