Sharks maintain dominance over Dallas, win 5-2

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Sharks maintain dominance over Dallas, win 5-2

BOX SCORE
SAN JOSE A common theme when the Sharks and Stars meet is that the games tend to be nasty, physical, and intense.Theres another theme emerging, too, now that San Jose has defeated Dallas for the third straight time in convincing fashion, this one coming on Thursday night at HP Pavilion, 5-2. The Sharks have the Stars number.
Sometimes you play teams well, and for whatever reason we play them real well, said Joe Thornton, who scored for the second straight game and added an assist. We like playing that feisty game like they play, and they kind of bring the best out of us. It was the fifth straight win overall for San Jose head-to-head, and in the three games this season, the Sharks have outscored the Stars 14-5. All three wins have come by a comfortable three-goal margin.

It was San Joses third straight victory, as the Stars fell 10 points behind the Sharks, who continue to lead the Pacific Division with 64 points (29-14-6).Ryane Clowe, who returned after a six-game absence due to a facial fracture, said: We play the way were supposed to play against them, and we get our chances. We forced some turnovers tonight and capitalized on them. I think it was more how we played, than what Dallas did.San Jose managed to set a franchise record in the game, too, increasing its shutout streak to 190 minutes and 51 seconds before Steve Otts second period power play goal at 12:41. That broke the old mark of 171:18, set in 2009.Even though Ott got credit for the goal, it was actually defenseman Dan Boyle who put it past goaltender Thomas Greiss. The Sharks defenseman was trying to tie up Otts stick when he accidentally slid it in his own net.The goal was a big one at the time, as it cut San Joses lead to 2-1 despite thoroughly outplaying Dallas up to that point.No matter, though. A pass from Brent Burns on the power play deflected in off of Patrick Marleau at 14:59 of the second period, and Thornton gave the Sharks a three-goal cushion before the second intermission with his 11th goal of the year at 16:43 after Joe Pavelski forced a turnover.It was huge, said Thornton, of the teams ability to respond after Boyles own-goal. Weird one by Danny, weve seen him do that before (laughs).Thorntons marker came off of a terrible turnover by the Stars Nicklas Grossman. The defenseman tried sending a pass up ice from behind his own net when Pavelski picked it off in San Jose's offensive zone. Pavelski faked a shot, getting goaltender Richard Bachman to commit, and passed to Thornton at the side of the net for an easy forehand-to-backhand tap in for the captain to make it 4-1.The Sharks seemed to get the bounces all night, really, including their first two goals in jumping out to a 2-0 lead on markers from Michal Handzus and Pavelski. Handzus got credit for his fifth goal of the season when a wrister from the point by Burns deflected off of his leg and past Bachman just 4:42 into the game.Pavelski took advantage of a fortunate deflection on his goal, too, when his slap shot from the point bounced off of Vernon Fiddlers stick and trickled in at 16:32 of the first period on the power play.It was nice to see even the turnovers they had, that we created, we capitalized on right away, Clowe said.The teams traded goals in the third period. Jamie Benn managed to put in a rebound at 6:22, but Clowe flipped in a loose puck after Couture threw it softly towards the net at 11:34 to cap the scoring.Burns registered an assist on three of the Sharks five goals in playing perhaps his best game of the season at least on the scoresheet, where he had his first three-point game as a Shark and first multiple-assist night, too.He looks like the player we thought we were getting. He looked very powerful on the ice tonight, I thought, Todd McLellan said. Jumping to loose pucks and winning races to five or six foot areas. And, hes got that dangerous shot. When he uses it, theres a big reward for a lot of other people in and around the blue paint.Greiss finished with 19 saves to win his seventh game of the year, and improve to 3-0-1 in his last four starts. Antti Niemi missed the game after getting dinged up in practice on Wednesday, but the injury is not expected to sideline him for very long.Greiss starts were sandwiched around Niemis shutouts in the previous two wins against Calgary and Columbus, so the goaltenders will share the franchise shutout streak.Its pretty cool. Im happy about that, said Greiss.There were long stretches of time where Greiss didnt have a whole lot of action, as the Sharks dominated territorially and didnt give up many prime scoring chances.Not much to do, Greiss said. A lot of their shots were like, off-speed, half-blocked and just trickling to the net. Weird game to play.Another positive development for the Sharks is that their power play scored two goals for just the second time in the last 32 games. After two months of relative ineptitude, San Jose is 5-for-13 with a man advantage in its last five games.Has it turned the corner?I think our power play is starting to look more like it should, McLellan said. There is some motion, and were shooting it a little bit more. We sense a more confident group when they go on the ice.We played well, really, from start to finish. It was just a good, competitive game, Thornton said. We always play them tough. We know its going to be a mans game out there. Big win, keep them behind us in the standings, and a real good effort.Odds and ends: The Sharks won 77 percent of the games faceoffs the fourth best mark by any NHL team since the beginning of the 2005-06 season. ... Jason Demers remains out with a lower body injury, and was placed on injured reserve earlier in the day. ... Andrew Murray and Benn Ferriero were the healthy scratches. ... Dallas was 1-for-2 on the power play, while the Sharks were 2-for-5. ... San Jose had 73 attempts at the net: 37 shots, 21 blocked by Dallas, and 15 missed shots. ... The Stars fell to 0-8-1 in the second game of back-to-backs.

