Sharks force OT, claim extra point in shootout

567374.jpg

Sharks force OT, claim extra point in shootout

BOX SCORE

NEWARK, NJ There were some familiar feelings on the Sharks bench for much of their game against New Jersey on Friday night at the Prudential Center.

Frustration. Aggravation. Irritation. After all, here they were, outplaying another opponent yet not seeing the results on the scoreboard.

Of all those feelings, though, it was determination that took over. It helped them to a much-needed 4-3 shootout victory over the Devils, as Joe Pavelski tied it with 32.4 seconds left and Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist in his 1000th career NHL game to help put an end to the teams three-game losing streak.

Credit the veteran leadership on this one, which didnt allow the Sharks to hang their heads despite being down 2-0 early, and 3-2 late.

At that stage of the game if your leadership doesnt step up or you write it off as another tough night, thats not a good sign, said Ryane Clowe. I liked how we stuck with it. Pavelski was one of the guys who actually said that on the bench, and he went out and scored that tying goal.

David Clarkson gave the Devils a 3-2 lead at 13:18 of the third period, when he and Mattias Tedenby broke out on a two-on-two rush. Sharks defenseman Colin White fell down, however, leaving Clarkson alone in front of the net. Tedenby centered to Clarkson, who waited for Niemi to go down before sliding it through the goaltenders legs.

This, after San Jose had scored a pair of quick goals to tie it up before the second intermission.

Enter Pavelski. With goaltender Antti Niemi pulled, Pavelski found a patch of open ice and had the puck squirt out to his stick with the clock winding down.

Thornton had it and definitely saw there was a scrum in front of the net. I was just trying to stay out, and it popped out, said Pavelski, who quickly fired it past the glove side of Johan Hedberg, through heavy traffic.

In the shootout, Michal Handzus and Ilya Kovalchuk converted their opportunities. When Niemi made a save on Patrik Elias, it came down to Clowe.

The burly left winger went to his backhand and lifted it past Hedberg to seal San Joses second win of the year.

Ive taken a few shootouts now over the years, and thats kind of my go-to move, he said. Its a little easier when you face the Eastern Conference goalies because they dont see you as much. Hedberg is kind of a smaller goalie and I have a long stick and long reach, so I tried to use that when I go to the backhand.

After three straight games in which the Sharks felt they deserved better than an 0-3 record, San Jose fell behind when Elias scored a power play goal in the first period and Zach Parise converted a penalty shot early in the second.

The Sharks fought back, though, with a pair of even strength goals from their top two lines on back-to-back shifts.

First it was Thornton. The Sharks captain used Devils defenseman Henrik Tallinder as a screen and fired a wrist shot through Hedberg at 15:18 for his first of the season.

The second line followed that up just 63 seconds later. After Logan Couture had a great chance in front of the net, Martin Havlat threw the puck back towards the crease and it bounced in off of the left skate of Clowe. A short video review confirmed the goal.

Havlat, making his Sharks debut, picked up his first point with the primary assist.

San Jose, which entered the game leading the league in shots per game, outshot the Devils 20-5 in the second period and 40-19 for the game.

That mattered little when Clarkson gave the Devils the lead back, and coach Todd McLellan sensed some growing displeasure on the bench.

I think even as coaches we could feel it, he said. But, as the night went on and we got those two quick goals, we started to believe again that it could be done. We felt the frustration come back after their third goal, but we stuck with it. Thats a good sign for our team.

McLellan said throughout the week that even though the Sharks were putting up plenty of shots on goal, they werent doing the dirty work in the crease to generate second chance opportunities. That wasnt the case on Friday, though, as Clowes goal and the game-tying score were the result of hard work near the blue paint.

If the first shot gets there, you have a chance at the second and third. We stress that all the time shooting from bad angles, said McLellan.

Clowe said: Sometimes when youre working you deserve those breaks, and we had a couple breaks that we worked for tonight.

The Sharks will travel to Boston to continue their road trip against the Bruins on Saturday night. The flight will undoubtedly be a little lighter after the hard earned victory.

