Sharks snap skid with 3-2 win in Edmonton


Sharks snap skid with 3-2 win in Edmonton


EDMONTON Logan Coutures power play goal early in the third period keyed a 3-2 Sharks win over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night at Rexall Place, ending San Joses five-game losing streak.

Just 38 seconds into the third period and with Linus Omark still in the box for a delay of game penalty late in the second, Couture got a piece of Dan Boyles blast from high in the zone for his team-leading 28th of the season.

San Jose entered 0-for-14 in its last six games with a man advantage, but scored twice in two chances in the much-needed win. It moves them into ninth place in the Western Conference with 78 points, one behind Colorado and Phoenix.

The Sharks visit the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night, looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since Jan. 31 Feb. 2.

After killing off a holding call to Douglas Murray earlier in the second period, the Sharks got their first power play when Taylor Hall was called for tripping at 11:29. It took all of seven seconds for Patrick Marleau to feed Joe Thornton in the slot for a one-timer that beat Devan Dubnyk to give the Sharks a 2-1 advantage.

For the second time in the game, the lead didnt last. Hall made up for his penalty when he blocked an ill-advised shot at the point by Brent Burns and raced the other way. His wrist shot from a tough angle got past Antii Niemi at 14:54 to make it a 2-2 game at the intermission.

After Coutures goal, the Sharks clamped down on the young and speedy Oilers, ending the four-game season series against Edmonton with a 2-0-2 mark.

It took San Jose just 67 seconds after the faceoff to take a 1-0 lead, thanks to a great shift by Torrey Mitchell. The Sharks winger made a nice move along the boards and got the puck to Marc-Edouard Vlasic at the point. Dubnyk stopped Vlasics wrister, as was the rebound try by Tommy Wingels, before Mitchell charged in to deposit his eighth goal.

Mitchell, an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, has three goals in the last five games.

Edmonton controlled play for much of the rest of the first, though, and finally tied it during a four-on-four. On a two-on-two rush, Murray backed off of Ryan Whitney and allowed the Oilers defenseman to blast a slap shot past Niemi at 19:10.

The Sharks have allowed eight goals during four-on-four play, and scored just two.

In a desperate search for more offense, Sharks coach Todd McLellan drastically altered his forward lines for the game. Thornton played with Joe Pavelski and Couture; Marleau was between Daniel Winnik and Ryane Clowe; while Dominic Moore centered Wingels and Mitchell.

Andrew Desjardins, Benn Ferriero and TJ Galiardi made up the fourth line, while defenseman Colin White was scratched for the first time in 25 games.

Odds and ends: Jim Vandermeer, Brad Winchester and Michal Handzus were the healthy scratches for the Sharks. Joe Thornton has four goals and 16 assists in his last 12 games vs. Edmonton.

Report: Division rival interested in Joe Thornton

Report: Division rival interested in Joe Thornton

The mere thought of Joe Thornton wearing a Kings sweater may be enough to cause some Sharks fans to lose their lunch.

But it might be a possibility.

According to LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen, the Kings consider Thornton to be a “priority” should be hit the open market as a free agent. While the two sides are currently allowed to express mutual interest, NHL rules forbid them from discussing terms of any deal until Saturday at 9 a.m. PT.

Rosen points to a number of individuals in the Kings' organization that have ties to Thornton, including general manager Rob Blake, who played on the Sharks with Thornton from 2008-10. Mike O’Connell was Thornton’s general manager in Boston and currently serves as the Kings’ senior advisor to the general manager. Glen Murray, a former teammate and frequent linemate of Thornton’s with the Bruins for three-and-a-half seasons, is in Kings player development.

The Kings, under new management since replacing Dean Lombardi with Blake, and head coach Darryl Sutter with John Stevens, have put a priority on finding players this offseason that can get pucks to dangerous scoring areas. 

Adding one of the best passers in the history of the NHL would surely help in that regard. Thornton sits 13th in the NHL all-time with 1,007 assists.

Rosen writes: “Los Angeles has been a dominant possession team without being a high scoring team for the better part of the last six-plus seasons, and it was articulated earlier in the off-season that the team needed to do a better job of taking advantage of that possession discrepancy. In trying to find players with the ability to turn possession into actual production, the team has placed an emphasis on finding players capable of distributing the puck into high-danger in the attacking zone. There might not be another player in the NHL – let alone unrestricted free agents – who is as gifted of a passer of Thornton, which places the team’s needs in concert with the future Hall of Famer’s skill set.”

As reported here previously Thornton, who turns 38 on Sunday, is seeking a deal of three years. That might not be agreeable to the Sharks, who are likely to sign Martin Jones and Marc-Edouard Vlasic to long-term and expensive contract extensions that would kick in with the 2018-19 season.

Of course, Thornton could also be using the Kings as leverage to get a new deal in San Jose, where he would prefer to remain.

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

Tierney, Sorensen among players qualified by Sharks

The Sharks have issued qualifying offers to restricted free agent forwards Chris Tierney, Marcus Sorensen and Barclay Goodrow, while cutting ties with three players in the system.

Tierney, 22, posted 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points in 80 games last season, serving primarily as the fourth line center. He has 64 points (24g, 40a) in 202 career games over three NHL seasons, all with the Sharks.

Sorensen posted one goal and three assists in 19 games with the Sharks last season, his first in the NHL. The 25-year-old played in all six playoff games against Edmonton, scoring one goal and one assist.

Goodrow, 24, skated in three games for the Sharks last season with one assist. He has 16 points (4g, 12a) in 77 games over three seasons with the Sharks, although has played in just 17 NHL games since the start of the 2015-16 season.

Forward Nikita Jevpalovs, defenseman Patrick McNally and goalie Mantas Armalis - also known for his career as a male model - were left unqualified and are now unrestricted free agents.

Earlier in the offseason, the Sharks signed pending restricted free agents Joonas Donskoi and Melker Karlsson. Donskoi received a two-year deal at a salary cap hit of $1.9 million, while Karlsson was signed to a three-year deal at $2 million annually.