Sharks collapse in 4-1 loss to Ottawa


Sharks collapse in 4-1 loss to Ottawa


SAN JOSE A turnover in the offensive zone, leading an odd man rush. Continued failures on the power play. An off night for goaltender Antti Niemi.

Those were the key components in a 4-1 Sharks loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night at HP Pavilion, in San Joses final home game before the All-Star break.

Ottawa scored twice in the second period to break a 1-1 tie.

It started with an errant pass from Joe Pavelski, who was underneath the Senators net after a Sharks rush. Pavelski tried getting the puck back to the top of the zone to Tommy Wingels, but instead it bounced around and ended up on the stick of Kyle Turris, who charged the other way on a three-on-two.

Turris fed Erik Karlsson for a one-timer from the circle at 4:30, as the NHLs leading scorer among defenseman buried his seventh goal of the season, putting the Senators ahead to stay.

The backbreaker was that turnover in the second for that outnumbered rush, and obviously we never recovered from there, Todd McLellan said.

Its not as if the Sharks didnt have their chances to recover, though. In fact, San Jose had a pair of power plays shortly after Karlssons goal, but the floundering unit couldnt generate the equalizer.

Instead, the Senators increased their lead to 3-1 with a power play goal of their own. Jamie McGinn was sent to the box for kneeing Jason Spezza, and Colin Greening scored his first of two goals when he corralled a shot off of the back boards by Filip Kuba. Greening had time to turn around, walk towards the net and fire it past Niemi at 14:50.

The Sharks are now just 10-for-82 with a man advantage since Nov. 26 (12.2 percent).

Our power play needs to start going here soon, said Logan Couture, who was a game-low -3. You can say you get as many chances as you want, but its about results. This is a results league, and we need to score some goals when we get those chances.

The turning point has to be the second goal, a turnover in the offensive zone for an outnumbered rush. Probably the second turning point is the power play not producing, and theirs coming out and getting a bit of softie, McLellan said.

Greenings second goal put it away when his wrist shot from the high slot beat Niemi, who had an off night, midway through the third period.

I think Nemo would probably assess himself very fairly, and say that he wasnt on. He made some saves early in the game, but as the game wore and we needed a couple from him, he didnt have them. He had one of those nights, McLellan said.

When asked after the game if he could have stopped a few of the pucks that got by him, Niemi agreed and went into detail about what he could have done differently on each of the four Senators goals.

Yeah, for sure. The first one, get over there and get the left skate on the ice and stop that. Second one, get a better push to the pass. Third one, maybe stay a little more far off the net. Maybe the last one, be a little bit more patient.

It wasnt just Niemi, though, according to the coach.

I thought there was a few of our other high end players, too, that didnt have very good nights, and they have to right now when were short staffed.

San Jose scored two or fewer goals in four of its last five games (3-2-0).

The Sharks and Senators entered the game as two of the most sizzling teams in hockey. Ottawa improved 10-1-1 in its last 12 games, while the Sharks fell to 7-2-1 in their last 10.

Ottawa won for the first time in San Jose since Oct. 18, 2003, ending a five-game skid.

Jason Demers, who missed practice on Wednesday, sat out in place of Colin White despite being available, McLellan said. White had missed the previous nine games with a lower body injury and was activated from injured reserve earlier in the day. To free up a roster spot for White, Ryane Clowe was placed on I.R. with a facial fracture. Andrew Desjardins, meanwhile, returned from a two-game absence after getting hit in the head against Columbus last Saturday.

San Jose may have lost another player, too, as Wingels left the game in the third period. No immediate update was available.

The Sharks embark on a three-game road trip through Canada leading up to the NHL All-Star break on Jan. 25. It begins in Vancouver on Saturday afternoon before stops in Edmonton and Calgary.

The Sharks came flying out of the gate. They were rewarded with a goal by the fourth line, as Desjardins gathered the puck around the boards and fed Brad Winchester for a wrist shot past Craig Anderson at 3:10 of the first period.

San Jose outplayed the Senators for most of the first, but a lapse in their own zone resulted in the tying goal by Turris. Sergei Gonchar drove past Patrick Marleau and found Turris with a backhanded pass through the slot, and the Ottawa newcomer lifted in his fourth goal of the year midway through.

Did McLellan think his team deserved better after the first 20 minutes?

Probably, he said. We went in and looked at the chances for and against like we always do. We didnt give up much in the first, and were tied.

I thought we had a really good first period, we just didnt capitalize, and it just went a little bit downhill from there, Dan Boyle said. Missed opportunities on our part, and them capitalizing on theirs is my feeling right now.

There were a few dangerous looking hits in what was a physical game. In the first period, Ottawas Jared Cowen laid into Justin Braun with a shoulder to the head, which was caught by the referee and nullified an Ottawa power play. In the second, Winchester appeared to inadvertently collide in the neutral zone with Zack Smith, shaking up the Senators forward.

Shortly after Turris tied the game in the first period, Jamie McGinn hit Chris Phillips in the corner, and the door to the home entrance came flying open. McGinn tumbled off of the playing surface, and was lucky to be okay.

Odds and ends: The Sharks outshot the Senators, 37-21. Ottawa won the faceoff battle, 34-28. The game marked the first matchup between Todd McLellan and Sens head coach Paul MacLean, as both were assistants together in Detroit for three seasons. Its MacLeans first year as head coach of the Senators. Ottawa finished 1-for-4 on the power play.

