Sharks win in OT 3-2

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Sharks win in OT 3-2

BOX SCORE

UNIONDALE, NY Listening to a subdued Logan Couture after the Sharks defeated the New York Islanders on Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum, and you would have no idea that the Sharks had just closed the book on their fifth straight win.

It was just a tough night for us," said Couture. We werent coming through the neutral zone, they were much quicker than us, they are a fast team and they skated better than us.

That may all be true, but the Sharks, playing their second game in as many nights after the Islanders had off on Friday, found a way to keep their road trip perfect with a 3-2 overtime triumph. Brent Burns perfectly placed wrist shot on the power play at 1:07 of the extra session means that San Jose can go a perfect 6-0 on their journey with a victory over the struggling New York Rangers on Monday night.

Burns took a pass from Joe Pavelski and fired it high over the shoulder of Rick DiPietro for his third goal of the season. With San Jose on Day 11 of a 13-day trek, Burns admitted that fatigue was a factor against the Islanders.

I think we were a little tired maybe more mental than physical, but its a sign of a good team to survive and come out with two points, he said.

San Jose didnt have its skating legs up front, but solid team defense in front of Thomas Greiss was the biggest reason the Sharks were able to hang with and eventually overtake the young and feisty Islanders.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic, in particular, made some huge plays in the third period with the game tied 2-2. He neutralized John Tavares when the Isles leading scorer threatened to go in on a breakaway, and later hurried back in his own zone to snuff an attempt by Michael Grabner.

His biggest play came on a three-on-two shorthanded rush by the Isles, though, when he broke up a cross-ice pass towards Grabner with his stick with less than three minutes left in regulation.

I knew they would do that, especially with him using his speed, said Vlasic. I just made sure to get the stick on the puck. I had a good jump, came back early, and I was able to get the puck off of him.

Vlasic's strong game was especially important as Dan Boyle was under the weather, Todd McLellan later informed the media.

Another tremendous game for him, on a night when one of our key guys played sick on the back end, said the head coach. He logged a lot of minutes and he and Burnsie were probably our best pair. He defended a guy like Grabner who can fly 100 miles an hour with a very good stick there at one point. Just a very reliable, trusty guy for us.

The rest of the team stood tall in front of Thomas Greiss, who was making his first start since October 15 vs. St. Louis. Greiss looked a little shaky through the first 10 minutes or so, but was able to settle down shortly thereafter. He finished with 35 saves, and the Sharks did a good job at keeping the Islanders to the outside and clearing the puck from the goal mouth after Griess made the initial stop.

I had to stop the first and the rest they took care of, so it made my life a little easier, said Greiss. I was a little rusty at the start and let a couple bad rebounds, but overall I was happy. You just try to stay sharp in practice and be ready to go.

Joe Pavelski scored just 17 seconds into the game with Steve Staios in the box on a cross-check. Paveslki found the rebound of a shot off of the post by Burns for the fastest power play goal to start a game in Sharks franchise history.

The Islanders responded with two straight in the second to take their first lead. Greiss stopped a point shot and then rebound attempt at the front of the net by Matt Moulson, but the puck ended up on the stick of Tavares and he easily fired in his seventh goal.

Later, with Pavelski in the box for delay of game, Grabner cut through the slot and whizzed by Burns before converting a centering pass from Kyle Okposo at 11:28 for the Isles second power play goal of the game.

Couture was the recipient of a fortunate bounce when he tied it up less than two minutes later. Burns threw the puck towards the net and it bounced off of defenseman Mark Streit right to the stick of Couture in the slot, and the Sharks forward wristed it past DiPietro.

I just let it go, quick. I dont even know where it went, said Couture.

The Sharks may have been a little lucky in overtime. Travis Hamonic was whistled for a delay of game penalty just 29 seconds in, and vehemently disputed the call, saying the puck tipped off of the glass.

I heard from some others that it went off the glass, said McLellan. Those calls even out throughout the course of the year.

Most of the Sharks will have the day off in New York on Sunday before trying to conclude the road trip with a perfect mark against the Rangers the following day.

Tomorrow is a rest day. Monday is a work day, said McLellan.
Odds and ends: Okposo threw a nasty elbow to Boyle's face in the third period, and was called for a minor. Dont be surprised if the league takes a look at that one. McLellan made some changes to his lineup before the game. Playing alongside Michal Handzus on the third line were Torrey Mitchell and Andrew Murray, while Jamie McGinn was demoted to the fourth line with Andrew Desjardins and Brad Winchester. On defense, Jason Demers played in his first game since last Friday in New Jersey, paired with Colin White. Benn Ferreiro, Jim Vandermeer and Justin Braun were the Sharks scratches. The Islanders honored 10 members of their 1992-93 team before the game. Dont remember that team? It was the year Pierre Turgeon scored the winning goal against Washington and was promptly steamrolled by Dale Hunter. The previous franchise mark for fastest power play goal was Oct. 24, 2008, when Joe Thornton scored 51 seconds after the opening faceoff.

