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

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.