Sharks win 3rd straight, defeat Columbus 2-1

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Sharks win 3rd straight, defeat Columbus 2-1

Box Score

SAN JOSE It had all of the makings for a letdown.

The Sharks entered Thursdays home game against lowly Columbus coming off of two emotional wins; were playing their third game in four nights and second of a back-to-back against a well rested opponent; while a red-hot Washington Capitals club invades HP Pavilion on Saturday.

Goals by Ryane Clowe and Joe Thornton, coupled with 23 saves from Thomas Greiss in his first start in over a month, though, gave the suddenly surging Sharks a 2-1 victory. It was San Jose's third straight win, and the Sharks have points in 10 of their last 11 overall (7-1-3).

I thought it was a gutsy effort on our behalf. To come back and play three-in-four with a team thats sitting in your city waiting for you and theyre very fresh, I thought it was real good, McLellan said, referring to the Blue Jackets not having played since New Years Eve.

Thorntons second period marker gave the Sharks their first lead and was the difference. The play began when Patrick Marleau sent a snap shot towards the net where it made contact with Thorntons stick, which was in front of the pad of goalie Curtis Sanford. The puck popped into the air and Thornton batted it in at 4:44 for his eighth of the season.

After Columbus took an early advantage on a Vinnie Prospal marker at 2:13 of the first period, the Sharks tied it on a power play with Ryan Johansen off on a double minor for high sticking Dan Boyle in the face at 9:48.

San Jose went to work on the extended man advantage and was generally ineffective for the first three minutes, before Clowe knocked in a loose puck at 13:03.

It was bouncing around. I think Michal Handzus either tipped it or redirected it somehow. Even when I shot, it I didnt think it was in, Clowe said.

The goal was Clowes first in eight games and just his second in the last 12.

The hitting and, consequently, the nastiness picked up in the third period after a generally docile first two. It began when Douglas Murray leveled an off balance Mark Letestu along the boards with about 14 and a half minutes remaining.

A couple minutes later, a scrum ensued behind the Columbus net as Brent Burns and Jared Boll grappled with one another, as did Handzus and Marc Methot. The Blue Jackets Derek Mackenzie picked up the extra minor, though, but San Jose couldnt capitalize on the power play.

With 6:14 left, Derek Dorsett leveled Tommy Wingels with a blindside hit behind the Sharks net, and again San Jose went on the power play. Logan Couture and Marleau misfired on open one-timers, though, and Sanford stopped Thorntons rebound attempt of a wrist shot by Boyle.

It almost cost them. Columbus Jeff Carter had a great chance to tie the game with Sanford pulled for an extra attacker, staring at an open net in the faceoff circle. Boyle alertly dove in front of Carter's dangerous wrister, though, preserving the win.

Im just glad it hit me, Boyle said. It was one of those bang-bang plays, and I didnt see the replay, but everybody say it was probably on the way in. Just in the right place at the right time, I guess.

Boyle and the Blue Jackets Rick Nash had an awkward exchange earlier in the third. In the San Jose zone, the two were seen jawing at each other and appeared ready to drop the gloves. Boyle was puzzled even after the game.

Im confused, because at the end of the night he kind of apologized. So, I still dont know what happened, he said. He thought I wanted to go, he wanted to go, and obviously neither of us fights very often. Im not sure. Just got a little heated there for a second.

I was trying to think, am I going to do this? Its been awhile. With my luck this year I probably would have pulled something.

Columbus did not have a single power play all night, while the Sharks finished 1-for-5.

I dont know if they were trying to draw us in, since they had no power plays, Clowe said of the chippy third period. We did a good job of staying disciplined.

The Sharks didnt start the game well, surrendering seven of the first eight shots along with the goal to Prospal. Columbus nearly made it 2-0, but Greiss stopped Derek Brassard on a two-on-one rush six minutes into the game.

Greiss was playing for the first time since Dec. 3 vs. Florida.

He found a way to make some real good saves. We had four outnumbered rushes against in the first period alone, and then we cleaned that up after, McLellan said.

It was a conscious effort by San Jose to get better defensively after the poor start, according to Thornton.

I think early on with that goal from Prospal, the guys realized weve got to tighten up a little bit, and we did that, he said. Greisser did a good job swallowing pucks up and deflecting pucks away from him. After that first one, we just clamped down and played well defensively after that.

