Hiller says Ducks 'own' Sharks


Hiller says Ducks 'own' Sharks

ANAHEIM There was a strong sense entering the third period of last nights 3-1 Sharks loss to Anaheim that whoever got the next goal was going to triumph. Scoring chances were at a minimum on both sides of what was a pretty evenly played 1-1 match between two Pacific Division rivals after 40 minutes.

Teemu Selanne got the shaft of his stick on a blast by Luca Sbisa about five and a half minutes into the third period for what turned out to by the game-winner.

They did a good job getting it through to the net. You cant really blame a lot of people on it, Todd McLellan said of Selannes goal. Thats hockey, and thats the way it is.

There werent a lot of momentum swings. It was pretty evenly played. You had a feeling whoever was going to get that next one was going to hold a real distinct advantage. There werent a lot of chances either way.

Although Antti Niemi looked a bit shaky at times throughout the game, there was nothing he could do on Selannes goal. The velocity on the shot from Sbisa offered him no time to react to any sort of redirection.

If its a slower puck than you can read the situation more, but if its a slap shot you have to go there and react, Niemi said. You cant think its going to hit something.

Ducks own Sharks: Jonas Hiller, who made 28 saves in net, didnt hold back when asked about his teams success against the Sharks.

Its a rivalry, and it looks like we own them right now, Hiller said. Everybody is really motivated and we didnt want to eliminate ourselves. We are still trying to play good hockey. We dont want to just give up. That is what we did tonight, and that's why we won."

Anaheims 5-1-0 season mark against the Sharks is a new franchise record, eclipsing a 4-1-0 record vs. San Jose achieved in 1994-95 and 1995-96.

Bruce Boudreau was clearly pleased with Hillers performance, which included a highlight-reel glove save on Joe Pavelski with about five minutes left in the game.

Hes important every night. The save he made when it was 2-1 is what hes been doing since January, Boudreau said. When we have a chance, whether we are behind or not, he lets us have the opportunity to win. That is all you can ask a goalie to do.

Ducks roll four: According to Joe Thornton, the Sharks 1-5 record in their season series with Anaheim was due mainly to their inability to match them line-for-line.

Its probably their depth up front. Theyre a good four-line team, and thats probably been our Achilles heel. We havent been able to match a four-line game with them, said the captain.

Niemi said: Overall, theyre playing with four lines, and it wasnt easy to get in their zone.

The Sharks did, however, have their chances in this one, giving a much better effort than the 5-3 loss at home to the Ducks on March 19.

We played solid," Thornton. "Id like to see us finish a couple more chances. We competed hard, but weve got to get all four lines going. We played good against Colorado with all four lines, but to get in the playoffs were going to need all four.

Playoff chances take a hit: How much did the results of last nights games around the league hurt the Sharks playoff probability?

According to the math on sportsclubstats.com, the Sharks are down to a 64.2 percent chance to make it to the post season down 14.9 percent from Wednesday morning.

Calgary (4.7 percent) and Colorado (3.5 percent) have all but been eliminated, meaning there are four teams competing for three open spots.

Sharks stick with it, rewarded with late score to beat Leafs

Sharks stick with it, rewarded with late score to beat Leafs

SAN JOSE – Not only did the Sharks add to their roster on Tuesday night, they added another two points, too.

After it was revealed late in the second period that the club acquired gritty forward Jannik Hansen from the Canucks for Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional fourth round draft pick, Tomas Hertl broke a 1-1 tie with a perfectly placed wrist shot late in the third period in pushing the Sharks to a 3-1 win over the Maple Leafs. Brenden Dillon and Joe Pavelski (empty net) also scored for San Jose, which got 20 saves from goalie Martin Jones, too.

The Sharks improved to 4-0-3 in their last seven games, winning their first two games coming out of the bye week, and have won nine in a row over the Maple Leafs.

"I thought we played a pretty good 60 minutes,” Logan Couture said. “One of our better games in a while.”

The winning goal from Hertl came at 18:36. Patrick Marleau fought off a couple defenders in the offensive zone before pushing the puck to Hertl charging in after a change, and Hertl flicked a quick shot over Frederik Andersen’s nearside shoulder for his eighth of the season.

"I wasn't sure if it was in, but Patty made a great play to hold the puck,” Hertl said. “He gives the pass, and I just shoot and score."

The ending was fitting from San Jose’s perspective, as the Sharks believed they outplayed Toronto for most of the night. They outshot the Maple Leafs, 37-21, and out-attempted them 71-55.

“We outlasted them, for sure,” Pavelski said. “We found a player that makes a big shot there at the end. Patty’s play through the neutral zone into the o-zone, and dishes off to Hertl, and he makes a big time shot. It was pretty rewarding, I think, with how the game was played tonight.”

