Sharks overmatched by Blackhawks in Chicago

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Sharks overmatched by Blackhawks in Chicago

March 14, 2011

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CHICAGO (AP) The Blackhawks' big-name scorers continue to spark Chicago's climb in the Western Conference standings.Marian Hossa scored two power-play goals less than 3 minutes apart to ignite a five-goal outburst in the second period, and the Blackhawks rolled to a 6-3 win over the San Jose Sharks on Monday night.Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane each had a goal and an assist in the second as defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago snapped an 0-1-2 streak and moved into fourth place in the West with 84 points.Kane's goal was the 100th of his career and capped Chicago's second-period scoring blitz that erased an early 2-1 deficit."The first period wasn't our best," Hossa said. "We settled down, tried to play our game. We started working as a team, and were closer to pucks, outbattling them."We're slowly climbing up, getting a cushion now (in the standings)," Hossa said. "Obviously, it's going to be tough to the end."Hossa's goals were his 20th and 21st, giving him 20 or more in 11 straight seasons. He has points in 10 of his last 11 games, with nine goals and six assists in that span.Toews now has 71 points, a career high for the fourth-year forward. He has recorded points in 12 of his last 13 games, with 11 goals and 10 assists during the run.All of Chicago's marquee forwards clicked on Monday, including Patrick Sharp, who had a career-high four assists. Viktor Stalberg and Niklas Hjalmarsson also scored for the Blackhawks, who improved to 11-2-4 in their last 17 games."The five goals really put us in front," Kane said. "There were a lot of really nice plays. I thought we bounced back pretty good."Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Logan Couture scored for the Sharks, who lost in regulation for just the fourth time in their last 25 games."If I was going to sum up the game: They skated and we glided," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. "They were hard on the boards, we were soft. They were determined at the net. We played 'I hope' around the net."We were looking for a win the easy way. I don't know why we chose that route tonight, but it's not the recipe we've followed for success."Chicago rookie Corey Crawford made 33 saves in his 15th straight start.San Jose's Antti Niemi made his 25th consecutive start, but was replaced by Antero Niittymaki at 7:25 of the second after allowing four goals on 18 shots, and three goals on the last five he faced. Niittymaki stopped 14 of 16 shots.Pavelski opened the scoring 2:20 in with a 5-on-3 power-play goal from the right circle, but Stalberg evened it midway through the first when he batted in a rebound of Chris Campoli's shot from mid-air.Thornton put the Sharks ahead 2-1 with 1:24 left in the first. Campoli and Troy Brouwer both converged on San Jose's Patrick Marleau, and Marleau dished to Thornton, who broke in alone down the slot.The Blackhawks then reeled off four straight goals, and five overall in the second, to take a 6-3 lead after 40 minutes.Chicago launched its onslaught when Hossa scored back-to-back power-play goals and Toews added an even-strength score in a 4:11 span early in the second.Hossa tied it 2-all 3:14 into the period when he cut to the edge of the crease and converted Sharp's feed. Just under 3 minutes later, Hossa put the Blackhawks ahead 3-2 on a low shot from the slot.Toews finished a 2-on-1 with Kane by shooting himself, beating Niemi through the five-hole at 7:25 to make it 4-2. That prompted San Jose coach Todd McLellan to send in Niittymaki.Chicago kept up the pressure and took a 5-2 lead with 5:31 left in the period when Hjalmarsson fired in a shot through traffic from the slot.Couture popped in a rebound off Crawford's pad with 2:36 left in the second to cut it to 5-3, but Kane replied just 22 seconds later when he was left open in the slot."(The second period) dictated the outcome of the game, so it was good for us," Toews said. "Especially when they made it 5-3, we came right back and got the sixth goal."Notes: Chicago's five goals in the second were the most in a period for the Blackhawks this season, and the most against San Jose in a period this year.... Sharp tied a team record with four assists in one period. The last Blackhawks player to do it was Jim Pappin in 1973. .. Chicago D Brian Campbell missed his second game in the last three with a lower body injury. ... Blackhawks C Dave Bolland sat out his second contest with a concussion. ... San Jose D Kent Huskins and C Scott Nichol each missed their 10th game with upper-body injuries.

Warriors eye veteran guard Calderon after release of Weber

Warriors eye veteran guard Calderon after release of Weber

OAKLAND -- Briante Weber’s 20 days with the Warriors came to an end Saturday night, creating a roster opening expected to be filled by veteran point guard Jose Calderon.

“We think we have something in place, but it’s not finalized,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after a 112-95 victory over Brooklyn.

Calderon is in the process to be bought out by the Lakers, after which he will become a free agent. Once he clears waivers, the Warriors, according to multiple sources, will be waiting to offer a physical examination and a contract.

Though Warriors president/general manager Bob Myers stopped short of identifying Calderon by name, his insinuations late Saturday night line up with what was learned from league sources.

“You find that in the playoffs, experience matters,” Myers told CSNBayArea.com.

“I don’t want to diminish (Weber’s) contribution and say he’s not capable,” he added. “He could help a team. But I think sometimes you go with experience when going into the playoffs.”

