Sharks-Avalanche: What to watch for


Sharks-Avalanche: What to watch for

The Sharks made it a point against Dallas to play disciplined hockey. Theyll need to repeat that performance tonight against Colorado when the teams meet for the first time this season.

Colorado enters the game with the second best power play in the NHL at 26.1 percent, trailing only Vancouver. The Sharks penalty-kill, which improved to 28th in the league with its 3-for-3 performance against the Stars, could be in for a tough test.

Digging a little more into the stats, the Sharks enter the game as the third best five-on-five team in hockey scoring at 1.39-1 ratio. The Avalanche are 25th in the league at just .75 goals foragainst when both teams are at full strength.

Colorados Matt Duchesne and Milan Hejduk have four power play goals each.

The Sharks power play, which scored twice Saturday on goals from Brent Burns and Logan Couture, has risen to third in the league at 22.6 percent.

Two is better than one: The Sharks outscored the Stars 2-0 in the second period on Saturday night, and for the season, have a 28-11 advantage in the middle frame. Several times, their strong second periods have helped to erase a lackluster effort out of the gate.

Whatever were doing, I want us to keep doing, said McLellan after Saturdays 4-1 win in Dallas. Obviously, wed like to start better. I can answer all those questions over and over again, but until we solve it, well just keep working at it.

The Avalanche, incidentally, have been outscored 24-16 in the second period.

Goalie watch: The starting goaltenders for both teams were unclear as of Sunday morning. Antti Niemi is playing his strongest hockey of the season, though, and it wouldnt be surprising to see him start both ends of a back-to-back for the first time this year.

In each of the last two games, both Sharks wins, Niemi has faced plenty of rubber in the first period in holding his team in the game. He stopped 16 shots in the first period against Detroit on Thursday, allowing one goal, and all 14 pucks thrown his way by the Stars last night.

If theres one benefit to San Jose coming out flat, its that Niemi enjoys the early action.

Its easier if you get lots of shots in the first, especially if they dont score too many. Its easy to keep going after that, he said.

Colorado could go with Jean-Sebastien Giguere rather than starter Semyon Varlamov, after Giguere shut out the Stars on Friday, 3-0. The former Duck has impressive numbers in seven games, with a 1.68 goals-against average and .934 save percentage.

Varlamov, who was acquired this summer via trade with Washington, is winless in his last six decisions.
Odds and ends: The Sharks enter Sunday with the best win percentage in the NHL (.676), tied with the New York Rangers. San Jose scored first for just the sixth time on Saturday. They are 6-0 when doing so. Colorado is without center Mark Olver and winger Peter Mueller, each of whom have head injuries. The Avalanche will play the second of an eight-game homestand tonight, and have won just two of their last nine games overall. The Sharks host the Blackhawks on Wednesday.

Sharks trade Tommy Wingels to Senators

Sharks trade Tommy Wingels to Senators

Tommy Wingels has been traded to the Ottawa Senators for a pair of depth forwards and a seventh round draft pick in 2017, the Sharks announced on Tuesday.

Buddy Robinson and Zack Stortini, both right wings, will be assigned to the AHL Barracuda.

Robinson, 25, has 12 points (7g, 5a) in 33 AHL games with Binghamton. In seven career NHL games with Ottawa, the six-foot-six, 230-pound New Jersey native has one goal and one assist. He is a pending restricted free agent.

Stortini, 31, has three points (2g, 1a) in 22 games for Binghamton this season. The six-foot-two, 220-pound Ontario native has appeared in 257 career NHL games with Edmonton and Nashville, posting 41 points (14g, 27a) and 718 penalty minutes. He is a pending unrestricted free agent.

The move clears the way for the Sharks to activate injured forward Tomas Hertl, who is day-to-day with a right knee injury that required surgery in mid-November.

According to a source, there is a very good chance Hertl returns to the Sharks on Thursday against the Oilers.

San Jose will retain 30 percent of Wingels’ $2.475 million salary, according to the Senators, which comes out to $742,500.

