Odd praise for Pavelski after win


Odd praise for Pavelski after win

SAN JOSE The praise was plentiful if not a bit unconventional for Sharks winger Joe Pavelski after the winger scored his 30th and 31st goals of the season in San Joses important 3-0 win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.

Hes just a dirty player. He gets in dirty areas and wills himself in front of the net, said Joe Thornton, who assisted on both of Pavelskis goals. A lot of guys dont want to necessarily go there, but hes made a living going to the front of the net like tonight with that tip from Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Hes just a dirty player.

Todd McLellan said: Hes a little bit like Gumby. He slithers into spots, and his sense of timing is really good. We talk about going to the net, but arriving at the net at the right time is probably a little more important than always going to the net. Pav has that knack and great hockey sense.

Pavelski became just the ninth player in Sharks franchise history to record at least 30 goals in a season, and the first American, for what thats worth.
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His first period goal ended up being the game-winner, thanks to Antti Niemis sixth shutout of the season (and 19th of his career). Pavelski is making a habit of getting on the board early, too. He has five goals in the first two minutes of a game, the most of any NHL player this season according to Elias.

Its important to score early, regardless. Get the lead, Pavelski said. The last few games weve had so many good looks not just decent scoring chances, but it feels like open nets.

They were able to get one to drop this time, something that didnt happen in disheartening losses in Anaheim and Phoenix, putting the tired Stars behind the eight ball early.

Weve been stressing our starts, Thornton said. I dont know if theres a secret or not, but we have to be prepared to start every night, and we have been.

Pavelski, incidentally, has 18 career two-goal games but no NHL hat tricks. Thats the fourth-longest active streak of its kind. Pavel Datsyuk, believe it or not, has the most (26).

Niemi feeling good: Hes made 18 starts in a row, and it will almost certainly be 21 by the time the regular season comes to a close next Saturday, but Antti Niemi is feeling just fine, thank you very much.

I feel great. I think its all about balancing the practice time and playing time, he said after Saturday nights game. We play on Tuesday next, so thats good, too.

The Sharks will resume practice at 10:00 a.m. on Monday after a complete day off on Sunday. Their 17 games in March was tied for the most in the league last month with three other teams.

Stars unhappy with effort: It wasnt exactly surprising that the Dallas Stars didn't have their A-game last night, regardless of how tight the playoff race is. The Stars arrived in San Jose in the early morning hours on Saturday after a flight from Vancouver where they lost 5-2 the night before.

That wasnt a valid excuse, according captain Brenden Morrow, who saw his club fall to an abysmal 1-11-2 in the second half of back-to-backs.

It was a big game, and I dont think fatigue can be an excuse when you have whats on the line what we had tonight, Morrow said.

Morrow hopes the animosity these two teams clearly have for one another can benefit his club at home on Tuesday at American Airlines Center.

Its nice to be able to get them again while the bloods hot a little bit, get a little redemption, Morrow said. But, if we do the same thing we did tonight, were not going to have the success that we want.

Head coach Glen Gulutzan said: Weve got to move on. Weve got a big game against this team on Tuesday. Our fates in our own hands still. At this junction of the season, thats what you have to focus on.

Checking the race: The Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes both got points in the standings last night; LA in a 4-3 overtime loss to Minnesota and Phoenix with a 4-0 win over Anaheim.

The Sharks improved their playoff chances by 16.6 percent according to the math, and now have a 62.4 percent probability to make the postseason, according to sportsclubstats.com.

None of the teams in the playoff race is in action on Sunday. On Monday, Edmonton visits the Kings.

NHL Gameday: Sharks to ice new lines against Ducks

NHL Gameday: Sharks to ice new lines against Ducks

Programming note – Sharks-Ducks coverage starts tonight at 7:00 p.m. on NBCSN.


Sharks: 3-3-0, 6 points, 3rd Pacific Division
Ducks: 2-3-1, 5 points, 4th Pacific Division


***The Sharks will be playing just their second home game. They beat the Kings at SAP Center on Oct. 12, 2-1, and promptly went on a five-game road trip through the Eastern Conference, going 2-3-0. Tuesday’s game against Anaheim is the first of a three-game homestand, and the Sharks have five of their next six at home overall.

San Jose notoriously struggled in its first home game after a multiple-game road trip last season, going 1-8-1. Their lone win was in a shootout over Edmonton.

The coach welcomes a heated rivalry game.

“I’m actually excited and glad we’re having this type of game coming off the way we played last game,” Pete DeBoer said. “There are no speeches that need to be made, you have to be emotionally invested here tonight in order to win. I think we will be.”

Under new/old head coach Randy Carlyle, Anaheim dropped its first four games (0-3-1, all on the road), but brings a two-game winning streak into tonight. Carlyle led the Ducks to the Stanley Cup in 2006-07, and replaces Bruce Boudreau, who was fired after last season.

Both the Sharks and Ducks have scored exactly 14 goals through their first six games, and both are just 3-for-20 on the power play.

