Sharks

Three takeaways: Boedker gets on the scoresheet after benching

Three takeaways: Boedker gets on the scoresheet after benching

SAN JOSE – The Sharks capped off their homestand with a 2-1 overtime win over Arizona Tuesday night, thanks to goals by Chris Tierney and Brent Burns. Three takeaways from the game…

1 – Finally getting past Arizona

The Coyotes remain in a rebuild and almost certainly won’t make the playoffs this year, so the last thing the Sharks wanted was to lose to them for the third time this month. While there were getting plenty of shots on Mike Smith – again – they finally realized in the second period they were going to have to get a little dirtier in front of the net if they were going to beat him.

The fourth line put together a couple dangerous shifts, creating havoc around the net, before Tierney finally found a way.

“Huge goal by Tierney there to tie it up 1-1 at the end of the second. That gives us a little shot,” Joe Pavelski said. 

It’s encouraging that even when the Sharks are struggling for offense, they rarely take unnecessary risks that put them in a bind defensively. That’s been a theme all season long, and it’s why they find themselves in first place in the Pacific Division on Wednesday morning.

“I think the guys did a good job of not cheating for offense, were really working back, and making sure guys were above,” Tierney said. “They’ve got a lot of speed they can burn you in two-on-ones, and off the rush if we’re not careful. I thought we stuck the course, and ended up getting the win.”

2 – Boedker gets on the scoresheet

After he was benched in the third period of Saturday’s loss to the Ducks, Mikkel Boedker had his most effective game in weeks. He recorded an assist on Tierney’s goal and had one shot and three attempts in 13:16, and just seemed to be more involved in the play after coach Pete DeBoer questioned his compete level.

“I thought he was moving his feet well,” Tierney said. “He’s got great speed, and he was really getting in on the forecheck I thought, and turning pucks over. He made a great play on the goal, he kept it in and got it down to me there. I thought his speed was real effective tonight and his compete level was good.”

3 – Scrums aplenty

Likely a result of the clubs seeing one another for the third time in just four weeks, there were a number of pushes and shoves exchanged after the whistle, even if there weren’t any outright fights. Rookie Kevin Labanc showed a bit of feistiness, getting into it with Jamie McGinn, and Brenden Dillon quickly jumped in to aid his teammate.

“For us, we stick together as a team, and he's a young guy coming up,” Dillon said. “[A] couple guys, [Shane Doan] and whatnot, are probably 20 years older than him, and he's not shying away.”

As for Dillon, he was pleased to see his teammates kill off an interference minor with 7:29 to go in the third period on a call he didn’t agree with.

“One goal game, I'm just trying to come back to the blue line and we're both kind of entitled to that space,” he said. “That happens I don't know how many times in a game, two guys going to each other. One fell over and he was still able to be up. Big kill, and it was nice that we were able to capitalize on the power play [in overtime].”

Joe Thornton scores 400th career goal, joins Hall of Fame company

Joe Thornton scores 400th career goal, joins Hall of Fame company

SAN JOSE -- There was a plethora of storylines coming out of the Sharks’ crazy 5-4 victory over the Nashville Predators Tuesday night. Almost all of them were eclipsed by Joe Thornton scoring his 400th career goal.

With the score tied up 4-4 in the waning minutes of regulation, the towering forward receiving a magnificent cross-ice pass from linemate Marcus Sorensen before sending the puck past Nashville goalie Juuse Saros into the back of the net

The energy at the Tank after the goal was electric. As his teammates swarmed him in celebration, Thornton was full of emotion as his 400th marker put the Sharks on top 5-4.

“I was on the ice, it was awesome,” Joe Pavelski said with a smile after the game. “It’s hard to put in perspective at times just what he’s been able to accomplish.”

The only thing making the goal even more impressive was that it put him on an exclusive list of seven players in NHL history who have scored 400 goals, tallied 1,000 assists, and played in over 1,500 games. Not surprisingly, though, Thornton told the media he was more focused on helping the team win than notching the milestone goal.

“Just trying to improve my game right now,” he said, a reminder to everyone he’s still battling back from those knee issues that sidelined him at the start of the season.

Wait, so he doesn’t know what highly-touted company he’s joined after scoring his 400th goal?

“No idea,” he admitted. “I haven’t checked to be honest with you.”

His teammates have been paying closer attention.

“It’s like every other night, there’s some kind of stat getting thrown out there,” Pavelski said of following his teammates' accomplishments. “They’re fun to look at, they really are.”

Defenseman Erik Karlsson has only been Thornton’s teammate for a little over a month. But since he has experience playing against No.19, he offered some perspective on what it was like for the Predators’ defense when Thornton came barreling down the ice.

“He’s one of those guys that you always have to be aware of,” Karlsson explained. “You always have to be aware of where he is because he’s such a good hockey player and if he gets the opportunities, you know he’s going to make you pay.”

Of course, the goal couldn’t have been made possible without the beautiful set-up from Sorensen, who Thornton has had a lot of success playing with as of late. 

“Marcus made a great play,” Thornton complimented. “I love playing with him. It seems like we’ve got some chemistry together now.”

When asked what it was like contributing to the milestone goal, Sorensen kept his answer straight-forward.

“It was pretty cool,” he said. “I’m happy for him.”

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in wild 5-4 win over Predators

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USATSI

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in wild 5-4 win over Predators

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -– There was no denying that Tuesday night’s rematch between the Sharks and the Nashville Predators would be a good game. But it’s likely that nobody expected just how lopsided this eventual nail-biter could get.

The Sharks jumped out to a convincing three-goal lead in the first period while the Predators looked tired and unable to create any offense. Then, the visitors rallied in the second stanza to notch three unanswered goals of their own, tying the score heading into the second intermission.

It looked as though Nashville would skate away to a one-goal victory halfway through the third, but Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton put two big goals on the board to give the home team the 5-4 victory.

To top everything off, the game-winner was Thornton’s 400th career goal.

Here are three takeaways from Tuesday’s topsy-turvy game.

The Sharks' first period was amazing

The Sharks opened the game with the most dominant period of hockey they’ve played all season. It embodied everything the team has been saying it wants: Great puck possession, a strong defensive presence and contributions from all four lines.

The strong start was important, given the Predators were playing on the tail end of a back-to-back on the road and had just lost to the Anaheim Ducks in a shootout the previous night. Nashville was visibly tired in the first frame, and San Jose took advantage.

That being said …

The second period was the opposite of amazing

It was like a completely different Sharks team took the ice in the second period. They played a looser game and gave the Predators an opportunity to get back into the contest – not something a team wants to do against a squad with an 8-0-1 road record.

San Jose’s biggest problem in those 20 minutes was not being able to capitalize on any power-play opportunities. The Sharks even had a five-on-three opportunity after the Predators were called for having too many men on the ice. But through 3:40 on the man advantage, San Jose didn’t register a single shot on goal.

The third-period push is alive and well

If there’s one thing the Sharks are good at, it’s making that big third-period push when they’re on their heels. Sometimes it’s too little too late. It came at just the right time Tuesday. 

Goaltender Martin Jones made his best saves at the end of the game. He was particularly impressive when Nashville pulled its goalie with less than two minutes left in the game, and the Predators' forwards swarmed into San Jose’s zone.

Of course, the highlight of the game came on the final goal, when Thornton seemed to skate up to Nashville’s net in slow motion after getting a spectacular feed from Marcus Sorensen. Predators netminder Juuse Saros appeared to not even see Thornton’s milestone marker float past him stick side.