Galiardi, Winnik react to Sharks debut

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Galiardi, Winnik react to Sharks debut

SAN JOSE Have the Sharks finally found the forward depth theyve been searching for, now that new acquisitions Daniel Winnik and TJ Galiardi are on board?

If their play in the 1-0 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday is any indication, the two newest members of the Sharks could provide just what Doug Wilson and the coaching staff wanted when they acquired the duo from Colorado in exchange for Jamie McGinn on Monday.

They brought a lot of energy. Theyre definitely going to be a big help, said Joe Thornton. Theyre both energetic players and they both control the puck well and see the ice well.

Lets start with Winnik. The 26-year-old skated alongside Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski in his first game with the Sharks, matched up primarily against the Flyers top line of Claude Giroux, Jaromir Jagr and Scott Hartnell. In fact, Winnik spent nearly 19 minutes on the ice during even-strength play, leading all forwards. Thats not going to be a nightly occurrence as he gets eased onto the penalty-killing unit, which may take a few days, but the 6-2, 210-pounder was a big reason the Sharks were able to shut down the leagues highest-scoring offense.

I thought it went well. I thought we had some pretty good chemistry, with Pat and Joe. Its unfortunate we didnt score, but we did a great job shutting that top line down for them, Winnik said after the game.

Keeping Giroux at bay was especially impressive. The Flyers candidate for league MVP, Giroux is third in the league in points with 72. It was the first time since March 26, 2011, that Giroux was held without a shot on goal a span of 66 games.

Giroux sounded frustrated after the loss.

Im not going to get ten shots a game. Its not going to happen, he said. I know Ive got to do better in this kind of game. In games like that I want to play better. I think our line really didnt play good tonight.

Giroux didnt say so, but Winnik and Co. was a big reason or that.

Dan Winnik did a great job, said Matt Shaw, speaking to the media in place of McLellan, who missed the game with a concussion. Big guy, was put in a checkingoffensive role with the players he played with and against. You could see he was very adept at pucks on the wall, smart plays on what to do and when, very confident in doing it. Made you feel very comfortable having him on the ice.

Galiardi, meanwhile, provided good energy and an effective forecheck in almost 13 minutes of ice time against the Flyers. That includes a stretch late in the first period and early in the second when he was unable to play after taking a high hit from Philadelphias Zac Rinaldo.

TJ Galiardi played a strong game. He has that kind of slashing speed that always backs off teams a little bit, Shaw said. I think maybe he could have drawn a penalty or two tonight by the way he played.

He almost scored, too. In the third period, with the Sharks maintaining their 1-0 lead, Ilya Bryzgalov stopped him on the doorstep with a nice pad save.

Galiardi didnt care, or at least he wasnt letting on. He has come across as downright giddy since he found out about the trade, and a close call that nearly resulted in his first goal with the Sharks wasnt going to bring him down from his high.

It felt amazing, actually, he said. It was so nice to be out there and be on this side of the action. No better way to get it started than with a win, though.

As long we won, Im happy. It will come eventually. Youve got to get some chemistry with some guys and get used to playing with them a little. Make the reads, and know where theyre going. Im just happy we won.

The coaching staff sat down with Winnik and Galiardi before the game, and the players admitted that the systems employed by McLellan and the rest of the staff are pretty dissimilar than those they were used to with Colorado.

That might seem like a disadvantage at first, but it may have actually helped the pair in that they were thrown right into the fire.

Winnik explained.

The coaches didnt want to overload us with too much information. They kind of told us some simple system stuff, and then just said make reads and play hockey. Thats what we did, and I think as a team we attacked as five and defended as six, and really boxed them out when they got shots at our net.

Any time you over think, thats when you make mistakes. When you react and just play, thats when you play better.

Galiardi echoed his good friends sentiments.

The main thing is, just dont over think it, just go out and play. The systems are a lot different than what were used to, at the end of the day were all hockey players and we can make the reads.

