Rewind: Power play paces Sharks in strange night at the Tank

Rewind: Power play paces Sharks in strange night at the Tank

SAN JOSE – First, there was a delay in the Sharks-Blue Jackets game when the lights suddenly went out late in the second period. Another interruption occurred in the third, when the referees decided to spend more time on an offside challenge that overturned a Brenden Dillon goal than the Warren Commission did on the Zapruder film.

In a few months, those occurrences may end up being more notable to many in the SAP Center crowd than the actual game result, a 3-1 Sharks win on Thursday night. Inside the home dressing room, though, it was a pair of goals by the second power play unit and a strong performance by goalie Martin Jones that will be how they remember this one.

Joonas Donskoi’s first period goal with Markus Nutivaara in the box staked the Sharks a 1-0 lead, while Tomas Hertl’s marker in the third period with Jack Johnson serving a tripping minor increased it to 2-0. Hertl added a late empty netter to seal it, after Scott Hartnell brought the Blue Jackets to within one with less then three minutes to go.

It was the second straight game the Sharks didn’t get an even strength goal in regulation (other than the empty-netter), yet found a way. They beat Anaheim in three-on-three overtime on Tuesday, 2-1.

“Right now the five-on-five goals are hard to come by,” Pete DeBoer said. “We're creating chances, but the power play won us the game tonight." 

Hertl said: “Exciting night for us, the second [power play unit], because we scored two goals.”

The newest addition to that unit, defenseman David Schlemko, assisted on each of the first two goals. He spotted Donskoi wide open in the circle on the first, and got a secondary helper on Hertl’s first goal.

Although they were his first two points of the season, Schlemko is quickly proving to be the second-most talented offensive defenseman on the team. He’s managed 20 shots on goal through eight games – exactly half of Burns’ 40, but nearly double Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s 11.

“It's nice to get [the points] of the way,” he said. “I feel like I've been getting lots of pucks to the net, so it's nice to see a couple go in finally."

Donskoi figured Schlemko would spot him all alone standing on the faceoff dot.

“He's pretty good with the puck, so I think he just saw me,” Donskoi said. “It's good to have a guy like that."

It’s also good to have a guy like Jones, who made some key saves early on the penalty kill and preserved the lead while Sergei Bobrovsky was making some potentially game-changing stops on the other end. Jones’ 24 saves lowered his goals-against average to 2.32, and upped his save percentage to .908.

“We had quite a few grade-A chances, [Bobrovsky] kept them in it pretty good,” said Joel Ward, who was stopped on an early second period breakaway. “Obviously Jonesy has been there for us since day one. It’s good that he’s feeling the groove, we’ve just got to put some pucks in.”

Neither Jones nor his teammates let the odd circumstances, including Dillon’s apparent goal that was nullified after a seven-minute delay in the third period of a 1-0 game, get to them. 

“There was a couple things there out of our control, but I thought considering that, we stuck with it and found a way,” DeBoer said.

Ward said: “We’ve got a good group and a mature group, and we know how to handle situations.”

The Sharks are also gaining momentum at home with their third win in as many tries, even if their own building doesn’t want to cooperate all the time with pesky details like keeping the ice surface brightened.

“With [the lights going off] and the disallowed goal it felt like a triple overtime type of game,” Ward said. “Haven’t seen that before, but hopefully since we won, maybe it happens again and we can capitalize.”

Schlemko wasn’t here last season, but he heard all about the team’s struggles at SAP Center when it was the only playoff team that didn’t win at least half of its home games (18-20-3).

“I think we wanted to clean up the home record and have teams know it's going to be a tough night coming in here,” he said. “It's been a pretty good start."

Instant Replay: Donskoi, Hertl lift Sharks over Jackets

Instant Replay: Donskoi, Hertl lift Sharks over Jackets


SAN JOSE – Three combined goals from Joonas Donskoi and Tomas Hertl, coupled with 24 saves from Martin Jones, pushed the Sharks to a 3-1 win over Columbus on Thursday at SAP Center.

Both of the Sharks’ goals before a late empty netter came from the second power play unit.

In the first period, David Schlemko found Joonas Donskoi wide open in the circle with a cross-ice pass, and Donskoi squeezed a wrist shot through Sergei Bobrovsky at 12:59. The goal was Donskoi’s first of the season.

Hertl increased it to 2-0 with 7:55 to go in regulation, with Jack Johnson in the box for tripping Patrick Marleau. A Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot hit Hertl in front of the net, and Hertl spun around and swept the loose puck through for what stood as the game-winner.

Schlemko assisted on both goals for his first two points in a Sharks sweater.

Scott Hartnell brought the Blue Jackets back to within 2-1 with 2:50 to go, when he redirected a Lukas Sedlak rebound over the line, but that was as close as the Blue Jackets would get. Hertl’s empty net goal with one second left capped the scoring.

The Sharks (5-3-0) improved to a perfect 3-0 at home, and swept the two-game season series with Columbus, including a 3-2 win at Nationwide Arena on Oct. 15.

Bobrovsky kept it 1-0 deficit for his club in the second period. He denied Joel Ward on a breakaway in the first minute of the middle frame after Justin Braun found him wide open at the blue line, and later robbed Brent Burns cutting towards the net when Chris Tierney’s pass through the slot gave the Sharks defenseman a glorious scoring chance with 12:16 to go.

