Instant Replay: Burns nets two, Sharks put an end to losing streak

Instant Replay: Burns nets two, Sharks put an end to losing streak

BOX SCORE

NEWARK – The Sharks salvaged the final game of their road trip on Sunday at Prudential Center, due in large part to their bearded duo.
 
Brent Burns scored twice and Joe Thornton added a goal and an assist, as San Jose downed the Devils, 4-1. The Sharks snapped a season-long four-game losing streak, after dropping games in Buffalo, Boston and Philadelphia to start the four-game trip.
 
The Sharks scored three consecutive goals in less than nine minutes in the second period to take a 3-1 lead.
 
The first two came from Burns, on similar looking shots. After keeping a rolling puck in at the blue line, the defenseman picked the top corner from high in the zone, tying the game at 1-1 at 2:27 of the middle frame.
 
A little more than five minutes later, Burns snuck another shot from even higher in the zone inside the post at 7:46, for his 24th goal of the year.
 
Thornton added to the lead at 11:22, zipping in a wrister. It was his second goal in the last three games, after he scored his first in a manned net in Boston on Thursday.
 
Martin Jones was playing his first game since getting pulled on Thursday in Boston, and entered having given up seven goals on his last 23 shots faced. He allowed a goal on the first shot he saw, but shut the Devils down after that.
 
Tomas Hertl’s empty net goal with 1:24 left in regulation sealed the San Jose victory. The Sharks now have a five-point lead on second place Anaheim in the Pacific Division.
 
New Jersey, playing in its first game after its bye week, lost for the first time in five games (3-1-1).
 
The Sharks held a 19-3 edge in shots in the first period, but the Devils took a 1-0 lead at 11:42 on their first shot. P.A. Parenteau deposited a short pass through the slot from Taylor Hall, after Jacob Josefsen pressured Brenden Dillon into a turnover behind the net.
 
San Jose went 0-for-4 in the first period on the power play, including a lengthy two-man advantage.
 
The Sharks welcomed Logan Couture back into the lineup after the center was a late scratch on Saturday in Philadelphia with an upper body injury.
 
San Jose also won the first meeting between the teams on Nov. 21 at home, 4-0. This was their final road game of the season in an Eastern Conference city.
 
Special teams 
 
Neither team scored a special teams goal, as the previously effective Sharks went 0-for-6 and Devils 0-for-2.
 
The Sharks are having particular trouble on five-on-three advantages lately. They didn’t score on a one minute and 42 second two-man advantage on Sunday, and failed on Feb. 4 against Arizona on a two-man advantage that lasted a little more than two minutes.
 
In goal
 
Jones made 21 saves in improving to 3-1-0 all-time against New Jersey. His best sequence came late in the second period, when he denied Hall with 1:40 to go, and turned away a redirection by a cutting Stefan Noesen with 1:08 left, preserving the Sharks’ 3-1 lead.
 
Schneider was impressive early, but took the loss with three goals allowed on 37 shots. He’s just 4-6-2 in his career against San Jose.
 
Lineup
 
Marcus Sorensen came out of the lineup to make way for Couture.
 
Patrick Marleau saw a nine-game point streak come to an end.
 
Up next
 
The Sharks have three games remaining before the bye week starting with the Panthers, who beat them in overtime on Nov. 3, 4-3. San Jose visits Arizona next Saturday, and hosts the Bruins next Sunday before five mandatory days off from Feb. 20-24.

Boedker tops list of disappointing Sharks depth forwards

Boedker tops list of disappointing Sharks depth forwards

SAN JOSE – The Sharks didn’t make any blockbuster moves last summer, content to make another run in 2016-17 with largely the same group that came within two wins of capturing the Stanley Cup.

They still acquired a notable player, though, when Mikkel Boedker was signed on July 1 to add an element that the Sharks knew they needed more of moving forward – speed. Boedker was expected to make the team faster, after the Sharks were exposed for not having enough of that against Pittsburgh in the NHL’s final round, as well as play in a top six role. 

At the time, it was hailed as a slick, under-the-radar move that wasn’t going to change the dynamic of the club but could help push it over the top.

When Boedker was a healthy scratch in games three and four of the first round against Edmonton, the evidence became clear, though, that this was a decision that fell flat on its face. 

