Sharks back in eighth with 3-0 win over Stars

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Sharks back in eighth with 3-0 win over Stars

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE Joe Pavelski scored twice and the Sharks moved back into playoff position with a 3-0 win over the Dallas Stars at HP Pavilion on Saturday night.

San Jose (40-29-10, 90 points) sits in eighth place in the Western Conference, one ahead of ninth place Dallas (42-32-5, 89 points). The teams meet again at American Airlines Arena on Tuesday.

The Sharks trail the Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes by one point, after both clubs won earlier Saturday night. All four Pacific Division teams vying for the three final playoff spots have three games remaining.

RELATED: Conference standings

It didnt take long for the Sharks to jump on the road-weary Stars, who entered the game 1-10-2 in the second of back-to-back games and arrived in San Jose late after a 5-2 loss in Vancouver on Friday.

Joe Thornton set up Pavelski in the high slot, and Pavelskis one-timer cleanly beat Kari Lehtonen at the 58-second mark to make it 1-0. Pavelski reached the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career.

It didnt take long for him to get it to 31, when he deflected a shot by Marc-Edouard Vlasic midway through the second period to give the Sharks a 3-0 lead. The goal moved Pavelski into the team lead, surpassing Logan Couture.

Pavelski has seven goals in his last nine games.

A power play goal put San Jose ahead by two at the first intermission. Marty Havlat made it happen, controlling the puck along the boards and patiently waiting for something to develop. He eventually found Jason Demers on the other side of the ice, sending a saucer pass to the defenseman for a redirection at 18:38.

That goal came with Stars agitator Steve Ott in the box for interfering with Justin Braun at 16:50, much to the approval of the sellout crowd.

The Sharks nearly scored earlier on that same power play, but Patrick Marleau rang one off of the crossbar with about 2:20 left in the period.

The Sharks much-maligned penalty-kill unit came up big with San Jose ahead 2-0. Torrey Mitchell was whistled for hooking at 6:11, but a nice play in the defensive zone by Dominic Moore led to a clear. Daniel Winnik chased after the puck and held it along the boards behind the Stars zone, and the crowd grew to a crescendo as the Sharks easily killed off the penalty.

San Jose had three power plays in the first period alone, after getting just one each in losses to Anaheim and Phoenix. The Sharks were shorthanded just once total in those two games, not taking a single penalty in the 3-1 loss to the Ducks on Wednesday.

The nastiness thats typically prevalent during Sharks-Stars games was also in full effect, despite the Stars looking downright sloppy and tired for long stretches. Andrew Desjardins and Jake Dowell fought at 12:42 of the second, while Mitchell and Ryan Garbutt dropped the gloves midway through the third.

Ott was handed a 10-minute misconduct at 9:55 of the third period for arguing with the officials over a slashing penalty to Adam Burish that gave the Sharks more than a minute of five-on-three time they were unable to cash in on.

The Sharks finished 1-for-6 on the power play and killed off all three Stars advantages.

Antti Niemi finished with 22 saves to record his sixth shutout.

Odds and ends: Joe Pavelski became the ninth Sharks player all-time to reach 30 goals in a season. Of Pavelskis 31 goals this season, 13 are in the first period, including five in the first two minutes. Jason Demers marker was the first on the power play by a Sharks defenseman in 18 games, since Brent Burns scored at Minnesota on Feb. 26. Joe Thornton is now tied for third in the NHL in assists with 58.

Marleau back to the middle as Sharks deal with no Couture, Haley

Marleau back to the middle as Sharks deal with no Couture, Haley

SAN JOSE – All four of the Sharks’ lines have been in a blender for much of the season. 

Now, with Logan Couture out for at least one game and probably longer, and Micheal Haley getting tagged with a one-game suspension, the coaching staff has no choice but to mix and match the remaining forwards in time for Tuesday’s home game with the Rangers.

They’ll hope it’s the right recipe to snap out of what has been a miserable six-game losing streak in regulation, including the last two in which the Sharks have been outscored 13-3 by Dallas and Nashville.

The most notable player to be shifted is Patrick Marleau, who will apparently be centering the second line against New York. It will be just the fifth game he starts at center this season, and first since Feb. 11 in Philadelphia, when he was filling in for an ill Couture.

Marleau, of course, has played plenty of center over the years, including the second half of last season and first handful of playoff games when he was in the middle of the third line.

