Sharks snap Wild's streak with 3-1 win


Sharks snap Wild's streak with 3-1 win


SAN JOSE -- The red-hot Minnesota penalty kill finally met its match. His name is Patrick Marleau.Marleau tallied twice on the power play in the second period and Torrey Mitchell scored his first of the season late in the frame, as the Sharks defeated the Wild at HP Pavilion on Thursday night, 3-1.San Jose is 8-1-1 since it started the season losers of three of its first four.The Wild, which entered having won their last five games, had killed off 27 straight opponent power plays before a miscue allowed Marleau to open the scoring.

With Pierre-Marc Bouchard in the box for hooking early in the second, Dan Boyle ripped a shot on net from center ice. Goalie Niklas Backstrom made the easy stop, and the puck settled in front of the net. It should have been a simple clear for either Backstrom or defenseman Justin Falk, but the two of them got their signals crossed and Marleau raced ahead to pop in the loose puck at 2:34.Boyle dumped it on the goalie and I tried to get in on the forecheck, and it was just laying right there, said Marleau. It was nice.The Wild had allowed just three goals total during their winning streak, but it took the Sharks just over 16 minutes to equal that in the second period. After his first goal, Marleau ripped home a one-timer on a cross-ice feed from Ryane Clowe for another one on the man advantage at 15:34.Torrey Mitchells first of the season at 18:39 was the backbreaker. He fired in a one-timer immediately following an offensive zone faceoff win by Michal Handzus on a set play.Handzus saw something and said line up here and one-time it, said Mitchell. So I said, yes sir.The goal was especially important as the Wild seemed deflated at the start of the third period. They didnt register their first shot on goal until almost nine minutes had passed.Two goals, youre still in it. Three, youre starting to doubt yourself, said Mitchell. It was a really big one for us, so yeah, it was huge and probably took some wind out of them, for sure.It sure was a big one, agreed Todd McLellan. To get to three certainly helped. Theyre not a team thats scored a lot, they prevent a lot. And, faceoffs have been an issue for us. We havent had our numbers where we wanted them to be at, so for Zeus to win that draw and Mitchy to put it in was a real good thing for our team.The Wild managed to ruin Antti Niemis shutout bid with a goal by Kyle Brodziak at 13:33 of the third, but the Sharks goalie held the fort for his second straight win and sixth overall with 21 saves. Backstrom took the loss, allowing three goals on 36 shots.The game, though, was more about the final score. Sharks Brent Burns and Martin Havlat were playing against the Wild for the first time since the two teams pulled off several offseason trades over the summer. Conversely, Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley played in their old building for the first time this season.Burns, who registered an assist on the first goal, admitted the win felt good but that hes glad its now in the past.It was good to get it over with, he said. Im sure the first one in Minny is going to be the same thing, but its good to get this one over with.McLellan also seemed content to put the game behind him, and not just for his own clubs sake.I think what happened tonight was those players that were moved in this deal realized they have new homes now, said the coach. Its good for us, and certainly good for them. Seto and Heatley had great games, but I think now that its over they realize they have new homes and its time to really settle in and contribute to both organizations.The Sharks have now won three games this season in which one of their key players was facing off against a former club. Long time Devils defenseman Colin White visited his old team earlier this season, while any time Joe Thornton visits Boston it seems to be newsworthy. The Sharks beat the Devils on Oct. 21, 4-3, and the Bruins the next night, 4-2.Burns thinks thats no coincidence.It was a big summer with the trades and everything. We went on the road to New Jersey, and Boston, and I think every game is big. But, when there are games like that, knowing in the room that that guy wants to winit was good, he said.The Sharks also got a good performance from their much-maligned penalty kill, which entered the game ranked 29th out of 30. San Jose killed off all three Wild power plays, after instituting a new system that emphasizes making it more difficult to bring the puck through the neutral zone.It takes everybody on the ice on the PK, and everybody was ready tonight, said Marleau.McLellan said: We did execute some of the things we wanted to following our practices.The Sharks continue their six-game homestand with the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday. They are 3-0-1 through the first four.Odds and ends: Justin Braun got his first point of the season, assisting on Marleaus first goal. McLellan tried some new defense pairs for the majority of the game, playing Burns with White and Marc-Edouard Vlasic with Braun. Niemi is 4-0 against the Wild all-time, while Backstrom fell to 1-6-1 against the Sharks in his career. The Wild are 1-8-1 in their last 10 games at HP Pavilion.

Rewind: Sharks slow, sloppy and undisciplined in loss to Wings

Rewind: Sharks slow, sloppy and undisciplined in loss to Wings

DETROIT – The Sharks had just one scheduled practice on their 10-day road trip, set to take place on Friday in Detroit prior to the fifth and final game against the Red Wings. It was canceled, though, as the coaching staff opted for rest rather than work.

The result was a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings in which the Sharks were sloppy in their own zone, were smoked in the faceoff circle, surrendered a plethora of odd-man rushes, and took eight minor penalties. They just couldn’t keep pace with a Detroit team that was playing its second game in as many nights. 

San Jose looked like a club that has held just a single solitary practice since the season began on Oct. 12.

“Some breakdowns, guys not being above [the puck], some giveaways in our own end, we’re kind of leaving [the defensive zone] early,” Logan Couture said. “We just don’t seem like we’re dedicated to defense like we were at the end [of] last year.”

[KURZ: Instant Replay: Sharks blanked by Wings, end road trip with thud]

“It wasn’t very good tonight,” added Martin Jones, who lost his third in a row in goal. “Too many penalties, too many turnovers. Just wasn’t very good tonight.”

