Sharks

Sharks strike Lightning with seven goals

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Sharks strike Lightning with seven goals

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE Its an easy thing to overlook when your team explodes for the five fastest goals to start a game in franchise history.

But when Torrey Mitchell went to the penalty box just 36 seconds after the opening faceoff, the Sharks biggest demon the penalty kill was staring them squarely in the face. San Jose entered the game second-to-last in the NHL in the P.K.

The Sharks killed it off, though, and the shortly thereafter exploded for five goals in just 11 minutes and 21 seconds in cruising to a 7-2 win over the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning at HP Pavilion on Wednesday night. It was their most lopsided win of the season.

By the time it was over, the Sharks scored multiple power play goals for the first time in 14 games and killed off all five Lightning advantages.

Our special teams, overall, has to get better. Its been getting better lately, and its a work in progress, but tonight hopefully we made a good step in the right direction, said Joe Thornton.

The initial penalty kill was one that was important for us to get under our belt, said Todd McLellan. They could have gotten on the board real quick, and then we could have been chasing a team that checks pretty well. Their system is very effective when they have the lead, and they can really shut teams down.

The Sharks won their third straight game, all at home, in improving to 3-0-2 in their last five.

Recent recall Benn Ferriero, who joined the team due to Marty Havlats partially torn hamstring, got the party started with a goal at 3:26 of the first period when he slammed in a pass from Thornton after an extended shift in the Lightning zone.

For Ferriero, it was his second goal of the season in five games, equaling the injured Havlats season output.

I couldnt ask for anything more on my first shift. I had a tap in there so it was pretty nice, he said.

McLellan said: We put him that situation so that he could succeed, and he did. I thought he did a very good job.

Joe Pavelski backhanded a rebound of a shot by Brent Burns at 4:51 on a Sharks power play to make it 2-0, while Andrew Desjardins first goal since opening night made it 3-0 when he banked it in off of goaltender Mathieu Garons left skate from behind the net.

Garon was pulled in favor of Dwayne Roloson after that goal at 6:21.

Roloson, though, allowed a pair of markers to Logan Couture before the first period was through. First, Couture took a pass from Patrick Marleau before skating in and going top shelf on Roloson at 13:13.

Just 1:34 later, with the Sharks on another power play, Couture found the rebound of a Ryane Clowe shot and fired it past Roloson for his 14th goal of the season.

Couture said: They didnt have much energy there in the first, and we took advantage of that. Thats something we havent done this year. It was nice to get out to that five-goal lead and play the way we wanted to for the next two periods.

You want to jump on teams early, and tonight we were able to chase a goalie early on, said Thornton. When its 5-0, the game is pretty much over, so its a good start.

Dominic Moore scored late in the first period to make it 5-1, but a pair of third period markers by Burns and Marleau, sandwiched around one from the Lightnings Martin St. Louis and the Sharks had a rare easy win.

The dominating effort in which they were in total control from start to finish was a welcome change from the five consecutive one-goal decisions.

I think the guys felt a little loose on the bench, which was nice, said McLellan. Usually, were in that one-goal game like it is all over the league, and I dont want to say we relaxed, but we enjoyed it a little more.

One guy who particularly enjoyed it was Burns. The defenseman shaved his head before the game on the advice from his father, who is in town, and scored just his second goal in the last 14 games when he blasted in a clean faceoff win by Michal Handzus to make it a 6-1 Sharks lead at 1:15 of the third period.

Papa Burns came in and said we have to change it up for the hockey gods. Ive still got to listen to him, I guess, said Burns.

Thornton, Clowe, Marleau, Couture, Burns and Handzus all had two-point nights.

The Sharks will try to keep their homestand perfect on Friday when they host the Los Angeles Kings. After two days off to enjoy the Christmas holiday this weekend, visits from the Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks will conclude the run of home games before the Sharks hit the road for nine of 13.

Were playing a lot better. We have one more game before Christmas and its going to be a huge game, said Thornton. Were getting comfortable with our game, and we have one more to win before Christmas break.

Coupled with a Dallas loss to Philadelphia, the Sharks moved into a first place tie in the Pacific Division with the Stars and Coyotes with 39 points. San Jose has played two fewer games than the Stars, though, and has three games in hand on Phoenix.

Odds and ends: The previous team record for fastest five goals to start a game was on October 27, 1996 in Chicago, when the Sharks did it in 18:50. Sharks general manager Doug Wilson announced before the game that Marty Havlat will miss a ballpark of six-to-eight weeks with a partially torn left hamstring. Havlat had surgery earlier in the day. Lightning forward Martin St. Louis returned from a five-game absence from taking a puck to the face in practice. Benn Ferrieros last goal came on Oct. 22 in Boston. He started on a line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, but spent most of the final two periods with Ryane Clowe and Logan Couture, switching places with Patrick Marleau after the Lightning tinkered with their lines.

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

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AP

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

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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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