Season over -- Sharks lose Game 5 in double OT

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Season over -- Sharks lose Game 5 in double OT

May 24, 2011

BOX SCORE SHARKS VIDEONHLPAGE NHLSCOREBOARD
Tim PanaccioCSNCalifornia.com

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- A shot to the glass. A deflection off a stanchion. And a stunning goal that ended the San Jose Sharks' dream.

Again.

You look at this team and the talent we have and to not win it, its tough, Logan Couture said after the Canucks' 3-2 double-overtime victory Tuesday at Rogers Arena that gave them the Western Conference title in five games.

Alexander Edlers attempted dump-in went off the stanchion along the side glass out to the blue line where Kevin Bieksa shot a puck everyone else thought had gone behind the net.

I think I was the only one in the arena who knew where the puck was, Bieksa said.

Bieksas shot squeezed inside the post at 10:18, ending what was an emotionally-draining performance by the Sharks, who played well enough to win.

Patty Marleau tried to hit it Bieksas shot out of the air and clear it and unfortunately, no one saw it, Couture said.

Sharks goalie Antti Niemi never saw the shot.

RATTO: Sharks play their best game too late

Maybe when it was coming, two meters, I saw the puck, Niemi said. One of those weird goals. I saw the puck bounce, then I didnt see it. I looked back and looked in front and then it came.

Fittingly, the game marked the 1994 anniversary of the last time the Canucks made the Stanley Cup Final with a 4-3 double overtime victory against Toronto.

History does repeat itself.

The Sharks, who have been eliminated in the conference finals now two years running, left nothing on the ice.

The best teams get breaks, said Sharks defenseman Ian White, who was on the ice waiting for Edlers dump that never came. They got a few tonight.

The Sharks pressed start to finish with 56 shots on Roberto Luongo, dominating much of the game.

Their best chance might have been in the first overtime when they had a flurry of three shots in the crease. Alas, Luongo saved his best performance in the series for when his team needed it most.

Tough series, said Sharks captain Joe Thornton, who admitted he had a separated right shoulder. We go home and do whatever we do now. Its just disappointing. I felt this team was special this year ... Yeah we played well but were out of the playoffs.

Unlike Game 4, this was a fairly clean, well-officiated game decided by 5-on 5-play and not special teams even though the Sharks did get a power play goal.

Devin Setoguchis first goal of the series just 24 seconds into the third period broke a 1-1 tie as San Jose got a rare 2-0 rush against the Sedin line. Joe Pavelski made a lunging pass across to elude Luongos reach to get the puck to Setoguchi who shot it into an open net.

Incredibly, though the Sharks dominated the game and looked to have it salted away, Dan Boyle shot it around for an icing with 29 seconds left in regulation. Most of the players and coach Todd McLellan felt it hit one of the Sedins shoulders, which would have denied the icing.

It happens real fast, McLellan said. May be hard to catch with the naked eye. Obviously an error. But there's nothing we're doing about it now.

After that icing, Thornton playing with one shoulder, and Ryan Kesler, playing on one leg, after injuring his left one in the second period, took the crucial draw. Kesler won it, then went to the net to redirect Henrik Sedins shot, sending it into overtime at 19:46.

McLellan said he didnt address his team. He wanted to wait till they got back to San Jose.

What will I tell them? McLellan asked. Off the top of my head, I'll tell them I'm proud of them. I thought they competed extremely hard. I'll tell them I thought we were a better team than we were in the series. We started to show it in the end of the series.

I'll tell them we have a tough task ahead of us. First of all, we're going to get healthy, we're going to rest over the summer, we're going to get our butts back to training camp where we're going to work ourselves right back to this spot again, and we'll make good on it next time.

McLellan loaded up in this one, using Marleau, Thornton and Couture as his top line.

Despite a strong start from the Sharks with Marleau and Thornton getting back-to-back scoring chances on Luongo in the opening minutes, the Canucks struck first at 8:02.

Surehanded Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray had the puck swiped from him by Daniel Sedin behind the net. Sedin passed it between his legs to his twin, Henrik, who threw it into the crease where Alex Burrows buried it on Niemi for a 1-0 lead at 8:02.

Burrows has scored some big goals during key moments in the Canucks' playoff run.

The Sharks' nightmare in Game 4 was a trio of 5-on-3 power plays that Vancouver converted. Well, shortly after Setoguchi tipped a shot off the post during the games first power play, Kesler went off for slashing, giving the Sharks a two-man advantage for 1:24.

Thornton had two quality chances while Joe Pavelski and Dan Boyle each had one, but Luongo, who had some rough starts in this series, was sharp on recovery for the saves.

