Sharks' skid continues with 4-3 shootout loss to Avalanche


Sharks' skid continues with 4-3 shootout loss to Avalanche

DENVER -- The road isnt so friendly to the Sharks, after all.San Jose concluded its brief three-game trek with an 0-1-2 mark after losing in a shootout to the Colorado Avalanche, 4-3, on Tuesday night at Pepsi Center. The Sharks salvaged a point with a late goal from Patrick Marleau in the last minute of regulation, but Milan Hejduk and Gabriel Landeskog scored in the shootout to send San Jose to its seventh defeat in the last nine games (2-5-2).The Sharks were feeling pretty good themselves on Dec. 8, when they concluded a homestand with a convincing win over the Dallas Stars and the road trip on the horizon. San Jose had won seven of 10 games away from HP Pavilion at that point, and the players seemed excited about getting away for an extended trip for the first time since late October.

Instead, they lost a 1-0 decision to St. Louis on Saturday in which the offense was non-existent, followed by a 3-2 overtime defeat to Chicago where they surrendered a late lead.In fact, the Sharks blew 2-1 third period leads in the final two games of the trip, including Tuesdays loss.Thats probably the thing that sticks out to me, said Dan Boyle, who had a goal and an assist and was a 2 against Colorado. Were not scoring very many goals right now, we have to keep teams to one or two. Second game in a row we get the lead in the third, and we gave it away.There was that phase in the third period where we sat back on our heels, and you cant win like that, said Todd McLellan.The Sharks and Avalanche meet again at HP Pavilion on Thursday.Trailing 3-2, the Sharks tied the game at 19:38 of the third period. Logan Couture gathered in a loose puck, skated towards the net, and backhanded a perfect pass through the slot to Marleau who wristed it in.After a scoreless overtime, Landeskog and Hejduk scored on Antti Niemi in the shootout for the Avalanche, while the Sharks Joe Pavelski was the only one to get a puck past Semyon Varlamov.While surrendering a lead in the third period isnt ideal, the Sharks were able to prevent the trip from being a complete disaster with Marleaus late goal just his second in the last 10 games. Boyle, also, has not exactly been lighting it up on either end of the ice this season. He scored for the first time since Nov. 7 for just his second of the season.McLellan is hopeful that goals and points from some of his slumping players can help get things moving in the right direction offensively. Marleau and Boyle got the goals, but Joe Thornton, Pavelski and Couture all got on the scoresheet with assists.Lets hope so, because its been a long time coming, said the coach. Its great to see Boyle get on the board five-on-five, and Patty finally getting there. Were still waiting for some others.Colorado scored twice in the third period to take a 3-2 lead.First it was Daniel Winnik. After Niemi stopped Erik Johnsons blast, the Sharks goaltender leaned forward as if to gather in the puck. Winnik got to it first, though, and his wraparound beat Niemi before the goaltender was able to recover at 6:31.The Sharks 28th-ranked NHL penalty killing unit failed in its one and only attempt with Colin White off on a holding call at 10:16. Matt Duchesne was left alone at the point as Couture was caught out of position, and the shifty forward found the top corner at 11:51 to give Colorado a 3-2 lead it would maintain until Marleaus late marker.I thought they upped the ante and increased the speed and the play, said McLellan of Colorado. Not necessarily right away, but five or six shifts into the period. We didnt respond well until they scored, and then we got desperate again and started to play the way we were earlier in the game.We have the talent and the ingredients to play on our toes, so weve got to fix that.Playing on their toes is something the Sharks failed to do late in the first period, as well. With the game still scoreless and the clock winding down, Colorados Stefan Elliott skated end-to-end while flying past Jamie McGinn, Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic before firing a wrist shot past Niemi from the circle.It was inexcusable goal, and a microcosm of the Sharks tendency to fall asleep at times.It was a line change, and we just backed right in. They came in, got a good shot off and it went in, but we definitely didnt get up in the neutral zone in order to force him to make a play, said Marleau. We gave him a lot of room to skate.The Sharks got on the board with just their second power play goal in the last nine games early in the second period. Boyle controlled the puck, skated towards the center of the ice high just inside the blue line, and spotted McGinn cutting towards the net. McGinns perfect redirection of Boyles low tape-to-tape pass evened the score at 3:16.That ended a 1-for-28 stretch for the Sharks with a man advantage, including an ineffective first period power play.San Jose took its first lead of the game at 13:39 of the second. Torrey Mitchell did the grunt work behind the net, finding Pavelski in the circle. Pavelskis attempt deflected off of Paul Stastnys skate to Boyle in the high slot, and the Sharks defenseman buried a wrist shot.It wouldnt last.Odds and ends: McGinn has five goals in his last seven games. Frazer McLaren and Matt Irwin were the Sharks healthy scratches. Colorado ended a three-game losing streak but increased its home winning streak to four. Niemi finished with 30 saves, while Varlamov had 27. The Sharks won 36 of 62 faceoffs (58 percent). Colorado out-hit the Sharks, 30-9.

