Sharks maintain dominance over Dallas, win 5-2

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Sharks maintain dominance over Dallas, win 5-2

BOX SCORE
SAN JOSE A common theme when the Sharks and Stars meet is that the games tend to be nasty, physical, and intense.Theres another theme emerging, too, now that San Jose has defeated Dallas for the third straight time in convincing fashion, this one coming on Thursday night at HP Pavilion, 5-2. The Sharks have the Stars number.
Sometimes you play teams well, and for whatever reason we play them real well, said Joe Thornton, who scored for the second straight game and added an assist. We like playing that feisty game like they play, and they kind of bring the best out of us. It was the fifth straight win overall for San Jose head-to-head, and in the three games this season, the Sharks have outscored the Stars 14-5. All three wins have come by a comfortable three-goal margin.

It was San Joses third straight victory, as the Stars fell 10 points behind the Sharks, who continue to lead the Pacific Division with 64 points (29-14-6).Ryane Clowe, who returned after a six-game absence due to a facial fracture, said: We play the way were supposed to play against them, and we get our chances. We forced some turnovers tonight and capitalized on them. I think it was more how we played, than what Dallas did.San Jose managed to set a franchise record in the game, too, increasing its shutout streak to 190 minutes and 51 seconds before Steve Otts second period power play goal at 12:41. That broke the old mark of 171:18, set in 2009.Even though Ott got credit for the goal, it was actually defenseman Dan Boyle who put it past goaltender Thomas Greiss. The Sharks defenseman was trying to tie up Otts stick when he accidentally slid it in his own net.The goal was a big one at the time, as it cut San Joses lead to 2-1 despite thoroughly outplaying Dallas up to that point.No matter, though. A pass from Brent Burns on the power play deflected in off of Patrick Marleau at 14:59 of the second period, and Thornton gave the Sharks a three-goal cushion before the second intermission with his 11th goal of the year at 16:43 after Joe Pavelski forced a turnover.It was huge, said Thornton, of the teams ability to respond after Boyles own-goal. Weird one by Danny, weve seen him do that before (laughs).Thorntons marker came off of a terrible turnover by the Stars Nicklas Grossman. The defenseman tried sending a pass up ice from behind his own net when Pavelski picked it off in San Jose's offensive zone. Pavelski faked a shot, getting goaltender Richard Bachman to commit, and passed to Thornton at the side of the net for an easy forehand-to-backhand tap in for the captain to make it 4-1.The Sharks seemed to get the bounces all night, really, including their first two goals in jumping out to a 2-0 lead on markers from Michal Handzus and Pavelski. Handzus got credit for his fifth goal of the season when a wrister from the point by Burns deflected off of his leg and past Bachman just 4:42 into the game.Pavelski took advantage of a fortunate deflection on his goal, too, when his slap shot from the point bounced off of Vernon Fiddlers stick and trickled in at 16:32 of the first period on the power play.It was nice to see even the turnovers they had, that we created, we capitalized on right away, Clowe said.The teams traded goals in the third period. Jamie Benn managed to put in a rebound at 6:22, but Clowe flipped in a loose puck after Couture threw it softly towards the net at 11:34 to cap the scoring.Burns registered an assist on three of the Sharks five goals in playing perhaps his best game of the season at least on the scoresheet, where he had his first three-point game as a Shark and first multiple-assist night, too.He looks like the player we thought we were getting. He looked very powerful on the ice tonight, I thought, Todd McLellan said. Jumping to loose pucks and winning races to five or six foot areas. And, hes got that dangerous shot. When he uses it, theres a big reward for a lot of other people in and around the blue paint.Greiss finished with 19 saves to win his seventh game of the year, and improve to 3-0-1 in his last four starts. Antti Niemi missed the game after getting dinged up in practice on Wednesday, but the injury is not expected to sideline him for very long.Greiss starts were sandwiched around Niemis shutouts in the previous two wins against Calgary and Columbus, so the goaltenders will share the franchise shutout streak.Its pretty cool. Im happy about that, said Greiss.There were long stretches of time where Greiss didnt have a whole lot of action, as the Sharks dominated territorially and didnt give up many prime scoring chances.Not much to do, Greiss said. A lot of their shots were like, off-speed, half-blocked and just trickling to the net. Weird game to play.Another positive development for the Sharks is that their power play scored two goals for just the second time in the last 32 games. After two months of relative ineptitude, San Jose is 5-for-13 with a man advantage in its last five games.Has it turned the corner?I think our power play is starting to look more like it should, McLellan said. There is some motion, and were shooting it a little bit more. We sense a more confident group when they go on the ice.We played well, really, from start to finish. It was just a good, competitive game, Thornton said. We always play them tough. We know its going to be a mans game out there. Big win, keep them behind us in the standings, and a real good effort.Odds and ends: The Sharks won 77 percent of the games faceoffs the fourth best mark by any NHL team since the beginning of the 2005-06 season. ... Jason Demers remains out with a lower body injury, and was placed on injured reserve earlier in the day. ... Andrew Murray and Benn Ferriero were the healthy scratches. ... Dallas was 1-for-2 on the power play, while the Sharks were 2-for-5. ... San Jose had 73 attempts at the net: 37 shots, 21 blocked by Dallas, and 15 missed shots. ... The Stars fell to 0-8-1 in the second game of back-to-backs.

