Ducks' Boudreau era off to rocky start

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Ducks' Boudreau era off to rocky start

The Bruce Boudreau era is off to a rocky start in Anaheim, while the Sharks next opponent now has the best record in the NHL.

The Ducks changed coaches last Wednesday, firing Randy Carlyle and hiring Boudreau, who was fired by Washington two days prior. Since then, the Ducks have blown two substantial leads, including a 5-3 loss to Minnesota on Sunday night.

Anaheim jumped ahead to a 2-0 first period lead only to be outscored 5-1 the rest of the way.

Goaltender Jonas Hiller was blunt in his assessment of the Ducks after the game, telling the L.A. Times:

"I don't think we're playing really solid in our own end. I think that's where you can see why we're not winning. Those guys always seem to get inside, to kind of walk through two guys and suddenly get a two-on-one out of nothing. Even though we have guys back. It seems like we're just too cute."It looks like we are there but not really there. Physically there, but probably mentally we are already in the other zone or still in the dressing room. I don't know what. To me it looks like we get so many errors."Suddenly, guys are all by themselves in the slot out of a nothing play and suddenly two guys chasing one guy. We're playing here in the NHL, and I don't think it should happen."

The Ducks also lost in Boudreaus debut on Friday against Philadelphia, surrendering a 3-0 lead in that game to lose in overtime, 4-3.

RELATED: NHL standings

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Wild now find themselves atop the NHL with 37 points as they prepare for another game at HP Pavilion on Tuesday night. They have won their last three road games despite falling behind 2-0 in each of them.

"It's a question of sticking with it," Cal Clutterbuck told NHL.com. "I think the amazing thing is when you can stick with it and things actually start to happen for you. That's kind of what encourages you and gives you the confidence to sit in those, 2-0, 2-1 games, and just be like, 'Let's keep with it. We'll get it.'"

The Sharks won their only game against Minnesota on Nov. 10 at home, 3-1, led by Patrick Marleaus two second period power play goals.

Report: Division rival interested in Joe Thornton

Report: Division rival interested in Joe Thornton

The mere thought of Joe Thornton wearing a Kings sweater may be enough to cause some Sharks fans to lose their lunch.

But it might be a possibility.

According to LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen, the Kings consider Thornton to be a “priority” should be hit the open market as a free agent. While the two sides are currently allowed to express mutual interest, NHL rules forbid them from discussing terms of any deal until Saturday at 9 a.m. PT.

Rosen points to a number of individuals in the Kings' organization that have ties to Thornton, including general manager Rob Blake, who played on the Sharks with Thornton from 2008-10. Mike O’Connell was Thornton’s general manager in Boston and currently serves as the Kings’ senior advisor to the general manager. Glen Murray, a former teammate and frequent linemate of Thornton’s with the Bruins for three-and-a-half seasons, is in Kings player development.

The Kings, under new management since replacing Dean Lombardi with Blake, and head coach Darryl Sutter with John Stevens, have put a priority on finding players this offseason that can get pucks to dangerous scoring areas. 

Adding one of the best passers in the history of the NHL would surely help in that regard. Thornton sits 13th in the NHL all-time with 1,007 assists.

Rosen writes: “Los Angeles has been a dominant possession team without being a high scoring team for the better part of the last six-plus seasons, and it was articulated earlier in the off-season that the team needed to do a better job of taking advantage of that possession discrepancy. In trying to find players with the ability to turn possession into actual production, the team has placed an emphasis on finding players capable of distributing the puck into high-danger in the attacking zone. There might not be another player in the NHL – let alone unrestricted free agents – who is as gifted of a passer of Thornton, which places the team’s needs in concert with the future Hall of Famer’s skill set.”

As reported here previously Thornton, who turns 38 on Sunday, is seeking a deal of three years. That might not be agreeable to the Sharks, who are likely to sign Martin Jones and Marc-Edouard Vlasic to long-term and expensive contract extensions that would kick in with the 2018-19 season.

Of course, Thornton could also be using the Kings as leverage to get a new deal in San Jose, where he would prefer to remain.

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

The Sharks have issued qualifying offers to restricted free agent forwards Chris Tierney, Marcus Sorensen and Barclay Goodrow, while cutting ties with three players in the system.

Tierney, 22, posted 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points in 80 games last season, serving primarily as the fourth line center. He has 64 points (24g, 40a) in 202 career games over three NHL seasons, all with the Sharks.

Sorensen posted one goal and three assists in 19 games with the Sharks last season, his first in the NHL. The 25-year-old played in all six playoff games against Edmonton, scoring one goal and one assist.

Goodrow, 24, skated in three games for the Sharks last season with one assist. He has 16 points (4g, 12a) in 77 games over three seasons with the Sharks, although has played in just 17 NHL games since the start of the 2015-16 season.

Forward Nikita Jevpalovs, defenseman Patrick McNally and goalie Mantas Armalis - also known for his career as a male model - were left unqualified and are now unrestricted free agents.

Earlier in the offseason, the Sharks signed pending restricted free agents Joonas Donskoi and Melker Karlsson. Donskoi received a two-year deal at a salary cap hit of $1.9 million, while Karlsson was signed to a three-year deal at $2 million annually.