Boedker tops list of disappointing Sharks depth forwards

Boedker tops list of disappointing Sharks depth forwards

SAN JOSE – The Sharks didn’t make any blockbuster moves last summer, content to make another run in 2016-17 with largely the same group that came within two wins of capturing the Stanley Cup.

They still acquired a notable player, though, when Mikkel Boedker was signed on July 1 to add an element that the Sharks knew they needed more of moving forward – speed. Boedker was expected to make the team faster, after the Sharks were exposed for not having enough of that against Pittsburgh in the NHL’s final round, as well as play in a top six role. 

At the time, it was hailed as a slick, under-the-radar move that wasn’t going to change the dynamic of the club but could help push it over the top.

When Boedker was a healthy scratch in games three and four of the first round against Edmonton, the evidence became clear, though, that this was a decision that fell flat on its face. 

Frankly, Boedker – who is signed for three more years with a $4 million salary cap hit – brings back visions of Sharks bust Marty Havlat. You know the skill is there, but the desire to use it on a nightly basis while showing any semblance of a battle level is lacking. 

Should the Sharks give Boedker another chance next season, or should they do everything in their power to try and move him? That’s a question that will likely be debated in the front office over the next several weeks.

On get-away day on Monday, indications were that the Sharks were planning on sticking with the 27-year-old, who finished with 26 points in the regular season (10g, 16a) and added one goal and one assist in four games in the playoffs.

“He has the things we’re looking for: his career scoring average, his speed, [penalty killing] ability,” general manager Doug Wilson said. “Did he meet the expectations that he had for himself [or] that we had for him? No. Can we get that out of him? Pete [DeBoer] believes we can.”

DeBoer has known Boedker since he played for him in 2007-08 in Kitchener (OHL). Despite scratching him in the playoffs, DeBoer said he saw “huge improvement” in Boedker throughout the course of the season after the forward spent nearly all of his NHL career in Arizona.

“There was an adjustment. He’s played 6-7 years a certain way in the NHL,” DeBoer said. “We’ve asked him to play differently here, and there was an adjustment.”

Boedker still believes that he can be a fit in San Jose.

“I think it will be and it can be,” he said. “It’s learning period, but you’ve also got to look in the mirror yourself and see what you can change and what assets you need to bring. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m ready to do that.”

The list of Sharks depth forwads that had frustrating seasons hardly begins and ends with Boedker, though.

Veteran Joel Ward’s production dipped from 43 points last season to 29 in 2016-17, although that probably isn’t too surprising considering he’s 36. Tomas Hertl is proving to be a streaky player, too, although his season was interrupted by another a knee injury.

The bigger disappointment came from players like Chris Tierney and Joonas Donskoi, who both made big impressions in the 2016 playoffs but struggled to produce consistent offense this year. Both were mentioned by name by DeBoer on Monday.

There are some promising youngsters in the pipeline like Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Marcus Sorensen, but it’s still too early to project any of them as can’t-miss scorers at the NHL level.

“I think we’ve got a large group of guys that I like, but need to step up,” DeBoer said. “Is Sorensen [like] Donskoi next year, where he takes a step back, or [does he take a] step forward? We’ve got a lot of guys that there’s a lot of potential there – Chris Tierney. 

“There’s a lot of those guys, but they need to have big summers and take a step, and show that they’re not just one season or one month players.”

Facial fractures for Couture; Thornton undergoes surgery

Facial fractures for Couture; Thornton undergoes surgery

SAN JOSE – Just in case there was any question as to the grisly nature of Logan Couture’s mouth injury, the Sharks forward shared a picture on his personal Instagram account on Monday.

If you haven’t seen it yet, proceed with caution.

The photo was taken the night of his injury on March 25 in Nashville, showing several top teeth missing in a mouth that can accurately be described as a bloody mess, after he was hit with a defected puck while standing in front of the net in a game against the Predators.

Couture revealed on Tuesday in a conference call that there was more to his injury that just damaged teeth. He also has some facial fractures, including one above his upper lip that extends to his nasal area, and another that is under the bottom row of his teeth.

The one that’s higher in his face is still painful. 

“Still struggle to eat and sleep. … It’s not a comfortable state to be in,” said Couture, who missed the final seven games of the regular season before returning for the six-game first round series loss to Edmonton.

As for the next step, Couture has yet to sit down with his dentist, although further work is on the horizon.

“There’s going to be some implants to get the teeth fixed,” he said. “Hopefully get it done in the next few weeks, and then I’ll head back to Canada.”

Couture doesn’t yet know how many teeth need to be replaced.

“All depends on how the teeth respond,” he said.

* * *

Joe Thornton had successful surgery on his left knee on Monday afternoon, NBC Sports California has learned, and according to a team statement released later on Tuesday he is expected to "make a complete recovery and be ready for the start of the 2017-18 season." 

According to a source, the damage to Thornton’s MCL was more significant than his ACL. The team declined to give any details about the surgery in its statement, including who performed it and where it was done. 

Thornton played four playoff games against Edmonton despite damaged knee ligaments, head coach Pete DeBoer revealed on Monday, when he said Thornton was dealing with a “torn MCL and ACL” after getting hurt in Vancouver on April 2.