Instant Replay: Sharks shut out again, Oilers take 2-1 series lead

Instant Replay: Sharks shut out again, Oilers take 2-1 series lead

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – Joe Thornton made his return to the lineup, but it didn’t help the Sharks offense in a 1-0 loss to the Oilers in Game 3 of their first round series on Sunday night at SAP Center.

The Oilers have won the last two games after San Jose claimed the opener.

The only goal came with 9:15 to go in the third period. David Schlemko turned the puck over to Zack Kassian, who pushed a backhand from the slot through Martin Jones to break the scoreless tie.

It was the second straight game that Kassian found the scoresheet, including a shorthanded goal in Edmonton’s Game 2 win on Friday.

The Sharks have not scored since Melker Karlsson’s overtime winner in Game 1.

The Sharks are 3-10 when trailing a series two-games-to-one in their history. In NHL history, when teams are tied 1-1 in a series, the winner of Game 3 wins the series 67.6 percent of the time (202-97 record).

In their first home game of the series, the Sharks came out hitting everything in sight after losing the physicality battle in games one and two. They also dominated territorially, but Joe Pavelski missed an open net on a backhand from the slot less than five minutes in, and Chris Tierney fired high on a partial breakaway with six-and-a-half minutes to go.

Play evened out to start the second before Edmonton started to press. Connor McDavid generated a pair of chances with about four minutes to go, but his wraparound try was thwarted by Jones, and Patrick Maroon couldn’t find a handle on the loose puck.

Jones swallowed up a McDavid one-time shortly after that, keeping it scoreless with 3:38 to go before the second intermission.

The Sharks outshot the Oilers 13-6 in the first period, but Edmonton registered 12 of the 16 total shots in the middle frame. The Sharks outshot the Oilers for the game, 23-22.

Special teams

After getting six power plays in each of the first two games, the Sharks went 0-for-2 in Game 3. They didn’t register a single shot on goal, and are just 1-for-14 in the series along with two shorthanded goals-against. Thornton returned to the top unit in his regular place.

Edmonton had just one power play, late in the first period, and did not score. The Oilers are 1-for-8 in the series.

In goal

Talbot notched his second straight shutout with 23 saves, as he continues his first career playoff run as a number one starter. His biggest stop came on Joel Ward with 6:20 to go in regulation.

Jones played admirably, but fell to 15-12 career in the postseason with one goal allowed on 22 shots.

Lineup

Mikkel Boedker was a healthy scratch to make way for Thornton.

Edmonton defenseman Oscar Klefbom was able to play despite missing the final few minutes of Game 2 after blocking a Brent Burns shot.

Up next

Game 4 remains in San Jose on Tuesday, before the teams go back to Edmonton for Game 5 on Thursday.

The winner of the Sharks-Oilers series will face the winner of Ducks-Flames in the second round. Anaheim leads that series, two games to none, winning the first two at Honda Center.

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.