Sharks' Tierney hopes to 'make this chance worth it' with Hertl out

Sharks' Tierney hopes to 'make this chance worth it' with Hertl out

SAN JOSE – There was a frightening moment for Sharks center Chris Tierney on Monday against New Jersey, when a hard shot point shot by Reid Boucher deflected off of Tommy Wingels’ stick and smacked the 22-year-old squarely in the face.

The immediate concern, of course, was for Tierney’s well being, as the puck hit dangerously close to his left eye. Thank goodness he was wearing a visor.

“[At] the moment you’re just hoping that it’s not too bad. … Just pretty lucky that it wasn’t worse,” said Tierney, who didn't skate on Tuesday to allow the swelling to go down.

From a team standpoint, the Sharks were also lucky that Tierney is OK. They’re going to need him even more now that Tomas Hertl will be out for the next several weeks with a right knee sprain, as he takes over as the third line center role for at least the time being.

Like many of the Sharks’ forwards, it’s been a slow start offensively for Tierney. He scored his first goal of the year earlier in that game on Monday, whipping a wrist shot past Keith Kinkaid on a shorthanded rush. For the season, he has five points (1g, 4a) in 19 games and minus-2 rating.

“I felt [my game has] been pretty good the last maybe week or so,” Tierney said on Wednesday. “Kind of up and down, obviously, so far this season. Felt pretty good last game, and a couple games on the road trip early on I felt pretty good. Just trying to build on last game.”

Pete DeBoer said: “He’s still a young player. He’s growing his game I think every time he gets out there, but for me there’s no doubt he’s a full-time NHL player, where last year at this time that was a question mark.”

There are some facets of Tierney’s game, though, that could use improvement. He continues to have some concerning nights in the faceoff circle, including taking an 0-for-8 on Nov. 15 in Carolina and following that up with a 2-for-9 against St. Louis two nights later. For the season, he’s at 45.3 percent.

The advanced stats have Tierney’s shot-attempt percentage in close games at 48.36, the lowest mark on the team among regulars.

Perhaps now that that first goal is out of the way, though, he can get going. He’s got a great opportunity in front of him, and among the players that have to step up in Hertl’s absence, Tierney’s name is at the top of the list.

“Whenever a player like Tomas goes down everybody has got to step up, especially centermen,” he said. “That’s kind of a void that needs to be filled. I’m going to do the best I can to make this chance worth it, and try to improve and get better.”

* * *

Doug Wilson gave a little more detail on Hertl’s “minor procedure” that the 23-year-old was scheduled to undergo on Wednesday. The general manager confirmed that the injury wasn’t as severe as the one he suffered his rookie season when he required the MCL and PCL ligaments to be repaired.

“There’s no structural damage that rest won’t cure,” Wilson said. “[The] small procedure that we’re looking to do is almost like an internal bracing. It’s not repairing anything. The timeline works well, and it’s something that will support and maybe prevent this type of setback from happening.”

Will Hertl be out days, weeks or months?

“I think we’re looking at weeks. That type of sprain, he healed up last year, it takes some time. The reason for this small procedure is to make sure…it wasn’t really a major hit. This will prevent that from happening in the future.”

Hertl injured his knee for at least the third time in his career on Nov. 17 in St. Louis on what looked like a relatively innocent collision with the Blues’ Jori Lehtera in the second period.

Sharks vs. Ducks watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs


Sharks vs. Ducks watch guide: Projected lines and defensive pairs

After losing four straight games, the Sharks have to find a way to get back in the win column against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night. 

San Jose dropped its fourth straight game on Thursday, losing to the Pacific Division-worst Los Angeles Kings. Top-line center Logan Couture was a late scratch from Thursday’s lineup due to flu-like symptoms, further hampering a lineup already missing top goal-scorer Joe Pavelski and defenseman Erik Karlsson.

The Sharks recalled forward Dylan Gambrell and defenseman Nick DeSimone from the AHL's San Jose Barracuda, according to the AHL's transactions page. Defenseman Jacob Middleton, who didn't play in his recent stint with the big club, returned to the AHL on Thursday night. 

