49ers Notes: Goodwin not worried about fumbles

kaepernick_colin_fumble.jpg

49ers Notes: Goodwin not worried about fumbles

SANTA CLARA – As Colin Kaepernick casually strolled through the 49ers’ locker room, he couldn’t help but notice a sizeable media contingent around center Jonathan Goodwin.

“Don’t hassle Goodie about it, it was my fault,” Kaepernick said.

A smiling Goodwin replied, “50/50, husband and wife. Of course, he’s the wife.”

Fortunately, they could now laugh about the trouble they were having with the football in Sunday’s win in New England. Kaepernick fumbled the ball four times while trying to handle the snap from Goodwin, including twice in the first quarter and another on the first play of the second quarter.

Goodwin didn’t seem too concerned that it will be a recurring problem, though, for a couple of reasons.

“The fact that the latter part of the game we tried something different and we didn’t have any problems, and we hadn’t had any problems in regular weather, I don’t think it’s something that’s going to concern us,” said the 11-year pro.

Inclement weather is always a possibility in the Pacific Northwest this time of year, so Goodwin expects he and his new quarterback may spend a little more time handing off the ball in practice this week. The early forecast for Sunday in Seattle, according to weather.com, is cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain.

“I haven't checked the forecast, but if rain is in the picture, it's definitely something that we need to work on,” Goodwin said.

* * *

Although Kaepernick was having trouble with the ball, the young QB showed poise beyond his years late in the game after New England's furious comeback, according to tight end Vernon Davis.

On the first play from scrimmage following the Patriots’ game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter, Kaepernick found Michael Crabtree for a 38-yard score, giving the 49ers a lead they would not relinquish.

“He had just this will-to-win attitude. His demeanor was just, like, on another level,” Davis said of Kaepernick. “His mind was clear. He was ready to win, he was talking, he was getting guys in the huddle, telling guys to run back and get lined up. He was just a complete champion in that game. That’s what we expect him to be.”

Still, Davis admitted that he has yet to find the personal chemistry with Kaepernick as he had with Alex Smith. After reeling in six catches for 83 yards in Kaepernick’s first start against the Bears on Nov. 19, Davis has just four catches for 29 yards in the last four games combined.

On Sunday in New England, Davis was targeted three times including a pair of deep balls, but finished with just one reception for 10 yards.

“One thing I learned in the beginning when I first got here, everyone was talking about being on the same page as the quarterback, as Alex Smith. You have to develop that chemistry, that bond so you can be on the same page. That’s something me and Kap don’t have right now. We don’t have it. You have to expect that, because he just stepped in.

“Me and Alex, we’ve been here. It took some time for me and Alex to get like that. In the beginning, Alex would overthrow me, he would underthrow me. We had to build that chemistry that he could trust that I’m going in that spot that I needed to be. That’s something that me and Kap don’t have right now, but we’re working on it. We started working on it the moment he stepped in. So, we have to build that.”

* * *

Demarcus Dobbs’ season may be over after he was placed on injured reserve last week, but the second-year pro won’t need surgery on his right knee, he said on Tuesday.

“That’s the blessing. No surgery, just rehab, take it easy try to let it go back and do a lot of treatment,” Dobbs said before revealing he had a partial tear of his PCL and MCL.

Primarily a special-teamer, Dobbs had to be carted off of the field in the 49ers’ win over Miami last weekend after covering a kickoff.

“It looked a lot worse and felt a lot worse,” he said. “I thought it was my whole knee, my ACL and everything. I thought the worst of it.”

It’s been a rough go lately for Dobbs. The 25-year-old, who had seven tackles in 12 games this season, was arrested on Nov. 30 for suspicion of drunk driving and possession of marijuana following a single car accident.

* * *

The 49ers (10-3-1) won’t have much time to bask in the glow of Sunday’s thrilling victory over a fellow Super Bowl contender in front of a national audience. Instead, they face what would probably be considered an even more important game against division rival Seattle (9-5) on Sunday.

A win over the Seahawks would clinch the NFC West title and put them one step closer to securing a first round playoff bye, something they would do with victories in their final two games. The Seahawks are a perfect 6-0 at home and have put up at least 50 points in each of the last two weeks in wins against Arizona and Buffalo, winning three in a row overall.

