Three power play goals lift Sharks over Blackhawks


Three power play goals lift Sharks over Blackhawks


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.

Couture's father: Sharks center dealing with 'ugly injury' after puck to mouth

Couture's father: Sharks center dealing with 'ugly injury' after puck to mouth

After requiring a visit to a local hospital in Nashville due to being struck in the face with a deflected puck on Saturday night against the Predators, Logan Couture was able to fly back with the team to San Jose on Sunday morning.

The severity of his injury is still unknown, although his father, Chet, said on Twitter that it was “an ugly injury sadly.”

Another source close to the situation told CSN the injury is “brutal.”

Couture, who lost several teeth, visited with Sharks medical personnel on Sunday and a further update is expected on Monday. 

Perhaps the best-case scenario is that the injury looks a lot worse than it actually is, such as when Marc-Edouard Vlasic was sidelined for one week when he took a puck to the face from the stick Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere in late December.

Losing Couture for any period of time would be a difficult blow to the Sharks, who have lost their last six in regulation, including Saturday’s 7-2 defeat to the Predators. Couture is third on the team in scoring with 52 points, and has a team-leading 11 power play goals. He entered Saturday’s game with four goals and five assists in his last 10 games, and has arguably been the team’s best player since mid-January.

"You can't replace him, so it would be really tough,” Patrick Marleau said after the game Saturday. “But if that is the case, then guys are going to have to pull up the slack. Definitely we hope he's back sooner.”

Couture was set up just outside the crease in the third period when a Brent Burns point shot late in the second period hit a stick before squarely smacking into the 27-year-old’s mouth. He quickly skated to the dressing room under his own power with just 14 seconds before the intermission.

The Sharks have seven games remaining in the regular season, hosting the Rangers on Tuesday and visiting Edmonton and Calgary later this week. They are tied in points (91) with Anaheim and Edmonton in the Pacific Division.

Three takeaways: Sharks having trouble explaining meltdown

Three takeaways: Sharks having trouble explaining meltdown

NASHVILLE – The Sharks are returning to San Jose on Sunday in a crisis. Nothing good came from Saturday’s 7-2 loss to Nashville, their sixth straight in regulation. Let’s get to the painful three takeaways…

1 – No answers

Neither Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns nor Patrick Marleau – the three players made available to the media after Saturday’s game – offered any kind of in-depth analysis of what’s going wrong. Frankly, I’m not sure anyone really knows. It’s hard to believe that this is the same club that had lost just two games in regulation in its previous 14 before the losing streak began.

“If you’re putting a consistent effort in, battling, competing – it’s tough to lose six in a row,” Pavelski said. “You look at six in a row, and it just seems daunting. Like, how do you get there? So, I think we’ve just got to take a deep breath, really kind of refocus.”

Believe it or not, coach Pete DeBoer thought Saturday’s loss was “a step in the right direction” when asked why Friday night’s 6-1 beat down in Dallas wasn’t enough of a wake-up call. How often do you hear that after a five-goal defeat?

“I liked our game tonight better than I liked [Friday’s game] regardless of the score,” DeBoer said. “I don’t just look at the score. If you want to just judge it on the score than you might not say it’s a wake-up call, but I thought we were much more competitive tonight. 

“It was a step in the right direction. Every team goes through tough parts of the season, and this is ours. We’ve got a lot of character in the room. We’ll get through it.”

2 – Couture injury would spell doom, as Hertl still MIA

Let’s face it – if Logan Couture is out for any extended period of time, this team is DOA once the playoffs begin. Couture has been the Sharks’ best player since the All-Star break, and they don’t have anyone on the current roster or in the system that could replace him. As of Sunday morning, there was still no word as to the severity of his injury after taking a puck to the mouth and going to a local Nashville hospital.

If Couture were to miss time, Tomas Hertl would likely become the team’s second line center. Lately, though, Hertl doesn’t even resemble an effective third line center. He was victimized on Nashville’s first goal, which was similar to one of the Wild goals on Tuesday, when he was just too slow and not strong enough on his skates in getting outworked for a loose puck. He is scoreless in his last 12 games.

3 – Haley shows some emotion that others lack

It’s understandable that Micheal Haley didn’t like getting hit from behind by Calle Jarnkrok in the third period. But, you can’t just make a beeline for a guy and punch him in the face. Haley will almost certainly get suspended for the play.

At least, though, Haley showed a little bit of emotion in the game, including his first period fight with Cody McLeod. Perhaps guys like Hertl, Joonas Donskoi and Mikkel Boedker could take a lesson from the fiery Haley. Those three, in particular, have been virtually useless during this six-game stretch. 

If I’m DeBoer, I’d get on the phone with Doug Wilson and Roy Sommer and ask for a few guys from the Barracuda so I could – depending on the team’s health situation – scratch all three of them for Tuesday against the Rangers, or at least remove Boedker and Donskoi and put Hertl back on the wing. Drastic times call for drastic measures, do they not?