So far, so good.

Both players did a really good job introducing themselves to their teammates and helping out with the result tonight, Shaw said.

Sharks blowout loss to Stars includes 'a month's worth of mistakes'

Sharks blowout loss to Stars includes 'a month's worth of mistakes'

DALLAS – In just two-and-a-half weeks, the Sharks will have the opportunity to defend their Western Conference title when the Stanley Cup Playoffs get underway.

(Take a deep breath. They won’t fall out of playoff position.)

Still, it’s a terrible time for them to be playing their worst hockey of the season, and going through the foulest stretch of coach Pete DeBoer’s two-year tenure.

The Sharks were flat-out embarrassed by the Stars on Friday night in their fifth straight regulation defeat, 6-1 in Dallas, showing no signs of life for the duration. Not even a verbal tongue-lashing from their normally reserved head coach in full view of the cameras in the second period got their motors going.

How do you explain this one, Joe Pavelski?

“I don’t know, good question,” said the captain. “There’s a commitment that needs to be there to win in this league right now consistently. Right now, we’re searching for that.”

DeBoer, too, was puzzled.

“You have a handful of those a year where nothing goes right and nobody’s got any kind of legs or energy,” he said. “It was one of those nights. I don’t have an explanation for it. I felt we prepared the right way the last couple days. I thought we felt pretty good about ourselves. Then, the puck dropped and everything went bad.”

It was evident early that the Sharks were off, as they couldn’t figure out a way to get the puck through the neutral zone for the first several shifts and didn’t register a shot on goal until 7:17 into the first period. The first of three Adam Cracknell goals – yes, Adam Cracknell – had them trailing 1-0 after the opening frame.

Traditionally, the Sharks would have found a way to jolt themselves to life at the intermission, as it was so plainly obvious that they didn’t seem focused or driven over the first 20 minutes.

This was a game, too, in which they were healthier, getting Jannik Hansen back in the lineup, and more rested than the Stars, who were playing their second game in as many nights while San Jose was coming off a rare two-day break. Furthermore, the Sharks have seen a nine-point lead in the Pacific Division evaporate to just two points headed into Friday’s action. Motivation should have been easy against a team that shut them out on Monday, to boot.

But the mental mistakes to start the second were even worse. Brett Ritchie was left alone by Brenden Dillon for a goal just 1:58 into the middle frame, and at 5:19, Brent Burns was caught staring at the puck off of a faceoff as Jamie Benn got free in front of the net to push the Dallas lead to 3-0. DeBoer's timeout and screaming session after that third goal did nothing, as Dallas got two more goals off of the rush and another on a breakaway by Cracknell after a gift turnover by goalie Aaron Dell before the night was through.

“That’s a month worth of mistakes in one night, so hopefully we get it out of the system,” DeBoer said.

The defensive miscues should be easily correctable, according to Dillon.

“If you look at a good chunk of those goals, we kind of know whether it was d-zone coverage, or off the rush, or just communicating with one another,” he said. “Stuff that’s not like us. I think if we watched the other 70 games this year, those kind of things don’t happen.”

Of course, the defensive errors become all the more glaring when a team isn’t scoring, either. The Sharks managed just one Joe Thornton power play goal, and have just five total goals in their last five games.

That part of their game wasn’t any better against Dallas than their defense, as Kari Lehtonen had a relatively tranquil evening.

“We have a lot of guys that are going through some tough times right now and struggling to get on the scoresheet,” Logan Couture said. “We're going to need all of those guys to bring more. That's from our top guys, including myself and on down. We need to do more offensively. Score goals, and do more defensively, as well.”

They have just eight more games to figure it all out.

“It’s not ideal, by any means,” Dillon said. “I think it’s maybe a bit of a wakeup call for us. … You can’t take a night off and you have to be emotionally invested. You’ve got to take every shift as hard as you possibly can.”

