Three power play goals lift Sharks over Blackhawks

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Three power play goals lift Sharks over Blackhawks

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE Jamie McGinn provided a necessary energy boost and Benn Ferriero the game-winning goal in the third period, as the Sharks beat the Blackhawks at HP Pavilion on Friday night, 5-3.The Sharks saw leads of 2-0 and 3-2 evaporate before McGinn took exception to a hit by Bryan Bickell on Marc-Edouard Vlasic at 5:18 of the third period, shortly after the Blackhawks had tied it at 3-3. He immediately engaged Bickell for a spirited bout that ended in a draw.San Jose was a different team from that point forward. Ferriero scored just 22 seconds later when Brad Winchester stayed with his own rebound and found Ferriero in front of the net at 5:40.

McGinn called the fight with Bickell weird, as the two are good friends and former teammates on the Ottawa 67s from their junior days, but something was needed at that moment in the game to change the momentum.Its in the back of my mind, he said. I didnt think we had a lot of jump there, and we needed something to spark us, and we responded well with Ferrieros goal.It sparked the bench and he goes out and scores a goal, too. Great game by him, Joe Thornton said.McGinn got a goal of his own on the power play with less than six minutes left for insurance, the Sharks third goal with a man advantage. He made a nice move at the side of the net after a pass down low from Ryane Clowe and lifted it high over the shoulder of Corey Crawford. The goal was just as important as the fight, and gave the Sharks some much needed insurance against a Chicago team that wouldnt go away.Big time. They are a dangerous team and have a lot of offensive weapons and can score at any time. Just to be up by two is a little bit better cushion and you can kind of take the game to them after that, McGinn said.For Ferriero, it just his seventh goal of the season, but fourth game-winner.You just have to go to the blue paint, get your nose dirty and bang away, he said.The Sharks finished 3-for-6 with a man advantage, and are 10 for their last 22 over the last eight games (45.4 percent). It was their first game with three power play goals since opening night against Phoenix.The Sharks' modest two-game winning streak came to an end, while they extended Chicagos losing streak to seven games (0-6-1) in what was their final home game before a nine-game road trip begins on Sunday in St. Louis.Well feel good going into St. Louis, well get a good flight, and it was big winning tonight just to grab some confidence before we go on that nine-gamer, Thornton said.The fourth and final meeting of the regular season between the Sharks and Blackhawks had a decided edge to it, beginning in the first period, when Thornton drilled Jonathan Toews near the benches and a scrum ensued that also involved Clowe and Duncan Keith. Vlasic also delivered a hard hit on Chicagos captain later in the game, and San Jose managed to keep him off of the scoresheet when all was said and done.That was the exact opposite of the last time these teams met on Jan. 15 at the United Center, when Toews, Patrick Kane and Viktor Stalberg combined for five points and 17 shots on goal in a 4-3 Blackhawks win that was not as close as the score would indicate.The proverbial head of the snake when it comes to the Blackhawks, McLellan was asked if there was extra emphasis to nullify Toews this time around.Some of our earlier games we made it a little too comfortable for him, and tonight I thought we played him hard, tried to slow him down as much as we could, and lucky enough it worked for us, said the Sharks coach.The Sharks finished 2-1-1 against Chicago this season, while the Blackhawks were 2-2-0 against San Jose.After controlling the first period, the Sharks were badly outplayed in the second, getting outshot 17-3. Still, a fortunate bounce after an odd-man rush gave them the lead back after 40 minutes.After Joe Pavelski just missed Patrick Marleau for a slam-dunk goal on a two-on-one, Marleau alertly prevented Keith from clearing the zone by lifting Keiths stick. Thornton ended up with the puck behind the net, tried to feed Pavelski, and defenseman Dylan Olsen inadvertently knocked the puck through Corey Crawford at 15:43.The Sharks power play staked them to an early 2-0 lead.With Michael Frolik in the box on a double-minor for high sticking, Logan Couture found Justin Braun for a one-timer at 1:58 of the first period to open the scoring. Couture appeared to make it 2-0 on the back-end of that double minor, but Marleau was ruled for goalie interference in what was a marginal call, at best.The Sharks killed that penalty off, though, and Dan Boyle deposited a rebound from Crawfords pad right to his tape after Coutures point shot for a goal at 11:36. Boyle was returning from a one-game absence due to the flu.The Blackhawks had all the energy to start the second period, and Marcus Krugers two rebound goals tied the game at 2-2.Nick Leddy unleashed a slap shot from just inside the blue line, and Kruger was able to deposit his first goal of the night at 6:55.Chicago kept coming in waves, but McLellan decided against using his timeout to slow that momentum. It cost his club when Kruger backhanded in the rebound of a blast by Brent Seabrook exactly three minutes after his first goal.For the 21-year-old Kruger, who entered with just three goals this season, it was the first multiple goal game of his career.Got the start we wanted, played them real hard in the first period, then decided to quit skating and watched them, basically, for the period, McLellan said.Bickell had given the Blackhawks the lead shortly before his fight with McGinn turned the tide in the Sharks favor. San Jose led 3-2 entering the third period, but a pass from the side of the net by Dave Bolland somehow got through Colin White and Andrew Desjardins for an easy conversion at 2:15.Antti Niemi made 33 saves to record his 23rd win and fifth of his career against his former team. Crawford stopped 22 of 27.Odds and ends: San Jose has at least one power play goal in seven of its last eight games. The Sharks killed off all three Blackhawks power plays. ... With a goal and an assist, defenseman Justin Braun tied a career-high with two points in a single game on his 25th birthday. Braun also picked up two points on Nov. 27, 2010 at Edmonton. Logan Couture extended his point streak to eight games with two power play assists, which ties a career-high for power play assists in a game (set Feb. 19, 2011 vs. Colorado). With his goal, Joe Thornton ties Jeff Friesen for fourth on the Sharks all-time goals list. Thornton now has 149 goals with San Jose and is on a five-game point streak with nine overall (4g, 5a). Per Elias Sports Bureau: Brent Burns is the second defenseman is Sharks history to have eight assists over a four-game span. The only other San Jose defenseman with eight assists over four games is Rob Blake (eight from Nov 13-22, 2008). It is not a record for a Sharks defenseman; Jeff Norton had one of nine points (two goals, seven assists) from March 24-29, 1994.

