Galiardi, Winnik react to Sharks debut


Galiardi, Winnik react to Sharks debut

SAN JOSE Have the Sharks finally found the forward depth theyve been searching for, now that new acquisitions Daniel Winnik and TJ Galiardi are on board?

If their play in the 1-0 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday is any indication, the two newest members of the Sharks could provide just what Doug Wilson and the coaching staff wanted when they acquired the duo from Colorado in exchange for Jamie McGinn on Monday.

They brought a lot of energy. Theyre definitely going to be a big help, said Joe Thornton. Theyre both energetic players and they both control the puck well and see the ice well.

Lets start with Winnik. The 26-year-old skated alongside Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski in his first game with the Sharks, matched up primarily against the Flyers top line of Claude Giroux, Jaromir Jagr and Scott Hartnell. In fact, Winnik spent nearly 19 minutes on the ice during even-strength play, leading all forwards. Thats not going to be a nightly occurrence as he gets eased onto the penalty-killing unit, which may take a few days, but the 6-2, 210-pounder was a big reason the Sharks were able to shut down the leagues highest-scoring offense.

I thought it went well. I thought we had some pretty good chemistry, with Pat and Joe. Its unfortunate we didnt score, but we did a great job shutting that top line down for them, Winnik said after the game.

Keeping Giroux at bay was especially impressive. The Flyers candidate for league MVP, Giroux is third in the league in points with 72. It was the first time since March 26, 2011, that Giroux was held without a shot on goal a span of 66 games.

Giroux sounded frustrated after the loss.

Im not going to get ten shots a game. Its not going to happen, he said. I know Ive got to do better in this kind of game. In games like that I want to play better. I think our line really didnt play good tonight.

Giroux didnt say so, but Winnik and Co. was a big reason or that.

Dan Winnik did a great job, said Matt Shaw, speaking to the media in place of McLellan, who missed the game with a concussion. Big guy, was put in a checkingoffensive role with the players he played with and against. You could see he was very adept at pucks on the wall, smart plays on what to do and when, very confident in doing it. Made you feel very comfortable having him on the ice.

Galiardi, meanwhile, provided good energy and an effective forecheck in almost 13 minutes of ice time against the Flyers. That includes a stretch late in the first period and early in the second when he was unable to play after taking a high hit from Philadelphias Zac Rinaldo.

TJ Galiardi played a strong game. He has that kind of slashing speed that always backs off teams a little bit, Shaw said. I think maybe he could have drawn a penalty or two tonight by the way he played.

He almost scored, too. In the third period, with the Sharks maintaining their 1-0 lead, Ilya Bryzgalov stopped him on the doorstep with a nice pad save.

Galiardi didnt care, or at least he wasnt letting on. He has come across as downright giddy since he found out about the trade, and a close call that nearly resulted in his first goal with the Sharks wasnt going to bring him down from his high.

It felt amazing, actually, he said. It was so nice to be out there and be on this side of the action. No better way to get it started than with a win, though.

As long we won, Im happy. It will come eventually. Youve got to get some chemistry with some guys and get used to playing with them a little. Make the reads, and know where theyre going. Im just happy we won.

The coaching staff sat down with Winnik and Galiardi before the game, and the players admitted that the systems employed by McLellan and the rest of the staff are pretty dissimilar than those they were used to with Colorado.

That might seem like a disadvantage at first, but it may have actually helped the pair in that they were thrown right into the fire.

Winnik explained.

The coaches didnt want to overload us with too much information. They kind of told us some simple system stuff, and then just said make reads and play hockey. Thats what we did, and I think as a team we attacked as five and defended as six, and really boxed them out when they got shots at our net.

Any time you over think, thats when you make mistakes. When you react and just play, thats when you play better.

Galiardi echoed his good friends sentiments.

The main thing is, just dont over think it, just go out and play. The systems are a lot different than what were used to, at the end of the day were all hockey players and we can make the reads.

So far, so good.

Both players did a really good job introducing themselves to their teammates and helping out with the result tonight, Shaw said.

Three takeaways: Sharks make life easy on Avs rookie goalie

Three takeaways: Sharks make life easy on Avs rookie goalie

SAN JOSE – It took overtime for the Sharks to surpass the worst team in the NHL, but the points are valuable any way they come in the second half. Here are our three takeaways from the 3-2 victory on Saturday night…

1 – Top guys struggle, but depth comes through

It wasn’t a very good night for the captain’s line, which was particularly sloppy on Colorado’s tying goal in the third period. Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic weren’t much better, as the former was caught out of position a couple times, and the latter was tagged with six giveaways.

But those guys have been playing the bulk of the minutes lately, so they’re allowed to have an off night. At least, that’s how Pete DeBoer saw it.

“We've ridden our big guys pretty hard,” DeBoer said. “They played some tough minutes with some of the opponents we played this week, in L.A. and on and on. Tonight's a night you're looking for your depth guys to step up and give you some energy, and I thought we got that."

The Sharks’ fourth line was probably its best from start to finish, including Melker Karlsson’s goal, from Ryan Carpenter.

