Marleau's hat trick lifts Sharks over Avalanche

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Marleau's hat trick lifts Sharks over Avalanche

BOX SCORE

DENVER -- Playing in the second half of a back-to-back, especially after an intensely physical affair the night before, its up to the leaders to get the team through nights where it may not be at its best.Patrick Marleau certainly qualifies as one of those influential few on the Sharks. With a three-goal performance keying a 4-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night at Pepsi Center, its easy to see why.Marleau scored one goal in each of the three periods to record his first hat trick since November 27, 2009. The Sharks won their third straight game overall, including both road games this weekend after an emotional 4-1 win in Dallas on Saturday night.

Thats what you want out of a road trip like this, said Marleau. Two pretty hard fought games. Well take that, and now we have to carry it over.Its your big guys leading on days where the team maybe isnt playing as well as it can, or its a little lethargic, said Todd McLellan, noting that captain Joe Thornton had three assists on the night.With the score 1-1 after the first, Marleau scored his second of the night and Joe Pavelski added his team-leading 11th to give San Jose a two-goal lead at the second intermission.The Sharks took their first lead of the game when Marleau beautifully tipped in a low shot from Marc-Edouard Vlasic at 7:35 of the second period.That goal held up as the game-winner, and may have been a case of practice-makes-perfect.I got it up the wall and put it to the net as quickly as possible, said Vlasic, who had the primary assist on all three of Marleaus goals. Weve actually been practicing high tips, and Patty did a great job tipping it in.Later in the second, Thornton set up shop behind the net and fed Pavelski in the circle for a one-timer at 16:47. Overall, the Sharks have outscored the opposition 30-11 in the second period, including a combined 7-0 during their three-game winning streak.Thomas Greiss did the rest, finishing with 36 saves. The Avalanche outshot the Sharks 37-18 in all, although the defense corps did a good job for most of the night in keeping the shots to the outside and letting the goaltender track it down.Most of the shots were like from the blue line or the perimeter, said Greiss. It was pretty good. Most times I could see the puck right into my chest. It was a really good job by the D.Greiss improved to 4-3, and improved his goals-against average to 1.99 and save percentage to .929.Thats why we feel good about Thomas, because he can pitch those games, said McLellan.Greiss was making his first start since Nov. 12, when the Sharks failed to crack the scoreboard in a 3-0 loss to Phoenix their only defeat in the last six games (5-1-0).It was good to get a win again, especially after last game, to bounce back.The Sharks also played disciplined a necessity against the Avalanche, who sport the NHLs second best power play. Colorado was just 0-for-1 with a man advantage, while the Sharks were 1-for-6, with the one coming on Marleaus empty-netter with 43 seconds left.Some late minor penalties to Brandon Yip and Erik Johnson helped to nullify some momentum that was building for the Avalanche, when they were applying their best offensive pressure of the night while trying to get back into the game.A couple penalties kind of backed them off a bit, said Vlasic. It gave us a little bit more momentum on the bench, and we were able to squeak out with a victory.The Sharks move into sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division for the first time this season with 25 points (12-5-1). They also have the highest winning percentage in the league at .694.Colorado opened the scoring the 12th time in 18 games the Sharks have allowed the first goal when Matt Duchesne tallied his ninth of the season. Colorados leading scorer turned around Douglas Murray in the offensive zone, before a cross-ice pass to Ryan Wilson. Wilson sent it back to Duchesne, who fired in a wrist shot past a diving Greiss at 7:25 of the first.The Sharks tied it shortly after on Marleaus first of the game. Just two seconds after a penalty expired to Colorados Gabriel Landeskog, Marleau charged toward the net and managed to slip in a pass from the point by Vlasic at 12:16.Vlasic was happy to see Marleau complete his fourth career hat trick with the empty-netter at the end.Hes been playing great. He gets a lot of points every year, but its the little things he does getting pucks out, winning battles along the wall, that dont show up on the scoresheet but the guys appreciate very much.He gets rewarded tonight which is nice to see. Hopefully there will be more to come. Im sure its a confidence booster for him, so Im sure hell keep shooting it even more now.The Sharks return home Wednesday night to host the Chicago Blackhawks.Odds and ends: The Sharks 18 shots was a season low. San Jose took just one penalty, an interference minor to Dan Boyle at 8:38 of the second period. Jean-Sebastien Giguere took the loss in net for Colorado, with 14 saves on 17 shots. San Jose won the faceoff battle, 33-21. Colin White and Justin Braun returned to the lineup for Jason Demers and Jim Vandermeer, who played in Dallas. Torrey Mitchell skated on a line with Marleau and Clowe, while Martin Havlat was with Michael Handzus and Jamie McGinn.