Thornton, Marleau now permitted to speak with other teams

Thornton, Marleau now permitted to speak with other teams

Their futures with the Sharks more uncertain than ever, pending unrestricted free agents Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are now free to take calls from other teams to gauge their potential interest.

Nothing can be signed with a new team before July 1, and there is a ban on discussing terms of any potential deal. Teams have already reached out to Marleau, per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, while Thornton is also reportedly receiving interest around the league.

While they could still return to the Sharks, it’s new territory for both, as neither Thornton nor Marleau has ever tested the unrestricted free agent waters. Most recently, they agreed to three-year contract extensions with the Sharks on the same day – Jan. 24, 2014 – in what was the final year of their current deals.

Whether they return to the Sharks could depend on the length of the deal. If other teams are willing to offer multiple-year deals to Thornton and Marleau, it makes their return to the Sharks less likely – particularly in Marleau’s case. Earlier in the offseason, NBC Sports California confirmed that Thornton was seeking a three-year deal, while Marleau preferred a deal of at least three years.

General manager Doug Wilson’s top priority this offseason is to re-sign goalie Martin Jones and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to long term extensions. Those contracts would likely cost the team a combined $12-14 million, and would begin in the 2018-19 season.

There is an added risk to any team that signs a player over the age of 35, as it would be on the hook for the entire salary cap hit regardless of whether that player is active (unless that player is on long-term injured reserve). 

Thornton turns 38 on Sunday, while Marleau turns 38 on Sep. 15.

Sharks conclude 2017 NHL Draft with five more forwards in the system

Sharks conclude 2017 NHL Draft with five more forwards in the system

CHICAGO – After nabbing a center in the first round on Friday, the Sharks added four more forwards and one defenseman to conclude the second day of the annual NHL Entry Draft on Saturday, held this year at United Center.

The Sharks weren’t explicitly trying to restock their forward cabinet, according to general manager Doug Wilson and scouting director Tim Burke, although the club did make two separate moves in surrendering some later round picks to move up in the fourth round (to take center Scott Reedy) and sixth round (to take left wing Sasha Chmelevski).

First, though, it was defenseman Mario Ferraro in the second round at 49th overall. The offensive defenseman was a player that the Sharks targeted, using the pick they acquired from New Jersey last Friday as part of the trade for Mirco Mueller.

“He’s got a lot of speed, offensive guy, exciting,” Burke said. “Puck-moving type of guy.”

Wilson said: “We’re very pleased with the d-man. He’s a very dynamic, athletic guy, great skater. He was a guy that we moved up a little bit aggressively to get because that round, you could see people going after who they wanted. He is a guy that we identified.”

After moving up from the fifth round to the fourth round last Friday, again because of the Mueller trade, the Sharks jumped up 21 more spots in the fourth round by obtaining the Rangers pick at 102nd overall for the 123rd and 174th selections.

Center Scott Reedy is a player that Burke has high hopes for, projecting the Minnesota native as a “second line right winger [with] high-end potential.” Burke pointed out that Reedy, who is friends with first round pick Josh Norris, occasionally played on the same line with Norris for each of the last two seasons with the U.S. Under-18 team.

“He’s a big, strong forward that can play both positions (center and right wing),” Burke said.

Right wing Jacob McGrew, an Orange, CA native, went to the Sharks in the fifth round despite missing all of his first season in junior with a lower body injury suffered in training camp with Spokane (WHL).

“We knew about him before he went up there,” Burke said. “He’s a California kid. … If he was healthy he probably would have gone earlier.”

The Sharks again moved up to snag Huntington Beach native and center Chmelevski at 185 overall, and made their sixth and final pick in the 212th position by taking left wing Ivan Chekhovich in the seventh round. Both players look to have some offensive skill, based on their numbers and Youtube highlights.

Burke was surprised that both players were around so late.

“I thought they had pretty good years and they kind of slipped in the draft,” he said. “We weighed that versus some other more project-type guys, and we thought they had more offense and finish to their game. They just kept sliding, so we took a chance on them.”

Wilson said: “We moved up for the guys we wanted, and then there were some skilled guys at the end that we were surprised were still there. … We’ll go back and take a look how it all went, but we feel, I think, really good about where we ended up with this.”