“I don’t think there’s been a year where I haven’t played center, so it’s just one of those things, move in and out,” Marleau said. “We’re interchangeable throughout the whole lineup, anyway.”

Marleau has been one of the few effective Sharks players lately, with three of the team’s last five goals. He has 26 goals on the season, third on the team, and is fifth on the Sharks in points with 44.

“Patty is playing great. I don’t think we could ask for more from him,” said coach Pete DeBoer. “Arguably a lot of nights this year he’s been our best forward. He’s playing hard, he’s playing strong. He’s been a real valuable piece for us. We wouldn’t be in the spot we’re in this year without him and the way he’s played this year.”

Marleau is set to skate with Melker Karlsson and Mikkel Boedker, as Karlsson is good to go after missing the last eight games with a lower body injury. The 26-year-old Swede is having a nice season with 19 points (9g, 10a) in 60 games.

The third line featured Tomas Hertl between Joel Ward and Marcus Sorensen, while Chris Tierney will center the fourth line with Timo Meier and Joonas Donskoi.

Karlsson, who confirmed he was ready to return, said: “Cooch is out, and we’ll see how long he’s going to be out, but I’ll do my best. I’m going to work hard, and hopefully can get going here.”

Marleau described Karlsson as “tenacious on the forecheck, causes a lot of turnovers. He’s hungry on that puck. He’s going to get his opportunities, and I’m sure he’ll put a few in the back of the net.”

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Of course, the Sharks don’t care who scores the goals, just as long as it’s someone. It’s been a season-long issue for them to get their depth scorers to do more, and if they want any chance at reclaiming first place in the Pacific Division while Couture is out, that will be a necessity.

Among the players that will bring their scoring woes into Tuesday’s game will be Donskoi (no points 13 games), Hertl (no points in 12 games), Boedker (no points in 10 games), Ward (no points in six games), Sorensen (one assist in 10 games) and Tierney (one goal in 12 games).

Could Couture’s absence be a wake up call for those guys?

“I would hope it doesn’t take an injury to get that. That’s something we’re looking for, it’s something we’ve challenged the group to get more out of them,” DeBoer said. 

“They’re the first guys to recognize they’ve got to give us a little bit more. That’s been an ongoing process. The good news is they’ve all done it before. I feel that they all have the ability to raise their level another notch here before the playoffs. I think they have enough character that we’ll see that.”

Time is growing short, as the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin in a little more than two weeks.

Marleau said: “When you go into playoffs, [secondary scoring] is usually what makes a difference. We need everybody contributing and guys stepping up at different times. We know that in this room, and guys are looking forward to doing that.”

Sharks' Haley suspended one game for punch on Jarnkrok

Sharks' Haley suspended one game for punch on Jarnkrok

SAN JOSE – Sharks forward Micheal Haley has been suspended one game for punching Nashville’s Calle Jarnkrok on Saturday in San Jose’s 7-2 loss, and will miss Tuesday's home game with the Rangers.

After absorbing a borderline hit from behind into the glass by Jarnkrok, Haley tracked down the Predators forward and promptly delivered a left jab to Jarnkrok’s face at 12:56 of the final frame. He received a match penalty for intent to injure on the play.

According to the video released by the league, Haley “was seeking retribution” for the hit by Jarnkrok, who was already being penalized for boarding, and delivered a “forceful punch on an opponent who was not able to defend himself at the time.”

The 30-year-old Haley, who has never been fined or suspended before in his career, gave his perspective of what happened on Monday.

“We were breaking out there and next thing I know I was face first in the glass,” Haley said. “Just emotions [took over]. Kind of scared from the hit and I just went after him. Looked at him right in the eyes. He saw me. By the time I swung at him his face might have turned a bit. When I went at him I saw him clearly look at me, and I thought he knew I was coming.”

Haley expected Jarnkrok to engage him after the Predators forward delivered the bad check.

“I thought it was a pretty dirty hit, and I thought I gave him ample amount of time. I think he [had] enough time to know what I was trying to do, and trying to get him to fight.”

He added: “In hindsight, I wish none of it happened. I wish I didn’t get hit and I wish I didn’t punch him, but it happened. I don’t think I started it. It wasn’t premeditated or anything. If I missed that punch then we probably don’t have this conversation.”

In 54 games this season, Haley has two goals and nine assists for 11 points. His 110 penalty minutes is fifth in the league.