Sharks force overtime, top Canadiens in shootout

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Sharks force overtime, top Canadiens in shootout

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE Reunited and it feels so good.

Logan Couture and Ryane Clowe both scored, with Clowes game-tying goal coming late in regulation, and the Sharks won in a shootout over the Montreal Canadiens at HP Pavilion on Thursday night, 4-3.

Couture and Clowe, who had success together for most of last year and the beginning of this season, began the night on the same line for the first time since Nov. 5 in Nashville. Clowes first marker since Nov. 3 tied the game with 1:26 left in the third period.

Trailing 3-2 and with Antti Niemi racing towards the bench for an extra attacker, Marty Havlat fired a wrist shot on Carey Price from the wing. Couture charged the net, and the rebound bounced out to the slot where Clowe was able to lift it over Prices shoulder for his fifth of the season.

Havlat, Michal Handzus and Joe Pavelski beat Price in the six-round shootout, which finally ended when Niemi made a low stick save on Montreals P.K. Subban. The Sharks improved to 3-0 in shootouts in ending their modest two-game losing streak.

Along with Havlat, the Sharks second line combined for five points and was easily the teams best of the night.

Whatever the outcome was tonight, I was happy with the effort of our line to create some offense and get back on track, said Clowe.

Sometimes you need to take a break and get back together. You kind of regroup and get a feel for each other again. Give a lot of credit to Marty, he played well on the wing tonight, too.

So well, in fact, that McLellan labeled it as Havlats best game as a Shark. I dont even think its close, said the head coach.

The Sharks never led in regulation, battling back from three separate one-goal deficits to force overtime.

Montreal took the 3-2 lead with 11:14 left in the third period. David Desharnais battled Joe Thornton behind the Sharks net, coming away with the puck. He managed to squeeze a pass through the crease to Cole, who got position in front of Marc-Edouard Vlasic to direct it past Niemi.

Usually I play that better, said Vlasic, who has undoubtedly been the teams best defenseman this season.

All of Montreals goals, in fact, came from the same line, as Desharnais, Erik Cole and Mike Cammalleri combined for eight points. They victimized the Sharks top line of Thornton, Pavelski and Patrick Marleau, who were a combined -8.

We thought their size was something that we could take advantage of tonight, but it didnt work out for us for whatever reason, said McLellan of his top line. I know that threesome will be better next time out.

The Sharks responded quickly to goals from Montreal in the first and second periods, and the game was tied at 2-2 after 40 minutes.

The Canadiens opened it at 13:21 of the first period. Niemi stopped Coles attempt from the side of the net, but was slow to recover as the puck ended up at the point on the stick of Subban. Subban ripped a low slap shot that Cammalleri redirected into the net.

Just 41 seconds later, though, Jamie McGinn tied it. Handzus, returning after missing Mondays game with a high fever, skated around the net and backhanded one towards the net. The puck glanced off of Prices pad right to a charging McGinn, who slammed it in.

Montreal re-took the lead at 4:41 of the second. Pavelski turned the puck over in the Sharks offensive zone to Cole, who quickly got it ahead the speedy Desharnais. The Sharks were unable to get back in time and watched Desharnais fire a wrister from the circle past Niemi's stick side.

Once again, though, the Sharks countered. This time it was Couture, who got open in the circle and took a nice backhanded feed from Clowe along the boards. Couture showed his quick wrists and immediately fired it past Price for just his second goal in the last nine games at 6:18.

It was one of many scoring chances that line generated throughout the night.

There are nights where you feel good and it feels like the puck is following you around, said Couture. Youre getting in the forecheck a little quicker, and causing turnovers from the other teams D. Tonight was one of those nights.

Despite trailing for much of the game, the Sharks were happier with their overall effort. The Canadiens were an opportunistic bunch, taking advantage of the few mistakes the Sharks made, in scoring their three goals.

It wasn't any real huge mistakes. Theyre good at countering, said Clowe. We talked about that before the game. I liked how we at least stuck with it.

The coach did, too.

We tried to lose it in the third there when we gave up the goal, but Im happy that they stuck with it. There was a group of them that was really determined, said McLellan, clearly referring to that second line.

It was perhaps their best game in a long time. It was nice to see. They did a lot of scoring for us tonight and were real happy about that, he said.

Odds and ends: Niemi made 29 saves for his 10th win of the season. Price stopped 38. The Sharks host the Florida Panthers on Saturday night. There was a total of just four penalty minutes in the game, and each team had just 1:29 of power play time. Neither scored. The Sharks won 39 of 61 faceoffs. The Canadiens, the league leaders in blocked shots, blocked 23 to San Joses 18. The Canadiens were without leading goal-scorer Max Pacioretty, who was serving the second of a three-game suspension.

Sharks' draft pick Norris possesses 'Logan Couture attributes'

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USATSI

Sharks' draft pick Norris possesses 'Logan Couture attributes'

CHICAGO – Sharks general manager Doug Wilson is typically restrained in his public praise for players in the system. “We don’t like to over promote our prospects” is a phrase he’s used countless times.

That’s what made his instant comparison of Sharks first round pick center Josh Norris to a current core player so unexpected.