Sharks' depth players, Burns, snap cold streaks just in time

Sharks' depth players, Burns, snap cold streaks just in time

SAN JOSE – For at least one night, the Sharks’ depth players – most of which have been missing in action for weeks – found the scoresheet against the Rangers in a 5-4 overtime win on Tuesday.

It couldn’t have come at a better time. 

The Sharks were playing their first of what will surely be at least a few games without center Logan Couture, and are still in the hunt for a Pacific Division title with four of their six remaining games against Edmonton and Calgary – teams they are trying to fend off to earn home ice in the first round. And, of course, they ended a wretched six-game losing streak in which they never had a lead in any of the defeats.

Coach Pete DeBoer mentioned earlier in the week that the coaching staff had challenged the depth players to do more, especially now that their second line center is out indefinitely. The response on Tuesday included two goals from Chris Tierney (including a late game-tying score), one goal and one assist from Jannik Hansen, a shorthanded goal by Melker Karlsson, two assists from Mikkel Boedker, and an assist from Tomas Hertl.

Consider the challenge met.

“We want to score. All the depth guys know, and talked about stepping up,” Tierney said. “It's good that we broke through tonight, especially with Logan out of the lineup. We're going to have to keep doing it throughout the playoffs."

DeBoer said the internal challenge “didn’t involve much more than just ‘Hey, we need some contributions from you.’ We can’t always look to the big guys to get the job done. We got that tonight. Those guys got on the board. It’s never a lack of effort with that group, but we’re the sum of our parts. We need those guys to get on the board for us on a regular basis and they did that tonight.”

It was also surely welcomed that one of their big guys – perhaps their biggest – got the overtime winner. Brent Burns had been mired in a 16-game drought without a goal, but his slap shot got through Henrik Lundqvist half-a-minute into an overtime power play.

While the depth guys will need to continue to produce, the Sharks are going to need more from Burns, too, as the postseason approaches. The defenseman had been kept off of the scoresheet in nine of 10 games from March 5 – 21, but now has one point in each of his last three games. That’s a good sign.

Getting a goal was particularly nice, as was ending the losing skid.

“Yeah on both accounts,” Burns said. “That was a big win, especially coming back, staying resilient, getting that big goal there at the end.”

Still, with all that went right, the game was far from perfect. The Sharks allowed a 3-1 second period lead to turn into a 4-3 deficit in just a span of five minutes and seven seconds, indicating they’re still a bit fragile. Derek Stepan made it 3-2 late in the second with a power play goal, Jesper Fast scored on a deflection early in the third, and J.T. Miller gave New York its first lead of the night less than five minutes into the final frame.

“There’s still room for improvement, definitely,” Joe Pavelski said.

Still, the Sharks fought back for Tierney’s late game-tying goal with less than two minutes in regulation, setting up Burns’ overtime heroics. 

The captain sensed some displeasure from the home fans due to the blown lead, something he surely understood, but indicated that the energy level on the Sharks’ bench was still high.

“Whether you think, like, ‘Here we go again’ or not – I’m sure someone in this building thought that tonight,” Pavelski said. “Guys just kind of stuck with it, and we believed we would tie it up tonight.”

