Montreal Canadiens

NHL rumors: Erik Karlsson hopes Senators, Canadiens will make contract offers

NHL rumors: Erik Karlsson hopes Senators, Canadiens will make contract offers

Days after the Sharks were eliminated by the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the Western Conference final, Erik Karlsson tweeted out what many believed was a goodbye message to the team and its fans.

It turns out that might just be the case.

Karlsson was traded to the Sharks last offseason from the Ottawa Senators, but a return to Canada reportedly could be in the cards for the star defenseman. The Ottawa Sun's Don Brennan reported Tuesday, citing "a well-connected source," that Karlsson hopes to receive contract offers from the Senators and the Montreal Canadiens when NHL free agency opens July 1.

While Karlsson has loved his time with the Sharks, Brennan reported that the blueliner is hoping for a return to Canada because his wife, Melinda, is an Ottawa native who is "homesick."

That certainly would be a good reason to head back to the Eastern Conference.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday that Karlsson would give a "long, hard look" to staying with the Sharks, but Brennan reported it is believed the defenseman already has decided that he is leaving San Jose.

Brennan noted that both the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs also would fit the bill, but neither reportedly are on Karlsson's list as of right now.

[RELATED: Sharks' blue line facing ample uncertainty this offseason]

Before trading him to the Sharks, the Senators offered Karlsson an eight-year, $80 million deal that he declined. The Senators probably could sign Karlsson for less than that now, given his injury history, but a number of other teams also will be in play for his services.

At any rate, it appears Karlsson's time in San Jose could be over.

Martin Jones carries Sharks to win, point behind Flames in Western Conference

Martin Jones carries Sharks to win, point behind Flames in Western Conference

SAN JOSE – When it came to defeating the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night, Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said that his team really "gutted it out." With multiple players battling the flu and two much-needed points in the standings on the line, San Jose had to dig deep.

At the end of the night, the team gave a lot of credit to the man between the pipes – gaoltender Martin Jones.

“Jones was great for us,” Tomas Hertl said after the hard-fought 5-2 victory. “It was his game.”

San Jose may have gone into the dressing room with a 2-1 lead after the first 20 minutes, but the Sharks were getting heavily outshot – 15-5, to be exact. It was up to Jones to stand tall and keep the game from getting out of hand.

Although the first goal he allowed wasn’t his best work, he very noticeably buckled down afterward to keep the score in the Sharks’ favor. By the end of the night, Jones had turned away 37 of 39 shots sent his way.

“I thought he made some big saves in the first 40 minutes, especially,” DeBoer said. “Our goalie was our best player tonight, which gave us a chance.”

Captain Joe Pavelski agreed: “He was great, especially early,” the captain said. “You look up at the shots and they’re 15-5. It didn’t feel like we played in the o-zone very much. Didn’t have a lot of faceoffs in the o-zone. He was on tonight, he was working. He made a lot of quality saves for us.”

With the win, Jones improved to 8-1-0 against the Canadiens  in his career, with a 1.89 goals-against average and .937 save percentage. It was Jones’ 32nd win of the season, and he improved his home record to 20-4-4. Three of those W's have come on the Sharks' current homestand, which is a good sign for a team that will spend so much time at home down the stretch. 

It also didn't hurt that the calm-and-collected demeanor Jones is known for in the playoffs was on full display Thursday.

"He's always done that, right from Day 1," Pavelski said. "He gives us that confidence where he'll make that key save for us. If we're a little bit under siege he'll stop a two-on-one, he'll make a big save and he'll keep the game on our side. You saw a good example of that tonight."

[RELATED: How DeBoer made two Sharks fans' day on team's day off]

Most importantly for the Sharks, Jones’ performance helped them gain ground in the standings. With the victory over Montreal, San Jose came within one point of the Calgary Flames for the lead in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference.

Had it not been for Jones’ 37-save effort in his third consecutive home win, the Sharks might not be so close.

“The two points were really important for us,” Pavelski said. “At the end of the night, our best player was probably (Jones). He really stepped up for us.”

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in flu-riddled 5-2 win vs. Canadiens

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in flu-riddled 5-2 win vs. Canadiens

SAN JOSE – It was a dicey one in teal town when the Sharks hosted the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. But, the home team found a way keep Montreal’s losing streak at SAP Center alive, and prevailed with a 5-2 victory.

Here are three takeaways from Thursday’s contest: 

Down with the sickness

San Jose didn’t play its prettiest game against Montreal, and it's easy to understand why. As coach Peter DeBoer revealed to the press this week, the flu has gone around the dressing room and hit a couple players. Nevertheless, they took the ice on Thursday evening.

You really have to hand it to Brent Burns. The defenseman played his second game while trying to fight off the flu bug, and still recorded his 60th assist on the season. It's only the fourth time since the 1996-7 season an NHL defenseman has accomplished the feat.

Young guns carrying the weight

The Sharks have been pumping that “next man up” message all season in relation to injuries. On Thursday against the Habs, it was San Jose’s young players who picked up the flu-riddled team. 

25-year-old Tomas Hertl recorded his 30th goal on the season in the first period of Thursday’s game, eluding former teammate Antti Niemi with a wraparound attempt that went five-hole. 26-year-old Marcus Sorensen stayed hot, lighting the lamp in the first frame and tallying an assist on old-timer Joe Thornton’s goal in the second stanza. Then, in the third period, 26-year-old Joonas Donskoi set 22-year-old Timo Meier up with a sweet back-handed pass, and Meier's subsequent goal gave San Jose a 4-2 lead with 13:27 to go in regulation.

[RELATED: How DeBoer made two Sharks fans' day on team's day off]

The shot clock didn't dictate the game

A worrisome trend continued on Thursday, when the Sharks were heavily outshot by their opponents. While they were fortunate enough to find the net more times than the Canadiens did, they certainly didn’t make it very easy on themselves.

Goaltender Martin Jones deserves credit for making some big saves on the evening. While both goals he let in weren’t pretty, he buckled down in the final 40 minutes to keep the contest from getting completely out of hand while Montreal gained momentum and put nearly 40 shots on the clock.