“[Tomas] Hertl's missed 30 games, so we needed somebody to come in and help us out in that area, and he's done that,” DeBoer said of Carpenter.

2 – Making it too easy on Martin

Spencer Martin was making his NHL debut in difficult circumstances, playing in front of what has been an incredibly loose team in its own end against one of the best teams in the Western Conference. But, the Sharks made it easy on him most of the night.

Avs forward Nathan MacKinnon, who had a tremendous game, told the Denver Post that he thought Colorado was the better team.

“Tonight, we outplayed them,” he said. “We outplayed the team that went to the (Stanley Cup) Finals last year, and there were some bright spots for us. We have to climb out of this hole and have a good last 30, 40 games here and go into next season feeling pretty good about ourselves.”

They’ll get another chance against the Sharks on Monday at Pepsi Center as the teams conclude their two-game season series. San Jose will try and give the Colorado goalie, whoever it is, a more difficult time.

“When we’re on our game, we’re making it tough with grind time and traffic at the net, some chances,” Joe Pavelski said. “Tonight we didn’t have as many as we could have had. We’ll try to find a little bit more for next game.”

Schlemko said: “We just didn’t have as much grind time in the o-zone as we usually do. If you’re not playing in their end you’re usually playing in your end.”

3 – Ward gets another on the power play

Joel Ward’s resurgence continues, as the forward again found a way to contribute on the scoresheet. His first period power play goal was one of the easier scores he’ll have, on a nice setup by Joe Thornton.

“[Thornton] had it behind the net and came around the side, and sent it to me on the far side, so it went in,” Ward said.

The 36-year-old Ward has nine points (3g, 6a) in his last 13 games. To put that in perspective, the last time he was a healthy scratch on Dec. 20, he had just nine points in 31 games on the season.

Sharks win 'ugly' vs Avs as they fight through brutal schedule

Sharks win 'ugly' vs Avs as they fight through brutal schedule

SAN JOSE – Playing their fifth game in eight days thanks to the condensed (some would say foolish) NHL schedule this season, perhaps it’s not all that surprising that the Sharks looked like they hit a wall on Saturday night at home against Colorado.

Still, this was the Avalanche, who have been far and away the NHL’s worst team for the past six weeks. Even a subpar effort should be enough.

And, it was. The Sharks got a power play goal by Joel Ward and another from their fourth line, while David Schlemko pounced on a rebound in overtime to push the Sharks to a 3-2 win.

It was an uninspiring victory, but a victory nonetheless.

“Two points is what was the important thing,” Ward said. “It wasn't our best, but we found a way."

Joe Pavelski said: “We had some moments where we were good. Some that we could have been better. It’s a game right now that you’ve got to really stick to your foundation, because there’s a lot of games in a lot of nights here.”

Coach Pete DeBoer, who has skillfully managed his veteran team’s rest since taking over at the start of last season, wasn’t all that critical of the Sharks’ effort, either, even though they made life far too easy on rookie goalie Spencer Martin making his NHL debut.

To DeBoer, the Sharks may be in the midst of their toughest stretch of games on the calendar. By the time they host the Oilers on Thursday in the final game before the All-Star break, San Jose will have played seven games in just an 11-day span.

“I feel the fatigue, and I haven't played a game. I'm just coaching,” he said. “We found a way to win. It was ugly, but we found a way."

Perhaps the most encouraging aspect from the Sharks’ perspective is that their fourth line continues to make an impact, scoring a goal for the third straight game. Ryan Carpenter got on the scoresheet for the second straight, floating a puck towards the net that was redirected by Melker Karlsson. It gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead with five minutes to go in the second period.

“I think we fit pretty good together,” Karlsson said of playing with Carpenter. “Good centerman, good guy. It’s fun.”

Pavelski said: “You can see [the fourth line is] playing with confidence. They’re playing hard. They’re in on a lot of pucks, and giving us energy that way, and they’re getting rewarded.”

The game-winner was a simple one from Schlemko’s perspective. He hopped over the boards, slithered towards the crease, and stickhandled in a Logan Couture rebound for his second goal of the season.

“The rebound came right to me and I just had to tap in,” Schlemko said. “I’ll take those any day.”

While the Sharks were fighting through some physical and mental sluggishness, Colorado looked better than a team that hasn’t won a regulation game in a month and a half. Playing in front of a goalie making his first NHL start likely had something to do with that, as they tried to give Martin an honest effort.

Nathan MacKinnon was particularly effective, generating a game-high seven shots and setting up Colorado’s first score. Just before that goal that was finished off by Mikhail Grigorenko, MacKinnon breezed through the neutral zone untouched, and Pavelski mentioned that area of the game as a troublesome one for his club.

“Whether they were good in the neutral zone or we weren’t as sharp – that wasn’t a very strong point of our game, I don’t think. Turned over a few too many pucks,” he said.

The Sharks will have a better idea of what to expect headed into Monday’s rematch in Denver. Whether they have their legs back by then is uncertain.

“It was hard from an energy point of view for us today,” DeBoer said.