Sharks

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from 7-2 win over Canucks in Vancouver

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from 7-2 win over Canucks in Vancouver

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If a dominant performance was what you were craving on Monday evening, the Sharks had you covered.

San Jose ended their four-game road trip on a high note as they overwhelmed the young Vancouver Canucks 7-2 to sweep their tour of Western Canada and take over first place in the Pacific Division.

Here are three takeaways from Monday evening’s game:

The Kane-Hertl-Donskoi line continues to roll

Not much, other than the fact this line doesn’t stop steamrolling every opponent they go up against. Evander Kane scored another two goals on the evening while Tomas Hertl tallied a goal -- set up by a magnificent backhanded pass from Joonas Donskoi -- and an assist.

Kudos to that line for leading the charge when the Canucks tried to push back at the start of the second period. The Canucks' Elias Pettersson-led offense came out of the first intermission firing on all cylinders and threatening to make things interesting. That is, until Kane used Brenden Dillon as a screen to score his second goal on the night and increase the Sharks’ lead.

Joe Thornton further solidifies Hall of Fame resume

Seriously, the milestone counter may break, and nobody would complain. After tying Gordie Howe on the all-time assists list on Saturday while setting up Kevin Labanc to score a hat trick, Thornton set his young linemate up again in Vancouver to pass Mr. Hockey. 

Additionally, the assist brought him into a tie for 15th place on the NHL’s all-time points list with Teemu Selanne. It’s truly incredible to watch him reach milestone after milestone during a season that started with him trying to come back from having knee surgery.

[RELATED: Jumbo passes Howe, ties Selanne on all-time points lists]

To top it off, Thornton’s pass to Labanc was an absolute beauty. He won the puck battle with Vancouver defenseman Chris Tanev before powering up the ice and waiting patiently to serve up Labanc.

Speaking of plays like that …

San Jose’s set-up work has been a thing of beauty lately

As the Sharks have collected more wins, they’ve also gotten more confident in how they set up their scoring chances. Whether it’s a forward like Thornton winning a battle or Brent Burns bringing a play up, a lot of San Jose’s scoring plays are being created at the opposite end of the ice. By making smart decisions back in their own zone, they’ve been able to put more and more quality scoring chances together.

The win said a lot about how the Sharks are playing as of late, given they went up against a speedy young team like the Canucks at the end of a long and intense road trip. San Jose can head home feeling good about how they played, having taken over first place in the division. 

Just think about how much better they’ll be once they get Erik Karlsson back healthy.

Sharks displeased with controversial calls in overtime loss to Bruins

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USATSI

Sharks displeased with controversial calls in overtime loss to Bruins

SAN JOSE -- Suffice to say, the Sharks’ Monday night contest against the Bruins didn’t end the way they wanted it to. Not just because they got only one point in the standings from the 6-5 overtime loss, but because of one particular call that was made toward the end of the game.

San Jose was dialed in and holding down the fort to ensure they got a would-be 5-4 victory fueled by Joe Thornton’s hat trick. But then, Bruins’ forward Chris Wagner registered the tying goal by swatting the puck out of the air with his stick, which looked like a high-stick play. Wagner then gave the puck an extra nudge as it trickled into the net with just a little over one minute left in regulation.

Per the NHL rulebook, high-sticking the puck -- as the rule says, “battling the puck above the normal height of the shoulders” -- should have negated the goal. In Monday’s game, the officials decided the puck was played low enough for the goal to count and for the game to be tied. The Sharks revealed after the game that wasn’t how they saw it.

“I was right there on the play and it was pretty clear it was above both the crossbar and his shoulders,” Logan Couture said. “I think it was above his eyesight.”

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer didn’t agree with the call either, calling it one of a few calls he didn’t particularly agree with at the end of the game. “I’m sure we’ll get an explanation and some type of apology,” he said frankly. “It doesn’t help us in the standings but that’s usually how it works.”

The call was also confusing in that the Sharks weren’t able to review it afterward. (It’s possibly because Wagner tapped the puck in legally after knocking it down with his stick, but the league has yet to provide an explanation.) All the same, the ruling put San Jose in a tough position.

“They said it was under his shoulder and then he put it in, so the call stands, and it sounded like it wasn’t reviewable,” Joe Pavelski relayed to the media post-game. “Maybe a little glitch in the rule there. We’re a little unlucky that we can’t challenge it. I haven’t seen it close up, but it felt like it was high.”

The tying goal then set Boston up to tally the game-winner in overtime -- a tough pill for San Jose to swallow after they’d battled back from a 3-0 first-period deficit to take a 5-4 lead in the third frame. Plus, as DeBoer pointed out, the decision gave the Sharks only one point on the evening, so they couldn’t keep pace in the standings with the Calgary Flames, who defeated the Arizona Coyotes earlier on Monday 5-2.

[RELATED: Expect Sharks-Flames division race to go down to the wire]

At the end of the day, the Sharks weren’t completely unhappy with how they rallied and played against a tough Boston team. But that doesn’t mean they have to be happy with that controversial call at the end of regulation.

“I’m sure the refs are going to watch it and they’ll probably feel bad about this one,” Couture said.

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in wild 6-5 overtime loss vs. Bruins

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in wild 6-5 overtime loss vs. Bruins

SAN JOSE -- Monday night’s contest between the Sharks and the Bruins was billed as a must-see, playoff-caliber matchup. And boy, was it a roller coaster ride.

Fueled by a hat trick from Joe Thornton, the Sharks roared back from a three-goal deficit to stay neck-and-neck with a tough Bruins squad. The high-octane contest went all the way into a very intense overtime, which ended with the Bruins emerging victorious, 6-5.

Here are three takeaways from Monday’s game:

Joe Thornton had himself a game

Long story short, Thornton put on a top notch performance. He was buzzing all evening, looking confident while collecting all three of his goals. It’s hard to pinpoint which goal was the most impressive -- although his reaction when he notched his third goal was pretty spectacular. 

Of course, Thornton’s three goals on the evening also elevated him further up the NHL’s all-time points list, closer to catching Stan Mikita at 1,467 points. While he may be hitting new milestones almost every game, the way he did it on Monday evening was extra enjoyable to watch.

You can’t ever count this team out

There were likely many viewers who wanted to turn the game off when the Sharks went down 3-0 in the first frame. But thanks to Thornton’s first goal on the evening -- which occurred with two seconds left in the first period -- San Jose got a boost to roar back in the second stanza and tie things up.

San Jose really turned up the heat in the third period, taking advantage of the fact Boston was at the end of their road trip through California and a bit gassed. That’s the kind of resiliency a team needs not just at the end of the regular season, but headed into the playoffs. It’s just unfortunate the Sharks didn’t get the win out of it.

On a less positive note …

San Jose is still taking too many trips to the sin bin

When NBC Sports California asked Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer what San Jose had to beware of in facing Boston, he named the Bruins’ dominance on the man advantage. “They’re elite in certain areas like their power play,” he said. “Last game we took too many penalties. When you play a team like this you have to be clean in all those areas.”

While two of the Sharks’ penalty kills were masterful, they also couldn’t completely contain the second-ranked power play in the league. Win or lose, this is an area the Sharks want to clean up.

Although, let’s be honest -- Logan Couture's short-handed penalty shot goal was fun to watch.