Sharks

Sharks' three-game win streak snapped, shut out by Hurricanes

Sharks' three-game win streak snapped, shut out by Hurricanes

BOX SCORE

RALEIGH, N.C. -- It had been a while since Joakim Nordstrom scored a goal, and even longer since Cam Ward shut out an opponent.

Both droughts are over - and now the Carolina Hurricanes are no longer in last place.

Nordstrom scored with 9:12 left, Ward made 22 saves in his first shutout in over a year and the Hurricanes beat the San Jose Sharks 1-0 on Tuesday night for their second straight win.

"It's starting to come together," Carolina coach Bill Peters said.

Ward got the 24th shutout of his career and first since he blanked Colorado on Oct. 21, 2015, while improving to 6-1 in his career against the Sharks.

That helped the Hurricanes escape last place in the Metropolitan Division, in the process snapping the defending Western Conference champions' three-game winning streak.

"You've got to build some momentum, and certainly these last two games have been our best two games of the year, and we did it in a real good fashion, playing the way we wanted to play, and dominated at times," Ward said. "That's a compliment to the guys. ... It's not going to get any easier, but we showed what we can do when we're on, for sure."

Aaron Dell stopped 32 shots in his third career game and his second start for the Sharks.

"He was excellent," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "Gave us a chance to hang around in a game we didn't deserve to be in. That's all you can ask from him."

San Jose, which averages nearly 30 shots per game, managed just two in the second period before coming on strong in the third. The Sharks were shut out for the third time this season and second time this month.

"They took the game over in the second period," DeBoer said. "Their compete level went up another notch and we didn't go with them."

The sequence that led to Nordstrom's goal was started by Viktor Stalberg, who broke up a breakaway attempt with his stick. Ward then blocked Joonas Donskoi's tip-in try, and that eventually led to a rush the other way, with Nordstrom backhanding the rebound of his own shot past Dell's glove for the fourth-line forward's first goal of the season. He had 10 last year.

"I couldn't believe my eyes when I missed the first one, so I was kind of happy to get the second chance," Nordstrom said.

Before that score, the goalies had put on a show for the overwhelming majority of this one, with Dell and Ward matching each other save for save. Dell made a slick stop on a rising shot by Jeff Skinner early in the third, and a few minutes later Ward stopped a tricky tip from Logan Couture with about 13 1/2 minutes left.

NOTES: San Jose scratched C Melker Karlsson, who injured his left ankle while blocking a shot Saturday against Tampa Bay. ... Carolina activated D Justin Faulk from injured reserve before the game. Faulk (upper body) missed three games. ... The teams meet again Dec. 10 in San Jose.

UP NEXT

San Jose: The Sharks continue their six-game road trip at St. Louis on Thursday night.

Carolina: The Hurricanes play host to Montreal on Friday night in the third game of their critical five-game homestand.

'Concerned' Sharks can't look too far into future after loss to Vegas

'Concerned' Sharks can't look too far into future after loss to Vegas

SAN JOSE – Monday night’s contest between the Sharks and Golden Knights was billed as a potential playoff preview. So naturally, when San Jose lost 7-3, there were questions as to how concerned the team was about possibly having to play Vegas in the first round.

But the team was adamant they shouldn’t be looking too far into the future. They believe they need to stay focused on the games at hand, and fix the things that led them to drop three contests in a row – not on who they may play in the postseason.

“You can’t think about that,” Justin Braun said. “You can’t be worried about what you’re doing three weeks from now. You need to get points now.”

Bench boss Peter DeBoer agreed, telling the media afterward that no matchup is necessarily more ideal than another. 

“I don’t think there’s going to be an easy match,” DeBoer admitted. “I don’t think anyone wants to play (Arizona) the way they’re playing now or Dallas or whoever ends up in there. It doesn’t matter once you get in. Everybody you play is going to be a very good and a very good test. So we’re just going to try and win as many games as we can and whoever we get we’ll show up and be ready to play.”

Winning games now means cleaning a few things up on San Jose’s end. They haven’t been happy with how they’ve played in their last three contests, from not having enough energy on one night to making too many mistakes the next.

“I’m concerned, we haven’t played well,” Logan Couture said. “We’re giving up too many chances, too many goals. We’re giving up odd-man rushes. Every time we give them an opportunity like that they’re going to put it in the back of our net.”

Which was primarily the story of Monday’s game against the Golden Knights. The Sharks made too many small mistakes, from turning pucks over in the neutral zone to making too many trips to the penalty box. Couture went so far as to say the Sharks “handed them goals tonight.”

“Some lessons learned tonight that you can’t chase the game, or if you do get behind in a game against that team you’ve got to handle it with a little more composure," DeBoer said. "We knew that, but we shot ourselves in the foot.”

The only thing left to do now is take what went wrong against Vegas and turn it around – particularly on San Jose’s upcoming two-game road trip against the Kings and Ducks down in Southern California.

“It doesn’t matter what happened in the past, you’ve got to keep rolling forward,” Braun said.
 

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 7-3 home loss to Golden Knights

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 7-3 home loss to Golden Knights

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- Monday’s Sharks-Golden Knights showdown was billed as a hard-hitting matchup and boy, it didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, things did not swing in the home team’s favor and San Jose dropped their third game of the season against Vegas, 7-3.

Here are three takeaways from Monday’s game:

The Sharks struggled without Joe Pavelski

San Jose was without their captain for the first time this season, as was sidelined with an undisclosed injury. With their top goal-scorer out, the Sharks needed all their skaters to step up to the challenge and make up for his absence. While they scored three good-looking goals -- two of those markers coming from Logan Couture -- and made a really nice push late in the game, not enough of their grade-A chances found the back of the net.

The Sharks also got into a lot of penalty trouble. Vegas is the type of team that is really good at making their opponents pay for making little mistakes, and they were able to wear San Jose down by sending them to the penalty box six times in the first two periods alone.

The Knights survived without Marc-Andre Fleury

San Jose had an opportunity to jump on Vegas with their star netminder out of the lineup. Fleury has unmistakably been the Knights’ best player all season, and a big reason why the Sharks got shut out in their first trip to T-Mobile Arena earlier this season. But backup goaltender Malcolm Subban stood his ground and was able to minimize the damage San Jose tried to create.

Subban also had a lot of help in front of him. Vegas was very good creating barriers around him and clogging up the lanes, making even the Sharks’ best efforts moot. 

Was this an accurate playoff preview?

Not exactly. Remember, both teams are missing key players because of injury. So Monday’s game probably wasn’t the best example of how these teams could matchup up if they end up playing each other in Round 1.

That being said, we got a pretty darn good look at how contentious a playoff series between these two teams would be. The Golden Knights have quickly become one of the Sharks’ biggest rivals, and all games between the two teams have gotten vicious. (Heck, Micheal Haley tried to pull Ryan Reaves off the bench to fight, for pete’s sake.) If these two teams meet up in the postseason -- a time when the refs typically let more hits slide -- it could end up being a blood bath.