Ferriero's first lifts Sharks over Bruins

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Ferriero's first lifts Sharks over Bruins

BOX SCORE

BOSTON, MA As any player who has been lucky enough to do so will tell you, its always special to score a game-winning goal in the NHL. But when its the building you went to games in as a kid, and then played some memorable college matches in, too...well, well just let Benn Ferreiro describe it.

I grew up with the Bruins as my favorite team and watching Joe Thornton as a kid. Its pretty cool to get to come in here and play and get the game-winner, he said, after his tie-breaking goal in the third period proved to be the difference in a 4-2 win over the Bruins on Saturday night at TD Garden.

Ferriero is a Boston kid through and through, growing up in town and later attending Boston College. His parents made it to the game, of course, after he was recalled from Worcester on Thursday.

They got to see him outmuscle Bruins defenseman Steve Kampfer in front of the net and pounce on a rebound at 8:48 of the third period to break a 2-2 tie.

Ferreiro, who didnt make the opening night roster, is making the most of his chance now that hes back.

Hes got the opportunity and we always said there would be some internal competition but hes got the opportunity to come in and hes made good on it, said Todd McLellan. Were excited for him.

With their second win in as many nights, the Sharks evened their record at 3-3, and have four games remaining on their road trip. Beating the defending Stanley Cup champions was no easy task, though.

In fact, in a role reversal from previous games, the Sharks were actually on the short end of shots and scoring chances but were ahead for most of the game nonetheless.

It began just 1:12 after the opening faceoff, when Joe Pavelski took a pass from Thornton and fired a laser into the top corner past Tim Thomas. It was Pavelskis first five-on-five goal, as his first two were on the power play and his third came with the goaltender pulled on Friday night's 4-3 shootout win in New Jersey.

In the second period,Martin Havlat made his presence felt again with his second assist in as many games in a black and teal sweater. Havlat caught the Bruins defense sleeping with a brilliant backhanded pass to the slot to a wide-openLogan Couture. In one motion, Couture corralled the pass and fired it past Thomas for his first of the season.

It was the first time since opening night that the Sharks had a two-goal cushion.

The Bruins kept up the pressure in the third, though. They were finally able to break through after Niemi turned it over behind the net and Milan Lucic knocked in a loose puck at 2:43. Just 29 seconds later, Lucic fed Nathan Horton on two-on-none rush to tie it up.

We knew that they were going to have a push, it was just a matter of when, said Thornton.

The sellout crowd reminded Couture of a playoff game, as the pace was as fast and intense as any of the Sharks first six this year.

It was loud, they were all over us for a bit, and we kind of weathered the storm, he said.

Couture likely feels like a weight has been lifted, now that he has been able to find the scoresheet. The sophomore center is being counted on to score goals, which is something he was unable to do in the first five games.

Fortunately for him he has a brand new linemate in Havlat, who had the prettiest pass of the night, finding Couture wide open in the slot.

I knew he was there, and he was yelling for it, too, said Havlat.

Couture said: When you dont score for a couple games, you always want the puck on your stick. He made a great pass, and I was lucky that their d-men kind of flew by me and left me alone in the slot.

The Sharks were also fortunate to have Antti Niemi at the top of his game. Niemi was especially busy in the first period, as the Bruins controlled the game for several minutes after Pavelski had given them the early lead.

The early pressure from Boston helped get Niemi in the game right away, and was welcomed by the goaltender. The Sharks entered the game allowing the fewest shots per game.

Its a different type of game when you get more shots right away, said Niemi, who finished with 37 saves. Then you dont have to worry about anything, youre in the game all the time.

Niemi preserved the 3-2 lead late, when, after a turnover, he made a diving stop on Chris Kellys attempt from the circle.

Nemo was great all night, said Pavelski. We settled it down, Benny came up with a big goal for us, Nemo made a few more saves and we got two points.

The Bruins honored Thornton, their former captain, midway through the first period with a message on the scoreboard congratulating him on his 1000th NHL game on Friday. Thornton waved to the gracious crowd, many of whom rose to their feet to applaud.

It was another Boston-bred athlete, however, that stole the show.

KURZ: Sharks shake up their defense
Odds and ends: Jason Demers and Colin White were scratched in favor of Jim Vandermeer and Justin Braun, who was recalled from Worcester on Saturday morning. In his four games in Boston since the trade, Thornton has one goal and two assists. Pavelskis goal broke a streak of four straight games in which San Jose had surrendered the first score. The Sharks had just one power play, which they failed to score on, and killed off both Bruins chances.

Mailbag: Which Sharks player is most likely to be traded?

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Mailbag: Which Sharks player is most likely to be traded?

No one asked, but I’m going to begin this week’s mailbag with my prediction for the Stanley Cup Final – Preds in six. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to a few of your questions…

Most likely to be moved this off-season? (Nik @niknisj25)

If the Sharks do make a move – and I’ve argued here that I think it may be time for a shakeup – they’ll surely be looking for someone up front to boost the offense. In that case, they’d likely have to sacrifice a defenseman or two.