Three times during that 5 on 3, the Sharks were so tightly bunched in a triangle around the crease that rebounds were actually behind them. A little more gap distance with someone in the high slot and they would have scored on Luongo.

The Canucks had 13 blocked shots in the first period, several during those two Sharks power plays.

To that point, Vancouver had killed off 14 of 15 penalties over previous games, but the Canucks failed to keep it going when Marleau tipped a Dan Boyle point shot on the power play midway into the second period to tie the game during the same shift when Kesler limped off the ice with left leg or hip injury.

The goal was Marleaus fifth of the series. No one can accuse him of being a no-show in this series.

It's hard to find passengers today, McLellan said. We felt as good as the game wore on. We were playing our fourth line. They were playing three. We felt we had some control of the game.

Dany Heatley had one assist in the series. He was more passenger than performer and admitted he himself didnt produce in the series.

We played well enough to win tonight, but not in the series, Heatley said.

McLellan thought the seven game series against Detroit left his team tired for Game 1.

We ran out of gas in Game 1, he said. We lose our composure in Game 2. We get to Game 4 and it's a matter of about four minutes' worth of penalties. Tonight was bounces, in my opinion. We got better as the series went on.

Couture seemed beside himself, facing another wave of reporters as Heatley spoke to a small group along the side.

Last year, was a tough summer thinking about the team we had and it ended short, Couture said. It sucks to lose. I want to win. Growing up, I hated to lose. I was so competitive. Every player in this room is so competitive. We wanted to win so badly.
Tim Panaccio is the NHL Insider forCSNPhilly.comE-mail him at tpanotch@comcast.net

Despite loss, Sharks 'in a good spot' headed into bye week

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USATSI

Despite loss, Sharks 'in a good spot' headed into bye week

SAN JOSE – Despite what was technically their sixth loss in the last eight games, the Sharks seemed to put more stock in the point they gained in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Bruins on Sunday night at SAP Center, rather than the one they left on the table.

They have that luxury. 

The Sharks will enter their bye week five points ahead of Edmonton and Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division, and figure they’re due for some time off after a short summer followed by a World Cup for some, and a brutal condensed NHL schedule for all.

“[We’ve] showed up and played hard,” Joe Pavelski said. “We’ve been in a lot of games. Games we’ve lost, we’ve battled. There hasn’t been any cheat in [our] game. Defensively, we’ve been strong. There’s a lot of good areas in our game that we like right now.”

Playing in the second of a back-to-back against a Bruins team had was coming off of its own bye week, the Sharks fell behind 1-0 on a first period goal by Ryan Spooner, but notched a Patrick Marleau equalizer in a second period in which they outshot the Bruins 16-9. An evenly played third period gave way to overtime, where Brad Marchand scored on a breakaway to give the Bruins their fourth straight win since changing head coaches.

The Sharks spoke before the weekend about finishing the final two games strong before the respite. They ended up gaining three of four points, including Saturday’s 4-1 win in Arizona, and were pleased with their effort against the Bruins as they capped off 10 games in 20 days since the All-Star break.

“It was an important push into this break,” Pete DeBoer said. “To go in up [five points] on the next closest team is a real testament to our group.”

Paul Martin said: “I thought we played pretty well, considering the back-to-back with some travel, and a team that was waiting for us.”

Perhaps the most encouraging performance came from Martin Jones, who was one of a number of Sharks players that was looking particularly fatigued lately. The goaltender entered the game with a 1-0-2 record, 4.46 goals-against average and .837 save percentage in his last four starts, including getting pulled after the first period in Boston just 10 days ago.

Jones was impressive, though, making a vital pad stop on the dangerous David Pastrnak in front of the net midway through the third period to keep it a 1-1 score.

“It was a good game. Two teams playing hard,” Jones said. “We can take a lot of positives from that one. It was a good hard game, just didn’t go our way tonight.”

Overtimes have been an issue lately, though. The Sharks have lost their last four games decided during the three-on-three, all coming within the last two weeks. As satisfied as they are with their cushion in the division, it could have been cushier.

Against the Bruins, Tuukka Rask denied Brent Burns on a two-on-one in overtime, and Marchand scored off of the ensuing faceoff, blowing the zone past Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic and corralling a long toss from Torey Krug before sliding it home.

“We get to overtime, shootouts – we expect to get that extra point,” Pavelski said. “We haven’t found it lately. We’ll just keep looking for it.”