Greiss had a little trouble with his rebound control at times, but improved his record to 5-4-0.

It was a long time and it took me a little bit at the start to get my timing down and everything, but I got a lot of shots at the start and that made me feel better, he said.

Greiss was also thankful for the effort in front of him.

It was great, a couple of blocked shots, and some huge ones at the end. We were working hard all over the ice, so that was pretty good.

Odds and ends: Curtis Sanford finished with 37 saves, as the Sharks outshot Columbus, 39-24. Each team had 12 blocked shots. San Jose won the faceoff battle, 28-26. Joe Pavelski was 9-3 in the circle. Jason Demers assisted on both Sharks goals. Tommy Wingels, recalled from Worcester earlier in the day, played on a line with Michal Handzus and Andrew Murray. Torrey Mitchell was a healthy scratch, as were Frazer McLaren and Antero Niittymaki. Jim Vandermeer and Colin White remain on injured reserve. Brent Burns had a game-high six shots. Joe Thornton played in his 500th game as a Shark. The Sharks are 18-1-3 against the Blue Jackets all-time at HP Pavilion. After the game on Saturday, 17 of the next 23 games for the Sharks are on the road. This was the first of four games between the Sharks and Blue Jackets, with the next on Saturday, Jan. 14.

Sorensen returns to Sharks after having 'positive impact' last season

Sorensen returns to Sharks after having 'positive impact' last season

Editor's Note: The above video is from March 2, 2017

One of the Sharks’ young forwards expected to challenge for a full time roster spot this season has been re-signed.

Marcus Sorensen, who started the year in the AHL before working his way up to the Sharks, signed a two-year contract extension the team announced on Tuesday. A source told NBC Sports California that the deal is worth $700,000 at the NHL level for each of the next two seasons.

In 19 regular season games with the Sharks, Sorensen, 25, posted one goal and three assists. He appeared in all six playoff games against Edmonton, posting one goal and one assist.

In 43 games with the AHL Barracuda, Sorensen had 17 goals and 17 assists for 34 points.

"The time he spent with the Sharks this season, and the positive impact he had, proved that he can be an effective player at the highest level,” assistant general manager Joe Will said in a statement.

Sorensen originally signed with the Sharks as a free agent on May 13, 2016. He was originally drafted by Ottawa in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, but spent six seasons playing in Sweden before joining San Jose.

Sorensen was a restriced free agent. The Sharks have just one RFA left to sign in forward Barclay Goodrow.

https://twitter.com/sorensenmarcus/status/887412566447628288

Mailbag: Will Sharks miss Marleau's leadership? Thornton to be bumped?

Mailbag: Will Sharks miss Marleau's leadership? Thornton to be bumped?

Now that the dust has settled on the draft and free agency, here’s a meaty offseason Sharks mailbag before my vacation…

Who will replace Patty's leadership? (philip malan‏ @pmalan1979)

Patrick Marleau was a good example for other players in that he always came to camp in great shape and took care of himself between games, allowing him to be very productive into his later years. 

But let’s not overblow it. From what I understand, Marleau preferred to avoid confrontation, and was never the guy in the dressing room challenging other players to step up. That was left more to guys like Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, with Logan Couture growing into that role in recent years, too. When it comes to veteran leadership there are other guys still in the dressing room of more value than Marleau. His leaving town shouldn’t change the dynamic.

Will Thornton be bumped from the top line center role? Who do you think will replace Marleau on the PP? (Elle‏ @LikeShiningOil)

The whole “top line” designation is something that us writers and broadcasters like to use, and I’m going to keep using it for Thornton so long as he and Pavelski are on the same line. That said, there will be plenty of games where the Couture line gets more even-strength ice time than the Thornton line. I guess my point here is don’t read too much into the labels. I don’t expect Thornton’s ice time to go down from what it was last season. He’s averaged 18 minutes and change in each of the past five seasons, and probably will again.

As for replacing Marleau on the power play, I would tab Tomas Hertl as the frontrunner, but I’m sure the Sharks will try a number of different looks there in training camp. After finishing 25th in the NHL last season they pretty much have to, right?