Wingels, 28, posted 122 points (51g, 71a) and 197 penalty minutes in 337 career games with San Jose over parts of seven seasons. He was originally drafted by the Sharks in the sixth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

He is the second player that has essentially been pushed off of the Sharks’ roster as they incorporate younger players like Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier into the fold. Matt Nieto was waived in early January, and claimed by the Avalanche on Jan. 5.

"Tommy has been a valuable member of our franchise for many years, a phenomenal teammate and a true role model on and off the ice for our organization and the NHL," general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "As a team evolves and younger players push for roster spots, unfortunately tough decisions have to be made. We wish Tommy and his wife, Molly, nothing but success in the future.

"We also want to welcome Buddy and Zach to our organization. They add size and depth to our reserve list and we look forward to having them in San Jose.”

NHL Gameday: Streaking Sharks roll into Winnipeg, can reclaim first place

NHL Gameday: Streaking Sharks roll into Winnipeg, can reclaim first place

Programming note – Sharks-Jets coverage starts today at 4:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California


Sharks: 30-16-2, 62 points, 2nd Pacific Division
Jets: 22-24-4, 48 points, 5th Central Division


***The Sharks won their fifth straight game on Monday in Colorado, 5-2, thanks to four goals from Patrick Marleau. San Jose is 7-2-0 overall in its last nine games, and can move back into first place in the Pacific Division ahead of idle Anaheim with a win tonight.

Winnipeg will also be playing the second of a back-to-back, after dropping a 3-2 decision to the Ducks at home on Monday. The Jets are 2-4-1 in their last seven, including a 5-2 loss to the Sharks at SAP Center on Jan. 16.

***Winnipeg should be getting impressive rookie Patrik Laine back for the game, according to local reports. He’s missed the last eight games with a concussion suffered on Jan. 7. The 18-year-old Calder Trophy candidate has 21 goals and 37 points in 42 games.

San Jose could be without Joonas Donskoi, after the winger was unable to finish the game against Colorado after taking a heavy hit from Andreas Martinsen in the first period.

***Brent Burns scored another goal last night, reaching 20 on the season. He’s the fastest defenseman to reach that mark since Kevin Hatcher in 1992-93. In his last 10 games, the Norris Trophy favorite has 15 points (5g, 10a).


Sharks: Patrick Marleau. It was a historic night on Monday for the Sharks’ all-time leading scorer, as he became the first NHL player in nearly 20 years to score four goals in a single period. He struck for three in a row to start the final frame, upping the San Jose lead to 4-1, and capped it off with a late breakaway conversion. His 16 goals suddenly puts him in a tie with Joe Pavelski for second on the team.

Jets: Mark Scheifele. The 23-year-old center is Winnipeg’s leading scorer with 46 points (21g, 25a), and he brings a five-game point streak into tonight’s game (2g, 5a). He had a late goal against San Jose on Jan. 16 (thanks to Martin Jones’ ill-advised decision to try and shoot the puck into an open net), as well as an assist on an early score by Josh Morrissey.


Melker Karlsson – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Kevin Labanc – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Timo Meier – Ryan Carpenter – Barclay Goodrow

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones
Aaron Dell

Nic Petan – Bryan Little – Blake Wheeler
Nikolaj Ehlers – Mark Scheifele – Patrik Laine
Shawn Matthias – Adam Lowry – Joel Armia
Brandon Tanev – Andrew Copp – Chris Thorburn

Josh Morrissey – Dustin Byfuglien
Toby Enstrom – Jacob Trouba
Mark Stuart – Paul Postma

Ondrej Pavalec
Connor Hellebuyck


Sharks: Joonas Donskoi (upper body) is questionable. Micheal Haley (lower body), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) and Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) are out.

Jets: Patrik Laine (concussion) and Drew Stafford (lower body) are day-to-day. Tyler Myers (lower body), Marko Dano (lower body), and Ben Chiarot (lower body) are out.


“For a while there we were up and down, winning some games, losing some games. Now we’re putting some wins together and separating ourselves from the teams behind us.” – Marc-Edouard Vlasic