Sharks singing the Blues, blanked in St. Louis


Sharks singing the Blues, blanked in St. Louis


ST. LOUIS Marc-Edouard Vlasics inadvertent swipe of a loose puck into his own goal was all the St. Louis Blues needed in a 3-0 win over the Sharks in Game 2 of their first round series on Saturday night at Scottrade Center.

Game 3 is in San Jose on Monday, with the series tied at a game apiece.

The Blues scored a goal in each of the three periods.

The first was gift-wrapped from Antti Niemi and Vlasic just 1:31 after the opening faceoff. A wrist shot from Vladimir Sobotka that should have been cleanly stopped by Niemi, instead trickled behind the goalie. Vlasic, who had time to clear the puck out of harms way, instead knocked it into his own net to give the Blues the early lead.

Sobotka was credited with his first of the playoffs, unassisted.

In the second, T.J. Oshies slick moves resulted in an easy conversion by David Backes. Oshie managed to evade Jason Demers and Patrick Marleau along the boards after skating into the offensive zone, and then made a nice cut to avoid a sliding Joe Pavelski in the circle. Oshie spotted Backes on the other side of the ice, and Backes easily deposited his first of the playoffs at 13:49.

The Sharks werent without their chances, and played an especially effective first period. San Joses top line applied good pressure, and its best chance came with 6:40 left when Pavelski hit the post.

There was a scary moment for the Blues in the second. Jaroslav Halak made a nice save on Marty Havlat on a Sharks rush, but the goaltender was plowed into by his own teammate when Barret Jackman couldnt put on the brakes after a hard back-check. Brian Elliott, the NHLs leader in goals-against average (1.56) and save percentage (.940), entered the game after Halak was able to skate off on his own power.

The switch seemed to give the Blues a jolt, as San Jose went more than six minutes without a shot on Elliott.

The first shot wasnt an easy one, either. Pavelski tried a wrap around, and after Elliott made the save, a five-on-five scrum ensued as Brent Burns and Marleau went digging for the puck. Pavelski ended up dropping the gloves with defenseman Kris Russell with 12:08 to go in the second.

In fact, the game was much more physical and nasty as the Sharks and Blues seem destined to have a long and malicious series.

The Sharks nearly tied the game late in the second on the power play, but Elliott made a toe save on Logan Coutures wrap-around attempt with a minute to go.

San Jose had a brief two-man advantage early in the third, but couldnt convert. Boyles wrist shot his Thornton in front of the net, and later, on a five-on-four, Pavelski was stopped from the slot on a nice set up from behind the net by the captain.

Andy McDonald capped the scoring with a late power play goal in the third.

Elliott finished with 17 saves, while Halak, who recorded the win, had 12.

The Sharks' power play was 0-for-4.

Sharks start training camp with familiar face elsewhere: ‘It’s kind of strange’


Sharks start training camp with familiar face elsewhere: ‘It’s kind of strange’

SAN JOSE — There was something familiar missing in San Jose when the Sharks opened training camp.

For the first time since 1996, the Sharks took the ice for their first training camp practice without Patrick Marleau on the team as the franchise's career leader in games and scoring left as a free agent for Toronto this summer.

"I've spent a lot of years with him. It is kind of strange," said Joe Thornton, who came to San Jose in 2005. "It's his birthday today too. It's a little weird, but he's going to do great up in Toronto."

Marleau had been with San Jose since being picked second overall in 1997 but left the Sharks to sign an $18.75 million, three-year deal with the Maple Leafs in July.

Marleau has 508 goals and 574 assists for 1,082 points. He had 46 points in playing all 82 games last season as he rebounded from a disappointing 2015-16 season by scoring 27 goals, including the 500th of his career. He ranks first in San Jose in career goals, games and points.

Only six players in NHL history have played more games with one team than Marleau's 1,493 in San Jose. The Sharks haven't played a game without him on the ice since April 7, 2009.

"Obviously Patty has meant so much to this organization and this group," captain Joe Pavelski said. "Everyone in this room has pretty much played with him and Patty has done something to help them out. He'll be missed. ... Just by committee somebody will step in and fill that kind of hole. That's what we'll need."

The Sharks made no major additions this offseason so will need to replace Marleau's 27 goals by getting development from younger players like Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Danny O'Regan, as well as bounce-back seasons from veterans like Thornton, Mikkel Boedker and Joonas Donskoi.

Only Pavelski, Logan Couture and Brent Burns are back after scoring more than 12 goals last season.

"When I look back at last year we had key people either have down years or miss significant time with injuries or coming off injuries," coach Peter DeBoer said. "I think if we can stay healthy I think we've got a large group of guys that can really take a step this year and I expect a step out of them."

While the Sharks lost Marleau in free agency, they did manage to keep Thornton by giving him a one-year, $8 million contract despite dwindling production last season and offseason knee surgery.

He scored just seven goals — his fewest in an 82-game season since his rookie year in 1997-98 — and was a key part of a power-play unit that uncharacteristically struggled last season. But he still managed 43 assists, teaming with captain Joe Pavelski on San Jose's top line.

Thornton missed the final week of the regular season and the first two playoff games with a left knee injury before returning for the final four games of a first-round loss to Edmonton. Thornton then underwent surgery to repair his MCL and ACL after the season but was back skating in August and started ramping it up for training camp two weeks ago. Thornton believes the lower-body work he did in rehab this offseason will pay dividends on the ice.

"They feel real strong," he said of his legs. "I feel a lot of pop out there. They're probably as strong as they've ever been just because I had to rehab that knee so much."

Sharks Media Day highlights: Beards, smiles & cup checks


Sharks Media Day highlights: Beards, smiles & cup checks

The boys were back together in San Jose on Thursday for Sharks Media Day, with plenty of smiles and moments of levity. Check out the highlights...

Hey Jumbo, you dropped something. 👖🤷‍♂️

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Martin Jones is pretty good at photobombs 📸💣

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🤳 Media Day #SJSharks

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New season. New commercials. 🕉🚌📺 #ComingSoon #SharksForLife

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