Sharks

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 4-3 overtime win over LA Kings

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AP

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 4-3 overtime win over LA Kings

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If you had flashbacks to the 2014 NHL playoffs, you weren’t alone. The Sharks had a comfortable 3-0 lead over the Kings, but the rival LA squad tied things up 3-3.

But this time, San Jose didn’t fall victim to the SoCal rival, thanks to a Patrick Marleau overtime marker that gave the Sharks their third overtime win in a row, this time by a score of 4-3.

Here are three takeaways from Monday's game.

Falling into the trap?

Yes, it's weird to think of a contest against the Kings a trap game for the Sharks due to the long history the two division rivals share, but times have changed and LA just isn't very good. So, coming off of back-to-back wins over tough opponents, San Jose was at risk of struggling against a subpar team. 

However, the Sharks got off to a good start and were able to maintain control of the game through the first two periods. But San Jose’s third-period play proved treacherous. It doesn’t matter how good or bad the opponent is, the Sharks can’t let teams wiggle back into games like that when they have a good lead.

On a positive note …

Good on Goodrow 

Barclay Goodrow has been a popular topic of conversation, and rightfully so. He has brought his game to another level from both an offensive and defensive standpoint, and Monday's game against the Kings showed his improvement on both of those fronts.

Goodrow continued his role as one of San Jose's top penalty killers when the team got into penalty trouble midway through the game and did tremendous work setting up the plays that resulted in both of Timo Meier's goals. There's no denying Goodrow's contributions have been a key factor in the Sharks turning things around.

Boost on the back end 

The Sharks played seven defensemen for the third game in a row and that decision -- at least for the majority of Monday’s game -- continued to pay dividends. With Tim Heed performing well in his role as the seventh man, San Jose's defense has done a good job of taking the ice away from their opponents. With Tomas Hertl still sidelined with a lower-body injury, it's nice to see San Jose be able to find success from other areas.

[RELATED: Why DeBoer, Sharks are open to using just 11 forwards]

Of course, one wonders how long the Sharks can keep up that strategy. They have a stretch of three games in four nights coming up later this week, which is tough for a team no matter what kind of a lineup takes the ice. Hopefully, for San Jose's sake, fatigue doesn't set in now that the Sharks have put some wins together and are climbing up the standings.

Sharks' Mario Ferraro reveals lesson learned in whirlwind rookie year

Sharks' Mario Ferraro reveals lesson learned in whirlwind rookie year

Mario Ferraro has surpassed the wildest of expectations in his rookie season with the Sharks, and it hasn't exactly been an uneventful one.

Since making the jump straight from college to the pros, the 21-year-old defenseman has witnessed a mid-season coaching change, the acquisition and eventual trading of a franchise legend, a seemingly endless string of serious injuries to roster cornerstones and -- oh yeah -- an indefinite pause of the NHL season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Not exactly your average rookie year.

Technically, Ferraro's rookie season hasn't come to an end -- at least not yet. Commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday that there currently is too much uncertainty for the league to be able to determine when the season might be able to resume, though he hopes to "know more by the end of April." In any case, even if San Jose was able to play out its remaining games, there are only 12 left. Considering the Sharks fell to the absolute bottom of the NHL standings right before the season was paused, an additional playoff run is entirely out of the question.

So, for all intents and purposes, we can't really consider Ferraro a rookie anymore. He has 61 career NHL games under his belt, so, really, that has been the case for a while.

Ferraro flew back to Toronto shortly before the Bay Area's shelter-in-place orders went into effect, and has been doing his best to stay in shape while living at his parents' house. In a recent discussion with NBC Sports California's Brodie Brazil, he described an important lesson that was crucial to his development as a rookie.

"I think one small thing that's actually not small at all when you really look at it," Ferraro said, "is just preparation and that mentality of staying even-keel the whole year. What I mean by that is not getting too high on the highs or too low on the lows. You have so many games and so many important games that if you have a good game one night, you better forget about it because you gotta do the same thing the next night. Or, vice versa, if you play poorly, you really gotta forget about it and bounce back strong.

"And it's not just from game to game -- it's from shift to shift. You're playing in a league that has really fast players, strong players. You can get exposed, and it's going to happen. People are going to make mistakes. I'm a defenseman, so I feel like you're more bound to make mistakes ... they're more glaringly obvious. From a mental perspective, you really have to learn to just kind of say, OK, it happened. Move on. Let's get back to my game and play hard."

While Ferraro is correct that no player is exempt from making mistakes, he didn't have too many glaring errors throughout his first season in the NHL -- or at least, he did a good job covering them up. He earned the trust of the coaching staff and was rewarded with additional opportunities, which he proved capable of handling. Over the last eight games before the season was paused, Ferraro averaged over 20 minutes of ice time per night.

[RELATED: Leonard reunited with college roommate Ferraro on Sharks]

In terms of mentors on the team, Ferraro specifically mentioned fellow defenseman Brent Burns as someone who has been tremendously helpful to him. And like seemingly everyone else in that locker room, Ferraro is a big fan of Joe Thornton. But ultimately, it has been a team effort in supporting Ferraro throughout his rookie year. It takes a village, after all.

"Nobody's counted out on this team," Ferraro explained. "They're all great guys. They've all taught me a ton this year, and we're really close. It has been a good learning curve for me."

While we're all focused on flattening the curve, it has long been evident that -- as a rookie -- Ferraro's wasn't very steep.

Gary Bettman says NHL examining 'all options' for coronavirus restart

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AP

Gary Bettman says NHL examining 'all options' for coronavirus restart

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday there is too much uncertainty for the league to determine a target date to return amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and that they hope to "know more by the end of April."

“From an NHL standpoint, we’re viewing all of our options," Bettman told NBC Sports' Mike Tirico on "Lunch Talk Live" on Tuesday (via Pro Hockey Talk). "We want to be ready to go as soon as we get a green light -- and the green light may not be crystal clear because there may still be some places in the [U.S. and Canada] where we can’t play and others places where you can.

"We’re looking at all options. Nothing’s been ruled in, nothing’s been ruled out. And it’s largely going to be determined what we do by how much time there is because we have next season to focus on as well.”

The NHL suspended its season on March 12, a day after the NBA did the same following Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert's positive coronavirus test. Eight NHL players -- three on the Colorado Avalanche and five on the Ottawa Senators -- have tested positive.

[RELATED: Matthews, Marner detail how bromance with Marleau began]

Bettman said reports of the NHL looking into playing the remainder of its season at neutral sites -- including North Dakota, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman -- reflected how "extraordinarily competitive" the teams were as they tried to ensure a fair finish to the regular season. The commissioner said the "best thing" for the NHL would be to finish the season as they normally do, but Bettman said the league understands that might not be possible.

"[That’s] why we’re considering every conceivable alternative to deal with whatever the eventuality is," Bettman said. "Again, it doesn’t even pay to speculate because nobody in any of the sports knows enough now to make those profound decisions.”