“We think – I hate doing this, but I’m going to – [Norris has] a lot of the Logan Couture attributes to him,” Wilson said on Friday at United Center, shortly after presenting Norris with a teal sweater.

Wilson also made note of Norris’ confidence, which was evident in the 18-year-old’s media availability. Norris described himself as “a 200-foot player. I think I can give you a little bit of everything: power play, penalty kill, faceoffs, can chip in offensively. I think I kind of do a little bit of everything.” He added that he attempts to pattern his game to Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak.

Like most players that aren’t top five selections, Norris isn’t likely to make the NHL roster in the fall. He’s set to attend the University of Michigan in the fall.

Still, Wilson suggested that it might not take long for the six-foot, 189-pound Oxford, Michigan native to make the leap.

“He’s a kid, the way he plays and the way he thinks, he potentially could fast track. So, we’ll see,” Wilson said.

Norris had some familial help on his journey to draft day. His father Dwayne had a few cups of coffee in the NHL with the Quebec Nordiques more than two decades ago, playing 20 career games from 1993-96.

Dwayne Norris was right there to congratulate his son, who was no sure thing to go in the first round as the 34th ranked North American skater, according to NHL Central Scouting.

“He just said how proud of me he was, and it was kind of a big moment we had that I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Norris said about his conversation with his father.

Norris’ stats suggest he has an ability to create offense, as he posted 27 goals and 61 points in 61 games for the U.S. National Under-18 team last season, and added 12 goals and 26 points in 25 games in the USHL.

“I think I’m a little bit of a goal scorer and a playmaker,” Norris said. “I think I’m really good in my defensive zone. I think I have a lot of upside on the offensive side of my game that I’m going to continue to work on.”

Wilson said: “We think he’s a mature player.”

Norris had a strong showing at the NHL combine, leading all 104 draft-eligible players in attendance in five of the 14 fitness tests. Those results, along with a strong interview, made Norris an appealing target for San Jose.

“He’s arguably one of the most athletic guys in the combine,” Wilson said. “His interview was phenomenal. If you go back in his history in big games he’s stepped up in a big way, and that’s the type of guy we’re looking for.”

Norris, who played baseball as a shortstop until age 13, said: “I wasn’t too nervous going to the combine. … I just tried to make good impressions on teams. The physical testing aspect of it, I’ve always been a pretty good athlete.”

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Norris will make his first-ever trip to California in early July to take part in the Sharks’ development camp.

* * *

Just before the Sharks’ contingent made its way to the stage to select Norris, Wilson was spotted talking with Washington general manager Brian MacLellan. After a brief exchange, MacLellan shook his head, and Wilson went back to the San Jose table and gathered his group to head to the podium.

Asked about the chat, Wilson said it was not about the 19th overall pick.

“We were actually looking at some other things, some other picks that we had,” Wilson said. “Some teams had reached out to us, and we’re planting our seeds a little bit for tomorrow already.”

The draft concludes on Saturday, with the second round beginning at 7 a.m. PT.

Sharks select center Josh Norris No. 19 in 2017 NHL Entry Draft

Sharks select center Josh Norris No. 19 in 2017 NHL Entry Draft

CHICAGO – The Sharks used their first round draft selection on Friday night to select Josh Norris, a center from Michigan.
 
San Jose stayed in the 19th position in the first round, where it was originally slotted, to take Norris. The six-foot, 189-pounder posted 61 points (27g, 34a) in 61 games with the U.S. National Under-18 team last season, and added 26 points (12g, 14a) in 25 games in the USHL. He has committed to the University of Michigan for the 2017-18 season.
 
Norris became the Sharks’ first North American-born first round pick since Charlie Coyle in 2010. Their previous four first round selections were born in Europe.
 
Norris’ father, Dwayne, was drafted 127th overall by Quebec in 1990 and played in 20 games with the club from 1990-93.
 
Just before making the pick, general manager Doug Wilson had a quick chat with Washington general manager Brian MacLellan, but nothing apparently came of it.
 
The Sharks had never selected a player 19th overall in their history. Notable players around the league selected in that spot include Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay, 2012), Oscar Klefbom (Edmonton, 2011), Nick Bjugstad (Florida, 2010), Chris Kreider (Rangers, 2009), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim, 2003) and Keith Tkachuk (Winnipeg, 1990).
 
The Sharks have seven more selections on Saturday when the draft resumes at 7 a.m. PT, including the 49th overall pick in the second round, acquired from New Jersey as part of the Mirco Mueller trade earlier in the week. They also own one fourth round pick, two in the sixth round, and three in the seventh round.
 
Swiss native Nico Hischier went first overall to the New Jersey Devils, while the Philadelphia Flyers selected Nolan Patrick second.
 
Recent Sharks first round draft picks
 
2016 – None
2015 – Timo Meier (9th overall)
2014 – Nikolay Goldobin (27th overall)
2013 – Mirco Mueller (18th overall)
2012 – Tomas Hertl (17th overall)
2011 – None 
2010 – Charlie Coyle (28th overall)
2009 – None
2008 – None
2007 – Logan Couture (9th overall), Nick Petrecki (28th overall)