Sharks takeaways: What we learned in San Jose's 4-2 win vs. Blackhawks

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in San Jose's 4-2 win vs. Blackhawks


For the second time this season, the Sharks faced off against the Blackhawks looking to snap a losing streak. And for a second time, they were able to put a tally in the win column.

San Jose put a much better effort on the ice than it did in its previous contest, although things got pretty interesting right at the end. Nevertheless, the Sharks snapped a season-long five-game losing streak and defeated Chicago, 4-2. 

Here are three takeaways from Tuesday's game.

New lines, new mojo 

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer threw the lines in a blender ahead of Tuesday's game in an effort to give the offense a boost. While the goals didn't come in droves, San Jose's offensive play definitely looked improved. Sure, the Blackhawks aren't very good, but the Sharks did a much better job of maintaining puck possession and keeping the visitors on their heels. 

The top two lines looked especially good, with centers Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl establishing the tone of the game. But the third line of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Marcus Sorensen also had several productive shifts -- not bad for a line with two 40-year-olds on it. The fourth line didn't get anything going, but with players out with injuries, that group could get an upgrade in the not-too-distant future.

Radim's return 

Radim Simek looked a wee bit rusty on his first few shifts since tearing his ACL and MCL on March 12, but he cleaned things up pretty quickly and had a positive impact on San Jose's game. He even had a nice block late that prevented a possible goal for Chicago.

Simek's return beefed up the depth on San Jose's blue line. Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Erik Karlsson reunited with positive results, and  Brenden Dillon and rookie Mario Ferraro combined to set up Evander Kane's short-handed goal in the second period. 

One player might not change an entire team, but Simek's presence clearly gives San Jose a better chance of winning.

[RELATED: Report: Sharks' Kane sued by Las Vegas casino for $500K]

Just one more stop 

One issue that plagued the Sharks throughout their losing streak was that Martin Jones wasn't making enough timely saves. It certainly doomed them last week when the Winnipeg Jets buried the game-winning goal with less than two minutes remaining in the contest.

On Tuesday, Jones was much better -- well, until when he allowed two goals in just over a minute late in regulation. while the Sharks managed to pull out the win, the goaltending still needs to improve.

Why Sharks firing coach Peter DeBoer doesn't solve all their problems


Why Sharks firing coach Peter DeBoer doesn't solve all their problems

SAN JOSE -- It was time for a shakeup, there’s no question about it. And when things go sideways, the head coach typically takes the bulk of the blame.

But, the Sharks still have a lot of work to do.

So while those calling for Peter DeBoer to be out of a job have gotten their wish, it needs to be understood that his firing isn’t the beginning nor the end of San Jose's problems.

Don't get me wrong. The first stretch of the Sharks' 2019-20 campaign has been downright rough. They lost the first four games of their season and, despite having plenty of talent in the lineup, have struggled mightily to dig out of the hole they are in. Even during the six-game winning streak, those games weren't always pretty.  

And through that stretch of wins, there were issues that San Jose needed to address, whether it was goaltending or lack of offensive depth or the penalty kill getting overworked.

Long story short: This isn’t just about coaching. Honestly, the Sharks might still lose a lot of games.

Please remember -- DeBoer took the Sharks to the Western Conference finals last season with Martin Jones and Aaron Dell posting save percentages under .900. And he took the team to a Stanley Cup Final in 2016 after beating two stacked teams in the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues. This isn't the story of someone who can't coach a Cup-contending team.

So, what's the issue?

Even before DeBoer's firing, the Sharks have been in a team in flux. After the first four defeats, DeBoer had his own list of complaints as to how the team was playing defensively. And offensively. Quite frankly, he wasn't happy with how the team played as a whole during the winning streak in November.

Whatever the core reason is for San Jose's woes, something still has to change now that DeBoer is out the door. After nearly erasing their October deficit with a phenomenal record in November, San Jose has gone 0-4-1 so far in December, a slide that has dropped the team five points out of a playoff spot.

[RELATED: Sharks scuffling due to bad combo of scoring, penalties]

December is a weird month to try to right the ship. The Sharks a homestand coming up, but with two long breaks shoved in the middle. They have a three-day layover ahead of a back-to-back with St. Louis and Vegas and then another a few days later with the Kings and Flyers.

The Sharks absolutely could go on a run before the new year. Just don't expect the coaching change to solve all of their problems. 

Sharks fire Peter DeBoer, hire Bob Boughner as interim head coach


Sharks fire Peter DeBoer, hire Bob Boughner as interim head coach

In the midst of a five-game losing streak, the Sharks have decided to make a coaching change.

San Jose announced Wednesday that the team has parted ways with head coach Peter DeBoer. Assistant coach Bob Boughner will take over as the interim head coach. Also joining the Sharks' coaching staff are associate coach Roy Sommer, assistant coach Mike Ricci and goaltending coach Evgeni Nabokov.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the news.

The Sharks currently own a disappointing a 15-16-2 record, and are coming off a recent four-game road trip where they went 0-3-1. They currently sit in sixth place in the Pacific Division.

"When you have had a level of past success, change is never easy, but we feel this team is capable of much more than we have shown thus far and that a new voice is needed," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said in a team statement. "As a team and as individuals, our play has not met expectations this year and our level of consistency has not been where it needs to be. This group of individuals who will lead our team moving forward are very familiar with our players, and we think this change can provide our group with a fresh start."

In a related move, assistant coaches Dave Barr, Steve Spott and Johan Hedberg were relieved of their duties. 

"Under the leadership of Pete, along with Steve, Dave and Johan, our franchise accomplished some great things, culminating in reaching the 2016 Stanley Cup Final," Wilson continued. "We want to thank them for their contributions to our organization's success over the last four years."

Boughner rejoined the Sharks as an assistant coach prior to the start of the current season, but recently served as head coach of the Panthers, leading Florida to a combined 80-62-22 record over the last two years. He originally joined San Jose's staff in 2015, and helped the Sharks reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2016.

Sommer, most recently the head coach of the San Jose Barracuda, is the all-time leader in games coached and wins in the history of the American Hockey League, and has promoted more than 130 players to the NHL.

Nabokov played for the Sharks for 10 seasons and remains the franchise's all-time leader in almost every major statistical goaltending category, including games played (563), wins (293) and shutouts (50). For the past five seasons, he has served as a scout and goaltending development coach, where he has worked closely with the Barracuda, who have had a goalie named to the AHL All-Star Game in each of the last three years under his tutelage.

Ricci played in 529 games over six-plus seasons in San Jose and has spent the last 12 as a development coach within the organization.

[RELATED: Sharks scuffling due to bad combo of scoring, penalties]

DeBoer had one more year left on his contract worth $3M per season, according to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun. In four-plus years at the helm in San Jose, he led the Sharks to a 198-129-34 regular-season record and playoff appearances in each of the last four years.