Sharks conclude 2017 NHL Draft with five more forwards in the system

Sharks conclude 2017 NHL Draft with five more forwards in the system

CHICAGO – After nabbing a center in the first round on Friday, the Sharks added four more forwards and one defenseman to conclude the second day of the annual NHL Entry Draft on Saturday, held this year at United Center.

The Sharks weren’t explicitly trying to restock their forward cabinet, according to general manager Doug Wilson and scouting director Tim Burke, although the club did make two separate moves in surrendering some later round picks to move up in the fourth round (to take center Scott Reedy) and sixth round (to take left wing Sasha Chmelevski).

First, though, it was defenseman Mario Ferraro in the second round at 49th overall. The offensive defenseman was a player that the Sharks targeted, using the pick they acquired from New Jersey last Friday as part of the trade for Mirco Mueller.

“He’s got a lot of speed, offensive guy, exciting,” Burke said. “Puck-moving type of guy.”

Wilson said: “We’re very pleased with the d-man. He’s a very dynamic, athletic guy, great skater. He was a guy that we moved up a little bit aggressively to get because that round, you could see people going after who they wanted. He is a guy that we identified.”

After moving up from the fifth round to the fourth round last Friday, again because of the Mueller trade, the Sharks jumped up 21 more spots in the fourth round by obtaining the Rangers pick at 102nd overall for the 123rd and 174th selections.

Center Scott Reedy is a player that Burke has high hopes for, projecting the Minnesota native as a “second line right winger [with] high-end potential.” Burke pointed out that Reedy, who is friends with first round pick Josh Norris, occasionally played on the same line with Norris for each of the last two seasons with the U.S. Under-18 team.

“He’s a big, strong forward that can play both positions (center and right wing),” Burke said.

Right wing Jacob McGrew, an Orange, CA native, went to the Sharks in the fifth round despite missing all of his first season in junior with a lower body injury suffered in training camp with Spokane (WHL).

“We knew about him before he went up there,” Burke said. “He’s a California kid. … If he was healthy he probably would have gone earlier.”

The Sharks again moved up to snag Huntington Beach native and center Chmelevski at 185 overall, and made their sixth and final pick in the 212th position by taking left wing Ivan Chekhovich in the seventh round. Both players look to have some offensive skill, based on their numbers and Youtube highlights.

Burke was surprised that both players were around so late.

“I thought they had pretty good years and they kind of slipped in the draft,” he said. “We weighed that versus some other more project-type guys, and we thought they had more offense and finish to their game. They just kept sliding, so we took a chance on them.”

Wilson said: “We moved up for the guys we wanted, and then there were some skilled guys at the end that we were surprised were still there. … We’ll go back and take a look how it all went, but we feel, I think, really good about where we ended up with this.”

Sharks coach DeBoer had 'good relationship' with Kovalchuk

Sharks coach DeBoer had 'good relationship' with Kovalchuk

CHICAGO – Ilya Kovalchuk is still reportedly mulling over a return to the NHL, four years after he surprisingly walked away from a monstrous contract with the New Jersey Devils to play in the KHL.

The Sharks have been linked to Kovalchuk, in large part because of Pete DeBoer, who was Kovalchuk’s most recent head coach. In 2011-12, Kovalchuk was a dangerous scoring winger under DeBoer, helping the Devils reach the Stanley Cup Final.

It was apparently a good working relationship between the player and the coach for the two seasons they were together, DeBoer said on Friday at the NHL Entry Draft at United Center.

“I loved Kovy in New Jersey,” DeBoer said. “We went to a Stanley Cup Final together. He was a huge piece for us there. I really enjoyed coaching him. I haven’t seen him in four or five years now. I’m sure there’s still a lot of game left there.”

DeBoer said he’s had no contact with the 34-year-old Kovalchuk, who would have to be traded by New Jersey before signing a new contract with any other NHL club. Still, it seems like the Sharks’ coach might welcome a reunion with Kovalchuk, who posted 78 points in 60 games with SKA Saint Petersburg last season, and has 816 points (417g, 399a) in 816 career NHL games with Atlanta and New Jersey.

“I had a really good relationship with him. I had a lot of respect for him as a player and a person,” DeBoer said.

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DeBoer seemed as uncertain as everyone else as to whether Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau will return to the Sharks or move on to other clubs as free agents.

But, naturally, it’s on his mind.

“You think about it all the time,” DeBoer said. “They’re obviously important pieces in the history of the franchise, and in our group. I also understand the business side of this, and there’s always tough decisions to make. The way I approach these type of things is I’m going to go to Canada and relax, and Doug [Wilson] is going to make those decisions. I’m sure we’ll have a good group come training camp.”

“We’ve got a really good core group of guys and some tough decisions that have to be made. The one thing Doug and his group has shown over the years is their ability to stay competitive, to find a way even after making tough decisions. I have all the faith in the world in that, and I’m excited about training camp.”

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The Sharks lost David Schlemko in the expansion draft earlier in the week. Vegas then flipped him to the Canadiens for a fifth round pick in 2019.

“I think for David, it’s a great opportunity for him, especially going to Montreal,” DeBoer said. “For us, it’s an opportunity for a young guy to jump in. The one thing we have in the organization is some depth. There’s a lot of guys knocking on the door, and guys hungry to grab that job.”