Marleau's third-period score lifts Sharks, 3-2

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Marleau's third-period score lifts Sharks, 3-2

BOX SCORE
SAN JOSE -- The Sharks game presentation staff plays the theme from the movie Jaws just before a home power play. Lately, the theme from Benny Hill would have been more appropriate.

Patrick Marleau scored with the Sharks on a man advantage in the third period on Saturday night against Edmonton, though, and that proved to be the difference in a 3-2 victory at HP Pavilion. Prior to the goal, the Sharks had scored just twice in 35 chances over the last 10-plus games, including three failed attempts earlier against the Oilers.

We were trying to simplify things and get shots through and people to the net. It was nice to finally get one on the power play, said Marleau.

The goal came after Dan Boyle tossed the puck behind the net towards Jamie McGinn. McGinn tipped it to Joe Pavelski, who wheeled around from behind the net and spotted a charging Marleau on the other side.

Marleau made no mistake in finishing it off at 6:11 for the game-winner, giving the Sharks consecutive victories for the first time since Nov. 20-23.

Pav made a great play over to me and I found the back of the net, said Marleau.

The victory may have come at a cost, though. Marty Havlat, who scored his first even strength goal earlier in the game and just his second of the season, stepped awkwardly onto the ice from the bench in the third period and left through the tunnel without putting any weight on his left leg.
NEWS: Havlat injures leg, leaves arena with cane

Havlat was seen later leaving HP Pavilion with a pronounced limp and with the help of a walking stick.

He got hooked up on the boards, and other than that I cant give you an update right now, said Todd McLellan.

Although he has just two goals and has been maddeningly inconsistent this season, Havlat was playing his second consecutive strong game after a two-assist effort in Thursday nights 5-4 win against Colorado.

I thought he played great, said linemate Michal Handzus. Hopefully, its just minor.

Havlats goal opened the scoring at 8:36 of the first period, as the Oilers were caught in a line change and Havlat and Handzus broke in on a two-on-none. Havlat passed to Handzus, who hesitated a split second before sending it back towards Havlat, who tallied his first goal since Nov. 5 a span of 17 games.

Edmonton tied it up on Jordan Eberles 12th goal. The speedy winger skated the puck from the point and around White towards the goal and slipped it past Antti Niemi at 17:16. Edmonton took the lead with a shorthanded score in the second period, after Havlat failed to corral a pass from Demers at the defensive blue line. Ryan Jones raced in and fired it past Niemi at 5:28.

The Sharks tied it on Joe Thorntons marker at 14:33 during a four-on-four situation. San Jose had the Oilers scrambling in their own zone before Thornton got behind the defense and rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and slid in a pass from Marc-Edouard Vlasic for his first goal since Nov. 17 against Detroit.

That goal helped to erase a nightmarish first period for Thornton, in which the Sharks captain had four giveaways. It was the Sharks first four-on-four goal of the year.

The power play looked disorganized at best on its first two attempts in the second period, including Jones goal when Demers and Havlat got their signals crossed and turned it over. Late in the second, though, Havlat helped to generate some good chances with Ladislav Smid off on an interference call at 17:56.

A couple near misses later, the game was still tied at 2-2 after 40 minutes. But, the Sharks had some confidence back, setting them up for success in the third.

I think thats where we started to get some momentum and started feeling good about the power play, said Marleau. We were able to get another chance, and find the back of the net.

Meanwhile, coach Todd McLellan was doing everything in his power to get the power play off of the ground floor. Of the Sharks 18 forwards and defensemen, 14 of them skated at least one shift with the man advantage, including McGinn and Brad Winchester.

The power play is a privilege, in my opinion, said the coach. It starts with talented players, and they should be on the ice. Theyre the best players and rewarded to do that. You have to maintain your status there. Unless we clean it up, were going to see a lot more of those other guys on the ice, as well.

The other Achilles heel has been the penalty kill, which, despite entering the game ranked 29th in the league at 73.0 percent, managed to preserve the lead with Demers off on a borderline holding call at 9:07 of the third period.

It was the second straight night that unit succeeded when it needed to most, including the third period of Thursdays game against Colorado when the score was knotted at 4-4.

Two nights in a row it came up big in the third period and allowed us to win the third period, said McLellan. As we continue to repair that, weve got to continue to work on the power play. When its all said and done, those two areas have to get better for us to be a successful team.

The Sharks improved to 2-0 on their six-game homestand, which continues on Wednesday with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Weve got to take care of the home games. We know that, said Thornton.

Saturdays game also caps a stretch in which the Sharks played seven games in just 11 days. Theyll have Sunday off, and resume practice on Monday valuable time to work, according to Thornton.

We really havent practiced in two or three weeks, probably. It will be nice to practice some things and settle down and relax for a couple days before we play Wednesday, he said.

Odds and ends: Antti Niemi finished with 23 saves, while Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 34 of 37 Sharks shots. Colin White left the bench in the third period, and team trainers appeared to be working on his right wrist at one point. The Sharks reassigned defenseman Matt Irwin to Worcester following the game. San Jose won 34 of 58 faceoffs (59 percent). Joe Pavelski had a game-high three takeaways. Joe Thornton had six of his teams 18 giveaways. The Oilers lost their third in a row.

