Kings surging while Sharks continue slide

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Kings surging while Sharks continue slide

LOS ANGELES It wasnt very difficult to see on Tuesday night which team is making a strong playoff push and which is staring down an early summer.

The Los Angeles Kings have won five straight games, and are playing their best hockey of the season. Their offense, which had been a huge problem, is clicking - and then some.

Since acquiring Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets a dozen games ago, Los Angeles has poured in 43 goals, including five last night against the fading Sharks in a 5-2 win. That averages to 3.58 a game, or a goal and a half better than their 2.11 goals-per-game rate before the trade.

Theyve done a really good job. Darryl Sutter has come in and put his mark on the team, Todd McLellan said. Jeff Carter is a 40-goal scorer. They dont grow on trees, and when you get them and put them in the right spots, they can be very dangerous.

They skate very well and theyre deep up front with Carter being here now, Joe Thornton said. They have a bunch of good forwards.

Add that to a strong defense corps and one of the best goalies in the game in Jonathan Quick, and the Sharks will have their hands full in the final two games of the regular season, which ends with a home-and-home against the Kings. That is, if the Sharks are even still in playoff contention by then.

Theyre playing very well defensively, said Marty Havlat, who had a goal and an assist on Tuesday. I dont think they give up any odd-man rushes and thats the most important thing right now. They always have three guys back. Its very tough to beat their defense and their goalies been great.
More from Boyle: Dan Boyle was brutally honest after last nights loss to the Kings, which we got into in the game recap. After Boyle said that the Kings were probably trying harder, he was asked how the Sharks could fix that this late in the season.

You work as hard as you can. You need everybody. I think we weve got guys going and others arent, thats not going to work at this time of year. We need everybody, Boyle said.

Watching the scoreboard: Did you keep an eye on the Calgary-Colorado, Phoenix-Dallas games last night? All five teams the Sharks are competing with for a playoff spot including Los Angeles were in action on Tuesday night, head-to-head.

Youre probably well aware by now that the Sharks are the only team that didnt get at least one point, as the other two games ended in a shootout (Dallas beat Phoenix, 4-3) and overtime (Colorado defeated Calgary, 2-1).

Mathematically, the Sharks have just a 37.6 percent chance of making the postseason, according to sportsclubstats.com.

Thats the name of the game these days. A lot of them are three point games. The last thing we need to do is scoreboard watch, Boyle said.

We cant control what happened in Dallas or Denver tonight, McLellan said after the game. Theres no sense worrying about it. Weve got to worry about our own group and what we can do. Weve got to get home, get some rest and play against the Stanley Cup Champions on Thursday, which will be a great challenge for us.

The Sharks, who have a day off on Wednesday, host Boston on Thursday.

From the Kings room: Heres what former Sharks coach and current Kings bench boss Sutter had to say about his teams 5-2 win:

I think tonight, because we had four lines and they San Jose played last night, they could push it a little bit; catch guys at the end of shifts, catch guys that played a lot, catch them a little bit tired and we looked fresher. That was the difference in the killer part of it. I think we took advantage of that.

Anze Kopitar, who has a goal in each of his last four games after scoring and adding two assists on Tuesday, said, Theres obviously always room for improvement, but tonight was a huge game. We knew what was at stake and I think we came up big. It was a full team effort and thats what weve got to do down the road.

Instant Replay: Sharks allow six to Stars, losing streak now at five

Instant Replay: Sharks allow six to Stars, losing streak now at five

BOX SCORE

DALLAS – Entering the game with their longest regulation losing streak of the season, and playing against what should have been a tired opponent that is already out of playoff contention, the Sharks were obliterated by the Stars on Friday at American Airlines Center, 6-1.
 
From the drop of the puck, the Sharks looked like they had no interest in competing against a Dallas team that had played in Chicago on Thursday night, and had already beaten San Jose earlier in the week.

The loss stretched the Sharks’ losing streak to five, and it is the longest in more than six years when they dropped six in a row from Jan. 3-13, 2011. After enjoying a nine-point lead on the rest of the Pacific Division on March 14, the Ducks can tie San Jose in points with a win over Winnipeg later on Friday.
 
Adam Cracknell, who paced the Dallas offense with a hat trick, opened the scoring with his first of three goals. He drove the puck to the net while fighting off Brenden Dillon, and Micheal Haley inadvertently kicked the loose puck through Aaron Dell at 8:30 of the first period.
 