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Logan CoutureAnother solid win. Once again all the guys chipped in. Just wanna say take a bow Sammy G. What a performance. 8points
Feb 03 via Twitter for BlackBerry Favorite Retweet Reply

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Brent BurnsBig W tonight, gr8 to have dads in town for that, can't wait to see them on the road! morechocolateontheplane latenightsundaes
Feb 03 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Rewind: 'Elite' Martin Jones outplays Price in Sharks' win over Habs

Rewind: 'Elite' Martin Jones outplays Price in Sharks' win over Habs

SAN JOSE – The challenge for Martin Jones headed into 2016-17 was to repeat the kind of campaign he had in his first season as an NHL number one, when he helped the Sharks reach their first-ever Stanley Cup Final.

Having a strong season is one thing. Becoming a franchise goaltender is an entirely different animal. The Canadiens have one, of course, in Carey Price, viewed unanimously as the NHL’s best. 

Jones has some work ahead if he wants to be mentioned in the same breath as Price. But his latest performance – a 31-save effort against Montreal in which he slightly outplayed the former Hart Trophy winner at the other end in a 2-1 Sharks win – capped off a remarkable stretch for Jones, who is perhaps the team’s MVP as they sit in first place in the Pacific Division in the first week of December.

In his last 11 games, Jones is now 8-2-1 with a 1.46 goals-against average and .945 save percentage. His GAA for the season was lowered to a miniscule 1.99.

“We’ve got an elite goalie here,” Burns said. “We’re lucky to have Jonesy. He’s great to play in front of. He’s right up there to be the best goalie in the league. Every night he shows it.”

Dillon said: “He's just continuing to prove that he's an elite-level guy. For us, as defensemen, it's nice when he's back there. But at the same time, we want to do our best to eliminate as much as we can and help him out.”

Dillon, Burns, and the rest of the Sharks defense corps did a nice job against the Canadiens, who still lead the NHL standings even after the loss. But the Sharks wouldn’t have won this one without Jones, who made a number of stellar stops.

His best came in the first period with the Sharks enjoying a 1-0 lead, when Jones robbed Alex Galchenyuk after a sneaky pass from Paul Byron gave Galchenyuk all kinds of net to shoot at. Jones slid across and snatched it, freezing play. 

"I think at that point I was just kind of reacting to the play,” Jones said. “You're not going to see me pull that out too, too often. Just tried to get over and bring as much of my body as I could."

Later in the first, Jones stopped Brian Flynn on a breakaway with 2:53 to go. In the second period he again flashed the leather, this time on Max Pacioretty on a two-on-one with 14:53 remaining in the middle frame. Seconds later, it was his left lad that prevented Brenden Gallagher from cutting into the Sharks’ 2-0 lead, when Gallagher found himself alone in front of the net with the puck on his stick.

Facing Price, Jones knew he would have to be on top of his game. According to assistant coach Steve Spott, filling in for Pete DeBoer, that challenge gave Jones a boost.

“I think when he looked down 200 feet away and saw Carey Price – what a great challenge for Marty, and he was outstanding tonight, as was Price for them. That's as good a goalie duo as I've seen in a long time.”

Dillon said: “He just continues to rise to the occasion.”

The goals came from likely sources. Burns, firing the puck from all over the ice in the first, capitalized on a power play with a slapper from the top of the circle. Joe Pavelski finished off a rush with Joe Thornton in the final minute of the opening frame.

Thanks to Jones, that lead was maintained until late, before Logan Couture’s double-minor for high sticking Alexander Radulov left the Sharks shorthanded. They killed off the first two minutes without even allowing a shot on goal, but Montreal got on the board with a turn-around wrister by Artturi Lehkonen with 1:17 left and Price pulled for an extra attacker.