Frankly, Boedker – who is signed for three more years with a $4 million salary cap hit – brings back visions of Sharks bust Marty Havlat. You know the skill is there, but the desire to use it on a nightly basis while showing any semblance of a battle level is lacking. 

Should the Sharks give Boedker another chance next season, or should they do everything in their power to try and move him? That’s a question that will likely be debated in the front office over the next several weeks.

On get-away day on Monday, indications were that the Sharks were planning on sticking with the 27-year-old, who finished with 26 points in the regular season (10g, 16a) and added one goal and one assist in four games in the playoffs.

“He has the things we’re looking for: his career scoring average, his speed, [penalty killing] ability,” general manager Doug Wilson said. “Did he meet the expectations that he had for himself [or] that we had for him? No. Can we get that out of him? Pete [DeBoer] believes we can.”

DeBoer has known Boedker since he played for him in 2007-08 in Kitchener (OHL). Despite scratching him in the playoffs, DeBoer said he saw “huge improvement” in Boedker throughout the course of the season after the forward spent nearly all of his NHL career in Arizona.

“There was an adjustment. He’s played 6-7 years a certain way in the NHL,” DeBoer said. “We’ve asked him to play differently here, and there was an adjustment.”

Boedker still believes that he can be a fit in San Jose.

“I think it will be and it can be,” he said. “It’s learning period, but you’ve also got to look in the mirror yourself and see what you can change and what assets you need to bring. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m ready to do that.”

The list of Sharks depth forwads that had frustrating seasons hardly begins and ends with Boedker, though.

Veteran Joel Ward’s production dipped from 43 points last season to 29 in 2016-17, although that probably isn’t too surprising considering he’s 36. Tomas Hertl is proving to be a streaky player, too, although his season was interrupted by another a knee injury.

The bigger disappointment came from players like Chris Tierney and Joonas Donskoi, who both made big impressions in the 2016 playoffs but struggled to produce consistent offense this year. Both were mentioned by name by DeBoer on Monday.

There are some promising youngsters in the pipeline like Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Marcus Sorensen, but it’s still too early to project any of them as can’t-miss scorers at the NHL level.

“I think we’ve got a large group of guys that I like, but need to step up,” DeBoer said. “Is Sorensen [like] Donskoi next year, where he takes a step back, or [does he take a] step forward? We’ve got a lot of guys that there’s a lot of potential there – Chris Tierney. 

“There’s a lot of those guys, but they need to have big summers and take a step, and show that they’re not just one season or one month players.”

Facial fractures for Couture; Thornton undergoes surgery

Facial fractures for Couture; Thornton undergoes surgery

SAN JOSE – Just in case there was any question as to the grisly nature of Logan Couture’s mouth injury, the Sharks forward shared a picture on his personal Instagram account on Monday.

If you haven’t seen it yet, proceed with caution.

The photo was taken the night of his injury on March 25 in Nashville, showing several top teeth missing in a mouth that can accurately be described as a bloody mess, after he was hit with a defected puck while standing in front of the net in a game against the Predators.

Couture revealed on Tuesday in a conference call that there was more to his injury that just damaged teeth. He also has some facial fractures, including one above his upper lip that extends to his nasal area, and another that is under the bottom row of his teeth.

The one that’s higher in his face is still painful. 

“Still struggle to eat and sleep. … It’s not a comfortable state to be in,” said Couture, who missed the final seven games of the regular season before returning for the six-game first round series loss to Edmonton.

As for the next step, Couture has yet to sit down with his dentist, although further work is on the horizon.

“There’s going to be some implants to get the teeth fixed,” he said. “Hopefully get it done in the next few weeks, and then I’ll head back to Canada.”

Couture doesn’t yet know how many teeth need to be replaced.

“All depends on how the teeth respond,” he said.

* * *

Joe Thornton had successful surgery on his left knee on Monday afternoon, NBC Sports California has learned, and according to a team statement released later on Tuesday he is expected to "make a complete recovery and be ready for the start of the 2017-18 season." 

According to a source, the damage to Thornton’s MCL was more significant than his ACL. The team declined to give any details about the surgery in its statement, including who performed it and where it was done. 

Thornton played four playoff games against Edmonton despite damaged knee ligaments, head coach Pete DeBoer revealed on Monday, when he said Thornton was dealing with a “torn MCL and ACL” after getting hurt in Vancouver on April 2.