Sharks force OT, claim extra point in shootout


Sharks force OT, claim extra point in shootout


NEWARK, NJ There were some familiar feelings on the Sharks bench for much of their game against New Jersey on Friday night at the Prudential Center.

Frustration. Aggravation. Irritation. After all, here they were, outplaying another opponent yet not seeing the results on the scoreboard.

Of all those feelings, though, it was determination that took over. It helped them to a much-needed 4-3 shootout victory over the Devils, as Joe Pavelski tied it with 32.4 seconds left and Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist in his 1000th career NHL game to help put an end to the teams three-game losing streak.

Credit the veteran leadership on this one, which didnt allow the Sharks to hang their heads despite being down 2-0 early, and 3-2 late.

At that stage of the game if your leadership doesnt step up or you write it off as another tough night, thats not a good sign, said Ryane Clowe. I liked how we stuck with it. Pavelski was one of the guys who actually said that on the bench, and he went out and scored that tying goal.

David Clarkson gave the Devils a 3-2 lead at 13:18 of the third period, when he and Mattias Tedenby broke out on a two-on-two rush. Sharks defenseman Colin White fell down, however, leaving Clarkson alone in front of the net. Tedenby centered to Clarkson, who waited for Niemi to go down before sliding it through the goaltenders legs.

This, after San Jose had scored a pair of quick goals to tie it up before the second intermission.

Enter Pavelski. With goaltender Antti Niemi pulled, Pavelski found a patch of open ice and had the puck squirt out to his stick with the clock winding down.

Thornton had it and definitely saw there was a scrum in front of the net. I was just trying to stay out, and it popped out, said Pavelski, who quickly fired it past the glove side of Johan Hedberg, through heavy traffic.

In the shootout, Michal Handzus and Ilya Kovalchuk converted their opportunities. When Niemi made a save on Patrik Elias, it came down to Clowe.

The burly left winger went to his backhand and lifted it past Hedberg to seal San Joses second win of the year.

Ive taken a few shootouts now over the years, and thats kind of my go-to move, he said. Its a little easier when you face the Eastern Conference goalies because they dont see you as much. Hedberg is kind of a smaller goalie and I have a long stick and long reach, so I tried to use that when I go to the backhand.

After three straight games in which the Sharks felt they deserved better than an 0-3 record, San Jose fell behind when Elias scored a power play goal in the first period and Zach Parise converted a penalty shot early in the second.

The Sharks fought back, though, with a pair of even strength goals from their top two lines on back-to-back shifts.

First it was Thornton. The Sharks captain used Devils defenseman Henrik Tallinder as a screen and fired a wrist shot through Hedberg at 15:18 for his first of the season.

The second line followed that up just 63 seconds later. After Logan Couture had a great chance in front of the net, Martin Havlat threw the puck back towards the crease and it bounced in off of the left skate of Clowe. A short video review confirmed the goal.

Havlat, making his Sharks debut, picked up his first point with the primary assist.

San Jose, which entered the game leading the league in shots per game, outshot the Devils 20-5 in the second period and 40-19 for the game.

That mattered little when Clarkson gave the Devils the lead back, and coach Todd McLellan sensed some growing displeasure on the bench.

I think even as coaches we could feel it, he said. But, as the night went on and we got those two quick goals, we started to believe again that it could be done. We felt the frustration come back after their third goal, but we stuck with it. Thats a good sign for our team.

McLellan said throughout the week that even though the Sharks were putting up plenty of shots on goal, they werent doing the dirty work in the crease to generate second chance opportunities. That wasnt the case on Friday, though, as Clowes goal and the game-tying score were the result of hard work near the blue paint.

If the first shot gets there, you have a chance at the second and third. We stress that all the time shooting from bad angles, said McLellan.

Clowe said: Sometimes when youre working you deserve those breaks, and we had a couple breaks that we worked for tonight.

The Sharks will travel to Boston to continue their road trip against the Bruins on Saturday night. The flight will undoubtedly be a little lighter after the hard earned victory.

