Sharks come on strong at end of road trip to stop losing ways

Sharks come on strong at end of road trip to stop losing ways

NEWARK – Sharks defenseman Brent Burns isn’t just outscoring all of his blue line counterparts in the NHL this season. In some cases, he’s outscoring entire teams.
 
A legitimate Hart Trophy candidate, Burns entered Sunday’s afternoon game in New Jersey with 22 goals. The Devils, as a team, had just 22 goals all season from their group of rear guards.
 
Burns added two more, though, while New Jersey got just one from forward P.A. Parenteau in a 4-1 Sharks win at Prudential Center. Both of Burns’ goals came on wrist shots that glanced the iron on their way into the net, as the Wookiee played with the puck high in the zone and eventually found a shooting lane, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 Sharks lead that they would not relinquish.
 
"His shot is unbelievable,” Logan Couture said. “The ability he has to get his shot through, there's nobody in the league that does it better.”
 
Burns said: “Both [goals were] kind of the same. Good work down low, getting it up by the forwards, and then just traffic and shooting.”
 
The Sharks conferred about getting more traffic in front of goalie Cory Schneider after the first period, when they registered 19 shots on goal but none that went in. Despite that inflated total, they didn’t have many great scoring chances while going 0-for-4 on the power play, too.
 
Martin Jones saw just three shots in the first period, allowing Parenteau’s score at 11:42.
 
“The talk is just you’ve got to come out and you’ve got to put that effort in again,” Joe Pavelski said of the first intermission discussion. “We came out, we get a little bit more traffic – that was one of the things we wanted to do. Those shots, you could kind of tell [Schneider] couldn’t really find them, and they got by him.”
 
Jones said: “When pucks started going in, we were in front of the goalie. [Burns has] got a great shot, both are off the bar and in. But, you need to have bodies at the net to score from that distance.”
 
Joe Thornton capped off a strong second period stretch with his second goal in three games, as the Sharks scored three times in 8:55 to take control of the game. 
 
“We got on a little run there,” Thornton said. “We felt we were going pretty good. Our forecheck was working pretty good. It probably sealed the game right there.”
 
Jones still had some work to do, though. He made some key stops on Taylor Hall and Stefan Noesen late in the second period to keep it a two-goal lead at the second intermission, and made seven saves on seven shots in the third as the Sharks locked it down.
 
His brief cold streak, starting with the third period in Buffalo last Tuesday and continuing in Boston when he was pulled after one period, appears to be over.
 
“I thought we managed the puck pretty well tonight,” Jones said. “We didn’t turn the puck over, we didn’t give up odd man rushes. That was a big difference, especially in the third period against Buffalo and against Boston, we were giving up some odd man rushes, some looks that we don’t normally give up. Tonight, we did a really good job.”
 
San Jose snapped its winless streak at four games, capturing four of a possible eight points on its road trip.
 
“We feel like we've played a little better than our record so far on the trip, and we wanted the two points,” Pete DeBoer said. “Back-to-back, not having success in the first – it would have been easy to get down, but we stuck with it."
 
Pavelski said: “To end the trip with a win – a good, complete performance – it makes for a nice flight home.”

Sharks hoping to avoid mumps outbreak in Vancouver: 'Wash your hands'

Sharks hoping to avoid mumps outbreak in Vancouver: 'Wash your hands'

VANCOUVER – The water and Gatorade bottles were all lined up in front of the Canucks’ bench on Saturday morning for their morning skate, each one labeled with an individual player’s number. The purpose was to prevent any further spread of the mumps virus, as five players will be unable to dress against the Sharks on Saturday.

The Sharks went about business as usual when it was their turn to skate. They aren’t really able to take any preventative measures, as the story only came to light on Friday afternoon when they were in the air on their charter flight to British Columbia.

After the morning skate, coach Pete DeBoer joked, “I’ve asked all the guys as they walk by the [Canucks dressing] room to hold their breath on the way out to the bus.”

DeBoer can't do much other than hope that the players remain healthy.

“We had to skate, we had to practice. There’s nothing you can do,” DeBoer said. “You wash your hands. I think our trainers are on it. We’ve got some vaccines set up from what I understand when we get back, but that’s about it.”

Vancouver’s Troy Stecher is the only confirmed case of the mumps, although four others – Nikita Tryamkin, Michael Chaput, Chris Tanev and Markus Granlund – have shown symptoms. That leaves the entire right side of Vancouver’s defense out, so rookie Evan McEnany will be making his NHL debut on the blue line, while Joseph Labate will play his fourth career NHL game up front.