Sharks conclude 2017 NHL Draft with five more forwards in the system

Sharks conclude 2017 NHL Draft with five more forwards in the system

CHICAGO – After nabbing a center in the first round on Friday, the Sharks added four more forwards and one defenseman to conclude the second day of the annual NHL Entry Draft on Saturday, held this year at United Center.

The Sharks weren’t explicitly trying to restock their forward cabinet, according to general manager Doug Wilson and scouting director Tim Burke, although the club did make two separate moves in surrendering some later round picks to move up in the fourth round (to take center Scott Reedy) and sixth round (to take left wing Sasha Chmelevski).

First, though, it was defenseman Mario Ferraro in the second round at 49th overall. The offensive defenseman was a player that the Sharks targeted, using the pick they acquired from New Jersey last Friday as part of the trade for Mirco Mueller.

“He’s got a lot of speed, offensive guy, exciting,” Burke said. “Puck-moving type of guy.”

Wilson said: “We’re very pleased with the d-man. He’s a very dynamic, athletic guy, great skater. He was a guy that we moved up a little bit aggressively to get because that round, you could see people going after who they wanted. He is a guy that we identified.”

After moving up from the fifth round to the fourth round last Friday, again because of the Mueller trade, the Sharks jumped up 21 more spots in the fourth round by obtaining the Rangers pick at 102nd overall for the 123rd and 174th selections.

Center Scott Reedy is a player that Burke has high hopes for, projecting the Minnesota native as a “second line right winger [with] high-end potential.” Burke pointed out that Reedy, who is friends with first round pick Josh Norris, occasionally played on the same line with Norris for each of the last two seasons with the U.S. Under-18 team.

“He’s a big, strong forward that can play both positions (center and right wing),” Burke said.

Right wing Jacob McGrew, an Orange, CA native, went to the Sharks in the fifth round despite missing all of his first season in junior with a lower body injury suffered in training camp with Spokane (WHL).

“We knew about him before he went up there,” Burke said. “He’s a California kid. … If he was healthy he probably would have gone earlier.”

The Sharks again moved up to snag Huntington Beach native and center Chmelevski at 185 overall, and made their sixth and final pick in the 212th position by taking left wing Ivan Chekhovich in the seventh round. Both players look to have some offensive skill, based on their numbers and Youtube highlights.

Burke was surprised that both players were around so late.

“I thought they had pretty good years and they kind of slipped in the draft,” he said. “We weighed that versus some other more project-type guys, and we thought they had more offense and finish to their game. They just kept sliding, so we took a chance on them.”

Wilson said: “We moved up for the guys we wanted, and then there were some skilled guys at the end that we were surprised were still there. … We’ll go back and take a look how it all went, but we feel, I think, really good about where we ended up with this.”

Sharks coach DeBoer had 'good relationship' with Kovalchuk

Sharks coach DeBoer had 'good relationship' with Kovalchuk

CHICAGO – Ilya Kovalchuk is still reportedly mulling over a return to the NHL, four years after he surprisingly walked away from a monstrous contract with the New Jersey Devils to play in the KHL.

The Sharks have been linked to Kovalchuk, in large part because of Pete DeBoer, who was Kovalchuk’s most recent head coach. In 2011-12, Kovalchuk was a dangerous scoring winger under DeBoer, helping the Devils reach the Stanley Cup Final.

It was apparently a good working relationship between the player and the coach for the two seasons they were together, DeBoer said on Friday at the NHL Entry Draft at United Center.

“I loved Kovy in New Jersey,” DeBoer said. “We went to a Stanley Cup Final together. He was a huge piece for us there. I really enjoyed coaching him. I haven’t seen him in four or five years now. I’m sure there’s still a lot of game left there.”

DeBoer said he’s had no contact with the 34-year-old Kovalchuk, who would have to be traded by New Jersey before signing a new contract with any other NHL club. Still, it seems like the Sharks’ coach might welcome a reunion with Kovalchuk, who posted 78 points in 60 games with SKA Saint Petersburg last season, and has 816 points (417g, 399a) in 816 career NHL games with Atlanta and New Jersey.

“I had a really good relationship with him. I had a lot of respect for him as a player and a person,” DeBoer said.

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DeBoer seemed as uncertain as everyone else as to whether Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau will return to the Sharks or move on to other clubs as free agents.

But, naturally, it’s on his mind.

“You think about it all the time,” DeBoer said. “They’re obviously important pieces in the history of the franchise, and in our group. I also understand the business side of this, and there’s always tough decisions to make. The way I approach these type of things is I’m going to go to Canada and relax, and Doug [Wilson] is going to make those decisions. I’m sure we’ll have a good group come training camp.”

“We’ve got a really good core group of guys and some tough decisions that have to be made. The one thing Doug and his group has shown over the years is their ability to stay competitive, to find a way even after making tough decisions. I have all the faith in the world in that, and I’m excited about training camp.”

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The Sharks lost David Schlemko in the expansion draft earlier in the week. Vegas then flipped him to the Canadiens for a fifth round pick in 2019.

“I think for David, it’s a great opportunity for him, especially going to Montreal,” DeBoer said. “For us, it’s an opportunity for a young guy to jump in. The one thing we have in the organization is some depth. There’s a lot of guys knocking on the door, and guys hungry to grab that job.”