Sharks' slide continues, drop third straight in loss to Dallas Stars

Sharks' slide continues, drop third straight in loss to Dallas Stars

BOX SCORE

DALLAS  — Kari Lehtonen made 30 saves for his 36th career shutout Monday night. And still, one of the toughest shots he faced came before the game.

"He was ready to go today, just because I hit him up high in warmups," Dallas Stars teammate Patrick Sharp said. "I was a little worried. When he made those first couple saves, I was breathing a little bit easier."

Lehtonen thought Sharp's shot helped him get in the right frame of mind before his 1-0 win over the San Jose Sharks.

"It woke me up. Woke the beast," the goalie said.

Dallas scored the only goal Lehtonen needed at 14:54 of the second period. Curtis McKenzie got his fifth on a tip-in from the slot that beat Sharks goalie Aaron Dell.

Adam Cracknell took the shot from the left point.

"Great job by (Cracknell), just holding on the puck," McKenzie said. "He must have had it for a good 10 seconds before he shot it at the net. I just found myself open in front, so I was able to get a tip-in there."

Pacific Division leader San Jose (42-23-7) lost a third straight game for only the second time this season. The Sharks have scored just two goals in those three games.

"Chances are there," coach Peter DeBoer said, "so we've just got to bear down and we've got to get one dirty or ugly around the net. We've got to get one on the power play some way. It's not all bad by any means. There's a lot of good that's going on, but right now we're cold. We're paying a price for that."

The Sharks outshot the Stars 30-20, including 12-6 in the third period.

Dallas (29-33-10) is barely alive in the playoff race with 10 games remaining.

"It's been a tough year," Lehtonen said, "so after a game like this it feels especially good. Just the way we played the whole 60 minutes. It was really cool. Guys were blocking shots and getting all the rebounds."

Dallas' other shutout this season was Lehtonen's 3-0 win Dec. 3 at Colorado.

"He found a few pucks through traffic that were big saves for us," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "He made big saves when we needed it."

Neither team scored during the first period as they totaled 14 shots on goal, eight by the Sharks.

San Jose's Logan Couture, who has 25 goals, almost got another in the first, but Lehtonen stopped the shot with his foot.

"It was just a difficult situation when Couture has some time and I'm already down, so I have to do something tricky," Lehtonen said. "I thought he was going to shoot right away, and he was trying to go around me. That's where the long legs came to help me."

The Stars had another good chance in the second after McKenzie's goal, but Dell stopped a 3-on-1 rush. San Jose again outshot Dallas, 10-8, for an 18-14 advantage after two periods.

San Jose couldn't score even after pulling Dell with just under two minutes remaining. Dallas missed two tries at the empty net.

"It's a 1-0 game," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said. "Feeling is, just stick with it. We can't hang our head. Just got to find a way to be a little bit better."

NOTES: Sharks C Chris Tierney was out for the first time this season, sidelined by the flu. ... Dallas C Jason Spezza did not play because of back spasms. ... Stars D Dan Hamhuis went down on the ice at the end of the second period. He was hit in the face by Couture's stick when the Sharks' center followed through on a shot from the right corner. Hamhuis returned after taking stitches during the intermission. ... The Stars were coming off a 1-3 road trip — they were outscored 17-5. ... San Jose has been shut out five times this season. ... Each team was 0 for 2 on the power play. ... Dallas C Tyler Seguin won 10 of 13 faceoffs.

UP NEXT

Sharks: Play the second of a four-game trip Wednesday at Minnesota before returning to Dallas to play on Friday.

Stars: Travel to Chicago to play on Thursday.

Thornton, Marleau now permitted to speak with other teams

Thornton, Marleau now permitted to speak with other teams

Their futures with the Sharks more uncertain than ever, pending unrestricted free agents Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are now free to take calls from other teams to gauge their potential interest.

Nothing can be signed with a new team before July 1, and there is a ban on discussing terms of any potential deal. Teams have already reached out to Marleau, per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, while Thornton is also reportedly receiving interest around the league.

While they could still return to the Sharks, it’s new territory for both, as neither Thornton nor Marleau has ever tested the unrestricted free agent waters. Most recently, they agreed to three-year contract extensions with the Sharks on the same day – Jan. 24, 2014 – in what was the final year of their current deals.

Whether they return to the Sharks could depend on the length of the deal. If other teams are willing to offer multiple-year deals to Thornton and Marleau, it makes their return to the Sharks less likely – particularly in Marleau’s case. Earlier in the offseason, NBC Sports California confirmed that Thornton was seeking a three-year deal, while Marleau preferred a deal of at least three years.

General manager Doug Wilson’s top priority this offseason is to re-sign goalie Martin Jones and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to long term extensions. Those contracts would likely cost the team a combined $12-14 million, and would begin in the 2018-19 season.

There is an added risk to any team that signs a player over the age of 35, as it would be on the hook for the entire salary cap hit regardless of whether that player is active (unless that player is on long-term injured reserve). 

Thornton turns 38 on Sunday, while Marleau turns 38 on Sep. 15.

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.”