Instant Replay: Sharks battle back in third to force OT, still fall to Panthers

Instant Replay: Sharks battle back in third to force OT, still fall to Panthers

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – Joe Pavelski’s two late goals forced overtime, but Jonathan Huberdeau converted in overtime to push the Panthers to a 6-5 win over the Sharks on Wednesday night at SAP Center.

Pavelski scored twice in the final three-and-a-half minutes of regulation to salvage a point for San Jose.

The first came when he was looking for Kevin Labanc cutting towards the net, and the puck directed in off of Michael Matheson’s stick at 16:39, to make it a 5-4 score.

Then, with Martin Jones pulled for an extra attacker, Pavelski fired in his 20th of the season from between the circles with just 38 seconds remaining, finding a puck that ricocheted off the post. Roberto Luongo was hurt on the play, and former Sharks backup James Reimer was forced to relieve him in net.

In overtime, Huberdeau slipped in a pass from Aleksander Barkov to give the Panthers the extra point at 1:38. Huberdeau pressured David Schlemko into a turnover deep in the Sharks' defensive zone before ending the game.

The Sharks have just one win in their last six games (1-1-4), and remain four points ahead of Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division.

Nick Bjugstad broke a 3-3 tie early in the final frame, chipping in a pass from Alex Petrovic at 2:15 after Timo Meier turned it over in the defensive zone. It was his second of the night, after he began the night with just two goals in 26 games.

Barkov gave Florida some breathing room at 12:41, pushing over a dish in the slot from Jaromir Jagr. The play began when Petrovic kept a Chris Tierney clearing attempt in at the blue line.

Some early defensive miscues by the Sharks helped the Panthers jump to a 3-1 lead.

At 4:20 of the first period, Jussi Jokinen opened the scoring on a two-on-one, finishing off a pass through the seam from Reilly Smith after Brent Burns was caught too high in the neutral zone.

Burns tied the game just 31 seconds later on a wrist shot from high in the zone, but Bjugstad got behind Brenden Dillon and finished off a breakaway at 5:35.

Barkov’s one-timer at 7:12 gave the Panthers a 3-1 lead. Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s defensive zone giveaway preceded Barkov’s 12th goal.

San Jose got one back before the end of the first, when Joe Thornton and Joel Ward each got a piece of a Burns low wrister at 15:25. Ward was credited with his seventh, making it a 3-2 score after the first.

The Sharks dominated the second period, outshooting Florida 14-3 and getting the equalizer on a Vlasic score at 6:27. The defenseman’s blast deflected off of Barkov and through Luongo.

San Jose could have had more, but Pavelski couldn’t convert on a penalty shot midway through regulation, and a pair of power plays were squandered.

Burns, with one goal and one assist, is now tied for second in the NHL with Sidney Crosby, just two points behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid.

The Sharks and Panthers split their two-game season series.

Special teams

The Sharks finished 0-for-3 on the power play, and are just 2-for-21 in their last six games.

The Sharks have five of the NHL’s 30 penalty shots this season, and are 1-for-5 (Melker Karlsson, Jan. 24 at Winnipeg).

Florida was 0-for-2 on the power play. San Jose is 7-for-7 on the PK in its last three games.

In goal

For the second time in his last three starts, Jones gave up three goals in the first period. He was pulled last Thursday in Boston, but stayed in against the Panthers, finishing with 16 saves on 22 shots.

Luongo made 29 saves on 34 shots before he had to leave the game. Reimer turned away both shots he saw, and recorded the win.

Lineup

The Sharks honored forward Patrick Marleau in a pregame ceremony for recently scoring his 500th career goal. Marleau also became just the 10th player in NHL history to appear in 600 consecutive games.

Jagr, the oldest player in the league, was celebrating his 45th birthday. His assist on Barkov’s third period goal was the 1900th point of his career.

Former first round pick Nikolay Goldobin was recalled by the Sharks on Wednesday morning, but did not play. He still has yet to make his NHL season debut.

Up next

The Sharks conclude the season series with Arizona on Saturday in Glendale. The last place Coyotes are 3-0-1 in the season series, while San Jose is 1-2-1, with its lone win coming in overtime on Nov. 29.

A home game with Boston on Sunday is the Sharks’ final before their bye week 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.