Prior to that score, it took the Sharks more than seven minutes to register their first shot.
 
San Jose escaped down just 1-0 at the first intermission, but it quickly got worse. Brett Ritchie was left open by Dillon and whipped in a pass from Tyler Seguin at 1:58, and then Dallas’ third goal really set off coach Pete DeBoer.
 
Joe Pavelski lost a defensive zone draw, and Brent Burns inexplicably vacated the front of the net, where Jamie Benn was wide open. Benn had all kinds of time to freeze Aaron Dell and slip through his 25th goal at 5:19.
 
DeBoer called timeout at that point, and was as visibly upset at his bench as he has been in his two seasons as head coach, barking away at the stunned Sharks skaters.
 
It didn’t help. Cracknell made it 4-0 off of a rush less than two minutes after the timeout, and although Joe Thornton got one back on the power play, the Stars scored two more times in the third period. 
 
Dell misplayed a puck on a Sharks power play, sliding it right to Cracknell for a breakaway in which he finished off a hat trick at 4:59. Just 21 seconds later, John Klingberg converted a two-on-one with Jason Spezza – who had three assists on the night – to make it a 6-1 Dallas lead.
 
The five-game winless streak is their worst since they went 0-6-1 from Dec. 1-12 last season.
 
San Jose has just five goals in its last five games.
 
The Sharks had Jannik Hansen back for the game, after the recent addition had missed the last two games with a head injury. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, though, was not able to finish the game, for reasons that were not immediately clear.
 
Special teams 
 
Thornton’s goal was his first on the power play all season, as the Sharks went 1-for-2. Dallas was 0-for-2.
 
Cracknell’s shorthanded goal was the fourth the Sharks have allowed this season.
 
In goal
 
Dell suffered his worst game of the season, and his NHL career, allowing six goals on 29 shots. He played all three games against Dallas, stopping 48 of 50 shots in the first two.
 
Kari Lehtonen, who shut out the Sharks with 30 saves on Monday in a 1-0 win, made 20 saves on Friday. He has played in 10 straight games.
 
Lineup
 
Timo Meier came out of the lineup for Hansen, while Danny O’Regan was reassigned to the Barracuda earlier in the day.
 
Burns snapped out of his seven-game scoreless streak with an assist on Thornton’s goal, but still has no goals in his last 15 games.
 
Dallas’ Tyler Seguin was skating in his 500th career NHL game.
 
Up next
 
The Sharks conclude their road trip Saturday in Nashville, their only appearance there in the regular season. In the first two games of the season series in San Jose, the Sharks won on Oct. 29, 4-1, but dropped a 3-1 decision on March 11.

Sharks sign prospect Noah Rod, an 'agitator who can score'

Sharks sign prospect Noah Rod, an 'agitator who can score'

The Sharks have signed prospect forward Noah Rod to a standard three-year entry-level contract, the club announced on Friday. The Sharks drafted Rod (pronounced like road) in the second round (53rd overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

The 20-year-old has five goals, nine assists and 22 penalty minutes with a plus-five rating in 27 games with Geneve-Servette in Switzerland. In 137 career games in the Swiss league from 2013-17, Rod has 37 points (14g, 23a) and 64 penalty minutes. The native of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland has represented his country in each of the last two World Junior tournaments, playing with fellow Sharks prospects Timo Meier and Mirco Mueller.

He is expected to join the AHL Barracuda shortly, once the immigration paperwork goes through.

"Noah plays with a tenacious, feisty edge which makes him a difficult player for opponents to play against," general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "He has continued to grow his overall game the past few seasons, playing against men in Switzerland's top professional league, and we think his combination of grit and skill will translate well in North America. We are excited for him to make the move."

In February, Sharks director of hockey operations Doug Wilson, Jr. told The Hockey News that the six-foot, 200-pound Rod has “taken huge strides this year” and was hopeful that he would join the organization by the end of this season.

Wilson, Jr. said: “[Rod] was a 17-year-old shut down guy in a men’s league, that’s crazy. He’s taken huge leaps. They’ve got him playing top six minutes, and he’s producing as an offensive guy now. 

“He’s one of those guys, he would fit perfect in Pete [DeBoer’s] system – pressure all over the ice, agitator who can score. He fits really well for us. We’re excited about him.”