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.

Boedker tops list of disappointing Sharks depth forwards

Boedker tops list of disappointing Sharks depth forwards

SAN JOSE – The Sharks didn’t make any blockbuster moves last summer, content to make another run in 2016-17 with largely the same group that came within two wins of capturing the Stanley Cup.

They still acquired a notable player, though, when Mikkel Boedker was signed on July 1 to add an element that the Sharks knew they needed more of moving forward – speed. Boedker was expected to make the team faster, after the Sharks were exposed for not having enough of that against Pittsburgh in the NHL’s final round, as well as play in a top six role. 

At the time, it was hailed as a slick, under-the-radar move that wasn’t going to change the dynamic of the club but could help push it over the top.

When Boedker was a healthy scratch in games three and four of the first round against Edmonton, the evidence became clear, though, that this was a decision that fell flat on its face. 

Frankly, Boedker – who is signed for three more years with a $4 million salary cap hit – brings back visions of Sharks bust Marty Havlat. You know the skill is there, but the desire to use it on a nightly basis while showing any semblance of a battle level is lacking. 

Should the Sharks give Boedker another chance next season, or should they do everything in their power to try and move him? That’s a question that will likely be debated in the front office over the next several weeks.

On get-away day on Monday, indications were that the Sharks were planning on sticking with the 27-year-old, who finished with 26 points in the regular season (10g, 16a) and added one goal and one assist in four games in the playoffs.

“He has the things we’re looking for: his career scoring average, his speed, [penalty killing] ability,” general manager Doug Wilson said. “Did he meet the expectations that he had for himself [or] that we had for him? No. Can we get that out of him? Pete [DeBoer] believes we can.”

DeBoer has known Boedker since he played for him in 2007-08 in Kitchener (OHL). Despite scratching him in the playoffs, DeBoer said he saw “huge improvement” in Boedker throughout the course of the season after the forward spent nearly all of his NHL career in Arizona.

“There was an adjustment. He’s played 6-7 years a certain way in the NHL,” DeBoer said. “We’ve asked him to play differently here, and there was an adjustment.”

Boedker still believes that he can be a fit in San Jose.

“I think it will be and it can be,” he said. “It’s learning period, but you’ve also got to look in the mirror yourself and see what you can change and what assets you need to bring. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m ready to do that.”

The list of Sharks depth forwads that had frustrating seasons hardly begins and ends with Boedker, though.

Veteran Joel Ward’s production dipped from 43 points last season to 29 in 2016-17, although that probably isn’t too surprising considering he’s 36. Tomas Hertl is proving to be a streaky player, too, although his season was interrupted by another a knee injury.

The bigger disappointment came from players like Chris Tierney and Joonas Donskoi, who both made big impressions in the 2016 playoffs but struggled to produce consistent offense this year. Both were mentioned by name by DeBoer on Monday.

There are some promising youngsters in the pipeline like Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Marcus Sorensen, but it’s still too early to project any of them as can’t-miss scorers at the NHL level.

“I think we’ve got a large group of guys that I like, but need to step up,” DeBoer said. “Is Sorensen [like] Donskoi next year, where he takes a step back, or [does he take a] step forward? We’ve got a lot of guys that there’s a lot of potential there – Chris Tierney. 

“There’s a lot of those guys, but they need to have big summers and take a step, and show that they’re not just one season or one month players.”

Facial fractures for Couture; Thornton undergoes surgery

Facial fractures for Couture; Thornton undergoes surgery

SAN JOSE – Just in case there was any question as to the grisly nature of Logan Couture’s mouth injury, the Sharks forward shared a picture on his personal Instagram account on Monday.

If you haven’t seen it yet, proceed with caution.

The photo was taken the night of his injury on March 25 in Nashville, showing several top teeth missing in a mouth that can accurately be described as a bloody mess, after he was hit with a defected puck while standing in front of the net in a game against the Predators.

Couture revealed on Tuesday in a conference call that there was more to his injury that just damaged teeth. He also has some facial fractures, including one above his upper lip that extends to his nasal area, and another that is under the bottom row of his teeth.

The one that’s higher in his face is still painful. 

“Still struggle to eat and sleep. … It’s not a comfortable state to be in,” said Couture, who missed the final seven games of the regular season before returning for the six-game first round series loss to Edmonton.

As for the next step, Couture has yet to sit down with his dentist, although further work is on the horizon.

“There’s going to be some implants to get the teeth fixed,” he said. “Hopefully get it done in the next few weeks, and then I’ll head back to Canada.”

Couture doesn’t yet know how many teeth need to be replaced.

“All depends on how the teeth respond,” he said.

* * *

Joe Thornton had successful surgery on his left knee on Monday afternoon, NBC Sports California has learned, and according to a team statement released later on Tuesday he is expected to "make a complete recovery and be ready for the start of the 2017-18 season." 

According to a source, the damage to Thornton’s MCL was more significant than his ACL. The team declined to give any details about the surgery in its statement, including who performed it and where it was done. 

Thornton played four playoff games against Edmonton despite damaged knee ligaments, head coach Pete DeBoer revealed on Monday, when he said Thornton was dealing with a “torn MCL and ACL” after getting hurt in Vancouver on April 2.