Sharks blanked by Ducks 1-0

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Sharks blanked by Ducks 1-0

BOX SCORE

ANAHEIM A virtual unknown and an old nemesis teamed up to give the Sharks their first loss of the season.

Jonas Hiller made rookie Maxime Macenauers first period goal stand up, as the Anaheim Ducks beat the Sharks at the Honda Center on Friday night. Hiller stopped all 31 shots the Sharks threw his way in what was a sloppy game at times, as both clubs had not played since last Saturday.

Hes a world class goalie, but we have some world class players here that can score, said Joe Thornton. Im disappointed we couldnt score on him.

Hillers biggest save came early in the game. Joe Pavelski, who had two goals in the season opening 6-3 win against Phoenix, beautifully skated the puck through Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman and fired a wrist shot on net. Hiller snagged it with his quick glove hand halfway through the first period.

Pavelski blamed himself for the failed opportunity, which could have led to an entirely different outcome.

I believe the corner was there, I just didnt get it up, he said. You get a chance like that you want to finish, especially early in the game. It changes the whole dynamic.

Still, it would have been hard to imagine Hiller would have been any less spectacular even if he had given up that goal. The All-Star goalie was strong from start to finish, especially in the third period, when the Sharks applied good pressure on a late power play.

Ryane Clowe had a great opportunity to tie it at 1-1, but couldnt get a handle on a bouncing puck.

I think if I get that on net, its in. It just hit the side of the net, he said.

Clowe was asked if he was discouraged to get blanked so early in the season. The Sharks are now 1-1 after two games.

I dont think its real discouraging, to be honest, he said. I think if we felt like we played a bit better and controlled most of the game it would be discouraging. The second period they completely outworked us and in the third it was back and forth. Its discouraging we didnt play better, but not so much about the shutout.

The Sharks came out of the gate strong, winning the puck possession game as well as most of the first period faceoffs. The problem was they didnt generate enough when they had the puck.

We were one-and-done in their end, said Logan Couture. We didnt really create second chances. Thats why they beat us.

Too much one-and-out tonight, agreed Todd McLellan.

On the other end, it was Macenauer taking advantage of what McLellan categorized as a missed assignment. Hes likely referring to Andrew Desjardins, who failed to pick up Macenauer in front of the crease.

You have a simple assignment and youve got to accomplish it, said McLellan. Thats the difference between winning and losing at this level. There is so much parity that you have to be sharp all the time.

Among the 36 skaters dressed for the game, Macenauer was as unlikely a name as any to score the games lone goal. A 2007 third round pick by the Ducks, the 22-year-old was playing in just his third career NHL game.

Its always a lift when those guys can contribute, said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. We had a short side play on and they executed it to a tee.

On a positive note for the Sharks, goaltender Thomas Greiss was outstanding. After allowing the goal to Macenauer, the German native held his ground and kept the Sharks within reach, especially in the second period when Anaheim controlled the pace.

Hiller played an exceptional game tonight, but I guess the good news for us is that I thought our goalie matched it, said McLellan.

Greiss finished with 22 saves.

It was tough for him to not get the win, said Clowe.

The Sharks return Saturday night to face the St. Louis Blues at HP Pavilion. Theyll get another shot at Hiller and the Ducks on home ice on Monday night a fine opportunity to put tonights frustration behind them.

We have to play them Monday so its a good chance to improve, said Clowe.
Notes

Ducks winger Jason Blake was taken to the hospital after being cut by Brent Burns' skate in the third period. ... Antti Niemi served as Greiss backup, and will likely play in one of the two upcoming home games. Jim Vandermeer was the healthy scratch, but look for him to play Saturday, probably in place of White. ... The Sharks were 0-for-4 on the power play, and killed off both Ducks chances. ... San Jose won 28 of 44 faceoffs (64 percent).

Sharks get some down time with a break in schedule

Sharks get some down time with a break in schedule

SAN JOSE – A weekend with no games on the NHL calendar is rare enough. A weekend without any games or practices, though? That’s virtually unheard of in the middle of the season.

But with nothing until Wednesday's home game, and after a stretch of 10 games in 18 days, Sharks coach Pete DeBoer chose to give the players and staff a full Saturday and Sunday off. DeBoer and assistant coach Johan Hedberg were seen quickly scurrying from SAP Center a few short minutes after the game ended, while defenseman Brent Burns had his massive camouflage backpack stuffed to capacity while conducing his postgame media availability.

“It’s packed and ready to go,” Burns said, without going into any detail as to what exactly was in the bag.

DeBoer explained his rationale behind the respite on Friday morning.