That spoiled the shutout for Jones, but not the night for the Sharks, who killed the rest of the clock and will now get some down time after 10 games in just 18 days. They don’t play again until Wednesday at home against Ottawa.

“Obviously it’s nice when you’ve got a little break to have that game going into it than something else,” Pavelski said.

Whether it’s a good time to take a break is up for debate, as the Sharks are playing their best hockey of the season, winning six of their last seven.

"You look at it 50/50,” Dillon said. “We're a confident group right now and I don't think come Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, we're going to be looking at it any differently. 

“We're going to take the positives out of [the time off], and try to keep this thing rolling.”

If Jones stays on the run he’s on, there’s a very good chance they will.

Instant Replay: Sharks score early, hang on for home win vs Canadiens

Instant Replay: Sharks score early, hang on for home win vs Canadiens

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – Despite finally reaching the end of what was a frenzied portion of their schedule, the Sharks found the necessary vigor to get past the NHL’s top team on Friday night at SAP Center.
 
Martin Jones outdueled Carey Price in net, and the Sharks got first period goals from Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski in a 2-1 win.
 
The Sharks (15-9-1) improved to 6-1 in their last seven games, allowing just eight goals over that span. They lead the Pacific Division by three points, and won’t play again until Wednesday after what was their 10th game in the past 18 days.
 
Montreal remains in first place overall in the league standings with 34 points (16-6-2).
 
Two of the Sharks’ most potent goal scorers staked them a 2-0 lead before the first intermission.
 
On a power play, Burns powered a one-timer from the circle past Price at 5:22. San Jose came out of the gate buzzing, and earned the man advantage when Micheal Haley drew a holding minor on Mark Barberio.
 
Pavelski increased the San Jose lead at 19:03, storming towards the goal crease and redirecting a Joe Thornton centering pass on what was essentially a two-on-none rush. 
 
The Sharks were shorthanded late after a double minor for high sticking to Logan Couture with 4:06 left in regulation, when the Sharks forward clipped Alexander Radulov, who left the ice due to some profuse bleeding.
 
After killing off a good portion of it without allowing a shot on goal, Artturi Lehtonen swept a shot through Jones with Price pulled for an extra attacker with 1:17 to go. That was all the Canadiens would get past Jones, though, who made 31 saves.
 
Montreal made a push in the second period, particularly early, but Jones stood on his head. He snagged a Max Pacioretty shot about five minutes into the middle frame, and on the ensuing faceoff got his left pad on Brenden Gallagher’s attempt after the Canadiens forwards slipped to front of the net with the puck.
 
Jones got a bit fortunate, too, when Pacioretty missed a wide-open chance in the slot halfway through regulation.
 
The Sharks won their 10th straight game over the Canadiens in San Jose, and are 7-1-0 in their last eight overall when opposing Montreal.
 
Montreal has not won a game at the Shark Tank since Nov. 23, 1999.
 
Special teams 
 
The Sharks went 1-for-3 on the power play, and are 5-for-19 in their last seven games. Of Burns’ 10 goals, three have come with a man advantage.
 
Montreal finished 1-for-4. The Sharks have allowed one power play goal against in four of their last five games.
 
In goal
 
After getting pulled against Pittsburgh on Nov. 5, Jones improved to 8-2-1 in his last 11. He’s allowed two or fewer goals in eight of them.
 
Jones’ best save of the night came with 11:29 to go in the first period and the Sharks ahead 1-0, when he caught a Alex Galchenyuk shot while quickly shifting from his right to his left. He also denied Brian Flynn on a breakaway with 2:53 left in the opening frame.
 
Price has now lost all five of his starts in San Jose (0-4-1). It was just his third loss in regulation this season (13-3-1), as he allowed two goals on 28 shots.
 
Lineup
 
The Sharks lost defenseman David Schlemko with about eight minutes left in the second period with what looked to be a leg or ankle injury.

Thornton assisted on each of the first two goals, moving into sole possession of 25th place on the NHL’s all-time scoring list with 1356 career points, passing Brendan Shanahan.
 
Tommy Wingels returned from a three-game absence with a lower body injury, replacing Ryan Carpenter, who had played the previous three games and scored his first NHL goal on Wednesday in Los Angeles.
 
Paul Martin played in his 800th career NHL game.
 
Up next
 
The Sharks will host the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday for the first of two meetings this month. They will enjoy a rare two-day break over the weekend with no practices scheduled.