Sharks drop second straight, fall to Flames 4-3


Sharks drop second straight, fall to Flames 4-3


SAN JOSE An egregious turnover by Colin White in the third period led to Olli Jokinen completing a hat trick and was the difference in a 4-3 Flames win over the Sharks at HP Pavilion on Wednesday night.

For the second straight game, the Sharks committed several mistakes and made soft plays with the puck, and it cost them against an opponent thats desperate to stay in the Western Conference playoff picture. Whites turnover was the most obvious mistake, but there were several others to pick and choose from as San Jose surrendered four goals in back-to-back games for just the third time this year.

In fact, Jarome Iginlas goal in the second period to give the Flames a 3-2 lead might have been even bigger than the game-winner, even though the Sharks would later tie it up early in the third with a power play goal.

Iginla's marker came after the Sharks fell behind 2-0 in the second period but came roaring back to tie the it with a pair of goals just one minute and 23 seconds apart.

First, it was Logan Couture. On a delayed penalty call, the Sharks pulled Antti Niemi for an extra attacker and patiently waited to set up their breakout and eventually bring the puck into the offensive zone. Ryane Clowe fed a perfect cross-ice pass to Couture, who rifled in his 23rd goal of the year ay 6:29.

The tying goal came when Joe Thornton found an open Joe Pavelski in the slot from behind the net, and Pavelski deposited his 20th of the season in what was his 400th game in the NHL.

It was all Sharks at that point, and the top line was buzzing in the Flames zone once again minutes later. But, defenseman Brent Burns got a bit too aggressive and was caught too far inside the blue line when Jokinen and Iginla raced the other way on an odd-man rush.

Burns managed to catch up to the play, but was not in position when Iginlas snap shot from Jokinen sailed past Niemi at 11:15, killing the Sharks momentum on what was another preventable mistake.

The formula is pretty simple for our group. Weve given up four or more goals 12 times this year, and won one game, Todd McLellan said. If we think we can screw around with the puck, and be lackadaisical with line changes and not be desperate until the last 10 minutes of the game, well give up four again and we wont win. Its as simple as that.

The Sharks lost to Phoenix on Saturday, 5-3, including an empty-net goal by the Coyotes.

You cant give them four goals. Bad bounces or not, you dont win many games, Pavelski. You see it in Phoenix, and you see it here tonight.

Trailing 3-2 entering the third period, San Jose tied the game with a power play goal less than a minute into the final frame. Michal Handzus won an offensive zone draw and then pushed in the rebound of a blast by Burns off of the back boards just 49 seconds in.

Alex Tanguay intercepted Whites pass from behind the Sharks net shortly after the equalizer, though, and Jokinen quickly released Tanguays pass over a diving White at 3:25 to give Calgary the lead back.

The Flames held on this time, beating the Sharks for the first time in three tries this season.

I tried to just kind of bank it off of the boards for our winger, tried to get him a little time with it instead of just rimming it at his feet, White said. It just took a harder bounce than obviously I wanted it, and kind of went out into the middle. I was desperate then, just trying to get into a shooting lane and he made a pass back door. They capitalized on the mistake there.

We worked to get all the way back into the game, and the winning goal makes no sense to me at all, how we can have full possession and it ends up in our net, McLellan said. Who do you point the finger at? Theres five guys out there that all could manage the puck much better than they did.

The Sharks were without the services of Dan Boyle, a late scratch due to the flu. It was the first game Boyle has missed this season.

Danny is a tremendous player and means a lot to our hockey club, but we should be able to work our way through it, McLellan said.

No excuses. Dans obviously a great player, but the guys that are back there have to pull their load when guys are injured or sick, Thornton said. Well be better next game.

The Sharks host Chicago on Friday before embarking on a nine-game, 15-day road trip.

The Sharks had some great chances to tie it up in the third period after falling behind again. One came midway through the period when Marc-Edouard Vlasic found the net, but referee Kevin Pollock correctly ruled Patrick Marleau interfered with Kiprusoff after bowling into the Flames net untouched. McLellan said it was the right call.