If we dont score with 30 seconds left I can tell you we have a pretty frustrated group moving on, said McLellan. Maybe this will be the monkey off our back.

NEWS: Sharks' Mitchell leaves game with upper body injury

Odds and ends: San Jose suffered a blow early, when Torrey Mitchell left the ice in the first minute after taking a high elbow from Nick Palmieri, who was issued a minor penalty for checking to the head. Colin White played his first game back in New Jersey, where he spent the first 10 seasons of his NHL career before the Devils bought him out over the summer. Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray was on the business end of a right hand from Eric Boulton when the two squared off in a heavyweight fight in the first period. Benn Ferreiro made his season debut, after being recalled from Worcester on Thursday. Devils forward Jacob Josefson suffered a broken clavicle late in the first period. The Sharks were 0-for-5 on the power play.

Sorensen returns to Sharks after having 'positive impact' last season

Sorensen returns to Sharks after having 'positive impact' last season

Editor's Note: The above video is from March 2, 2017

One of the Sharks’ young forwards expected to challenge for a full time roster spot this season has been re-signed.

Marcus Sorensen, who started the year in the AHL before working his way up to the Sharks, signed a two-year contract extension the team announced on Tuesday. A source told NBC Sports California that the deal is worth $700,000 at the NHL level for each of the next two seasons.

In 19 regular season games with the Sharks, Sorensen, 25, posted one goal and three assists. He appeared in all six playoff games against Edmonton, posting one goal and one assist.

In 43 games with the AHL Barracuda, Sorensen had 17 goals and 17 assists for 34 points.

"The time he spent with the Sharks this season, and the positive impact he had, proved that he can be an effective player at the highest level,” assistant general manager Joe Will said in a statement.

Sorensen originally signed with the Sharks as a free agent on May 13, 2016. He was originally drafted by Ottawa in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, but spent six seasons playing in Sweden before joining San Jose.

Sorensen was a restriced free agent. The Sharks have just one RFA left to sign in forward Barclay Goodrow.

Mailbag: Will Sharks miss Marleau's leadership? Thornton to be bumped?

Mailbag: Will Sharks miss Marleau's leadership? Thornton to be bumped?

Now that the dust has settled on the draft and free agency, here’s a meaty offseason Sharks mailbag before my vacation…

Who will replace Patty's leadership? (philip malan‏ @pmalan1979)

Patrick Marleau was a good example for other players in that he always came to camp in great shape and took care of himself between games, allowing him to be very productive into his later years. 

But let’s not overblow it. From what I understand, Marleau preferred to avoid confrontation, and was never the guy in the dressing room challenging other players to step up. That was left more to guys like Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, with Logan Couture growing into that role in recent years, too. When it comes to veteran leadership there are other guys still in the dressing room of more value than Marleau. His leaving town shouldn’t change the dynamic.

Will Thornton be bumped from the top line center role? Who do you think will replace Marleau on the PP? (Elle‏ @LikeShiningOil)

The whole “top line” designation is something that us writers and broadcasters like to use, and I’m going to keep using it for Thornton so long as he and Pavelski are on the same line. That said, there will be plenty of games where the Couture line gets more even-strength ice time than the Thornton line. I guess my point here is don’t read too much into the labels. I don’t expect Thornton’s ice time to go down from what it was last season. He’s averaged 18 minutes and change in each of the past five seasons, and probably will again.

As for replacing Marleau on the power play, I would tab Tomas Hertl as the frontrunner, but I’m sure the Sharks will try a number of different looks there in training camp. After finishing 25th in the NHL last season they pretty much have to, right?

How will the lines roll this season, if you were to prognosticate now? (Erik Kuhre @Puckguy14)

It seems like we say this every year, but it depends on where the Sharks see Hertl slotting in. Last season Hertl started out on the wing of the top line after offseason knee surgery before moving to center fairly quickly. I know he battled through yet another knee injury during the season, but Hertl’s 22 points in 49 games was a disappointing total.