* * *

DeBoer had no update on Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who didn't play in the third period. The defenseman was seen leaving the dressing room under his own power, but looked to be walking a bit gingerly.

Instant Replay: Sharks allow six to Stars, losing streak now at five

Instant Replay: Sharks allow six to Stars, losing streak now at five

BOX SCORE

DALLAS – Entering the game with their longest regulation losing streak of the season, and playing against what should have been a tired opponent that is already out of playoff contention, the Sharks were obliterated by the Stars on Friday at American Airlines Center, 6-1.
 
From the drop of the puck, the Sharks looked like they had no interest in competing against a Dallas team that had played in Chicago on Thursday night, and had already beaten San Jose earlier in the week.

The loss stretched the Sharks’ losing streak to five, and it is the longest in more than six years when they dropped six in a row in regulation from Jan. 3-13, 2011. After enjoying a nine-point lead on the rest of the Pacific Division on March 14, the Ducks tied San Jose in points with 91 by beating the Jets at home on Friday night.
 
Adam Cracknell, who paced the Dallas offense with a hat trick, opened the scoring with his first of three goals. He drove the puck to the net while fighting off Brenden Dillon, and Micheal Haley inadvertently kicked the loose puck through Aaron Dell at 8:30 of the first period.
 
Prior to that score, it took the Sharks more than seven minutes to register their first shot.
 
San Jose escaped down just 1-0 at the first intermission, but it quickly got worse. Brett Ritchie was left open by Dillon and whipped in a pass from Tyler Seguin at 1:58, and then Dallas’ third goal really set off coach Pete DeBoer.
 
Joe Pavelski lost a defensive zone draw, and Brent Burns inexplicably vacated the front of the net, where Jamie Benn was wide open. Benn had all kinds of time to freeze Aaron Dell and slip through his 25th goal at 5:19.
 
DeBoer called timeout at that point, and was as visibly upset at his bench as he has been in his two seasons as head coach, barking away at the stunned Sharks skaters.
 
It didn’t help. Cracknell made it 4-0 off of a rush less than two minutes after the timeout, and although Joe Thornton got one back on the power play, the Stars scored two more times in the third period. 
 
Dell misplayed a puck on a Sharks power play, sliding it right to Cracknell for a breakaway in which he finished off a hat trick at 4:59. Just 21 seconds later, John Klingberg converted a two-on-one with Jason Spezza – who had three assists on the night – to make it a 6-1 Dallas lead.
 
The five-game winless streak is their worst since they went 0-6-1 from Dec. 1-12 last season.
 
San Jose has just five goals in its last five games.
 
The Sharks had Jannik Hansen back for the game, after the recent addition had missed the last two games with a head injury. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, though, was not able to finish the game, for reasons that were not immediately clear.
 
Special teams 
 
Thornton’s goal was his first on the power play all season, as the Sharks went 1-for-2. Dallas was 0-for-2.
 
Cracknell’s shorthanded goal was the fourth the Sharks have allowed this season.
 
In goal
 
Dell suffered his worst game of the season, and his NHL career, allowing six goals on 29 shots. He played all three games against Dallas, stopping 48 of 50 shots in the first two.
 
Kari Lehtonen, who shut out the Sharks with 30 saves on Monday in a 1-0 win, made 20 saves on Friday. He has played in 10 straight games.
 
Lineup
 
Timo Meier came out of the lineup for Hansen, while Danny O’Regan was reassigned to the Barracuda earlier in the day.
 
Burns snapped out of his seven-game scoreless streak with an assist on Thornton’s goal, but still has no goals in his last 15 games.
 
Dallas’ Tyler Seguin was skating in his 500th career NHL game.
 
Up next
 
The Sharks conclude their road trip Saturday in Nashville, their only appearance there in the regular season. In the first two games of the season series in San Jose, the Sharks won on Oct. 29, 4-1, but dropped a 3-1 decision on March 11.