Pavelski, whacking at a loose puck with about three minutes to go, nearly got it past Miikka Kiprusoff but the Flames goalie somehow froze the puck between his pads after it bounced over him.

It was ridiculous, to see his legs come up when youre just watching the puck and hoping it hits the net, Pavelski said.

Kiprusoff, a former Sharks goalie, recorded the 300th win of his career with 34 saves.

The loss was the Sharks second straight in regulation after Phoenix snapped their three-game winning streak on Saturday. San Jose leads the Pacific Division with 64 points, two better than Los Angeles, and has three games in hand on the Kings.

Jokinen, who finished with three goals and an assist, staked Calgary to a 2-0 lead. The Sharks turned it over a couple times in their own zone, including a soft play by Couture along the boards, before Jokinen redirected in a shot from the point by defenseman Chris Butler at 12:30 of the first period. A power play goal at 2:36 of the second period came when Tanguays shot rebounded off of the back boards, White couldnt find it, and Jokinen was there to whack it through Niemi.

They were in their spots, and they go to the net hard, White said.

Couture extended his scoring streak to seven games, with 10 points over that span (5g, 5a). Thornton assisted on the first two Sharks goals and has eight points in his last four games (3g, 5a).

Odds and ends: Miikka Kiprusoff is the 27th goalie in NHL history to reach 300 wins. ... Olli Jokinens hat trick was the seventh of his career. Owen Nolan, who announced his retirement in a press conference at HP Pavilion on Wednesday, took part in a ceremonial faceoff before the game. He got a lengthy standing ovation. Cory Sarich, who found with Andrew Desjardins in the second period, was forced to wear a nameless 65 sweater for the remainder of the game after his normal 6 sweater apparently ripped during the altercation. The Sharks were 39-31 in the faceoff circle, including a 14-3 performance from Joe Pavelski, the leagues leading faceoff man.

Sharks' Dillon frustrated with disallowed goal


Sharks' Dillon frustrated with disallowed goal

SAN JOSE – In order to enhance the review process for offside challenges, the NHL installed blue line cameras at beginning of last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs. They are now standard in every building.

But that didn’t prevent an obnoxiously long delay from occurring in the Sharks-Blue Jackets game on Thursday in San Jose, when Brenden Dillon’s apparent goal at 6:09 of the third period was waived off after a coach's challenge. After approximately seven minutes, and with the fans clearly perturbed, it was finally concluded that Chris Tierney’s skate was about an inch off the ice when Patrick Marleau brought it over the blue line.

The whole process seemed disjointed. Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said: “the on-ice officials told me they didn’t have the same angles that the NHL did, so it obviously went to the [Toronto war room], and they had some different angles.”

Dillon also said one of the linesmen told him that they “couldn’t really tell” if the play was offside, but “Toronto was helping us out.”

It’s up for debate whether reviewing an offside that close violates the spirit of the rule, which was originally intended to prevent any egregious mistakes from going unnoticed and affecting the outcome. What isn’t up for debate, at least in Dillon’s mind, is that the length of time it took the referees and Toronto war room was unacceptable.

Dillon would like to see a time limit imposed on the process.

“Whether it’s a five-minute window, if we can’t find enough evidence in that five minutes, or three minutes, which would be more preferable for us players instead of having our goalie sitting around,” he said. “I think Columbus’ next shift after that, [after Blue Jackets coach John] Tortorella is yelling at them for eight minutes, they come out buzzing and flying and almost scored one.”

DeBoer wasn’t nearly as frustrated as his defenseman, though, either after the game or after Friday’s practice. The Sharks hung on and beat the Blue Jackets, 3-1.

“That’s for bigger and smarter people than me to discuss,” DeBoer said of the rule. “Obviously last night is an example of, do we want to spend time on that, or don’t we?

