Sharks-Blues Game 2 notebook

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Sharks-Blues Game 2 notebook

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Coverage of Game 3 between the Sharks and Blues begins Monday at 6:30 on Comcast SportsNet California, followed by Sharks-Blues at 7:00, and Sharks Postgame Live after the final buzzer sounds.

ST. LOUIS Lost a bit in the shuffle of the game-concluding brawl that put an exclamation point on the Sharks 3-0 loss to St. Louis in Game 2, was a double-minor on Dan Boyle, after he jumped Andy McDonald with 48 seconds to go in regulation.

Boyle felt McDonald hit him high, and responded by wailing away on the Blues skilled forward.

I thought he hit me pretty high in the head. My head snapped back. Whether it was clean or not, Id have to see the replay. I didnt really particularly like what he did, but its already forgotten about, I guess. But, I didnt appreciate it.

That may or may not have been what Todd McLellan was referring to as the blow to the head in his post game presser, when he went through a laundry list of what he seemed to imply were dirty hits dished out by the Blues. That includes what he called a sucker punch by Vladimir Sobotka on Dominic Moore.
RATTO: Boys won't stand a chance in Sharks-Blues series

Boyles 25:19 led all skaters, save St. Louis Alex Pietrangelo (25:54).
Pavelski fights, too: Joe Pavelski was having an effective Game 2, and although it may have been entertaining to watch his featherweight bout with Blues defenseman Kris Russell, it might not have been the wisest decision for him to drop the gloves at 7:52 of the second period.

Thats a trade off that the Blues will agree to any time.

I probably shouldnt take that one, Pavelski said.

There was part of me that felt that was something I could spark myself with. Its just a scrum in front and it just builds up, with emotions. But, yeah, hes not a guy I want to be trading off with. Theres other guys out there. But, its a game. Its a moment in the game, and five minutes to catch your breath and regroup, I guess. It didnt decide the outcome of the game.

Pavelski finished with three shots in 16:21 of ice time, and hit the post in the first period.
Hitchcock proud: Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock was obviously thrilled with the result of the game, but more specifically, he was pleased the way his young team handled the Sharks strong first period push after they fell behind.

We grew up to the level of what it takes to win against a team that knows how to do it. That part feels good. We have some more knowledge that we need to compete at this level at this time of year, Hitchcock said.

Theres a level out there. Theres a tenacity. Teams like San Jose, Chicago Detroit they play right through you. And if you dont respond, you get pushed out the back door quick.

Hitchcock also gave himself a bit of a pat on the back for his three lineup changes, as B.J. Crombeen, Carlo Colaiacovo and Matt DAgostini were inserted after sitting out Game 1.

This is a time of year for players where the ones that want to win and have the experience on how to do it, know when to really push. We knew this was coming, and thats why we changed the lineup, he said.

They got the win they needed last time, and they wanted to test our response. And they tested it, big time, in the first period. I was proud of our team that we fought back, because if we didnt, this was going to be a short series.

Blues harder, says McLellan: Conversely, Sharks head coach Todd McLellan thought St. Louis battle level was harder than was San Joses, particularly as the game progressed.

I thought they were harder the whole night. I just thought when the puck was along the boards, they battled and had body position. They were strong on sticks. They played a very intense game along there. Early in the game we matched it, as the game wore on we didnt, McLellan said.

Pavelski said: We knew it was going to be a battle.

Report: Division rival interested in Joe Thornton

Report: Division rival interested in Joe Thornton

The mere thought of Joe Thornton wearing a Kings sweater may be enough to cause some Sharks fans to lose their lunch.

But it might be a possibility.

According to LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen, the Kings consider Thornton to be a “priority” should be hit the open market as a free agent. While the two sides are currently allowed to express mutual interest, NHL rules forbid them from discussing terms of any deal until Saturday at 9 a.m. PT.

Rosen points to a number of individuals in the Kings' organization that have ties to Thornton, including general manager Rob Blake, who played on the Sharks with Thornton from 2008-10. Mike O’Connell was Thornton’s general manager in Boston and currently serves as the Kings’ senior advisor to the general manager. Glen Murray, a former teammate and frequent linemate of Thornton’s with the Bruins for three-and-a-half seasons, is in Kings player development.

The Kings, under new management since replacing Dean Lombardi with Blake, and head coach Darryl Sutter with John Stevens, have put a priority on finding players this offseason that can get pucks to dangerous scoring areas. 

Adding one of the best passers in the history of the NHL would surely help in that regard. Thornton sits 13th in the NHL all-time with 1,007 assists.

Rosen writes: “Los Angeles has been a dominant possession team without being a high scoring team for the better part of the last six-plus seasons, and it was articulated earlier in the off-season that the team needed to do a better job of taking advantage of that possession discrepancy. In trying to find players with the ability to turn possession into actual production, the team has placed an emphasis on finding players capable of distributing the puck into high-danger in the attacking zone. There might not be another player in the NHL – let alone unrestricted free agents – who is as gifted of a passer of Thornton, which places the team’s needs in concert with the future Hall of Famer’s skill set.”

As reported here previously Thornton, who turns 38 on Sunday, is seeking a deal of three years. That might not be agreeable to the Sharks, who are likely to sign Martin Jones and Marc-Edouard Vlasic to long-term and expensive contract extensions that would kick in with the 2018-19 season.

Of course, Thornton could also be using the Kings as leverage to get a new deal in San Jose, where he would prefer to remain.

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.