Sharks score three straight to beat Avs, 5-4


Sharks score three straight to beat Avs, 5-4


SAN JOSE -- After consecutive games blowing third period leads, the Sharks decided that it was time to turn the tables.Trailing 4-2 entering the final frame, San Jose roared back and scored three times in just four and a half minutes in beating the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night at HP Pavilion, 5-4.In between periods, we said teams have done this on us, why dont we just turn it around for once? said Joe Thornton. Just shift after shift we came at them, and it paid off.The comeback began on a goal by Brent Burns at the seven-minute mark of the third, although the Sharks had been pressuring the Avalanche in the several minutes leading up to the goal.The Sharks were rewarded for their early tenacity when Marty Havlat created a turnover by the Avs Jan Hejda. Havlat got his stick in the way of a Hejda pass, found Burns charging towards the net, and Burns managed to put his own rebound past Semyon Varlamov.

It was a great play by Marty. Great forecheck and a good play to make that pass. I kind of came in a little early," said Burns.Just 1:29 later, the Sharks tied it. Thornton, from behind the net, made a no-look pass to Jason Demers in the circle. Varlamov stopped Demers snap shot, but Joe Pavelski was there to deposit the loose puck.After the Sharks killed off a boarding penalty to Justin Braun the only kill in three attempts for the leagues worst PK San Jose took the lead back for the first time since the first period on Logan Coutures deflection of a Patrick Marleau wrist shot at 11:29. That held up as the game winner.The Sharks hope a strong third period will put their December woes behind them, as the win was just their second in regulation in the past 10 games (3-5-2). It also ended a three-game losing streak, as San Jose posted an 0-1-2 record on its recent road trip, including a 4-3 shootout loss to the Avalanche on Tuesday.Right now were a fragile hockey team, said Couture. We need the confidence, and I think this third period will go a long way.Pavelski, who scored his 13th of the season, took another valuable lesson from the final 20 minutes after the Sharks regained the lead.Were down, we tie it up and take the lead. The talk is, lets keep going, he said. Were still going to play this game the right way and get this next one, where maybe we havent done that previous games where weve had leads in the third.The Sharks also managed to get goals from each of their top three lines, as 11 players finished with at least one point. McLellan has been switching his lines frequently lately, trying to get his top players on the scoresheet, and thinks he may have found a combination that works. Thornton skated with Pavelski and Torrey Mitchell; Havlat with Michal Handzus and Jamie McGinn; and Couture with Ryane Clowe and Patrick Marleau.Scoring was spread out, which was nice to see, said McLellan. I thought Logans line was our best line right from the opening drop of the puck. I thought Marty and Michal Handzus had a great combination going. McGinn did a lot of work for them. Jumbos line probably wasnt our best line tonight, but at the end of the game, they tie it up.Colorado took the lead with a pair of second period goals to break a 2-2 tie.Less than two minutes after Handzus tied the game early in the second, Paul Stastny gave the Avalanche the lead back, when Matt Duchesne managed to throw the puck towards the front of the net despite being harassed by Dan Boyle. It deflected to Stastnys stick and he beat Antti Niemi at 3:01.Later, Daniel Winnik got position on Demers in front of the net and flipped in a pass from Stastny from behind the net at 18:21, and the Sharks retreated to their locker room at the second intermission amidst a sea of boos.Fans were booing there, and deservedly so. We werent very good in a lot of areas at certain points of the game, said Pavelski.Once again, San Jose lost the special teams battle, surrendering two power play goals to Colorado, both in the first period.First, it was Stastny. The center won an offensive zone faceoff to Erik Johnson at the point, and then deflected Johnsons blast past Niemi at 5:51 to make it a 1-1 game.The Avalanche took a first period lead late, with Burns off on a high sticking call. Niemi left a juicy rebound on a Stefan Elliott blast, and Ryan OReilly easily scored on an open net at 19:49.The Sharks have surrendered a goal on the penalty kill in six of their last seven games. Conversely, they have scored just two power play goals over that span, and were 0-for-3 tonight.Still, the penalty kill came up big with the game tied at 4-4 in the third.It was time to get it done, said McLellan of that particular moment in the game. Obviously, the confidence level on that penalty kill was probably a little lower than it should have been after the first period, but it got the job done. Thats the bottom line.The Sharks have an opportunity to get more points as the six-game homestand continues. The next four games include a pair against sub-500 teams in Tampa Bay and Anaheim, and two struggling clubs that are barely above .500 in Los Angeles and Edmonton, which visits on Saturday.Hopefully, this gets us back on the right track to winning some games and getting a streak going, said Thornton.Odds and ends: Antti Niemi finished with 23 saves, while Semyon Varlamov had 29. Colorados Paul Stastny had a game-high three points, while Daniel Winnik had a Gordie Howe hat trick in the second period alone, including his fight with Ryane Clowe. The Sharks won 36 of 66 faceoffs. Brent Burns, Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture were each a 3. Couture (1g, 1a) and Marty Havlat (2a) had multiple-point games. Brad Winchester and Cody McLeod fought in the first period, perhaps stemming from McLeods boarding penalty on Jason Demers on Tuesday in Denver. Michal Handzus has six points in his last eight games (1g, 5a).

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.