DeBoer said: “The points are critical, they’re valuable. I don’t read a lot into [overtime decisions], we’ve won our share over the time I’ve been here. We had a chance to win tonight, too. … I concentrate on the effort, and I thought we got better as the game went on.”

Being focused and energized, as they have been most of the season to this point, shouldn’t be a problem when the season resumes next Saturday in Vancouver. The Sharks are in prime position to win their first division title since 2010-11, and a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final is a distinct possibility.

Losing six of eight won’t be nearly as acceptable coming out of the break as it apparently is going into it, but that’s not something to worry about now, even after another defeat. 

“There are some games you wish you could get back and get those points, but we’re still in a good spot,” Marleau said.

Trading Cousins is the ultimate Kingstastic move

Trading Cousins is the ultimate Kingstastic move

There was a lot of complaining about the lack of defense in this year’s All-Star Game, as though last year’s All-Star Game didn’t happen.

But the Most Valuable Player, which was putatively Anthony Davis for scoring a record 52 points in front of his home crowd, was actually the man with the fewest minutes of all.

Yes, the man, the god, The DeMarcus Cousins. The Very Definition Of A Sacramento King, By Becoming An Ex-Sacramento King.

Cousins, now the second-best player on the New Orleans Pelicans, played only two minutes Sunday, the lowest total by any All-Star since Connie Hawkins in 1971, ostensibly because he told head coach Steve Kerr he was a little ouchy, but more likely because the Kings were frantically trying to trade him and didn’t want him hurting himself in a game with even no contact whatsoever.

Not during the All-Star Break, mind you. DURING THE ALL-STAR GAME ITSELF! Adam Silver must have been vomiting hedgehogs into a bucket at the very thought.

As it turns out, the Kings, who have sworn up and down that they would never consider trading Cousins, did that very thing, closing a deal to send Cousins and forward Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans for a first and second-round pick in the upcoming draft, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway (who is likely to be waived in true Kings fashion) and 2016 first-rounder Buddy Hield.

You remember Buddy Hield. He’s the guy who clocked Cousins in the joy division going around a Cousins pick during the last Pelicans-Kings game, and got tossed for doing so.

In other words, the Kings prefer the guy who punched their best player in the goolies to their best player. This is so Kingsy.

But on the back end, Cousins’ agent, Jarinn Akana, said Cousins is disinclined to sign a long-term contract with his next team, making him a rental who could some day return to Sacramento in a Groundhog's Day remake that would cause the Oroville Dam to get up and walk off the job.

This too is so Kingsy.

This is the greatness of the Kings. They blew up the All-Star weekend during the game itself. They blew it up trying to get rid of their best player when they are within fighting distance of their first playoff spot in 11 years. They blew it up after saying they weren’t considering trading the dynamite at all.

Kingsy, Kingsy, Kingsy. It’s Kingstastic!

And the best part of it all is that the trade leaves everyone deflated and confused and ultimately angry, while the Kings undervalued their only marketable player to invest in a future they have mocked for decades.

You know what we;’re talking about. Gimme a K! Gimme an I! Gimme an N-G-S, throw an extraneous Y on the end of it what does it spell?

Yeah. Right.

It’s remarkable thing, being a King. While we have all amused ourselves with the machinations of the thick-as-two-short-planks New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony, the Kings have been Kinging this way for most of the last 35 years.

And now, they have decided to feed their obsession with the Golden State Warriors by running even further away from them, by tossing their only bargaining chip for a future player or players that they typically ruin, and Buddy Hield, who just found out that even at these prices life can still be cruel.

Give them their due, though. The Kings could win the NBA title and hock the trophy. They could be invited to the White House when the President is off playing golf. They could increase their Forbes valuation to $5 billion and declare bankruptcy.

Because they are the Kings, and that sentence has rarely meant more than it does now.

Not because they traded Cousins. Trades happen all the time. Wilt Chamberlain got traded twice.

But the Kings handled this with all the skill of a pickpocket with feet where his hands should be. They lied unconvincingly. They talked hard business and ended up with a nebulous deal that guarantees nothing except more speculation come summer. And they have nothing else to trade between now and . . . well, whenever they stopped being so damned Kingsy.

For New Orleans, it is a roll of the dice, an attempt to make the playoffs with a two-headed monster in Cousins and Davis. It may be too much to giver, but without knowing how the Kings will screw up those picks, it remains speculative at best.

Indeed, this is subtraction by subtraction, the standard Kings deal. And whatever the Kings have gained in this trade (hey, you never know), we remain safe in saying that they did it in such a Kingsy way that they may never top this.

Until the next time they do anything at all. Never doubt the power of Kingsiness.