All tied up -- Sharks fall flat in 4-0 loss to Kings

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All tied up -- Sharks fall flat in 4-0 loss to Kings

April 16, 2011

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SAN JOSE (AP) The talk before Game 2 centered on how much Los Angeles was missing in the middle of the ice. Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick showed the Kings still had plenty of pieces left even without two of the team's top centers.Doughty had two goals and two assists, Quick made 34 saves and the Kings beat the San Jose Sharks 4-0 in Game 2 on Saturday night to even the first-round series at one game apiece. RATTO: Sharks put up stinker for the ages in Game 2
"We had a lot of adversity before this game with two of our top centers out," Doughty said. "I guess a lot of people didn't think we had a chance tonight. I guess we showed those people wrong. We played a hard, solid team game. That's what wins you playoff games."Jack Johnson and Kyle Clifford also scored for the Kings, who bounced back from an overtime loss in Game 1 despite being without injured Anze Kopitar and suspended Jarret Stoll.The Sharks took too many undisciplined penalties and were unable to generate many good offensive chances against Quick, drawing the ire of their usually supportive fans who booed the home team sporadically throughout the game. Antti Niemi allowed the four goals on 23 shots to lose for the first time in four postseason starts at the Shark Tank."Overall our battle-level just wasn't that high tonight," forward Ryane Clowe said. "They really played a pretty desperate game tonight. We didn't have a lot of hunger around the net."Game 3 is Tuesday night in Los Angeles.The Kings came into the game reeling a bit, having lost the opener 3-2 and then having Stoll suspended for a hit from behind on Sharks defenseman Ian White in Game 1.But Joe Thornton and the rest of the Sharks were unable to take advantage and San Jose was shut out in the playoffs for the first time since an overtime loss at Colorado in Game 3 of the first round to Craig Anderson and the Avalanche last season."They were a much more competitive team than we were tonight," coach Todd McLellan said. "When you are along the boards you have to compete as hard as they do. We weren't the better team tonight."Quick did a good job stopping the initial shots by San Jose and gave the Sharks few rebound opportunities. The shutout by Quick was the first in the postseason for the Kings since Felix Potvin beat Colorado 1-0 in Game 5 of the first round in 2002 and the sixth in franchise history."We had a big effort from everyone in the locker room," Quick said. "At the end of the day, it's just one win. We need three more to move on. We're looking forward to Game 3 and looking forward to getting the same result."Coach Terry Murray knew it would take contributions from many players for the absence of Stoll and Kopitar. Murray got that from Quick and a pair of talented, young defensemen who were inconsistent at times this season who came up with the biggest plays.Johnson and Doughty each scored power-play goals in the first period and the Kings took control when Doughty blasted a forehand from just inside the blue line through a screen and past Niemi to make it 3-0 with 4:18 left in the second period.Doughty became the first Los Angeles defenseman to score two goals in a playoff game since Hall of Famer Paul Coffey did it against Edmonton twice in 1992."The key guys that you need to step up played as hard as they could," Murray said. "Whenever you need something big to happen like we did tonight because of the adversity we faced, the key guys have to step up and Doughty has always showed that ability to make the play at the right time, to step up, to try to be assertive and get things turned around if necessary."Clifford added a goal early in the third period, shortly after the Kings killed off a power-play chance for San Jose.After scoring just one power-play goal in the final seven regular season games, the Kings struck twice on the man advantage in the opening period after a pair of offensive zone penalties on the Sharks. Both times, the player who drew the penalty, responded with the goal in the ultimate form of payback.The first undisciplined play came when Ben Eager slashed Johnson in a retaliatory move. Johnson capitalized with a blast from the point through a screen by Ryan Smyth to beat Niemi for his first career postseason goal.Just a few minutes later, Clowe was called for elbowing Doughty, who responded with a blast from the high slot that gave the Kings a 2-0 lead with 4:17 remaining in the period."We had dumb penalties in the first," defenseman Dan Boyle said. "We saw them all and the replay on all of them and they were all pretty stupid. Whether it's being too pumped up or not, you have to control your emotions out there. Two power-play goals, that isn't very good."NOTES: This was the fourth time the Sharks have been shut out at home in the playoffs, with the most recent coming against Anaheim in 2009. ... Dustin Penner, a big midseason acquisition by Los Angeles, has gone 14 games dating to the regular season without a point.

Sharks' depth players, Burns, snap cold streaks just in time

Sharks' depth players, Burns, snap cold streaks just in time

SAN JOSE – For at least one night, the Sharks’ depth players – most of which have been missing in action for weeks – found the scoresheet against the Rangers in a 5-4 overtime win on Tuesday.

It couldn’t have come at a better time. 

The Sharks were playing their first of what will surely be at least a few games without center Logan Couture, and are still in the hunt for a Pacific Division title with four of their six remaining games against Edmonton and Calgary – teams they are trying to fend off to earn home ice in the first round. And, of course, they ended a wretched six-game losing streak in which they never had a lead in any of the defeats.

Coach Pete DeBoer mentioned earlier in the week that the coaching staff had challenged the depth players to do more, especially now that their second line center is out indefinitely. The response on Tuesday included two goals from Chris Tierney (including a late game-tying score), one goal and one assist from Jannik Hansen, a shorthanded goal by Melker Karlsson, two assists from Mikkel Boedker, and an assist from Tomas Hertl.

Consider the challenge met.

“We want to score. All the depth guys know, and talked about stepping up,” Tierney said. “It's good that we broke through tonight, especially with Logan out of the lineup. We're going to have to keep doing it throughout the playoffs."

