Sharks outlast Flames in shootout 2-1


Sharks outlast Flames in shootout 2-1


SAN JOSE If you believe in such a thing as hockey gods, then youre probably convinced they were smiling down upon the Sharks just before the start of the shootout with Calgary.

After San Jose should have been credited with an overtime victory, Michal Handzus and Brent Burns scored in the breakaway contest to give the Sharks a 2-1 win over the Flames on Tuesday night at HP Pavilion.

After Torrey Mitchells third period goal tied it, Justin Braun seemingly gave the Sharks the win with 1:05 remaining in overtime. Joe Thornton set up Braun beautifully with a short drop pass and Braun fired in a wrist shot, but as the Sharks players poured onto the ice and the fans celebrated, referee Mike Leggo quickly waved it off.

Leggo ruled that Tommy Wingels interfered with Miikka Kiprusoff on the play, but replays showed the only one who touched the Calgary goaltender was Flames forward Olli Jokinen.

I thought it was a good goal, Wingels said. I bumped Kiprusoff earlier in the game and I think Leggo had that in mind when he saw it was me going to the net again.

What irked coach Todd McLellan is that Leggo was not even the referee who was standing beside the net.

First of all, they have a tough job to do. Let me start with the good stuff. After that, you have to make sure that if youre going to make that call you have to be 100 percent sure, McLellan said.

What I dont understand is the positioning of it. The referee thats 85 or 90 feet away makes the call when one is only 15 feet away. Obviously, we can come in here and look at the replay and see that it was not the right call. They dont have that luxury.

The Sharks were able to secure the two points anyway, but McLellan pointed out that a shootout win is not as valuable as an overtime win. The first tiebreaker after points when it comes to the playoffs and seeding, is the number of wins a team can secure without the benefit of the shootout, in which the Sharks are now 6-2.

We dont have one in the bank when we probably should have, said the coach.

Still, San Jose was able to win for just the third time when trailing after two periods (3-11-1), forcing overtime on Mitchells goal midway through the third.

After Burns pinched from the point and kept the puck in the offensive zone, he tapped it to Mitchell behind the Calgary net, and Mitchell quickly centered to Handzus in the slot. Kiprusoff made the original save on Handzus, but Handzus managed to swipe the rebound to Mitchell at the side of the net for a tap-in at 10:44.

For Mitchell, it was his fifth point in the last six games since he was a healthy scratch on Jan. 5 against Columbus (2g, 3a).

Im just trying to play hard and remind myself of little things that I do well. Its been going pretty good, Mitchell said.

You dont have to be a hockey expert to see that he got the message and that hes skating harder and is much more involved in the play, McLellan said. We talk about leaving a mark on the game. Its not always a goal or an assist, but you can actually have an impact on the outcome from a positive viewpoint. Mitchey, since that day, has had that most nights.

In the shootout, McLellan went with a regular in Handzus and a couple of surprise participants in Patrick Marleau and Burns.

Marleau and Burns hadnt had a shootout attempt for the Sharks all season. Marleau was stopped on the Sharks first opportunity, while Handzus and Burns converted their attempts. At the other end, Antti Niemi stopped Jarome Iginla while Mike Cammalleri shot high.

Burns backhander over Kiprusoff ended the game.

I thought Burns had a very good game tonight. He was on his toes and made some crisp plays, so we chose to use him, McLellan said. Weve been going with the same group of players, and sometimes teams can do a good pre-scout, so we decided to change it up a little bit.

Handzus has been a standard in the shootout, and for good reason. He converted his fourth goal in seven attempts as a Shark.

The Sharks won for the seventh time in the last nine games (7-1-1).

The Flames opened the scoring at 12:07 of the second period. Iginlas attempted pass missed Cammalleri in the slot, but bounced off of the far boards to Chris Butler at the point. Butlers blast sailed high over Niemis glove hand giving Calgary the 1-0 lead.

The Sharks, who entered the game with the league lead in shots per game, had just 14 through the first two periods.

Theyre a hard team to play against, Burns said. I think they play real strong against the boards, and theyre quick. They dump and chase real hard. Its not always a fun game to play, but those are the games youve got to win, especially after losing in Chicago on Sunday.

The Sharks were without the services of Ryane Clowe, who was scratched due to an upper body injury related to him going face first into the glass on Jan. 10 in Minnesota. Although he had been playing since then, Clowe missed his first game of the year against Calgary.

That forced McLellan to rearrange his lines. Jamie McGinn began the night with Thornton and Joe Pavelski, but was replaced by Wingels to start the second after a good first period by the rookie.

Logan Couture was with Marleau and Benn Ferriero for most of the night, while Frazer McLaren played for the first time since Dec. 26.

It was the reunited third line, though, that ended up with the only Sharks goal that counted.

Our game plan on the third line doesnt change, Mitchell said. If we can chip in a goal and play hard, and spend time in their end, its a job well done for us.

The Sharks host the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.

Odds and ends: Frazer McLaren, Joe Pavelski and Jason Demers all hit posts in the game. The Sharks were 0-for-2 on the power play, while Calgary did not have a single man advantage all night. The Sharks have not lost two straight games in regulation since Dec. 3 and 6 against Florida and Minnesota. Brent Burns recorded his 200th career point with an assist on Mitchells goal. The Sharks had 26 blocked shots, including four apiece from Dan Boyle and Douglas Murray. San Jose was 32 of 59 faceoffs (59 percent).

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 – looks more like the second coming of Marty Havlat in a Sharks sweater than anything else. 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.

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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.