No panic from Sharks in win over Bruins

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No panic from Sharks in win over Bruins

SAN JOSE It was just about a perfect night until there were less than five minutes left in the third period.

Thats when Bruins captain Zdeno Chara managed to secure a loose puck in the high slot, skate deep into the Sharks zone, and bank in Bostons first goal of the night from underneath the goal line while Antti Niemi looked like a fish out of water during the mad scramble.

Just like that, it was a 2-1 Sharks lead - and anyones game again. But San Jose stuck with its gameplan and made it a quiet final 4:15 to send the sellout crowd home happy.

There were a number of encouraging signs in the Sharks hard-fought win over the defending Stanley Cup champs, including Daniel Winnik finally getting on the scoreboard. But the fact that the team didnt allow panic to set in and really didnt surrender any more prime scoring chances after the Bruins scored is noteworthy, and a positive sign with just eight games left.

A little breakdown when they scored, but we got right back on the horse and got right back after them, Joe Thornton said.

Todd McLellan said: I think panic sets in when youre cheating the game a little bit and maybe doing things wrong, but we were doing a lot of things right. They scored one, we settled back in, and did what we were supposed to do. The question now, can we repeat it and play a good game against Phoenix? I know we can, weve just got to get out and do it.

The 10th place Sharks host the Coyotes on Saturday, looking to draw even in points with seventh place Phoenix.

RELATED: NHL standings

Bs notice Sharks energy: The Bruins fell for the second time in two tries against the Sharks this season, including a 4-2 loss at TD Garden to San Jose way back on Oct. 22.

Boston had won two in a row before last night, including an 8-0 thrashing of the Maple Leafs on Monday. They had some complimentary things to say about the Sharks after the game.

They came out playing like they wanted to turn things around, goaltender Tim Thomas said. They have been on a losing streak kind of like we had been.

Head coach Claude Julien said: I thought they set the pace early in the game and it took us a long, long time to catch up to it. Near the end it was better, but we had a lot of players that looked a little sluggish tonight and we didnt seem to have the same energy that we have had the last few of games.

The Sharks now hope the Bruins do them a favor, as they play the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night. The Kings have won six in a row, including Thursdays 1-0 shootout win over St. Louis.

More from Winnik: Daniel Winnik said after the game that he wasnt letting his scoring drought get to him. He said something similar last week, and essentially repeated it after the Bruins game.

Im not a guy that racks up the points, but I thought since I came here I made some nice plays and had been setting guys up, he said. I know it was just a matter of timing.

He recognized the importance of the total team effort.

Its huge. Theyre obviously a Stanley Cup contender and one of the best teams in the East. The way they play, they play that playoff style big bodies, very skilled up front. I thought we handled them well.

We cant rely on our top two lines to score every night, our third and fourth have to start chipping in. Thats what the better teams in the league do. Weve got guys on our third and fourth that can do that, so I think it was just a matter of bearing down.

Checking the race: While the Kings took over the Pacific Division lead by virtue of their win, the Sharks got a little bit of help in the standings last night. Calgary fell in a shootout to Minnesota, 3-2, Phoenix knocked off Colorado in regulation, 3-2, and Vancouver beat Dallas in regulation, 2-1.

Checking the ever-popular sportsclubstats.com, the Sharks increased their playoff probably by more than 13 percent last night, and are now have a 50.8 percent chance of making it.

There are no games of interest regarding the Western Conference playoff race tonight, but there are several tomorrow, including the Sharks-Coyotes game. Calgary visits Dallas in the afternoon; Vancouver is in Colorado, and the Bruins visit the Kings.

Sharks' Vlasic joins Canada for World Championships

Sharks' Vlasic joins Canada for World Championships

Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic will compete in the upcoming IIHF World Championships for Team Canada, it was announced on Friday.

The tournament runs from May 5-21 in Paris, France and Cologne, Germany. 

Vlasic, 30, a native of Montreal, has played in the tournament twice before in 2009 and 2012. He also represented Canada in the 2014 Olympic Games, helping it to a gold medal, and the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which Canada also captured.

In 75 games with the Sharks this season, Vlasic posted 28 points (6g, 22a) and a +4 rating. He was second on the team in shorthanded time on ice (2:04 per game) and blocked shots (146).

A pending restricted free agent in 2018, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson called getting Vlasic signed to a long-term deal an offseason priority for the club. The two sides can begin negotiations on July 1.

“Vlasic [is] arguably one of the best defensemen in the league,” Wilson said. “[He] is still one of the most underrated players in the league in the outside world.”

The Sharks lost in the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs to Edmonton, although Vlasic and partner Justin Braun helped to keep Connor McDavid in check at even strength. The league's leading scorer had just one even strength point in the six-game series, an empty net goal with less than one second left in Game 6.

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.”