If the season were starting today, I’d put Hertl on the wing of the Thornton line again with, of course, Pavelski on the other side. Here’s what I’ve got in that scenario:

Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Timo Meier – Logan Couture – Joonas Donskoi
Jannik Hansen – Chris Tierney – Mikkel Boedker
Melker Karlsson – Ryan Carpenter – Joel Ward

Extras: Marcus Sorensen, Kevin Labanc, Barclay Goodrow

(One guy who is really going to have to fight to keep his spot is Ward. I could see him getting pushed out, but for now I’m leaving him in).

Will there be a tough guy in the lineup to protect the kids? (Jim Kelley)

The Sharks signed free agent Brandon Bollig a couple weeks ago to replace Micheal Haley, but I don’t seem him as a regular in the NHL lineup. Bollig could be a guy they recall if they think it’s necessary to dress a pugilist, like when Pete DeBoer brought up Haley late in the 2015-16 season for the sole reason of fighting Darnell Nurse, who had jumped Sharks defenseman Roman Polak just two weeks earlier for no real reason.

Do you think Chris Tierney is capable of more point production at this point in his career? (Ian Stephenson)

Count me among those that thought Tierney was ready to have a better season last year after his strong performance in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Still, he’s just 23 years old, and his line in the series against Edmonton with Meier and Sorensen was a very effective one for long stretches of play. This is a huge year for Tierney, who had to settle for the Sharks’ one-year, $735,000 qualifying offer. Perform, and he’ll get paid. Struggle, and he could be on the move.

Do you think the Sharks will trade either Grosenick or Dell? Doesn't seem Grosenick has much more to prove in AHL. (Chris Greni)

No, they’ll hold on to all three for the time being. Getting Troy Grosenick re-signed to a one-year deal was a nice move on the Sharks’ part, considering Aaron Dell still has just 20 games of NHL experience. Perhaps if they both continue to play well the Sharks could dangle one as trade bait later in the year, but it wouldn’t make sense at this point. 

Any thoughts on DW using the offer sheet to bring in scoring help? There’s several serviceable RFAs out there still waiting for contracts. (Tony Martinico)

Keep in mind that some of those high end RFAs, like Colton Parayko, Nino Niederreiter and Tomas Tatar are currently headed for arbitration, which takes the offer sheet off the table.

Purely speculation here, but I have to wonder if the Sharks have at least kicked around trying to ink Leon Draisaitl to an offer sheet. You have to think Berlin native Hasso Plattner would love to add the “German Gretzky” to the roster. I know we're settling into the part of the NHL offseason where typically nothing happens, but it was July 19 when the Flyers signed Shea Weber to a monster offer sheet five years ago.

And, of course, Doug Wilson has used the power of the offer sheet in the past, signing Niklas Hjalmarsson in 2010 and then using the threat of an offer sheet with Boston to acquire Martin Jones.

Which Cuda player, aside from Meier, Labanc and Sorensen, would you expect to be a dark horse and could make the big team out of camp? (olin @sleepymofo)

Keep in mind that the sixth and defensemen spots are open, too. I would presume that Dylan DeMelo is the frontrunner to replace David Schlemko, but Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan are coming off of strong seasons in the AHL. Perhaps one of them overtakes DeMelo in training camp.

As for other forwards than those you mentioned, Goodrow could end challenging for a spot on the fourth line. I get plenty of questions about Danny O’Regan, too, and perhaps he makes a push. The issue with O’Regan is that although he’s a skilled player in the minors, he’s probably not quite skilled enough to make up for his small frame at the NHL level. I view him more as a fill-in guy.

Any word on [Barclay] Goodrow and [Marcus] Sorenson? I'm assuming they didn't sign their QO's? (DaveBPilot‏ @DaveBPilot)

Yes, that’s safe to assume, since the deadline was Saturday. They remain RFAs, and negotiations will surely continue.

Still, it’s worth mentioning what happened last year with Matt Nieto. The forward didn’t sign his qualifying offer, as he was pushing for a multi-year deal, and ended up signing for one year for less than he would have made had he accepted the original offer. He was waived and claimed by Colorado.