Instant Replay: Sharks come alive, crush Oilers to even series

Instant Replay: Sharks come alive, crush Oilers to even series

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – It’s now a best-of-three, and if there’s any such thing as momentum in a playoff series, it’s all in the Sharks’ corner.

Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture each scored twice, and Brent Burns notched three assists in a 7-0 San Jose romp that evened its first round series with the Oilers at two games apiece. Martin Jones stopped all 23 shots he faced in net.

The Sharks set three notable franchise playoff records in the win: the seven-goal margin of victory was their largest ever, their four power play goals was the most they’ve ever scored in a game, and Pavelski’s goal just 15 seconds in was the fastest in team history.

Despite scoring just three goals in the series through three games – all in Game 1 – they tied the franchise record for most goals ever scored in a playoff game.

It took just 15 seconds for the Sharks to end a scoreless drought of exactly 120 minutes. Pavelski got the blade of his stick on a Justin Braun floater after an offensive zone faceoff win, and the puck bounced through Cam Talbot.

The floodgates opened from there, thanks in large part to the power play.

Couture increased the Sharks’ lead to 2-0 with a man advantage at 11:02, whipping in a seam pass from Pavelski that was deflected in the slot by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins before Couture pulled it in. Talbot misplayed the shot.

San Jose added four more in the middle frame.

Patrick Marleau’s goal came after Pavelski was stopped in the slot, again on a Sharks power play, upping the lead to 3-0 at 2:02.

A pair of even strength goals a little more than three minutes apart put the game out of reach. Marcus Sorensen potted a David Schlemko rebound at 9:46 for his first career playoff goal, and Couture got another at 12:52, converting on a wrist shot after a brilliant backhanded feed from the end wall by Jannik Hansen.

Talbot departed at that point, but Pavelski’s power play goal at 16:46 on Laurent Broissoit – on another patented deflection by the captain – upped the lead to 6-0 at the second intermission.

David Schlemko’s power play goal at 6:45 of the third period capped the scoring.

The game got chippy in the second with the Sharks holding their commanding lead. Leon Draisaitl was issued a five-minute major and game misconduct at 13:44, pitchforking Chris Tierney in the groin as the two battled in the corner. Later, Patrick Maroon cross-checked Pavelski from behind at 19:23, and Pavelski made it known to the big forward that he didn’t like the dangerous hit.

The previous fastest goal in a playoff game was by Dany Heatley, who scored 28 seconds into a game against the Kings on April 14, 2011.

San Jose ended a three-game home losing streak in the playoffs, including games four and six of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

The Sharks are 6-9 all-time when a series is tied at two games apiece.

Special teams

The Sharks were just 1-for-14 on the power play before Game 4. They finished the night 4-for-8, making them 5-for-22 in the series.

Edmonton went 0-for-4, and is just 1-for-12 in the series.

In goal

Jones’ shutout was the fourth of his playoff career. He is 16-12 all-time in the postseason.

Talbot, who recorded the shutout in games two and three, allowed five goals on 24 shots before leaving. Broissoit saw eight shots, surrendering two goals.

Lineup

Mikkel Boedker was a healthy scratch for the second straight game, as the Sharks made no lineup changes from Game 3.

Up next

The series goes back to Edmonton for Game 5 on Thursday at Rogers Place, where the teams split the first two games of the series.

The winner of the Sharks-Oilers series will face the winner of Ducks-Flames in the second round. Anaheim has won the first three games of that series.

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.