After gaining zero points in the last four games, San Jose remains in second place in the Pacific Division. The Sharks are five points behind the Calgary Flames and five points ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Ducks, much like the Kings, haven’t exactly had the season they hoped for -- thanks in large part to injuries the roster has sustained throughout the course of the season. With just 69 points on the season, Anaheim sits nine points out of the second wild card spot. The Ducks have won three of their last six games, but are coming off a 3-0 shutout at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets. 

This is the fourth and final time the Sharks and Ducks will play each other this season, with the Sharks leading the season series 2-1-0. In 139 total meetings between the franchises, San Jose has a 72-54-4-9 record against Anaheim.

Sharks projected lines and pairs

Timo Meier – Logan Couture – Gustav Nyquist
Evander Kane – Tomas Hertl – Joonas Donskoi
Marcus Sorensen – Joe Thornton – Kevin Labanc
Lukas Radil – Barclay Goodrow – Melker Karlsson

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Tim Heed
Joakim Ryan – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Justin Braun

Aaron Dell – projected starter
Martin Jones

[RELATED: Watch Ron Burgundy show off hilarious Sharks knowledge on Kings broadcast]

Ducks projected lines and pairs

Nick Ritchie – Ryan Getzlaf – Daniel Sprong
Rickard Rakell – Devin Shore – Jakob Silfverberg
Corey Perry – Adam Henrique – Troy Terry
Max Jones – Derek Grant – Carter Rowney

Hampus Lindholm – Josh Manson
Cam Fowler – Andy Welinski
Jaycob Megna – Korbinian Holzer

John Gibson – projected starter
Ryan Miller

Banged-up Sharks make no excuses for losing streak after loss to Kings

Banged-up Sharks make no excuses for losing streak after loss to Kings

After the Sharks' losing streak hit four games in a 4-2 loss to the cellar-dwelling Los Angeles Kings, defenseman Brent Burns summarized it best to reporters in L.A.

“Every loss is doomsday, and every win feels good.”

Unfortunately for the Sharks, that doesn’t make Thursday’s defeat at the hands of the Kings sting any less.

With the defeat, the Sharks matched their season-long losing streak at four games – against the second-worst team in the entire NHL, no less. San Jose even entered the third period with a 2-1 lead, having taken over the pace of play in the second stanza and hemming even the Kings' best players in their own end.

Then, the Kings scored three unanswered goals in the final 20 minutes to emerge victorious. 

Meanwhile, the two Pacific Division teams bookending the Sharks in the standings – the Calgary Flames and the Vegas Golden Knights – are both on hot streaks and kept winning on Thursday while Team Teal was in L.A.

Nobody’s going to sugarcoat it – the Sharks know they have to be better.

“It’s a wake-up call for us,” center Tomas Hertl said. “We have to be ready because we have just eight games left. We saw how Calgary is playing right now, and we have to step it up.”

As if the Sharks weren’t already desperate for a win after dropping three straight contests, they got some bad news just before pregame warmups that center Logan Couture was a late scratch due to flu-like symptoms. With captain Joe Pavelski and defenseman Erik Karlsson already out, San Jose needed someone else to fill that void. 

“It’s always tough when you’re missing players like that,” Hertl said. “But we have a lot of skill and we didn’t improve (on) it today.”

Coach Peter DeBoer doubled down on not making excuses for big players being out of the lineup.

“You got to win this game anyway,” he told reporters. “You’ve got to find a way. Someone’s got to step up and be a first star. You’ve got to get a great performance from somebody in a game like this and I don’t think we got that.”

[RELATED: Watch Ron Burgundy's funny call of Hertl's goal vs. Kings]

With only eight games left in the regular season, San Jose needs to right the ship before embarking on a playoff run.

Getting Couture, Pavelski, and Karlsson back in the lineup healthy will certainly help. But, the Sharks' defensive effort and overall level of intensity has to be better. They’ve been outscored 19-9 over these last four games, and gone 1-for-13 on the power play. While there’s concern over this losing stretch, the Sharks have to buckle down and find a way to win immediately. 

“We’ve got to find a way to win some games,” DeBoer said. “We’re a little bit beat up, but you can’t use excuses this time of year. We need some guys to find another level for us. At this time of year, you need someone to give you a first-star performance either in net or up front or somewhere to stop the bleeding. We haven’t gotten that.”