The Sharks had the better chances in the first period, outshooting the Leafs 13-5, but failing to get on the board due to some skillful saves by Andersen. He made a pad stop on Hertl midway through the frame, and later denied Joel Ward on a two-on-one rush with Kevin Labanc with four minutes to go.

That allowed Toronto to get on the board in the second period on the power play. After Auston Matthews' hard work resulted in a hook on Justin Braun, the rookie buzzed in a shot after some sloppy Sharks defense at 6:41 of the middle frame for his 31st of the season.

Brenden Dillon responded for the Sharks, though, powering a slap shot through Andersen after Labanc set him up nicely less than six minutes after Matthews' score.

“We were kind of buzzing down low,” Dillon said. “I think we got them a little tired, and [Labanc] made a great play through the middle. I kind of got my head up, and a little bit of time, so I thought I'd try the slapper instead of the wrist shot and I was fortunate to find a hole."

San Jose came out for the third period with renewed energy, and outshot the Maple Leafs 14-4 over the final frame, including Hertl’s game-winner.

DeBoer said: “We were unfortunate to be out of that [first] period without being up. .... Second period I thought they pushed back a little, and I thought the third we put our foot right back on the gas again and finally got rewarded. 

“That’s playoff hockey, you’re going to hit a hot goalie once in awhile. … It took 58-59 minutes, but we found a way.”


Newly acquired Hansen brings 'in-your-face' style to Sharks


Newly acquired Hansen brings 'in-your-face' style to Sharks

SAN JOSE – Many players on the Sharks roster are plenty familiar with the way that Jannik Hansen approaches the game. 

The 30-year-old forward, acquired by the Sharks on Tuesday evening for prospect Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional fourth round draft pick, has spent the first nine-plus seasons of his NHL career in the Sharks’ division in Vancouver, playing 29 career regular season games against San Jose and another nine in the postseason.

While Hansen has the ability to contribute offense, with 105 goals and 235 points in 565 career regular games, he can’t be judged on stats alone. Hansen is one of those guys that plays a gritty, mean-spirited, physical style that tends to be particularly effective in the postseason.

Logan Couture had a term for it that he repeated twice on Tuesday night following the Sharks’ 3-1 win over Toronto.

"He's in-your-face. He's one of those guys, he'll play chippy, he'll finish his check on skilled guys,” Couture said. “He plays in-your-face."

How important is it to have those “in-your-face” players in the lineup in the postseason?

“It’s critical,” coach Pete DeBoer said. “There’s nowhere to hide, especially out here and especially in our division. You look at the potential trail through the Western Conference, this is going to be a really tough road. We’re going to need some gritty, character guys to add to the grit and character we already have in the room.”

Brenden Dillon, a Vancouver native who said he knows Hansen a bit off the ice, said: “Obviously, [it’s] nicer to have those kind of [gritty] guys on your team than against them. Especially come playoff time, you know the hits and the after-the-whistle stuff is going to happen."

DeBoer didn’t yet have a place in mind for where Hansen might line up, as he said he only found out about the deal when everyone else did, which was late in the second period of the Sharks-Maple Leafs game at SAP Center. Sharks general manager Doug Wilson hinted to DeBoer before the game that he had “some options that he felt were getting closer, but nothing imminent at that point.”

Still, DeBoer knew that Hansen was a potential target, and the Sharks coach rattled of a laundry list of why he believes it’s a good fit for his club.

“A guy that played both ways, had speed, could kill penalties, could chip in some goals, could play with good players, had a long history in the playoffs, knew the Western Conference,” DeBoer said. “All those boxes checked, and from a character point of view, the reports were fantastic as far as fitting in with our group.”

The NHL trade deadline hits on Wednesday at noon, and the Sharks don’t seem to have any obvious holes. Scoring depth was thought to be the top need (at least according to this writer), and Hansen gives the Sharks a little bit more of that to go with his other aforementioned attributes.

DeBoer would be fine with the current group in teal if no more acquisitions are made.

“I love our group. I’ve said that all along,” he said. “This is a bonus. Credit to Doug, it’s not easy to give up a young prospect like that, especially somebody homegrown. We all like [Goldobin] as a kid and as a prospect and I think he’s got a bright future, but I think we recognize that this group has a chance to do something special. He’s gone out and added to it, which I think we all appreciate.”

Couture was glad that no one off the current Sharks roster had to be sacrificed for the newest addition.

“This group here that's very close,” Couture said. “Talking with Doug, that's one thing that he was focused on. He didn't want to change the dynamic of this group and move a guy from this team. So, we stuck with that. We're a team here that obviously a good year last year, and we're hoping to build on that."