McLellan weighs options in net


McLellan weighs options in net

SAN JOSE Thomas Greiss is making the most of his opportunity as the Sharks backup goaltender.

The German native, who entered Thursday's game just 2:07 after the opening faceoff, stopped 29 of 30 shots in relief of Antti Niemi on Thursday night. His performance allowed his team to climb back into the game and eventually overtake the Penguins in a shootout, 4-3. It was Greiss' third victory of the year (3-2), and he owns an impressive stat line featuring a 1.99 goals-against average and .928 save percentage.

But, it might not be enough to earn him another start on Saturday night against Nashville.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan explained his thought process on Friday after the teams practice at Sharks Ice.

There are two trains of thought. One is to reward Greiss for coming in and playing well, and the other thought process is to get Niemi back in there and get him going, said the coach. Well have to make a decision later on today which route well go.

If Niemi had a choice, he would get back out there right away.

Of course its easier to get back soon and not wait for a long time, he said. Then you start thinking about it.

McLellan thought Niemi could have better played the first goal against the Penguins. On the play, the goaltender lost control of his stick and allowed a soft shot from the Penguins Deryk Engelland to get by.

I didnt think he was sharp on the first goal. Lost his stick, deep in his net, that type of stuff. But, he knows that. Im not telling you anything that he doesnt know, said McLellan. He worked hard today, and will be ready to go, if we choose to.

In Niemis defense, changing the goaltender so early in the game can be seen as more than just a reflection upon his play. In fact, many times its not an indicator of the goaltender at all, but a coach just trying to change the pace and momentum of the game. A wake-up call, if you will.

McLellan said that if he could have, he would have pulled our whole team. It just so happens that Niemi plays the one position where its easy to make a switch.

Thats the one position where you can make a change, and they never get to go back out on the ice and make amends, said McLellan. Were down 2-0 two minutes in, weve got to do something.

Its not a surprise after how many minutes we played and it was 2-0, said Niemi.

Greiss, with his easygoing personality, is taking everything in stride. Of course hed like to play, but he still seems more than content to contribute when hes called upon.

Im just trying to play as good as I can every game, and help the team anyway I can, he said.

NHL Gameday: Sharks 'champing at the bit' to play Red Wings


NHL Gameday: Sharks 'champing at the bit' to play Red Wings

Programming note: Sharks-Red Wings coverage starts today at 3:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California


Sharks: 3-2-0, 6 points, 3rd Pacific Division
Red Wings: 3-2-0, 6 points, 5th Atlantic Division


***The Sharks will be trying to rebound from a crushing defeat on Thursday. In a Stanley Cup rematch in Pittsburgh, the Penguins erased 2-0 hole after two to beat the Sharks, 3-2, in regulation.

“We know we let one slip away the other night,” Logan Couture said. “That’s the main focus for us right now, get out, have a good first period and try to rebound from that.”

Patrick Marleau said: “Everybody is champing at the bit to get back out there and right that wrong by having a good, strong game.”

***At 2-2 through the first four games of their road trip, the Sharks have a chance conclude it with a winning record. San Jose had the best road record in the NHL last season at 28-10-3.

“Our group understands the importance of a good road record,” Pete DeBoer said. “We’ve got a veteran group that really prepares themselves properly. I don’t know if there’s any secret to it. They take a lot of pride in showing up and playing the right way on the road. We want to continue to do that.”

The Sharks open up a three-game homestand with Anaheim on Tuesday. After tonight, five of their next six games are at SAP Center.

***The Sharks will not make any lineup changes against the Red Wings. Matt Nieto remains in on the fourth line, while Martin Jones will start his fifth game out of six in net.

Detroit beat Nashville at home on Friday night, 5-3, in its “best game of the season” according to Tomas Tatar, via the Detroit Free Press. The Red Wings will likely go with Jimmy Howard after it was Petr Mrazek who got the win against the Predators. Howard is coming off of a brilliant 32-save performance at the Rangers on Wednesday in which he essentially stole the game for the Red Wings.

It could be a good opportunity for the Sharks to get their scuffling power play going, as Detroit gave up three power play goals against to Nashville. San Jose is just 2-for-13 in its last four games on the power play, with one an empty-netter and another on a two-man advantage.


Sharks: Tomas Hertl. The Sharks forward has one goal in each of the last two games, including the opening score against Pittsburgh on Thursday, and brings a three-game point streak (2g, 1a) into Detroit. After a slow start, the Sharks’ top line with Hertl, Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton seems to be heating up.