"We've got to move forward,” Frank Gore said. “We can't thrive on what happened last week. We got the win. Now we're looking at Seattle. We know Seattle's playing good ball. They're a good team. We'll be ready."

Running back Anthony Dixon said: “We’ve got to take them serious. We’re not going to underestimate them, and we’re definitely not sleeping on them. We see what they’re doing, but at the same time they see us, too. It’s going to be a clash of the titans. It’s going to be good. It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be physical. But that’s the way we like it. We’re ready.”

While the Seahawks may be perfect at home, San Francisco is 5-0 in primetime matchups, including the 41-34 win over the Pats.

Rewind: 'Elite' Martin Jones outplays Price in Sharks' win over Habs

Rewind: 'Elite' Martin Jones outplays Price in Sharks' win over Habs

SAN JOSE – The challenge for Martin Jones headed into 2016-17 was to repeat the kind of campaign he had in his first season as an NHL number one, when he helped the Sharks reach their first-ever Stanley Cup Final.

Having a strong season is one thing. Becoming a franchise goaltender is an entirely different animal. The Canadiens have one, of course, in Carey Price, viewed unanimously as the NHL’s best. 

Jones has some work ahead if he wants to be mentioned in the same breath as Price. But his latest performance – a 31-save effort against Montreal in which he slightly outplayed the former Hart Trophy winner at the other end in a 2-1 Sharks win – capped off a remarkable stretch for Jones, who is perhaps the team’s MVP as they sit in first place in the Pacific Division in the first week of December.

In his last 11 games, Jones is now 8-2-1 with a 1.46 goals-against average and .945 save percentage. His GAA for the season was lowered to a miniscule 1.99.

“We’ve got an elite goalie here,” Burns said. “We’re lucky to have Jonesy. He’s great to play in front of. He’s right up there to be the best goalie in the league. Every night he shows it.”

Dillon said: “He's just continuing to prove that he's an elite-level guy. For us, as defensemen, it's nice when he's back there. But at the same time, we want to do our best to eliminate as much as we can and help him out.”

Dillon, Burns, and the rest of the Sharks defense corps did a nice job against the Canadiens, who still lead the NHL standings even after the loss. But the Sharks wouldn’t have won this one without Jones, who made a number of stellar stops.

His best came in the first period with the Sharks enjoying a 1-0 lead, when Jones robbed Alex Galchenyuk after a sneaky pass from Paul Byron gave Galchenyuk all kinds of net to shoot at. Jones slid across and snatched it, freezing play. 

"I think at that point I was just kind of reacting to the play,” Jones said. “You're not going to see me pull that out too, too often. Just tried to get over and bring as much of my body as I could."

Later in the first, Jones stopped Brian Flynn on a breakaway with 2:53 to go. In the second period he again flashed the leather, this time on Max Pacioretty on a two-on-one with 14:53 remaining in the middle frame. Seconds later, it was his left lad that prevented Brenden Gallagher from cutting into the Sharks’ 2-0 lead, when Gallagher found himself alone in front of the net with the puck on his stick.

Facing Price, Jones knew he would have to be on top of his game. According to assistant coach Steve Spott, filling in for Pete DeBoer, that challenge gave Jones a boost.

“I think when he looked down 200 feet away and saw Carey Price – what a great challenge for Marty, and he was outstanding tonight, as was Price for them. That's as good a goalie duo as I've seen in a long time.”

Dillon said: “He just continues to rise to the occasion.”

The goals came from likely sources. Burns, firing the puck from all over the ice in the first, capitalized on a power play with a slapper from the top of the circle. Joe Pavelski finished off a rush with Joe Thornton in the final minute of the opening frame.

Thanks to Jones, that lead was maintained until late, before Logan Couture’s double-minor for high sticking Alexander Radulov left the Sharks shorthanded. They killed off the first two minutes without even allowing a shot on goal, but Montreal got on the board with a turn-around wrister by Artturi Lehkonen with 1:17 left and Price pulled for an extra attacker.

That spoiled the shutout for Jones, but not the night for the Sharks, who killed the rest of the clock and will now get some down time after 10 games in just 18 days. They don’t play again until Wednesday at home against Ottawa.

