Sharks-Blues Game 2 notebook

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Sharks-Blues Game 2 notebook

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Coverage of Game 3 between the Sharks and Blues begins Monday at 6:30 on Comcast SportsNet California, followed by Sharks-Blues at 7:00, and Sharks Postgame Live after the final buzzer sounds.

ST. LOUIS Lost a bit in the shuffle of the game-concluding brawl that put an exclamation point on the Sharks 3-0 loss to St. Louis in Game 2, was a double-minor on Dan Boyle, after he jumped Andy McDonald with 48 seconds to go in regulation.

Boyle felt McDonald hit him high, and responded by wailing away on the Blues skilled forward.

I thought he hit me pretty high in the head. My head snapped back. Whether it was clean or not, Id have to see the replay. I didnt really particularly like what he did, but its already forgotten about, I guess. But, I didnt appreciate it.

That may or may not have been what Todd McLellan was referring to as the blow to the head in his post game presser, when he went through a laundry list of what he seemed to imply were dirty hits dished out by the Blues. That includes what he called a sucker punch by Vladimir Sobotka on Dominic Moore.
RATTO: Boys won't stand a chance in Sharks-Blues series

Boyles 25:19 led all skaters, save St. Louis Alex Pietrangelo (25:54).
Pavelski fights, too: Joe Pavelski was having an effective Game 2, and although it may have been entertaining to watch his featherweight bout with Blues defenseman Kris Russell, it might not have been the wisest decision for him to drop the gloves at 7:52 of the second period.

Thats a trade off that the Blues will agree to any time.

I probably shouldnt take that one, Pavelski said.

There was part of me that felt that was something I could spark myself with. Its just a scrum in front and it just builds up, with emotions. But, yeah, hes not a guy I want to be trading off with. Theres other guys out there. But, its a game. Its a moment in the game, and five minutes to catch your breath and regroup, I guess. It didnt decide the outcome of the game.

Pavelski finished with three shots in 16:21 of ice time, and hit the post in the first period.
Hitchcock proud: Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock was obviously thrilled with the result of the game, but more specifically, he was pleased the way his young team handled the Sharks strong first period push after they fell behind.

We grew up to the level of what it takes to win against a team that knows how to do it. That part feels good. We have some more knowledge that we need to compete at this level at this time of year, Hitchcock said.

Theres a level out there. Theres a tenacity. Teams like San Jose, Chicago Detroit they play right through you. And if you dont respond, you get pushed out the back door quick.

Hitchcock also gave himself a bit of a pat on the back for his three lineup changes, as B.J. Crombeen, Carlo Colaiacovo and Matt DAgostini were inserted after sitting out Game 1.

This is a time of year for players where the ones that want to win and have the experience on how to do it, know when to really push. We knew this was coming, and thats why we changed the lineup, he said.

They got the win they needed last time, and they wanted to test our response. And they tested it, big time, in the first period. I was proud of our team that we fought back, because if we didnt, this was going to be a short series.

Blues harder, says McLellan: Conversely, Sharks head coach Todd McLellan thought St. Louis battle level was harder than was San Joses, particularly as the game progressed.

I thought they were harder the whole night. I just thought when the puck was along the boards, they battled and had body position. They were strong on sticks. They played a very intense game along there. Early in the game we matched it, as the game wore on we didnt, McLellan said.

Pavelski said: We knew it was going to be a battle.

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.