Havlat's OT goal lifts Sharks past Red Wings


Havlat's OT goal lifts Sharks past Red Wings

SAN JOSE Marty Havlat scored twice, including the game-winner in overtime, and the Sharks beat the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night at HP Pavilion, 3-2.

On the winning goal, Havlat took the original shot from the circle. Justin Braun poked for the rebound, which popped out to the side of the net, where Havlat gathered it and lifted it in with 1:37 to go.

The Sharks, who beat Nashville in a shootout on Thursday, won back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 31 Feb. 2. They moved into eighth place in the Western Conference with the win, surpassing Phoenix.

Five of last seven Sharks games have gone past regulation (2-0-3).

Detroit tied the game in the third period. Valtteri Filppula broke in after what looked to be interference by Henrik Zetterberg on Marc-Edouard Vlasic at the blue line. Filppulas wrist shot beat Antti Niemi at 8:12, though, and the game was knotted at 2-2.

The Sharks jumped out to a 1-0 lead after a long shift to start the game by their top line.

Standing behind the net, Joe Thornton passed in front to Joe Pavelski at the bottom of the circle. Pavelskis initial shot through traffic, including Logan Couture standing in front of the crease, bounced right back to the winger and he deposited his 25th goal at the 48-second mark, tying his career high with 25 on the season.

Havlat gave the Sharks their first two-goal lead in nearly three weeks at 18:23. His 40-foot wrist shot may have deflected off of defenseman Brad Stuarts stick on its way toward the net, and Jimmy Howard was unable to stop it. It was Havlats third goal in his second game back after missing three months with a hamstring injury.

The Sharks previous two-goal advantage came on Feb. 26 in Minnesota when they scored the first two goals of the game in a 4-3 loss.

It didnt last long. Pavel Datsyuk, playing in his first game after missing the last 11 with a knee injury, found the near-side corner from a terrible angle just 23 seconds after Havlats goal. Antti Niemi, who was crouched over trying to eye the puck, would have stopped it had he been standing upright.

The great pace of the first period carried over into the second despite neither team finding the scoreboard.

Howard made a nice stop on Dominic Moores backhand attempt from the slot early on, while Tomas Holmstroms deflection on a Red Wings power play rang squarely off of the post.

Havlat nearly got his second goal of the game on a two-on-one rush with Patrick Marleau late in the second, while Daniel Winnik missed an open net on a loose puck after he set up Moore for a chance seconds earlier.

Detroits Drew Miller had a shorthanded breakaway as time expired in the second, but Niemi turned it aside as the horn sounded.

Odds and ends: The Sharks host the Anaheim Ducks on Monday. ... TJ Galiardi, Michal Handzus, Colin White and Jim Vandermeer were scratched. The Sharks won the first two games of the season series, but Detroit claimed a 3-2 win at Joe Louis Arena on Feb. 19.

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


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.