Getting that extra point in overtime brought a sense of relief.

“When you lose six straight, it's obviously a relief when you win one,” Martin Jones said. “But win or lose, we played a lot better tonight.”

 

Instant Replay: Sharks rally late, stun Rangers in OT to end skid

Instant Replay: Sharks rally late, stun Rangers in OT to end skid

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – Despite blowing a two-goal lead, the Sharks found a way to tie their game with the Rangers late and win it in overtime, 5-4, to end their losing streak at six games.

After New York had turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead, Chris Tierney knotted the score with just 2:15 left in regulation. Mikkel Boedker’s shot from high in the zone rattled around the slot, and Tierney was there to flip it home for this second of the night.

Brent Burns ended a 16-game goal drought with a power play goal at 3:10 in overtime, overpowering Henrik Lundqvist with a slap shot.

After Tierney had given San Jose a 3-1 lead earlier in the second period the Sharks kept up the pressure, recording seven of the next eight shots. But Patrick Marleau’s interference penalty on Jimmy Vesey gave New York a late power play and turned the game in their favor.

Derek Stepan – who was stopped on a partial breakaway midway through the first period – brought the Rangers back to within 3-2. Mats Zuccarello hummed a seam pass through Justin Braun to Stepan, who had an open net to deposit his 16th of the season in the final minutes of the second period.

In the third, Jesper Fast redirected a Brady Skjei floater at 1:24, tying the game at 3-3. A Burns tripping minor during four-on-four play offered a power play to the Rangers, and they capitalized on a J.T. Miller one-timer at 4:44, his second of the night.

The Sharks remain two points back of Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division, and are tied with Edmonton for second.

For the first time in eight games the Sharks struck first. A newly configured third line of Tomas Hertl, Boedker and Jannik Hansen scored on its first shift together, as Hansen chopped in a loose puck at 1:44. Boedker and Hertl both got assists, ending pointless streaks of 10 games and 12 games, respectively.

Hansen’s first goal as a Shark also gave the team its first lead in more than two weeks, as it never led throughout its six-game regulation losing streak.

The Rangers tied it at 13:30 of the first on a goal by Miller, who took the puck from Paul Martin along the wall and lifted a perfectly placed wrist shot over Martin Jones’ near shoulder.

Melker Karlsson, returning from an eight-game absence, put the Sharks ahead 2-1 late in the first period with a shorthanded score. He whizzed a wrist shot past countryman Lundqvist at 18:01 while on a two-on-one with Tierney.

Tierney increased the lead to 3-1 in the middle frame, taking a shot from the slot and following up his own rebound at 11:38. It was just his second goal in the last 22 games, and eighth of the year.

The Rangers won the only other game of the season series back on Oct. 17 at Madison Square Garden, 7-4. The Sharks finished the season with a 21-7-4 mark against Eastern Conference clubs.

The Sharks were without Logan Couture, who is out indefinitely with a facial injury.

Special teams:
Two of New York’s goals came on the power play, on three opportunities. The Sharks are 11-for-15 on the PK in the last six games.

San Jose had just one power play before overtime, failing to score. Karlsson’s marker was his second shorthanded score of the season, and the Sharks’ seventh as a team.

In goal:
After allowing a career high seven goals-against on Saturday in Nashville, Jones made 24 saves on 28 shots.

Lundqvist suffered the loss with 30 saves on 35 shots.

Lineup:
Micheal Haley served a one-game suspension for punching Nashville’s Calle Jarnkrok on Saturday.

Tierney (upper body) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (flu) both returned after missing Saturday’s game with the Predators. Marcus Sorensen came out of the lineup for Kevin Labanc, who was recalled on Tuesday morning and skated on the top line.

New York’s Skjei had three assists.

Up next:
The Sharks have six games remaining in the regular season – two each against Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

A three-game road trip against each of those division rivals begins on Thursday with the Oilers, as the clubs battle for home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, and continues on Friday against the Flames and Sunday versus the Canucks.