Momentum swings help, hurt Sharks


Momentum swings help, hurt Sharks

SAN JOSE - After last nights 3-2 shootout loss to the Oilers, the Sharks specifically mentioned two points in the game one they were proud of, and one they would like to eliminate from their repertoire.

More specifically, the Sharks liked the way they responded after a fluky goal just 10 seconds after the opening faceoff the quickest goal against to start a game in franchise history, that put them immediately behind the eight ball.

REWIND: Missed opportunities doom Sharks in loss

Conversely, they were peeved that they surrendered the game-tying goal just 54 seconds after taking their first lead of the game in the second period. It was the second time in two games the Sharks have seemingly fallen asleep on the shift following a key goal.

Since last nights recap focused more on the goal against (hey, it was still a 3-2 loss), heres what some of the Sharks had to say about the way they responded after Dan Boyle let a puck get away from him early leading to Jordan Eberles 30th goal. Jim Vandermeer tied the game at 1-1 about three minutes later.

One of those weird goals right off the start, but it really didnt discourage us, Joe Thornton said. We worked through it.

Ryane Clowe said: We responded really well when Jimmy scored on that tough break by Boiler. That was a good sign.

Todd McLellan, coaching in his first game since getting whacked in the head with a stick in Minnesota a week ago Sunday, was also encouraged by the way the Sharks played out the rest of the period after falling behind.

San Jose outshot the Oilers in the frame, 12-7.

The good sign is we get scored on, on a lucky play 10 seconds in when the guy bats it out of the air. If we were going to fold or welt up it would have been right after that, but I thought we showed some resiliency and came back and played well there, McLellan said.

The Sharks gained their first lead when Clowe took advantage of a misplay by Devan Dubnyk behind the net, and a nice play by Logan Couture to poke a loose puck in front of the crease for Clowe to flip in. Just when the crowd sounded like it was ready to get behind its team, after seeing just two goals in the first three games of the homestand, Ryan Smyth scored a deflating goal when a slap shot by Jeff Petry deflected in off of his body.

On Saturday against the Blues, T.J. Oshie scored what turned out to be the game-winner just 20 seconds after Torrey Mitchell tied the game at 1-1. The Blues went on to a 3-1 victory.

In fact, the Sharks were fortunate to escape the second period on Tuesday still tied at 2-2 after Smyths goal. The Oilers applied heavy pressure for the final four minutes of the period, and the dangerous San Gagner barely missed the net on a laser of a wrist shot when he found himself open in the slot.

That sequence of events was the low point of the game for San Jose, not counting Gagners shootout winner.

I think the shift that stands out is, we take the lead, 2-1, and then we give it right back. That one stands out to me, Boyle said.

Whether you get scored on or score a goal, that next shift is very important to either turn the momentum or keep it going. That was a tough one to give up there. Then, we just dont bury our chances. Thats been kind of the name of the game the last few.

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

The Sharks have issued qualifying offers to restricted free agent forwards Chris Tierney, Marcus Sorensen and Barclay Goodrow, while cutting ties with three players in the system.

Tierney, 22, posted 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points in 80 games last season, serving primarily as the fourth line center. He has 64 points (24g, 40a) in 202 career games over three NHL seasons, all with the Sharks.

Sorensen posted one goal and three assists in 19 games with the Sharks last season, his first in the NHL. The 25-year-old played in all six playoff games against Edmonton, scoring one goal and one assist.

Goodrow, 24, skated in three games for the Sharks last season with one assist. He has 16 points (4g, 12a) in 77 games over three seasons with the Sharks, although has played in just 17 NHL games since the start of the 2015-16 season.

Forward Nikita Jevpalovs, defenseman Patrick McNally and goalie Mantas Armalis - also known for his career as a male model - were left unqualified and are now unrestricted free agents.

Earlier in the offseason, the Sharks signed pending restricted free agents Joonas Donskoi and Melker Karlsson. Donskoi received a two-year deal at a salary cap hit of $1.9 million, while Karlsson was signed to a three-year deal at $2 million annually.

Thornton, Marleau now permitted to speak with other teams

Thornton, Marleau now permitted to speak with other teams

Their futures with the Sharks more uncertain than ever, pending unrestricted free agents Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are now free to take calls from other teams to gauge their potential interest.

Nothing can be signed with a new team before July 1, and there is a ban on discussing terms of any potential deal. Teams have already reached out to Marleau, per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, while Thornton is also reportedly receiving interest around the league.

While they could still return to the Sharks, it’s new territory for both, as neither Thornton nor Marleau has ever tested the unrestricted free agent waters. Most recently, they agreed to three-year contract extensions with the Sharks on the same day – Jan. 24, 2014 – in what was the final year of their current deals.

Whether they return to the Sharks could depend on the length of the deal. If other teams are willing to offer multiple-year deals to Thornton and Marleau, it makes their return to the Sharks less likely – particularly in Marleau’s case. Earlier in the offseason, NBC Sports California confirmed that Thornton was seeking a three-year deal, while Marleau preferred a deal of at least three years.

General manager Doug Wilson’s top priority this offseason is to re-sign goalie Martin Jones and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to long term extensions. Those contracts would likely cost the team a combined $12-14 million, and would begin in the 2018-19 season.

There is an added risk to any team that signs a player over the age of 35, as it would be on the hook for the entire salary cap hit regardless of whether that player is active (unless that player is on long-term injured reserve). 

Thornton turns 38 on Sunday, while Marleau turns 38 on Sep. 15.