Sharks strike Lightning with seven goals

619640.jpg

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.

NHL Gameday: Sharks in Vancouver in first game after bye week

hockey-generic.jpg

NHL Gameday: Sharks in Vancouver in first game after bye week

Programming note – Sharks-Canucks coverage starts today at 6:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 35-18-7, 77 points, 1st Pacific Division
Canucks: 26-28-6, 58 points, 6th Pacific Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***The Sharks and Canucks will both be coming out of their bye weeks. Most teams have struggled in that first game after the break, but San Jose and Vancouver will be on an even playing field.

“I think what you’re seeing is teams coming out of the break playing against teams that are at game speed or have been busy all week, but that’s not the case here,” Pete DeBoer said. “Both of us are in the same situation, so I don’t think there’s an advantage of disadvantage either way.”

What are the keys to playing a game for the first time since Feb. 19, without any practice time other than a morning skate on Saturday?

“Less is more, I think,” Joe Pavelski said. “Make sure our effort is there, and our compete [level]. You might not feel great all the time, but the game will come back pretty quick, I think. Mentally, make the right play.”

San Jose has a three-point lead on Anaheim and Edmonton in the Pacific Division, with two games in hand on both. It has 22 games left on the schedule, to be played over the next 43 days.

***There was one notable line change, as Tomas Hertl was bumped to the left wing while Chris Tierney will skate as the third line center. Joel Ward is on the right.

DeBoer put that group together late in the Boston game, a 2-1 overtime loss last Sunday. Tierney and Hertl have rarely been on the same line.

Regarding Hertl, Tierney said: “He can kind of play anywhere and play with any type of player, really. He compliments the top line really well, and he can come down and be dominant on our line. It’s pretty easy to play with a guy like that who brings speed, skill and size.”

***Barclay Goodrow, recalled on Friday, will play his second game of the season as the Sharks are carrying just 12 healthy forwards. Joonas Donskoi would have been “close” to being able to play, per DeBoer, but came down with the flu shortly before the Sharks’ flight to Vancouver on Friday. Donskoi has been out since Jan. 24 with what looks like a shoulder injury.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Chris Tierney. The center led the Sharks in their last visit to Vancouver, scoring two goals in a 4-1 win. He’s scoreless in his last eight games, so perhaps a visit to Rogers Arena – and a new linemate in Tomas Hertl – can get him going again. He has four goals and five points in nine career games against Vancouver.

Canucks: Henrik Sedin. With the Canucks shorthanded due to a mumps outbreak, Vancouver will need its big guys to come through. Sedin seems to be in decline, though, with 36 points (12g, 24a) in 60 games and a team-worst minus-19 rating.

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Kevin Labanc – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Tomas Hertl – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Barclay Goodrow – Micheal Haley – Melker Karlsson

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones (starter)
Aaron Dell

Canucks
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Alex Burrows
Loui Eriksson – Bo Horvat – Jannik Hansen
Joseph Labate – Brandon Sutter – Jayson Megna
Reid Boucher – Brendan Gaunce – Alexandre Grenier

Alex Edler – Philip Larsen
Luca Sbisa – Ben Hutton
Ben Hutton – Evan McEnany

Ryan Miller (starter)
Jacob Markstrom

INJURIES

Sharks: Joonas Donskoi (upper body/flu) and Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) are out.

Canucks: Nikita Tryamkin (illness), Troy Stecher (illness), Michael Chaput (illness), Chris Tanev (illness), Markus Granlund (illness), Sven Baertschi (concussion), Jack Skille (undisclosed), Derek Dorsett (back surgery), Erik Gudbranson (wrist) and Anton Rodin (knee) are out.

QUOTEABLE

“Tonight, just want to get pucks in deep, simplify, get everyone back into the groove again. Definitely looking forward to these last 22 games.” – Joel Ward

Sharks recall trio as bye week concludes

Sharks recall trio as bye week concludes

VANCOUVER – Kevin Labanc, Barclay Goodrow and Tim Heed have accompanied the Sharks to Vancouver, and will presumably be available to play against the Canucks on Saturday in the first game after the bye week.

Forwards Timo Meier, Nikolay Goldobin and Marcus Sorensen, all of whom have played games with the NHL club this season, remain with the AHL Barracuda for the time being.

Labanc, 21, has 18 points (7g, 11a) in 45 games this season. Lately he has been skating as the left wing on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, and is looking to snap a 21-game goal drought.

Goodrow, 23, has played one game with the Sharks this season, going scoreless on Jan. 24 at Winnipeg. Unless the Sharks recall someone else before their game with the Canucks, Goodrow will likely play his second game as the team is carrying just 12 healthy forwards as of Friday afternoon. Joonas Donskoi did not accompany the Sharks to Vancouver, and remains day-to-day with what the club is offically calling an upper body injury but appears to be a right shoulder.

Heed, likely the seventh defenseman in case of emergency, has also played one scoreless game on Jan. 11 at Calgary.

Dylan DeMelo made the trip, but is still not ready. The defenseman told CSN last week that he’s on schedule with an eight-week recovery from a broken right wrist that would put his return around early March.