***The Sharks are last in the NHL in faceoff percentage (42.9 percent). That’s not typical, as San Jose finished seventh last season, which was actually its lowest overall finish in the Joe Thornton era.

Tomas Hertl (47.6 percent) will replace Chris Tierney (31.9 percent) as the third line center, while Tierney gets bumped to the fourth line.

“Hopefully I’ll be strong and win a lot of faceoffs for guys, and everybody will be better,” Hertl said. “If you’re losing it’s hard, because you’re chasing the puck all game.”

DeBoer pointed out that faceoffs are harder to win on the road, where the Sharks have played five of their first six games, but “it’s definitely a concern.”

“It mimics our five-on-five game a little bit,” DeBoer said. “It’s a compete area for me, and we’ve got to get better at it.”

***Micheal Haley will return to the Sharks’ lineup in place of Matt Nieto on the fourth line. In the final preseason game on Oct. 9, the Sharks and Ducks combined for 86 penalty minutes, including four fights – two involving Haley. 

“They obviously have a few guys that can play a physical style, so we'll be ready,” Haley said. “I don't think it will be like that game (preseason) necessarily, but we're a heavy team, too, so we'll match them.”


Sharks: Mikkel Boedker. The offseason addition is off to a slow start with just one goal, no assists and four shots through six games, but will get a look on the Sharks’ top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. San Jose will go with four all new lines after getting shut out in Detroit on Saturday, 3-0.

Ducks: Nick Ritchie. The 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft, Ritchie scored the game-winning goal on Sunday in a 4-2 Ducks win over Vancouver at home. He’s playing on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, and has two points (1g, 1a) through the first six games.


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

Nick Ritchie – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano – Ryan Kesler – Jakob Silfverberg
Ryan Garbutt – Antoine Vermette – Chris Wagner
Joe Cramarossa – Michael Sgarbossa – Jared Boll

Cam Fowler – Josh Manson
Clayton Stoner – Sami Vatanen
Shea Theodore – Kevin Bieksa

John Gibson
Jonathan Bernier


Sharks: None.

Ducks: Nate Thompson (Achilles surgery) and Simon Despres (concussion) are out.


“I don’t know if speed is the biggest thing we’re missing right now. With us it’s compete and battle and playing the right way that we need to worry about. We didn’t play well in Detroit, there’s no way around that. … We just didn’t compete. That’s a frustrating thing, but it’s an easy thing to fix.” – Logan Couture

Notes: DeMelo will play for Sharks soon; Couture battling illness

Notes: DeMelo will play for Sharks soon; Couture battling illness

SAN JOSE – Dylan DeMelo may finally be coming to a San Jose Sharks game near you.

The 23-year-old defenseman, who has yet to play in any of the first six games, will likely make his season debut shortly, coach Pete DeBoer indicated on Monday.

“That’s something we discuss every day,” DeBoer said. “We like him, we’re very comfortable with him. We’d have no problem putting him in. I know Bob [Boughner] has no problem playing him, and not worrying about playing him against anybody out there. It’s a nice luxury to have. 

“We can get to the point where it’s too many games where he’s sitting out. We’re getting close to that. We’re going to have to get him in soon here.”

DeMelo has not played for the Sharks since the final game of the 2015-16 regular season on April 9. He served as the seventh defenseman in the playoffs, but the Sharks dressed the same six blueliners throughout their run to the Stanley Cup Final.

In the preseason, DeMelo – who would have to clear waivers in order to be reassigned to the Barracuda – beat out Mirco Mueller for the seventh job on the Sharks. He signed a two-year contract extension in the offseason.

A former sixth round pick of the club in 2011, DeMelo had a breakthrough season in 2015-16, playing in 45 games and establishing himself as an NHL defenseman. He finished the season with two goals and two assists for four points and an even rating.

* * *

While the Sharks shook up their forward lines at Monday’s skate, the top power play unit remained the same. Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are still together and will try to work out the kinks to their game.

The Sharks are 3-for-20 on the power play, with just one of those coming on a five-on-four.

“We’re not shooting the puck enough, that’s the big thing,” Couture said. “We’ve got to shoot the puck, get traffic. We always have a guy in front of the net and we’ve been getting away from that.”

* * *

Couture has managed five points (2g, 3a) through the first six games, all while battling a persistent cold that he just can’t shake. It’s obvious he’s dealing with some sort of sinus issue when hearing him speak the past few days.

“It’s like a month, it won’t go away,” Couture said. “It’s crazy.”

* * *

Breaking with standard practice, the Sharks opted to stay in Detroit the night after Saturday’s game, rather than immediately flying home on the team charter.

The Sharks were a miserable 1-8-1 in their first home game after a multiple-game road trip last regular season, with their lone win coming against Edmonton in a shootout, so DeBoer figured he would try something different this year.

“When we sat down in the summer and looked at areas to improve, our record coming back from road trips was not good last year,” he said. “We looked at opponents when we came back, our travel schedule. We’re just looking for answers to fix some of the areas that maybe we weren’t real good at last year.”