The start was actually a decent one, as the Sharks were attempting to put Thursday’s third period collapse in Pittsburgh behind them, but Detroit eventually took over. Gustav Nyquist broke the scoreless tie four minutes into the second period, and added to the Red Wings’ lead with a second marker about 11 minutes later.

On the first, Paul Martin was caught flat-footed in the offensive zone, leading to a two-on-one rush by Detroit. Nyquist abruptly stopped on the faceoff dot in front of Justin Braun, and rifled a shot though. On the second, Matt Nieto had control of the puck and was headed up the ice before he stumbled and turned it over to Ryan Sproul, who found Nyquist in the slot. 

A bad line change resulted in Andreas Athanasiou powering a slap shot to Jones’ far side six minutes into the third period, giving Detroit a commanding three-goal lead. 

“We were late everywhere tonight,” Pete DeBoer said. “When you’re a step behind a good team they expose you, and I think that was the story. We’ll have to go back and figure out why, and get our game back in a better place.”

“We played into their hands. They’re a transition team, a speed team, and if you’re going to play east-west and turn the puck over they’re going to make you pay for it. We talked about it, but we still fell into that trap. Obviously the penalties didn’t help, and we’re playing catch up all night.”

Among those penalties was a double minor to Joe Pavelski for spearing Steve Ott, just a few seconds after Athanasiou’s goal. The captain seemed agitated for much of the night.

Pavelski said he didn’t think he got a whole lot of Ott with his stick, but “it’s a play you don’t want to make.”

DeBoer didn’t take issue with the play which nullified what would have been a Sharks power play after a Drew Miller interference.

“Pav is a competitor. He was probably our best player tonight. He’s competing right until the final buzzer,” DeBoer said. “I don’t have a problem with that. It doesn’t bother me.”

The power play, though, is one area that the coach may need to focus on when the Sharks finally get a practice in on Monday at home. Despite being together for so many years, the top unit seems tentative with the puck and is misfiring on passes that are typically routine.

On one power play in the second period when the game was still scoreless, Pavelski was open in front of the net, but Patrick Marleau missed him on what would have been a tap-in goal. The Sharks finished 0-for-4 with a man advantage and have just one goal in a manned net this season during five-on-four play.

What has to change?

“Quite a few things,” Couture said. “We’re breaking in fine, [but] we’re too stationary, I think. I don’t know if we’re moving the puck well enough. Not attacking holes, not shooting the puck and getting it back.”

The Sharks will open up a three-game homestand on Tuesday with the Ducks. There is work to do before that.

“We’re 3-3. That’s the good news,” DeBoer said. “I think we’ve played some good hockey, but we have a lot of things we’ve got to clean up, too.”

Jones said: “Obviously it wasn’t the way we wanted to end the road trip. We’ll bounce back, and we’ve got a lot of games left.”

Instant Replay: Sharks blanked by Wings, end road trip with thud

Instant Replay: Sharks blanked by Wings, end road trip with thud


DETROIT – The Sharks organization made some good memories over the years at Joe Louis Arena. Saturday’s game, their final regular season game ever in the storied Detroit arena, wasn’t one of them.

Gustav Nyquist scored twice and Jimmy Howard made 30 saves in leading the Red Wings to a 3-0 blanking of the Sharks. San Jose’s record stands at an even 3-3-0 after it lost three of five games on its road trip, including the final two.

The Sharks open a three-game homestand with the Ducks on Tuesday.

Both of Nyquist’s goals came in the second period as Detroit opened up a 2-0 edge.

His first came on a two-on-one rush. Nyquist skated the puck into the Sharks’ zone, slammed on the breaks in the faceoff circle, and buzzed a wrist shot past Martin Jones at 4:14 of the middle frame.

On his second score, Nyquist squeezed a wrist shot through Jones from the slot at 15:10 shortly after Matt Nieto lost his footing – and the puck – in the Sharks’ defensive zone.

The Red Wings put the game out of reach when Andreas Athanasiou teed off on a slap shot from the circle at 6:05 of the third period, beating the Sharks’ starting goalie high to the far side.

San Jose was unable to score despite pulling Jones for an extra attacker with more than three minutes to go.

The Sharks again struggled on the power play taking an 0-for-4, and are 0-for-8 over the last three games.

Detroit will open Little Ceasar’s Arena at the start of next season. The Sharks finished with a 12-28-4 record all-time at The Joe.

Special teams

If there was one bright spot for the Sharks it was their penalty kill, which fought off all seven Red Wings power plays.

The power play, though, remains ice cold, as San Jose has scored just one power play goal this season during a standard five-on-four advantage. Overall, the Sharks are 3-for-20 on the season, including an empty net goal and another on a two-man advantage.

A bit of nastiness ensued shortly after the Red Wings’ third goal, as Joe Pavelski was given a double-minor for “attempting to spear” Steve Ott, who got an unsportsmanlike conduct minor.

In goal

Jones dropped to 2-3 on the season, losing his third straight start after beginning the season with a pair of wins. He allowed three goals on 32 shots.

Howard won for the second time in as many starts. He improved to 5-7-4 all-time against San Jose.


Brent Burns, who entered the game tied for the league lead in scoring with nine points, saw his five-game point streak to start the season come to an end.

Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader was scratched, so Athanasiou was inserted back into the lineup.

San Jose reassigned forward Ryan Carpenter to the Barracuda on Friday. He did not play at all on the trip.

Up next

The Sharks will play just their second home game on Tuesday against Anaheim. The Blue Jackets visit SAP Center on Thursday, and the Predators next Saturday.

Overall, five of the Sharks’ next six games are in San Jose.