While Weber is 24, with limited NBA experience, Calderon is 35 and has 12 seasons in the league, including three playoff appearances with two different teams. Moreover, Calderon is a career 41.1-percent 3-point shooter.

Calderon has played sparingly this season and has appeared only once, for five minutes, over the last nine games. In November, his most active month, he played in 11 games, averaging 5.5 points and 3.0 assists while shooting 54.5 percent from the field and 45.0 from beyond the arc.

Not that this made releasing Weber any easier. He had, in a short span of time, become popular with his teammates. Though Weber declined postgame interview requests, Stephen Curry spent a few minutes consoling and encouraging him.

Kerr struggled a bit in announcing that the team was releasing Weber, though the move was made by the front office in consultation with the coaching staff.

“We are making the decision thinking it’s the best thing for the team,” he said. “We make every decision based on that.

Weber played two minutes Saturday, scoring four points on 2-of-3 shooting. He logged a total of 46 minutes spread over seven games.

“He’s a good kid, did everything we asked of him,” Myers said. “But sometimes you’ve got to make tough decisions. Sometimes you’re not even right, but you make the best decision you can at the time.

“But he’s got a future in the NBA. He’ll have options. That’s the best thing about his situation. He’ll be able to choose what’s best for him.”

Sharks Jones, Tierney find more success in Vancouver in 4-1 win

Sharks Jones, Tierney find more success in Vancouver in 4-1 win

VANCOUVER – One of the more appealing NHL road cities, Vancouver dazzles with its beautiful mountain scenery and walkable downtown avenues.

The Sharks undoubtedly relish those aspects of their trips to British Columbia, but more importantly they’ve enjoyed them on a professional basis, too. San Jose won its 10th straight game at Rogers Arena on Saturday, 4-1, kicking off the final push to the playoffs with a victory coming out of the bye week.

“I think we definitely got better as the game went on, and that’s what you’re looking for,” said Mikkel Boedker, who was one of four Sharks’ goal scorers. “We came out with the win.”

Two Sharks in particular have enjoyed their recent excursions into Vancouver. 

Martin Jones was the best player on the ice, making 35 saves in his hometown. He was relied upon early as the Sharks predictably struggled to get their legs underneath them in what was their first game since last Sunday.

Jones made an impressive stop on Loui Eriksson in the first period, and in the second he stopped Jannik Hansen from point blank range with the Sharks holding a 1-0 lead. Later in the second, it was saves on Alex Edler and Hansen again that preserved San Jose’s 2-1 lead at the intermission. Vancouver was outshooting the Sharks 30-16 after 40 minutes, but trailed.

The Sharks rewarded their goalie with scores by Boedker and Logan Couture on the power play to make the final few minutes of the third period relatively easy.

“When [Jones] plays like that it gives us confidence, and we’ve just got to stick with it and keep creating chances, and we did that tonight,” said Boedker, who snapped a 19-game goal drought.

“[Jones] was our best player tonight,” coach Pete DeBoer said.

Jones improved to a perfect 4-0 in Vancouver, all in a San Jose sweater, with a 1.25 goals-against average and .959 save percentage. He spent the bye week in the area, and had several supporters in the stands.

“It’s always fun playing in front of friends and family,” Jones said. “Happy to get the win here.”

Chris Tierney is another player who seems to thrive in Vancouver. He notched a pair of assists and centered the team's most effective line, after getting his first career two-goal game here earlier this month.

His new line, featuring wingers Tomas Hertl and Joel Ward, opened the scoring in the second period, with Hertl finishing off a pass from Tierney after Ward’s breakaway attempt crept just wide of the net. Later, Tierney got a secondary assist on Patrick Marleau’s second period goal, restoring the Sharks' lead at 2-1.

“They did a good job. I thought some of those guys had our better legs early,” DeBoer said of his third line. “It took some of our veteran guys a little longer to get into it.”

Tierney, who was scoreless in eight straight games since his last time at Rogers Arena on Feb. 2, said: “I thought we generated some good chances. I think we can get better, too. We kind of talked on the bench throughout the game of what we can kind of do to improve and where each other is going to be on the ice, but it felt good playing with those guys. It’s easy to create offense with them.”

In seven career games in Vancouver, Tierney has four goals and three assists for seven points.

“Something about the Vancouver air, or Canadian air,” he said. “I always feel good when I play here.”

After dropping a 2-1 overtime decision to Boston in their final game before the break, the Sharks had a five-point lead over the rest of the division headed into a week off. Saturday’s win pushes the lead back up to five points again on Anaheim and Edmonton, and they now have games in hand on both of those teams, too.

It all adds up to a good start in what is the final stretch before the postseason, and a quest for a division title. Overall, the Sharks are 3-0-3 in their last six games, and have just one regulation loss in their last 11 (5-1-5).

“It’s huge, that’s what you play the regular season for,” said Boedker, when asked about the Sharks padding their lead. “You keep trying to gain as many points as you can, and lately we’ve had some overtime losses, but we keep gaining points.”