Sharks conclude 2017 NHL Draft with five more forwards in the system

Sharks conclude 2017 NHL Draft with five more forwards in the system

CHICAGO – After nabbing a center in the first round on Friday, the Sharks added four more forwards and one defenseman to conclude the second day of the annual NHL Entry Draft on Saturday, held this year at United Center.

The Sharks weren’t explicitly trying to restock their forward cabinet, according to general manager Doug Wilson and scouting director Tim Burke, although the club did make two separate moves in surrendering some later round picks to move up in the fourth round (to take center Scott Reedy) and sixth round (to take left wing Sasha Chmelevski).

First, though, it was defenseman Mario Ferraro in the second round at 49th overall. The offensive defenseman was a player that the Sharks targeted, using the pick they acquired from New Jersey last Friday as part of the trade for Mirco Mueller.

“He’s got a lot of speed, offensive guy, exciting,” Burke said. “Puck-moving type of guy.”

Wilson said: “We’re very pleased with the d-man. He’s a very dynamic, athletic guy, great skater. He was a guy that we moved up a little bit aggressively to get because that round, you could see people going after who they wanted. He is a guy that we identified.”

After moving up from the fifth round to the fourth round last Friday, again because of the Mueller trade, the Sharks jumped up 21 more spots in the fourth round by obtaining the Rangers pick at 102nd overall for the 123rd and 174th selections.

Center Scott Reedy is a player that Burke has high hopes for, projecting the Minnesota native as a “second line right winger [with] high-end potential.” Burke pointed out that Reedy, who is friends with first round pick Josh Norris, occasionally played on the same line with Norris for each of the last two seasons with the U.S. Under-18 team.

“He’s a big, strong forward that can play both positions (center and right wing),” Burke said.

Right wing Jacob McGrew, an Orange, CA native, went to the Sharks in the fifth round despite missing all of his first season in junior with a lower body injury suffered in training camp with Spokane (WHL).

“We knew about him before he went up there,” Burke said. “He’s a California kid. … If he was healthy he probably would have gone earlier.”

The Sharks again moved up to snag Huntington Beach native and center Chmelevski at 185 overall, and made their sixth and final pick in the 212th position by taking left wing Ivan Chekhovich in the seventh round. Both players look to have some offensive skill, based on their numbers and Youtube highlights.

Burke was surprised that both players were around so late.

“I thought they had pretty good years and they kind of slipped in the draft,” he said. “We weighed that versus some other more project-type guys, and we thought they had more offense and finish to their game. They just kept sliding, so we took a chance on them.”

Wilson said: “We moved up for the guys we wanted, and then there were some skilled guys at the end that we were surprised were still there. … We’ll go back and take a look how it all went, but we feel, I think, really good about where we ended up with this.”

Sharks coach DeBoer had 'good relationship' with Kovalchuk

Sharks coach DeBoer had 'good relationship' with Kovalchuk

CHICAGO – Ilya Kovalchuk is still reportedly mulling over a return to the NHL, four years after he surprisingly walked away from a monstrous contract with the New Jersey Devils to play in the KHL.

The Sharks have been linked to Kovalchuk, in large part because of Pete DeBoer, who was Kovalchuk’s most recent head coach. In 2011-12, Kovalchuk was a dangerous scoring winger under DeBoer, helping the Devils reach the Stanley Cup Final.

It was apparently a good working relationship between the player and the coach for the two seasons they were together, DeBoer said on Friday at the NHL Entry Draft at United Center.

“I loved Kovy in New Jersey,” DeBoer said. “We went to a Stanley Cup Final together. He was a huge piece for us there. I really enjoyed coaching him. I haven’t seen him in four or five years now. I’m sure there’s still a lot of game left there.”

DeBoer said he’s had no contact with the 34-year-old Kovalchuk, who would have to be traded by New Jersey before signing a new contract with any other NHL club. Still, it seems like the Sharks’ coach might welcome a reunion with Kovalchuk, who posted 78 points in 60 games with SKA Saint Petersburg last season, and has 816 points (417g, 399a) in 816 career NHL games with Atlanta and New Jersey.

“I had a really good relationship with him. I had a lot of respect for him as a player and a person,” DeBoer said.

* * *

DeBoer seemed as uncertain as everyone else as to whether Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau will return to the Sharks or move on to other clubs as free agents.

But, naturally, it’s on his mind.

“You think about it all the time,” DeBoer said. “They’re obviously important pieces in the history of the franchise, and in our group. I also understand the business side of this, and there’s always tough decisions to make. The way I approach these type of things is I’m going to go to Canada and relax, and Doug [Wilson] is going to make those decisions. I’m sure we’ll have a good group come training camp.”

“We’ve got a really good core group of guys and some tough decisions that have to be made. The one thing Doug and his group has shown over the years is their ability to stay competitive, to find a way even after making tough decisions. I have all the faith in the world in that, and I’m excited about training camp.”

* * *

The Sharks lost David Schlemko in the expansion draft earlier in the week. Vegas then flipped him to the Canadiens for a fifth round pick in 2019.

“I think for David, it’s a great opportunity for him, especially going to Montreal,” DeBoer said. “For us, it’s an opportunity for a young guy to jump in. The one thing we have in the organization is some depth. There’s a lot of guys knocking on the door, and guys hungry to grab that job.”