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Logan CoutureAnother solid win. Once again all the guys chipped in. Just wanna say take a bow Sammy G. What a performance. 8points
Feb 03 via Twitter for BlackBerry Favorite Retweet Reply

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Brent BurnsBig W tonight, gr8 to have dads in town for that, can't wait to see them on the road! morechocolateontheplane latenightsundaes
Feb 03 via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Marleau back to the middle as Sharks deal with no Couture, Haley

Marleau back to the middle as Sharks deal with no Couture, Haley

SAN JOSE – All four of the Sharks’ lines have been in a blender for much of the season. 

Now, with Logan Couture out for at least one game and probably longer, and Micheal Haley getting tagged with a one-game suspension, the coaching staff has no choice but to mix and match the remaining forwards in time for Tuesday’s home game with the Rangers.

They’ll hope it’s the right recipe to snap out of what has been a miserable six-game losing streak in regulation, including the last two in which the Sharks have been outscored 13-3 by Dallas and Nashville.

The most notable player to be shifted is Patrick Marleau, who will apparently be centering the second line against New York. It will be just the fifth game he starts at center this season, and first since Feb. 11 in Philadelphia, when he was filling in for an ill Couture.

Marleau, of course, has played plenty of center over the years, including the second half of last season and first handful of playoff games when he was in the middle of the third line.

“I don’t think there’s been a year where I haven’t played center, so it’s just one of those things, move in and out,” Marleau said. “We’re interchangeable throughout the whole lineup, anyway.”

Marleau has been one of the few effective Sharks players lately, with three of the team’s last five goals. He has 26 goals on the season, third on the team, and is fifth on the Sharks in points with 44.

“Patty is playing great. I don’t think we could ask for more from him,” said coach Pete DeBoer. “Arguably a lot of nights this year he’s been our best forward. He’s playing hard, he’s playing strong. He’s been a real valuable piece for us. We wouldn’t be in the spot we’re in this year without him and the way he’s played this year.”

Marleau is set to skate with Melker Karlsson and Mikkel Boedker, as Karlsson is good to go after missing the last eight games with a lower body injury. The 26-year-old Swede is having a nice season with 19 points (9g, 10a) in 60 games.

The third line featured Tomas Hertl between Joel Ward and Marcus Sorensen, while Chris Tierney will center the fourth line with Timo Meier and Joonas Donskoi.

Karlsson, who confirmed he was ready to return, said: “Cooch is out, and we’ll see how long he’s going to be out, but I’ll do my best. I’m going to work hard, and hopefully can get going here.”

Marleau described Karlsson as “tenacious on the forecheck, causes a lot of turnovers. He’s hungry on that puck. He’s going to get his opportunities, and I’m sure he’ll put a few in the back of the net.”

* * *

Of course, the Sharks don’t care who scores the goals, just as long as it’s someone. It’s been a season-long issue for them to get their depth scorers to do more, and if they want any chance at reclaiming first place in the Pacific Division while Couture is out, that will be a necessity.

Among the players that will bring their scoring woes into Tuesday’s game will be Donskoi (no points 13 games), Hertl (no points in 12 games), Boedker (no points in 10 games), Ward (no points in six games), Sorensen (one assist in 10 games) and Tierney (one goal in 12 games).

Could Couture’s absence be a wake up call for those guys?

“I would hope it doesn’t take an injury to get that. That’s something we’re looking for, it’s something we’ve challenged the group to get more out of them,” DeBoer said. 

“They’re the first guys to recognize they’ve got to give us a little bit more. That’s been an ongoing process. The good news is they’ve all done it before. I feel that they all have the ability to raise their level another notch here before the playoffs. I think they have enough character that we’ll see that.”

Time is growing short, as the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin in a little more than two weeks.

Marleau said: “When you go into playoffs, [secondary scoring] is usually what makes a difference. We need everybody contributing and guys stepping up at different times. We know that in this room, and guys are looking forward to doing that.”

Sharks' Haley suspended one game for punch on Jarnkrok

Sharks' Haley suspended one game for punch on Jarnkrok

SAN JOSE – Sharks forward Micheal Haley has been suspended one game for punching Nashville’s Calle Jarnkrok on Saturday in San Jose’s 7-2 loss, and will miss Tuesday's home game with the Rangers.

After absorbing a borderline hit from behind into the glass by Jarnkrok, Haley tracked down the Predators forward and promptly delivered a left jab to Jarnkrok’s face at 12:56 of the final frame. He received a match penalty for intent to injure on the play.

According to the video released by the league, Haley “was seeking retribution” for the hit by Jarnkrok, who was already being penalized for boarding, and delivered a “forceful punch on an opponent who was not able to defend himself at the time.”

The 30-year-old Haley, who has never been fined or suspended before in his career, gave his perspective of what happened on Monday.

“We were breaking out there and next thing I know I was face first in the glass,” Haley said. “Just emotions [took over]. Kind of scared from the hit and I just went after him. Looked at him right in the eyes. He saw me. By the time I swung at him his face might have turned a bit. When I went at him I saw him clearly look at me, and I thought he knew I was coming.”

Haley expected Jarnkrok to engage him after the Predators forward delivered the bad check.

“I thought it was a pretty dirty hit, and I thought I gave him ample amount of time. I think he [had] enough time to know what I was trying to do, and trying to get him to fight.”

He added: “In hindsight, I wish none of it happened. I wish I didn’t get hit and I wish I didn’t punch him, but it happened. I don’t think I started it. It wasn’t premeditated or anything. If I missed that punch then we probably don’t have this conversation.”

In 54 games this season, Haley has two goals and nine assists for 11 points. His 110 penalty minutes is fifth in the league.