The Sharks defense is the strength of the organization at the moment, as they had one of the best one-through-seven groups in the NHL this season. But it’s also an expensive one. The Sharks have nearly $27 million committed to their top seven defensemen next season, while Marc-Edouard Vlasic is due for a hefty raise beginning in 2018-19.

One name that could be intriguing to other teams is Justin Braun. The 30-year-old has been a part of the Sharks’ top shut down pair with Vlasic for several seasons now, and is signed for the next three years at a reasonable $3.8 million cap hit. The Sharks could potentially move him for offensive help, and slot in a guy like David Schlemko alongside Vlasic, while finally giving Dylan DeMelo a chance to play on a nightly basis on the third pair. A Vlasic-Schlemko pair could be more offensive than Vlasic-Braun, too, because as adept as they were at keeping the puck out of their own net, the Sharks didn’t get many goals from their defenders outside of Burns.

Of course, the upcoming expansion draft all but assures that nothing will happen until Las Vegas selects its team on June 21. If the Sharks lose a defenseman to the Golden Knights, they’ll be more reluctant to move another one. Still, with guys like Joakim Ryan, Tim Heed, Julius Bergman, Mirco Mueller and now Radim Simek in the pipeline, the club might be able to handle a couple departures.

How do we fix the power play next season? Bring in a coach that could help us? Change up the lines, or style of play? (adam smith @kickback408)

One thing that won’t be happening is a new coach, as Doug Wilson recently confirmed that Steve Spott would be back alongside Pete DeBoer. Bob Boughner could move on if he gets hired as a head coach elsewhere, but Boughner’s focus is the team’s defense and penalty kill.

Obviously, the future of the power play depends on who is on the roster, beginning with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. Both saw their power play production dip this season.

Thornton went from 29 power play points in 2015-16 to 19 this season (he had eight power play goals in 2015-16, and just one this season). Marleau saw a decline from 25 power play points in 2015-16 to 16 last season. Even if both return, it may be time to try other bodies on the top unit.

Do you see Meier, Labanc and/or Sorensen having a breakout season next year? Or anyone else on the Barracuda? (Colin Dunn @ColinDunnACA)

Someone better had, because this team needs to start getting younger, and soon. One of the bigger disappointments of the 2016-17 season is that none of them apparently showed the coaching staff that they were prepared to play on a nightly basis at the NHL level.

Timo Meier and Marcus Sorensen, I would surmise, are at the top of the depth chart as far as forwards go. Their line in the playoffs with center Chris Tierney was the Sharks’ best through the early part of the series with Edmonton. As for Kevin Labanc, I think he’s fallen a bit since he had a brief run of success for the Sharks in December.

While the Sharks did a good job stockpiling some young players through the 2013-15 drafts, they’ve traded away a number of picks in recent years. In last year’s draft they didn’t have a first or third round pick; this year they don’t have any picks in the second, third or fourth rounds; and in 2018 they are already without their second and third round picks. 

It’s great to accumulate young players, but at some point they have to break through. Now is the time.

Sharks, Robinson parting ways after five seasons

Sharks, Robinson parting ways after five seasons

After five seasons with the Sharks, Larry Robinson is leaving the organization.

Robinson, 65, spent the last three seasons as the club's director of player development. He served as an associate coach from 2012-14.

TSN in Montreal and the Montreal Gazette originally reported the news.

The Sharks confirmed that Robinson's contract would be expiring, and general manager Doug Wilson told NBC Sports California that the divorce was amicable, and "because of geography." Robinson lives in Florida.

According to the Montreal Gazette

Robinson’s contract with the Sharks expires on July 1, but agent Donnie Cape said Thursday that San Jose general manager Doug Wilson has given him permission to speak with other teams. Robinson lives in Bradenton, Fla., and the long travel distance to San Jose is one of big the reasons he’s looking for a new team to work for.

Robinson seemed to ponder retirement in 2014, but signed a three-year extension to remain in the Sharks' front office. He worked mostly from his home in Florida the past two seasons, making occasional trips to San Jose, including during training camp.

In the summer of 2015, Robinson underwent surgery for skin cancer.

Recognized as one of the best defensemen in NHL history, Robinson won six Stanley Cup championships with the Montreal Canadiens as a player, and holds the NHL record for playing 20 straight seasons in the playoffs. A 10-time All-Star and two-time Norris Trophy winner, Robinson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995.

Robinson was the head coach of the Los Angeles Kings from 1995-99, and the New Jersey Devils from 1999-2002 and again in 2005-06. He led the Devils to the Stanley Cup in 2000. Robinson has nine Stanley Cup rings as a player and coach.

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The Sharks did not renew the contract of pro scout Jason Rowe, who had been with the organization for the past nine seasons. Rowe focused on eastern NHL and AHL teams.