Sharks

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.

Analysis: Sharks will need results from recent draft classes

meier-timo-white-face.jpg
AP

Analysis: Sharks will need results from recent draft classes

It was late in the lockout-shortened 2013 season when Sharks general manager Doug Wilson really started to prepare for the future. Douglas Murray was dealt to Pittsburgh for a pair of second round selections. Ryane Clowe packed his bags for Broadway, in exchange for a second and a third round pick from the Rangers. Michal Handzus went to Chicago for a fourth rounder.

Wilson’s logic was sound, as it typically takes two-to-four years before draft picks have a chance to make an impact at the NHL level. The general manager figured that by then, players like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau either wouldn’t be a part of the team anymore or would be slowing down. Restocking the cupboards was essential.

From 2013-15, the Sharks made 24 selections over the next three NHL entry drafts, including seven total picks in the top two rounds. Some players have shown promise. Others haven’t. A few aren’t in the organization anymore. That’s the nature of the business.

The way the 2017-18 opening night roster is shaping up, though, now is the time that some of these young players in the system simply have to step up. Marleau and his 27 goals last season are gone, Thornton’s numbers are down and he’s coming off of major knee surgery, Joe Pavelski is now 33 years old, and the team’s offense depth is suspect at best. There have been no notable additions in the offseason.

Frankly, this season could be viewed as a referendum on the team’s amateur scouting staff, including longtime director Tim Burke. Wilson handed Burke and his staff a wonderful opportunity to provide the organization with fresh talent with the team approaching an organizational crossroads.

What has transpired so far is a bit concerning, as already two of the team’s first round picks from that span ended up being nothing more than trade bait.

* * *

Mirco Mueller, chosen 18th overall in 2013, was a huge disappointment in San Jose. It’s been well documented that he was mishandled by the organization when he was rushed to the league in 2014-15, but even this past season, regular observers of the Barracuda had Mueller as nothing more than the AHL team’s fourth-best defenseman. He’s now in New Jersey, swapped for a pair of draft picks.

The scouting staff was so high on Mueller on draft day that Wilson traded a valuable second round pick to Detroit to move up just two places to select him. With those acquired picks, the Red Wings took Anthony Mantha 20th overall and Tyler Bertuzzi 58th overall – two forwards that have shown a whole lot more NHL potential than Mueller (especially Mantha, who has 39 points in 70 career NHL games so far).

Perhaps more concerning, though, is that the Sharks 2013 draft class as a whole is looking like a dud. Second round pick Gabryel Boudreau suffered a wrist injury and is no longer in the organization anymore, but he was trending downward even before he got hurt. None of the remaining players selected from rounds four-through-seven look to be NHL quality, either.

The next year brought Nikolay Goldobin, chosen 27th overall after the Sharks traded down in the first round, and he ended up being the key piece in the Jannik Hansen acquisition from Vancouver. Goldobin showed some flashes of offensive talent during his time in the organization, but his lack of hockey sense and on-ice work ethic helped lead to his exit. Whether Goldobin becomes an NHL regular, even with a fresh start in Vancouver, is highly uncertain.

Had the Sharks stayed at 20th overall, they could have selected Nick Schmaltz (20th overall), Robby Fabbri (21st overall), or David Pastrnak (25th overall). Instead, they moved down and took Goldobin, making it back-to-back first round failures.

* * *

Still, unlike 2013, other players from Goldobin’s draft class have shown some promise. Second rounder Julius Bergman was a steady blueliner for a good Barracuda team last season, and although he’s probably not NHL-ready yet, he could be on the right track. Late in the draft the team found Kevin Labanc in the sixth round with the 171st overall selection, and Labanc had some nice moments with the Sharks last season. His shot and his hands make him a solid prospect, although Labanc still probably has to get a bit bigger and stronger to play in the NHL full-time.

Noah Rod (second round, 53rd overall) and Rourke Chartier (fifth round, 149th overall) are also still developing, with Rod playing against men in the Swiss league the past few seasons and Chartier a valuable player for the Barracuda last year.

In 2015, the draft provided the Sharks with Timo Meier at ninth overall, as the club drafted in the top 10 for the first time since 2007. At this point, Meier is far and away the best prospect in the organization, and he’ll likely be relied upon to play a top nine (or even a top six) role for the Sharks this season.

The 2015 draft brought other decent prospects, too. Defenseman Jeremy Roy was selected 31st overall, and after suffering a serious knee injury in juniors this year, he’ll get a chance to play for the Barracuda this year. Fourth rounder Adam Helewka and fifth rounder Rudolfs Balcers have also developed nicely since draft day. It’s still a bit too early to evaluate that draft as a whole.

It should also be mentioned that while their draft day record may be suspect the past few seasons, the Sharks have brought in European free agents like Melker Karlsson, Joonas Donskoi and Marcus Sorensen. Karlsson has developed into a versatile, hard-working forward; Donskoi has shown flashes of offensive brilliance despite a disappointing second year in the NHL last season; and Sorensen looks primed to make the opening night roster after his speed and tenacity shined through during the Sharks’ first round series loss to Edmonton.

The Sharks scouting staff has helped to keep the team competitive for a long time, and they’re as big a reason as any that the team has missed the playoffs just once in the past 11 seasons. But this is also a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business, and now is the time that the Sharks need to see some results from players that were chosen by Burke and company.

Report: Former Sharks forward awarded millions in suit against former agent

dany-heatley-sharks.jpg
AP

Report: Former Sharks forward awarded millions in suit against former agent

Dany Heatley last played in the NHL in the 2014-15 season, but he's still raking in hefty paychecks.

The former Sharks forward was awarded $6.5 million on Wednesday, when a judge ruled in his favor in a lawsuit filed against Heatley's former agent, Stacey McAlpine, and McAlpine's parents. 

The lawsuit, filed in 2012, claimed that McAlpine coaxed Heatley into unwise real-estate investments and withdrew over $4 million from Heatley's accounts without authorization.

After a five-year legal battle, Heatley was awarded $4.1 million from defendant company Presidential Suites Inc. and $2.3 million from the second defendant company Waterfront Development Inc, according to CTV Calgary.

Heatley, 36, played two of his 13 NHL seasons in San Jose, where he totaled 146 points (65 goals and 81 assists) in 162 games.

McAlpine was also sued in 2016 by former Senators defenseman Chris Phillips.