“I think you want the same playing field for everybody. Right now the mandate is to get it right, regardless of how long it takes or how many cameras we have to put in. If that changes, then as long as it’s the same for everybody, we’re good with that.”

According to the coach, the officials did ultimately get the call right.

“When I looked at it today it was the right call,” DeBoer said. “Unfortunately, it went against us.”

Rewind: Power play paces Sharks in strange night at the Tank

Rewind: Power play paces Sharks in strange night at the Tank

SAN JOSE – First, there was a delay in the Sharks-Blue Jackets game when the lights suddenly went out late in the second period. Another interruption occurred in the third, when the referees decided to spend more time on an offside challenge that overturned a Brenden Dillon goal than the Warren Commission did on the Zapruder film.

In a few months, those occurrences may end up being more notable to many in the SAP Center crowd than the actual game result, a 3-1 Sharks win on Thursday night. Inside the home dressing room, though, it was a pair of goals by the second power play unit and a strong performance by goalie Martin Jones that will be how they remember this one.

Joonas Donskoi’s first period goal with Markus Nutivaara in the box staked the Sharks a 1-0 lead, while Tomas Hertl’s marker in the third period with Jack Johnson serving a tripping minor increased it to 2-0. Hertl added a late empty netter to seal it, after Scott Hartnell brought the Blue Jackets to within one with less then three minutes to go.

It was the second straight game the Sharks didn’t get an even strength goal in regulation (other than the empty-netter), yet found a way. They beat Anaheim in three-on-three overtime on Tuesday, 2-1.

“Right now the five-on-five goals are hard to come by,” Pete DeBoer said. “We're creating chances, but the power play won us the game tonight." 

Hertl said: “Exciting night for us, the second [power play unit], because we scored two goals.”

The newest addition to that unit, defenseman David Schlemko, assisted on each of the first two goals. He spotted Donskoi wide open in the circle on the first, and got a secondary helper on Hertl’s first goal.

Although they were his first two points of the season, Schlemko is quickly proving to be the second-most talented offensive defenseman on the team. He’s managed 20 shots on goal through eight games – exactly half of Burns’ 40, but nearly double Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s 11.

“It's nice to get [the points] of the way,” he said. “I feel like I've been getting lots of pucks to the net, so it's nice to see a couple go in finally."

Donskoi figured Schlemko would spot him all alone standing on the faceoff dot.

“He's pretty good with the puck, so I think he just saw me,” Donskoi said. “It's good to have a guy like that."

It’s also good to have a guy like Jones, who made some key saves early on the penalty kill and preserved the lead while Sergei Bobrovsky was making some potentially game-changing stops on the other end. Jones’ 24 saves lowered his goals-against average to 2.32, and upped his save percentage to .908.

“We had quite a few grade-A chances, [Bobrovsky] kept them in it pretty good,” said Joel Ward, who was stopped on an early second period breakaway. “Obviously Jonesy has been there for us since day one. It’s good that he’s feeling the groove, we’ve just got to put some pucks in.”

Neither Jones nor his teammates let the odd circumstances, including Dillon’s apparent goal that was nullified after a seven-minute delay in the third period of a 1-0 game, get to them. 

“There was a couple things there out of our control, but I thought considering that, we stuck with it and found a way,” DeBoer said.

Ward said: “We’ve got a good group and a mature group, and we know how to handle situations.”

The Sharks are also gaining momentum at home with their third win in as many tries, even if their own building doesn’t want to cooperate all the time with pesky details like keeping the ice surface brightened.

“With [the lights going off] and the disallowed goal it felt like a triple overtime type of game,” Ward said. “Haven’t seen that before, but hopefully since we won, maybe it happens again and we can capitalize.”

Schlemko wasn’t here last season, but he heard all about the team’s struggles at SAP Center when it was the only playoff team that didn’t win at least half of its home games (18-20-3).

“I think we wanted to clean up the home record and have teams know it's going to be a tough night coming in here,” he said. “It's been a pretty good start."