“The way [the schedule] laid out after the month we’ve just had – the injuries, the stuff we’ve dealt with – it just made sense. We’ve got another push until the Christmas break after this with a tough schedule. 

“With our travel and the World Cup and everything, it didn’t make sense to come down here and skate when we had a chance to actually recharge mentally and physically.”

Although the team was aware of the break for some time, there’s no question that the Sharks have earned it. As they wake up on Saturday morning (presumably after sleeping in), they find themselves with a three-point cushion in the Pacific Division with a 15-9-1 mark. San Jose has won six of its last seven, including triumphs over perennial contender Chicago, chief rival Los Angeles, and the top team in the Eastern Conference, Montreal.

Their two longest road trips of the season are also already behind them, including a five-game trip in October and a six-gamer in November.

Joe Pavelski is pleased with what he’s seen so far, despite the challenging circumstances.

“Guys have handled it well,” said the captain. “There hasn’t been a whole lot of rest time, and we’ve found a few different ways to win, especially on nights that it hasn’t been easy. The biggest thing is guys have shown up and played hard. We’ve got a pretty good structure in here, guys are responsible, we’ve found a few goals, and [Martin Jones] gives us a chance every night.”

Joe Thornton said: “It’s been a lot of hockey. It will be nice to get a couple days after this to relax and recover a little bit.”

The schedule will ramp up again in short order. After three games in four nights next week, the Sharks will fly to Toronto and open up a four-games-in-six-days road trip with the Maple Leafs on Dec. 13.

* * *

The Sharks reassigned forwards Kevin Labanc and Ryan Carpenter to the AHL Barracuda on Saturday morning. Carpenter was a healthy scratch on Friday as Tommy Wingels got back in the lineup. 

It’s likely that the move was made at least partially because the Sharks are up against the salary cap, and that one or both players could return by the time they host the Senators on Wednesday.

Three takeaways: Sharks see similarities between Jones, Price

Three takeaways: Sharks see similarities between Jones, Price

SAN JOSE – The Sharks continued their hot streak with a 2-1 win over the Canadiens in a classic goaltender’s duel Friday night. The three takeaways from the game…

1 – Price, Jones similarities

Martin Jones was the standout star with his 31 saves, but the Sharks had to beat Carey Price on the other end to reward their own goalie. Price entered the night as the NHL leader in save percentage (.947), and third in goals-against average (1.68) and is probably on his way to another Vezina Trophy at the end of the season.

That the game came down to a battle in net was no surprise, as a prescient Pete DeBoer said Friday morning “we have to be prepared to win 2-1.”

There was talk after the game that there are some similarities between the Sharks emerging goaltender and the Canadiens superstar. 

“Actually, we spoke to [Sharks assistant/goaltending coach] Johan Hedberg about that, and he does see a lot of similarities between the two of them,” assistant coach Steve Spott said. “Their mannerisms in the net – they're both very, very calm. Both very quick. And both hockey clubs believe in their goaltenders. It was a great duo on that ice tonight. I think for any fan to see those two goaltenders was pretty special tonight."

Brent Burns, who won the World Cup with Price in September, said: “Very similar. … [Jones is] unflappable. They’re both big, very calm and great positioning. Very similar.”

2 – Strong start

The Sharks knew they were getting the weekend off from practice after the game, with no chance of any late changes as DeBoer and Hedberg were seen quickly departing for getaway flights after the final horn (that’s why Spott handled the postgame media duties). 

At this point in DeBoer’s second season, there seems to be a real trust factor between the coaching staff and the veteran team that no one will start their mini-break early. The Sharks were flying in the first period, jumping all over the Canadiens and seizing a 2-0 lead that Jones helped preserve over the final two frames.

Spott said: “It was good to come out like that and establish that momentum. We know how fast Montreal is and how deep they are up front, and obviously we know Carey Price. It was a good start. We were able to hold onto that."

“Whether you get the days off, you want to play hard,” Joe Pavelski said. “You want to come out [quickly], especially at home, at the starts.” 

3 – Escaping injury

Injuries are always a concern with so many games in so few days, and there were a few scary moments for San Jose.

The Sharks lost Kevin Labanc for a stretch in the first period after the rookie went hard into the boards on a hit by Alexei Emelin, but he came back in the second after he apparently went through some concussion tests.

Spott said: “He took a good hit. He came back. He went in and had to obviously do some [head injury] protocol.”

David Schlemko’s situation looked much worse, as the defenseman limped off of the ice and up the tunnel in the second period with what looked like a right leg or ankle problem. He returned midway through the third, though.

“It didn't look good when we saw it on video, but thankfully I think we dodged a bullet there,” Spott said.