Sharks come back to beat Penguins in shootout, 4-3

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Sharks come back to beat Penguins in shootout, 4-3

BOX SCORE
SAN JOSE -- Something had to be done after the first period.Not only were the Sharks trailing Pittsburgh 2-0, but they were thoroughly outplayed, outshot, and their starting goaltender was pulled just over two minutes into the game.Enter Ryane Clowe. The Sharks forward dropped the gloves just seven seconds into the second period, scored in the third, and then tallied the only goal in the shootout to give San Jose a 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.

We had no business winning that game after the first period, said Todd McLellan. But, we found a way to work back into it.RATTO: Fan silence motivates late-arriving Sharks
San Jose erased a 3-1 deficit with a pair of third period goals.Struggling most of the night to generate any prime scoring chances against the Penguins, Clowe converted on a rush with Marty Havlat to cut it to 3-2, when he lifted a perfect backhander over the shoulder of Marc-Andre Fleury at 9:11.The Sharks third line, which McLellan said earlier in the day he wanted to see more from, got the equalizer. Michal Handzus found Jamie McGinn in front of the net and McGinn managed to whack it past Fleury with 4:54 left in regulation. It was McGinns first of the season.We knew after the first 10 games we werent producing like we wanted to, said McGinn. We just werent getting the points or the goals. It was very important for us to change momentum, keep the puck in their end, get some zone time and we were rewarded with a goal.Clowe was the only one of six shooters to score in the shootout, but it was his fight with Derek Engelland that seemed to wake up his team. In the first period, Engelland drilled Joe Thornton with a crushing hit along the boards, sending the Sharks captain to the ice.Even though it was clean, Clowe took exception.He took a pretty good run at Joe, and at times you cant really go after a guy so you take a number," he said. "The other thing, though, they were playing five defensemen. I think he was smart about it saying no at first, but hes a gamer so I figured he would. And he did.Clowe asked Engelland to drop the gloves while the teams were lining up for the opening faceoff in the second.I figured I would at least send out the invitation, said Clowe.Patrick Marleau got the Sharks on the board shortly after at 2:37 of the second, when his wrist shot got underneath the arm of Fleury.The Penguins got their two-goal cushion back, though, on a fortunate bounce.On a three-on-two rush, Evgeni Malkin took a pass from Kris Letang and fired it on net. The puck never made it, hitting James Neal in the leg. Fortunately for the Penguins, it subsequently hit Malkins skate and redirected over the goal line at 9:37. A video review confirmed that Malkin did not use a kicking motion.It was one of two goals on the night for Malkin. The Penguins star banked in a puck off of the skate of Brent Burns at 2:04 of the first period, giving the Penguins a 2-0 lead.That goal chased Antti Niemi, who also gave up a goal to Engelland just 24 seconds in, in favor of Thomas Greiss.McLellan had a couple reasons for making the change in net.I didnt think Niemi was ready to play though, either. Just like everybody else, said the coach, who wanted to change momentum, but also send a message that Niemi has to be ready to go, as well.Greiss stopped 29 of 30 shots in picking up his second victory. He also made a bit of history, becoming just the second goalie in the overtime era (since 1983-84) to come into a game in relief, play more than 60 minutes, and earn the win.I thought Tommy came in and played extremely well, and gave us a chance to work our way into the game, said McLellan.Malkin, who was the Penguins best player of the night, had a chance to put the Penguins ahead as their second shooter in the shootout. He faked a shot and tried to fire it past Greiss, but the Sharks goaltender didnt go for the move.I come out pretty far, try to make them go around me, said Greiss of his shootout strategy.It worked, giving Clowe a chance to win the game, which he did when he fired it below the blocker and above the pad of Fleury and Griess stopped Pascal Dupuis.
That gave the coach at least some measure of satisfaction.Todd said he would put us through the paces pretty good tomorrow, but at least we got the two points to sleep a little easier, he said.Odds and ends: The Sharks honored Thornton in a pregame ceremony for his 1000th game played and 1000th NHL point. Among the gifts was a wooly mammoth tusk, presented to him by his teammates. I think after the first everybody touched it, and it kind of gave us some luck, said Thornton. There was just one power play all night, in which the Sharks failed to convert in the third period. The last time the Penguins didnt have a power play in a game was Feb. 23, 2003. Brad Winchester got the decision on a fight with Craig Adams in the first, landing a good right hand. Jason Demers and Colin White were scratched in favor of Justin Braun and Jim Vandermeer. Benn Ferreiro was also scratched. ... The Sharks are 2-0 in shootouts this season, and 3-0 when a game goes past regulation.

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.