The Sharks will return to San Jose immediately after the game, have a scheduled day off on Sunday, and will reconvene for practice on Monday.

No one in the Sharks’ dressing room had any answers better than DeBoer’s one-liner when it came to trying to avoid the virus, which is spread primarily through saliva and sweat – making it somewhat easily transferable among NHL players, including two seasons ago when several teams dealt with outbreaks. 

Joe Pavelski indicated that many Sharks players should be fine, as they had to be vaccinated prior to past Olympic competitions. “You hope it doesn’t spread through your team, because obviously it’s not fun,” he said.

Joe Thornton and Joel Ward will both be searching for the soap, though.

“Just got to wash your hands, that’s what I learned a long time ago,” Thornton said.

Ward said: “Tell the boys to wash their hands, especially Burnzie. That was kind of news to us, so hopefully that doesn’t travel through us. We’ll just knock on wood and [hopefully] stay healthy.”

 

NHL Gameday: Sharks in Vancouver in first game after bye week

NHL Gameday: Sharks in Vancouver in first game after bye week

Programming note – Sharks-Canucks coverage starts today at 6:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 35-18-7, 77 points, 1st Pacific Division
Canucks: 26-28-6, 58 points, 6th Pacific Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***The Sharks and Canucks will both be coming out of their bye weeks. Most teams have struggled in that first game after the break, but San Jose and Vancouver will be on an even playing field.

“I think what you’re seeing is teams coming out of the break playing against teams that are at game speed or have been busy all week, but that’s not the case here,” Pete DeBoer said. “Both of us are in the same situation, so I don’t think there’s an advantage of disadvantage either way.”

What are the keys to playing a game for the first time since Feb. 19, without any practice time other than a morning skate on Saturday?

“Less is more, I think,” Joe Pavelski said. “Make sure our effort is there, and our compete [level]. You might not feel great all the time, but the game will come back pretty quick, I think. Mentally, make the right play.”

San Jose has a three-point lead on Anaheim and Edmonton in the Pacific Division, with two games in hand on both. It has 22 games left on the schedule, to be played over the next 43 days.

***There was one notable line change, as Tomas Hertl was bumped to the left wing while Chris Tierney will skate as the third line center. Joel Ward is on the right.

DeBoer put that group together late in the Boston game, a 2-1 overtime loss last Sunday. Tierney and Hertl have rarely been on the same line.

Regarding Hertl, Tierney said: “He can kind of play anywhere and play with any type of player, really. He compliments the top line really well, and he can come down and be dominant on our line. It’s pretty easy to play with a guy like that who brings speed, skill and size.”

***Barclay Goodrow, recalled on Friday, will play his second game of the season as the Sharks are carrying just 12 healthy forwards. Joonas Donskoi would have been “close” to being able to play, per DeBoer, but came down with the flu shortly before the Sharks’ flight to Vancouver on Friday. Donskoi has been out since Jan. 24 with what looks like a shoulder injury.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Chris Tierney. The center led the Sharks in their last visit to Vancouver, scoring two goals in a 4-1 win. He’s scoreless in his last eight games, so perhaps a visit to Rogers Arena – and a new linemate in Tomas Hertl – can get him going again. He has four goals and five points in nine career games against Vancouver.

Canucks: Henrik Sedin. With the Canucks shorthanded due to a mumps outbreak, Vancouver will need its big guys to come through. Sedin seems to be in decline, though, with 36 points (12g, 24a) in 60 games and a team-worst minus-19 rating.

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Kevin Labanc – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Tomas Hertl – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Barclay Goodrow – Micheal Haley – Melker Karlsson

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

Martin Jones (starter)
Aaron Dell

Canucks
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Alex Burrows
Loui Eriksson – Bo Horvat – Jannik Hansen
Joseph Labate – Brandon Sutter – Jayson Megna
Reid Boucher – Brendan Gaunce – Alexandre Grenier

Alex Edler – Philip Larsen
Luca Sbisa – Ben Hutton
Ben Hutton – Evan McEnany

Ryan Miller (starter)
Jacob Markstrom

INJURIES

Sharks: Joonas Donskoi (upper body/flu) and Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) are out.

Canucks: Nikita Tryamkin (illness), Troy Stecher (illness), Michael Chaput (illness), Chris Tanev (illness), Markus Granlund (illness), Sven Baertschi (concussion), Jack Skille (undisclosed), Derek Dorsett (back surgery), Erik Gudbranson (wrist) and Anton Rodin (knee) are out.

QUOTEABLE

“Tonight, just want to get pucks in deep, simplify, get everyone back into the groove again. Definitely looking forward to these last 22 games.” – Joel Ward