Red Wings: Thomas Vanek. The 32-year-old forward joined Detroit in the offseason on a one-year deal, and is its leading scorer among forwards with six points (3g, 3a). He’s had some success against the Sharks in his career, too, with six goals (and eight points) in 14 games.


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

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

Martin Jones (confirmed starter)
Aaron Dell

Red Wings
Tomas Tatar – Henrik Zetterberg – Riley Sheahan
Justin Abdelkader – Frans Nielsen – Dylan Larkin
Thomas Vanek – Darren Helm – Gustav Nyquist
Drew Miller – Luke Glendening – Steve Ott

Dan DeKeyser – Mike Green
Jonathan Ericsson – Alexey Marchenko
Brendan Smith – Ryan Sproul

Jimmy Howard (expected starter)
Petr Mrazek


Sharks: None.

Red Wings: Niklas Kronwall (knee), Tomas Jurco (back), Johan Franzen (concussion) and Joe Vitale (concussion) are out.


“I thought we played a pretty solid game (in Pittsburgh) for most of the game. Obviously we had a couple breakdowns, but I liked our effort and the way we controlled the game for most of it. We’ve just got to put together a full 60, and we’ll be fine.” – Chris Tierney

Rewind: Shorthanded Penguins stun Sharks in late comeback

Rewind: Shorthanded Penguins stun Sharks in late comeback

PITTSBURGH – The primary reason the Sharks made the additions and subtractions they did in the offseason was to match up better against a swift-skating team like Pittsburgh, which won last June’s Stanley Cup Final by playing a game based on speed.

If the first rematch is any indication, even a dramatically shorthanded Penguins team can still get the job done against San Jose.

Despite no Sidney Crosby, no Kris Letang, no Matt Murray, no Conor Sheary, and no third defense pair of Olli Maatta and Derrick Poulliot for the third period, the Penguins stormed from behind to give the Sharks a 3-2 loss on Thursday night at PPG Paints Arena. All of the Penguins’ goals came in the third period after they trailed 2-0 to start the final frame.

For the second time in four games on their road trip, the Sharks controlled play through two periods. That was enough against lowly Columbus last Saturday, but not against the Penguins, who got goals from Evgeni Malkin, Scott Wilson and Patric Hornqvist in span of eight minutes and 15 seconds in the third.

“Let them hang around a little bit, which is something we’ve done lately,” Pete DeBoer said. “Had some opportunities to extend it, and didn’t. Probably deserved to be up by more, but we weren’t. That’s what happens.”

San Jose got goals from Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau in the second period, a period that saw them outshoot the Penguins, 17-4. Shots were 27-10 overall through 40 minutes.

They started well in the third, too, when Mikkel Boedker drew a trip on Malkin at 4:10. Just after the ensuing power play had expired, Boedker was staring at a wide open net after slick seam pass from Joonas Donskoi, but fired wide.

Malkin scored 30 seconds later, and the comeback was on.

“Just missed it. It’s a tough shot when it comes from the other way, but [Donskoi] made a good pass,” Boedker said. “It’s one of those you want to put in, and when things are going the right way, they come in bunches. … Obviously it sucks, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

After Malkin’s goal, and another by Wilson tied it, the Sharks took a pair of minor penalties. Paul Martin was called for a delay of game that was killed off, but Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s slash on Bryan Rust resulted in Hornqvist’s winner with less than six minutes to go in regulation.

Joe Pavelski didn’t seem to like either call, indicating that Martin’s errant clearing attempt hit a Penguins stick on its way out, and the Vlasic slash late a tie game is a call “that you don’t always see.”

Hornqvist got a couple fortunate bounces on his goal, too. He took control of the puck in front of the net after it hit Joel Ward’s foot, and his shot attempt deflected in off of Martin’s skate.

“They got a bounce or two more, but the position we were in, it shouldn’t matter how many bounces they get,” Pavelski said. “We’ve got to seal that game.”

The captain expressed disappointment over the fact that the Sharks squandered a chance to move to 4-1-0 on the season, which would be an accomplishment considering their early peripatetic schedule in which they played just one home game before traveling east.

That outweighed any sort of revenge factor that might have been on the minds of the players that were defeated by Pittsburgh in the Final last spring.

“The biggest thing is we were playing for a 4-1 record going into that third [period]. Not because it was the Penguins,” Pavelski said. “It’s early in the year and it’s not easy to start coming on the road with all these games. Now we’re staring at 3-2, and we move on. It would have been nice to beat them, for sure, but the best thing would have been for that record.”

The Sharks can still conclude their five-game trip with a winning mark by beating Detroit on Saturday.

DeBoer said: “We’re not going to overreact. We played very good hockey for large amounts of this game. Learn from it, and move forward.”