Sharks notes: New line combos pay off

Sharks notes: New line combos pay off
April 4, 2014, 9:30 am

The Sharks have four games remaining and trail the Ducks by one point in the Pacific. (USATSI)

SAN JOSE -- One of the keys to the Sharks’ getting past Los Angeles on Thursday night was their ability to roll four lines, three of which were altered from San Jose’s previous game.

Todd McLellan explained his thinking behind moving wingers including Tommy Wingels, Matt Nieto, Tyler Kennedy and Marty Havlat.

[RELATED: Wingels among changes]

“(The Kings) are playing three games in four nights, it’s hard for them to go down to make it a three line game. We felt we’d get that from them, and tried to come up with lines that we could even everything out a little bit and play four. It worked for us tonight.”

Although Havlat was on the fourth line at even strength, he played nearly 13 minutes, or more than third line center James Sheppard (11:13). In fact, that fourth line generated the Sharks’ best scoring chance in the first period, when Andrew Desjardins sprung Havlat on a breakaway.  The winger lifted a wrist shot wide of the net with 11 minutes to go, though.

[RECAP: Sharks outlast Kings 2-1]

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In case you didn’t check the scoresheet around midnight, there was an official change, as Joe Pavelski was credited with his 39th goal rather than Brent Burns on the Sharks’ first marker.

At first, it appeared Burns’ blast from the point on the power play went cleanly into the net, with Pavelski providing the screen. But, apparently it hit Pavelski on its way in.

Pavelski said he didn’t even see the shot as it screamed towards him off of Burns’ blade. But, he was obviously happy with the result, which came on a set play off of a faceoff win by Joe Thornton (who was subtracted an assist as a result of the change).

“It was pretty simple. I wish they were all like that,” Pavelski said. “Attack the net quick. We score off of that once in awhile. At least we set the tone for the power play.”

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Was there any thought before the game to try and send a message to the Kings, who are still the Sharks’ likeliest first round playoff opponent?

[RELATED: NHL standings]

Logan Couture: "That didn't go through my mind. Maybe some other guys. We expected a tough, hard game in our building. We knew our fans would be into it. That's probably the best we've played in a while, the most physical we've played in a while. They're a good team over there, but I felt tonight we were more physical. We played pretty well."

Like some other Sharks, Couture felt it was a playoff atmosphere at SAP Center.

“Whoever we play I expect it to be just like that,” he said. “That was a playoff-like game. A couple games away from the playoffs. Every game in the playoffs is a battle. We have a lot of veterans on this team who know what it takes."

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As much as the Sharks seemed to get a boost from Thornton’s physicality, the Kings took some pride from Slava Voynov not backing down from the San Jose captain during a run-in in the second period.

[RELATED: Thornton leads Sharks in win over rival Kings]

“I thought it was awesome what Slava (Voynov) did,” Dustin Brown said. “It got the guys going. Obviously, the result wasn't there, but we did play a good first period. The tide kind of shifted there in the second.”

Jordan Nolan said: “Slava is one of those guys once he gets going, he really gets into the game and he's a competitor. It was nice to see him come out.”

Kings coach Darryl Sutter gave credit to both sides.

“Slava did what he does,” Sutter said. “I think they made point in the second period they were down because we had a really good first period. They made a point there. Their captain and leadership group made a point. Slava wasn't going to back down. That was their best forward, and our best defenseman.”