How will the lines roll this season, if you were to prognosticate now? (Erik Kuhre @Puckguy14)

It seems like we say this every year, but it depends on where the Sharks see Hertl slotting in. Last season Hertl started out on the wing of the top line after offseason knee surgery before moving to center fairly quickly. I know he battled through yet another knee injury during the season, but Hertl’s 22 points in 49 games was a disappointing total.

If the season were starting today, I’d put Hertl on the wing of the Thornton line again with, of course, Pavelski on the other side. Here’s what I’ve got in that scenario:

Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Timo Meier – Logan Couture – Joonas Donskoi
Jannik Hansen – Chris Tierney – Mikkel Boedker
Melker Karlsson – Ryan Carpenter – Joel Ward

Extras: Marcus Sorensen, Kevin Labanc, Barclay Goodrow

(One guy who is really going to have to fight to keep his spot is Ward. I could see him getting pushed out, but for now I’m leaving him in).

Will there be a tough guy in the lineup to protect the kids? (Jim Kelley)

The Sharks signed free agent Brandon Bollig a couple weeks ago to replace Micheal Haley, but I don’t seem him as a regular in the NHL lineup. Bollig could be a guy they recall if they think it’s necessary to dress a pugilist, like when Pete DeBoer brought up Haley late in the 2015-16 season for the sole reason of fighting Darnell Nurse, who had jumped Sharks defenseman Roman Polak just two weeks earlier for no real reason.

Do you think Chris Tierney is capable of more point production at this point in his career? (Ian Stephenson)

Count me among those that thought Tierney was ready to have a better season last year after his strong performance in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Still, he’s just 23 years old, and his line in the series against Edmonton with Meier and Sorensen was a very effective one for long stretches of play. This is a huge year for Tierney, who had to settle for the Sharks’ one-year, $735,000 qualifying offer. Perform, and he’ll get paid. Struggle, and he could be on the move.

Do you think the Sharks will trade either Grosenick or Dell? Doesn't seem Grosenick has much more to prove in AHL. (Chris Greni)

No, they’ll hold on to all three for the time being. Getting Troy Grosenick re-signed to a one-year deal was a nice move on the Sharks’ part, considering Aaron Dell still has just 20 games of NHL experience. Perhaps if they both continue to play well the Sharks could dangle one as trade bait later in the year, but it wouldn’t make sense at this point. 

Any thoughts on DW using the offer sheet to bring in scoring help? There’s several serviceable RFAs out there still waiting for contracts. (Tony Martinico)

Keep in mind that some of those high end RFAs, like Colton Parayko, Nino Niederreiter and Tomas Tatar are currently headed for arbitration, which takes the offer sheet off the table.

Purely speculation here, but I have to wonder if the Sharks have at least kicked around trying to ink Leon Draisaitl to an offer sheet. You have to think Berlin native Hasso Plattner would love to add the “German Gretzky” to the roster. I know we're settling into the part of the NHL offseason where typically nothing happens, but it was July 19 when the Flyers signed Shea Weber to a monster offer sheet five years ago.

And, of course, Doug Wilson has used the power of the offer sheet in the past, signing Niklas Hjalmarsson in 2010 and then using the threat of an offer sheet with Boston to acquire Martin Jones.

Which Cuda player, aside from Meier, Labanc and Sorensen, would you expect to be a dark horse and could make the big team out of camp? (olin @sleepymofo)

Keep in mind that the sixth and defensemen spots are open, too. I would presume that Dylan DeMelo is the frontrunner to replace David Schlemko, but Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan are coming off of strong seasons in the AHL. Perhaps one of them overtakes DeMelo in training camp.

As for other forwards than those you mentioned, Goodrow could end challenging for a spot on the fourth line. I get plenty of questions about Danny O’Regan, too, and perhaps he makes a push. The issue with O’Regan is that although he’s a skilled player in the minors, he’s probably not quite skilled enough to make up for his small frame at the NHL level. I view him more as a fill-in guy.

Any word on [Barclay] Goodrow and [Marcus] Sorenson? I'm assuming they didn't sign their QO's? (DaveBPilot‏ @DaveBPilot)

Yes, that’s safe to assume, since the deadline was Saturday. They remain RFAs, and negotiations will surely continue.

Still, it’s worth mentioning what happened last year with Matt Nieto. The forward didn’t sign his qualifying offer, as he was pushing for a multi-year deal, and ended up signing for one year for less than he would have made had he accepted the original offer. He was waived and claimed by Colorado.