DeBoer said the internal challenge “didn’t involve much more than just ‘Hey, we need some contributions from you.’ We can’t always look to the big guys to get the job done. We got that tonight. Those guys got on the board. It’s never a lack of effort with that group, but we’re the sum of our parts. We need those guys to get on the board for us on a regular basis and they did that tonight.”

It was also surely welcomed that one of their big guys – perhaps their biggest – got the overtime winner. Brent Burns had been mired in a 16-game drought without a goal, but his slap shot got through Henrik Lundqvist half-a-minute into an overtime power play.

While the depth guys will need to continue to produce, the Sharks are going to need more from Burns, too, as the postseason approaches. The defenseman had been kept off of the scoresheet in nine of 10 games from March 5 – 21, but now has one point in each of his last three games. That’s a good sign.

Getting a goal was particularly nice, as was ending the losing skid.

“Yeah on both accounts,” Burns said. “That was a big win, especially coming back, staying resilient, getting that big goal there at the end.”

Still, with all that went right, the game was far from perfect. The Sharks allowed a 3-1 second period lead to turn into a 4-3 deficit in just a span of five minutes and seven seconds, indicating they’re still a bit fragile. Derek Stepan made it 3-2 late in the second with a power play goal, Jesper Fast scored on a deflection early in the third, and J.T. Miller gave New York its first lead of the night less than five minutes into the final frame.

“There’s still room for improvement, definitely,” Joe Pavelski said.

Still, the Sharks fought back for Tierney’s late game-tying goal with less than two minutes in regulation, setting up Burns’ overtime heroics. 

The captain sensed some displeasure from the home fans due to the blown lead, something he surely understood, but indicated that the energy level on the Sharks’ bench was still high.

“Whether you think, like, ‘Here we go again’ or not – I’m sure someone in this building thought that tonight,” Pavelski said. “Guys just kind of stuck with it, and we believed we would tie it up tonight.”

Getting that extra point in overtime brought a sense of relief.

“When you lose six straight, it's obviously a relief when you win one,” Martin Jones said. “But win or lose, we played a lot better tonight.”

 

Instant Replay: Sharks rally late, stun Rangers in OT to end skid

Instant Replay: Sharks rally late, stun Rangers in OT to end skid

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – Despite blowing a two-goal lead, the Sharks found a way to tie their game with the Rangers late and win it in overtime, 5-4, to end their losing streak at six games.

After New York had turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead, Chris Tierney knotted the score with just 2:15 left in regulation. Mikkel Boedker’s shot from high in the zone rattled around the slot, and Tierney was there to flip it home for this second of the night.

Brent Burns ended a 16-game goal drought with a power play goal at 3:10 in overtime, overpowering Henrik Lundqvist with a slap shot.

After Tierney had given San Jose a 3-1 lead earlier in the second period the Sharks kept up the pressure, recording seven of the next eight shots. But Patrick Marleau’s interference penalty on Jimmy Vesey gave New York a late power play and turned the game in their favor.

Derek Stepan – who was stopped on a partial breakaway midway through the first period – brought the Rangers back to within 3-2. Mats Zuccarello hummed a seam pass through Justin Braun to Stepan, who had an open net to deposit his 16th of the season in the final minutes of the second period.

In the third, Jesper Fast redirected a Brady Skjei floater at 1:24, tying the game at 3-3. A Burns tripping minor during four-on-four play offered a power play to the Rangers, and they capitalized on a J.T. Miller one-timer at 4:44, his second of the night.

The Sharks remain two points back of Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division, and are tied with Edmonton for second.

For the first time in eight games the Sharks struck first. A newly configured third line of Tomas Hertl, Boedker and Jannik Hansen scored on its first shift together, as Hansen chopped in a loose puck at 1:44. Boedker and Hertl both got assists, ending pointless streaks of 10 games and 12 games, respectively.

Hansen’s first goal as a Shark also gave the team its first lead in more than two weeks, as it never led throughout its six-game regulation losing streak.

The Rangers tied it at 13:30 of the first on a goal by Miller, who took the puck from Paul Martin along the wall and lifted a perfectly placed wrist shot over Martin Jones’ near shoulder.

Melker Karlsson, returning from an eight-game absence, put the Sharks ahead 2-1 late in the first period with a shorthanded score. He whizzed a wrist shot past countryman Lundqvist at 18:01 while on a two-on-one with Tierney.

Tierney increased the lead to 3-1 in the middle frame, taking a shot from the slot and following up his own rebound at 11:38. It was just his second goal in the last 22 games, and eighth of the year.

The Rangers won the only other game of the season series back on Oct. 17 at Madison Square Garden, 7-4. The Sharks finished the season with a 21-7-4 mark against Eastern Conference clubs.

The Sharks were without Logan Couture, who is out indefinitely with a facial injury.

Special teams:
Two of New York’s goals came on the power play, on three opportunities. The Sharks are 11-for-15 on the PK in the last six games.

San Jose had just one power play before overtime, failing to score. Karlsson’s marker was his second shorthanded score of the season, and the Sharks’ seventh as a team.

In goal:
After allowing a career high seven goals-against on Saturday in Nashville, Jones made 24 saves on 28 shots.

Lundqvist suffered the loss with 30 saves on 35 shots.

Lineup:
Micheal Haley served a one-game suspension for punching Nashville’s Calle Jarnkrok on Saturday.

Tierney (upper body) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (flu) both returned after missing Saturday’s game with the Predators. Marcus Sorensen came out of the lineup for Kevin Labanc, who was recalled on Tuesday morning and skated on the top line.

New York’s Skjei had three assists.

Up next:
The Sharks have six games remaining in the regular season – two each against Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

A three-game road trip against each of those division rivals begins on Thursday with the Oilers, as the clubs battle for home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, and continues on Friday against the Flames and Sunday versus the Canucks.