“Obviously it’s nice when you’ve got a little break to have that game going into it than something else,” Pavelski said.

Whether it’s a good time to take a break is up for debate, as the Sharks are playing their best hockey of the season, winning six of their last seven.

"You look at it 50/50,” Dillon said. “We're a confident group right now and I don't think come Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, we're going to be looking at it any differently. 

“We're going to take the positives out of [the time off], and try to keep this thing rolling.”

If Jones stays on the run he’s on, there’s a very good chance they will.

Instant Replay: Sharks score early, hang on for home win vs Canadiens

Instant Replay: Sharks score early, hang on for home win vs Canadiens

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – Despite finally reaching the end of what was a frenzied portion of their schedule, the Sharks found the necessary vigor to get past the NHL’s top team on Friday night at SAP Center.
 
Martin Jones outdueled Carey Price in net, and the Sharks got first period goals from Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski in a 2-1 win.
 
The Sharks (15-9-1) improved to 6-1 in their last seven games, allowing just eight goals over that span. They lead the Pacific Division by three points, and won’t play again until Wednesday after what was their 10th game in the past 18 days.
 
Montreal remains in first place overall in the league standings with 34 points (16-6-2).
 
Two of the Sharks’ most potent goal scorers staked them a 2-0 lead before the first intermission.
 
On a power play, Burns powered a one-timer from the circle past Price at 5:22. San Jose came out of the gate buzzing, and earned the man advantage when Micheal Haley drew a holding minor on Mark Barberio.
 
Pavelski increased the San Jose lead at 19:03, storming towards the goal crease and redirecting a Joe Thornton centering pass on what was essentially a two-on-none rush. 
 
The Sharks were shorthanded late after a double minor for high sticking to Logan Couture with 4:06 left in regulation, when the Sharks forward clipped Alexander Radulov, who left the ice due to some profuse bleeding.
 
After killing off a good portion of it without allowing a shot on goal, Artturi Lehtonen swept a shot through Jones with Price pulled for an extra attacker with 1:17 to go. That was all the Canadiens would get past Jones, though, who made 31 saves.
 
Montreal made a push in the second period, particularly early, but Jones stood on his head. He snagged a Max Pacioretty shot about five minutes into the middle frame, and on the ensuing faceoff got his left pad on Brenden Gallagher’s attempt after the Canadiens forwards slipped to front of the net with the puck.
 
Jones got a bit fortunate, too, when Pacioretty missed a wide-open chance in the slot halfway through regulation.
 
The Sharks won their 10th straight game over the Canadiens in San Jose, and are 7-1-0 in their last eight overall when opposing Montreal.
 
Montreal has not won a game at the Shark Tank since Nov. 23, 1999.
 
Special teams 
 
The Sharks went 1-for-3 on the power play, and are 5-for-19 in their last seven games. Of Burns’ 10 goals, three have come with a man advantage.
 
Montreal finished 1-for-4. The Sharks have allowed one power play goal against in four of their last five games.
 
In goal
 
After getting pulled against Pittsburgh on Nov. 5, Jones improved to 8-2-1 in his last 11. He’s allowed two or fewer goals in eight of them.
 
Jones’ best save of the night came with 11:29 to go in the first period and the Sharks ahead 1-0, when he caught a Alex Galchenyuk shot while quickly shifting from his right to his left. He also denied Brian Flynn on a breakaway with 2:53 left in the opening frame.
 
Price has now lost all five of his starts in San Jose (0-4-1). It was just his third loss in regulation this season (13-3-1), as he allowed two goals on 28 shots.
 
Lineup
 
The Sharks lost defenseman David Schlemko with about eight minutes left in the second period with what looked to be a leg or ankle injury.

Thornton assisted on each of the first two goals, moving into sole possession of 25th place on the NHL’s all-time scoring list with 1356 career points, passing Brendan Shanahan.
 
Tommy Wingels returned from a three-game absence with a lower body injury, replacing Ryan Carpenter, who had played the previous three games and scored his first NHL goal on Wednesday in Los Angeles.
 
Paul Martin played in his 800th career NHL game.
 
Up next
 
The Sharks will host the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday for the first of two meetings this month. They will enjoy a rare two-day break over the weekend with no practices scheduled.