If we dont score with 30 seconds left I can tell you we have a pretty frustrated group moving on, said McLellan. Maybe this will be the monkey off our back.

NEWS: Sharks' Mitchell leaves game with upper body injury

Odds and ends: San Jose suffered a blow early, when Torrey Mitchell left the ice in the first minute after taking a high elbow from Nick Palmieri, who was issued a minor penalty for checking to the head. Colin White played his first game back in New Jersey, where he spent the first 10 seasons of his NHL career before the Devils bought him out over the summer. Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray was on the business end of a right hand from Eric Boulton when the two squared off in a heavyweight fight in the first period. Benn Ferreiro made his season debut, after being recalled from Worcester on Thursday. Devils forward Jacob Josefson suffered a broken clavicle late in the first period. The Sharks were 0-for-5 on the power play.

NHL Gameday: Sharks go for fifth straight win in only visit to Colorado

NHL Gameday: Sharks go for fifth straight win in only visit to Colorado

Programming note – Sharks-Avalanche coverage starts today at 6:00 p.m. on NBCSN

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 29-16-2, 60 points, 2nd Pacific Division
Avalanche: 13-29-2, 28 points, 7th Central Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***Tonight’s game is the second of a home-and-home for the Sharks and Avalanche, after San Jose’s 3-2 win in overtime at SAP Center on Saturday, and the final game of the season series. David Schlemko got the deciding score 1:18 into the extra frame, as the Sharks improved to 6-1-1 in their last eight against Colorado.

The Sharks have won four straight, while Colorado, just 2-14-1 in its last 17, has lost five in a row. The Avs have not won in regulation since Dec. 11 at Toronto.

***Colorado will reportedly give rookie Spencer Martin his second straight start after he made 27 saves in his NHL debut against the Sharks on Saturday. 

Martin Jones is tied for third in the NHL with 24 wins, and is 5-1-0 in his last six starts.

***Four of the Sharks’ last six games have been decided by one goal, including three in a row. San Jose is 16-10-2 in one-goal games – the second most one-goal wins in the league, and the most one-goal losses in regulation.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Kevin Labanc. The Sharks rookie has hit a bit of a wall since bursting onto the scene, going without a goal for the last 10 games. Coach Pete DeBoer said recently that he had a talk with the rookie about maintaining a high level of play, and Labanc has been more noticeable in his last two games, recording an assist in each. The 21-year-old has 14 points (7g, 7a) in 34 games this season.

Avalanche: Nathan MacKinnon. No forward was more effective for Colorado on Saturday against the Sharks than MacKinnon, their lone All-Star, who recorded a game-high seven shots and set up the tying goal in the third period. The first pick in the 2013 draft has 10 points (7g, 3a) in 10 career games when opposing San Jose, and is Colorado’s leading scorer with 32 points (11g, 21a).

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Joonas Donskoi – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Kevin Labanc – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Timo Meier – Tommy Wingels – Melker Karlsson

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

Martin Jones 
Aaron Dell

Avalanche
Mikko Rantanen – Nathan Mackinnon – Mikhail Grigorenko
Gabriel Landeskog – Matt Duchene – Matt Nieto
Blake Comeau – Carl Soderberg – Jarome Iginla
Andreas Martinsen – John Mitchell – Joe Colborne

Francois Beauchemin – Cody Goloubef
Fedor Tyutin – Nikita Zadorov
Patrick Wiercioch – Eric Gelinas

Spencer Martin (starter)
Calvin Pickard

INJURIES

Sharks: Micheal Haley (lower body), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) and Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) are out.

Avalanche: Tyson Barrie (lower body) and Rene Bourque (lower body) are day-to-day. Semyon Varlamov (groin) and Erik Johnson (broken fibula) are out.

QUOTEABLE

“I felt we did a pretty good job in our end, [but] we probably played there a little too much. We didn’t execute as well as we wanted to coming out of our end or through the neutral zone. There’s going to be games like that and it’s good to find a way to win.” – David Schlemko, after Saturday’s win

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.