Columbus’ best chance to tie it came with about six minutes left, when Hartnell missed a tap in after Burns gave it away to Sam Gagner in the defensive zone.

The Sharks seemingly increased their lead to 2-0 a little more than six minutes into the third period when Brenden Dillon’s heavy blast from high in the zone found its way in through traffic. A lengthy review showed that Chris Tierney was offside just before Marleau brought the puck over the blue line, however.

With the Sharks up 1-0, the teams went to their dressing rooms with 2:42 remaining in the second period after the lights illuminating the ice surface went dark. Power was restored, and they played the end of the second and the third period after the early intermission.

San Jose is 21-4-2 all-time against the Blue Jackets in San Jose.

Special teams

For the second straight game, the Sharks failed to score an even strength goal into a manned net in regulation, but won anyway. They were a perfect 2-for-2 on the power play.

Columbus was 0-for-3 on the power play. San Jose is 18-for-19 on the PK over its last five games.

In goal

Jones was making his fourth straight start, and has played in seven of the first eight games. He is 4-3 on the season, and 2-2 in his career against Columbus.

Bobrovsky dropped to 5-4-2 in his career against San Jose. The former Vezina Trophy winner has played every game for the Blue Jackets.


Micheal Haley skated in his second straight game in place of Matt Nieto, who was again a healthy scratch.

Up next

The Sharks close out their homestand with Nashville on Saturday. It will be the first meeting since San Jose eliminated the Predators in seven games in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last May.

NHL Gameday: Sharks expect better Blue Jackets this time

NHL Gameday: Sharks expect better Blue Jackets this time

Programming note: Sharks-Blue Jackets coverage starts tonight at 7pm with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California. Sharks Insider Kevin Kurz will appear on SportsTalk Live on CSN Bay Area, beginning at 5pm.


Sharks: 4-3-0, 8 points, 3rd Pacific Division
Blue Jackets: 2-2-1, 5 points, 7th Metropolitan Division


***Less than two weeks after their meeting in Columbus, a 3-2 Sharks win, the Blue Jackets visit San Jose to wrap up the season series. San Jose is coming off of a 2-1 overtime win on Tuesday against Anaheim in the first of a three-game homestand.

Columbus is 2-0-1 since losing to the Sharks, beating Chicago and Dallas and losing on Tuesday in overtime in Los Angeles.

Joe Pavelski said: “They are one of those teams that you know you’re going to get an honest game from them, and they’re going to play hard and try to come at you.”

***The Sharks led 2-0 after two periods in the previous meeting with Columbus before withstanding a push from the Blue Jackets in the third. 

Pete DeBoer said: “They didn’t lie down. They didn’t quit. They took it to us in the third period and put us on our heels, and I think they carried that into winning their last three games. 

“I’m sure we’re going to get their best game here tonight, and just watching their recent tape, they look like they’re playing with some confidence.”

***Martin Jones will start his fourth straight game in net, while Micheal Haley will remain in for Matt Nieto on the fourth line.

The fourth line generated some quality scoring chances against the Ducks, and took three shifts in the third period of what was a 1-1 game. Tommy Wingels, who moved to the wing from center before the game, said the approach doesn’t change whether it’s Haley or Nieto in their group, which now features Chris Tierney in the middle.

“Is it a different guy doing it, maybe more possession and not as much speed? Absolutely, but same mentality, same game plan, and same look to execute,” Wingels said.

DeBoer said: “I don’t judge those guys by goals or points. It’s, are they hopping over the boards? Are they creating energy? Are they wearing down the other team? I think that line did that all night.”


Sharks: Marc-Edouard Vlasic. The defenseman scored a highlight-reel goal in overtime on Tuesday against the Ducks, flying past Corey Perry and beating goalie John Gibson. It was the first goal by a Sharks defenseman not scored by Brent Burns. Vlasic, who is coming off of his best offensive season a year ago with 48 points, has two points this season (1g, 1a) and an even rating.

Blue Jackets: Zach Werenski. The eighth overall pick of the 2015 draft (just before the Sharks chose Timo Meier), Werenski has five points in five games (2g, 3a) to start his NHL career. The 19-year-old is the first rookie in Blue Jackets history to have points in his first four career games, including a goal against the Sharks on Oct. 12.


Mikkel Boedker – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Joonas Donskoi – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Patrick Marleau – Tomas Hertl – Melker Karlsson
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Tommy Wingels

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones (confirmed starter)
Aaron Dell

Blue Jackets
Brandon Saad - Alexander Wennberg - Nick Foligno
Boone Jenner - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson
Matt Calvert - William Karlsson - Josh Anderson
Scott Hartnell - Lukas Sedlak - Sam Gagner

Zach Werenski – Seth Jones
Jack Johnson – David Savard
Dalton Prout – Markus Nutivaara

Sergei Bobrovsky (confirmed starter)
Curtis McElhinney


Sharks: None.

Blue Jackets: Ryan Murray (upper body) is out.


“We were great. Just look at the chances. We controlled a lot of the play, other than the 5-on-3 [where] they had a few chances. There really wasn't much other than that." – Martin Jones, after the Sharks’ 2-1 overtime win over Anaheim on Tuesday