Sharks can't complete comeback, fall to Ducks

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Sharks can't complete comeback, fall to Ducks

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE -- Eventually, they are going to start going in. At least, thats what theyre telling us.The San Jose Sharks outshot and outchanced their opponent again but came out on the wrong end of a 3-2 loss to Anaheim at HP Pavilion on Monday night. It was their second loss to the Ducks in four nights, and third straight overall. They are now 1-3 and in last place in the Pacific Division.Listening to the postgame quotes is starting to sound like a broken record.

We got another 40-plus shots, we just have to bear down when the chances are there. Were getting good, quality scoring chances, were just not scoring, Joe Thornton said.Dan Boyle said: I dont know that were giving up that much defensively. Just offensively its not clicking or going in for us.Once again, it was early mistakes that cost the Sharks. The team committed three straight minor penalties in the first period, leading to the ageless Teemu Selanne putting the Ducks on the board with a power play goal at 9:42, when he tapped in a pass through the slot by Saku Koivu. We said before the game, stay out of the penalty box. We made a parade to the box early on and it flattened us out for the whole first period, Thornton said.Selanne added a second goal less than five minutes later when he snuck behind Colin White and got the rebound of Koivus bad-angle shot to make it 2-0.Todd McLellan switched up his top two lines to start the second period, putting Logan Couture with Thornton and Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau with Ryane Clowe and Torrey Mitchell. It seemed to jump start his club, which outplayed the Ducks the rest of the way. By the time it was over, the Sharks had 43 shots to Anaheims 22.San Jose finally found the scoreboard with a fortunate bounce. Marc-Edouard Vlasic lifted a backhander on net that deflected off of goaltender Dan Ellis, hit Bobby Ryan in the shin, and redirected back into the net. Marleau was in the crease at the time hindering Ellis vision, and Vlasic got credit for his first of the season at 6:39 of the second period.The Sharks applied good pressure to start the third, trailing 2-1, but suffered a back-breaking goal to last seasons league MVP when Corey Perry wheeled around and fired a wrist shot through Dan Boyle into the top corner of the net.Antti Niemi, making his first start of the season, explained the goal from his perspective.I obviously saw it at some point, but should have seen it maybe earlier and made the save there, he said.Niemi may be being a little hard on himself, as Perry, in the faceoff circle, used Boyle as a screen and put the puck where few players in the league can.Perry spun and fired it where he needed to fire it. It was as simple as that, McLellan said.Brent Burns power play goal in the third brought the Sharks back to within one, but that was as close as they got. Ellis, starting his first game of the season to give starter Jonas Hiller a break, stopped a turnaround shot by Couture late in the period and Burns hit the side of the net with a bouncing puck with 23 seconds remaining.It just kind of handcuffed me. If I was a lefty I would have been good, but I cant shoot left, said Burns of his late opportunity.As for the Sharks' line changes, McLellan was cryptic after the game as to which players he was trying to send a message to.It was our way of telling a number of players we werent very happy with them, he said. Quite frankly, were still missing some key people, and they arent injured. They are dressed, and they are people that we count on. Its probably a pretty good weekend for them to take stock of their own games and figure out what they need to do to find it.Well save the speculation for another day as to which players McLellan is talking about, but should point out that Thornton, Couture and Marleau are still looking for their first goals of the young season.The Sharks will regroup with a practice tomorrow before flying to Newark, New Jersey on Wednesday. They open up a six-game road trip on Friday night against the Devils.We go on the road now, so just have a good road trip, Thornton said. Weve had a pretty good road record in the past, so just look forward to it and just keep working at it.Odds and ends The Sharks finished 1-for-6 on the power play, and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill. ... Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, who shut out the Sharks 1-0 on Friday, got his first night off after playing the first four games of the season. Thorntons assist on Burns goal was his first point of the season. It ties him with Sergei Fedorov for 53rd place on the all-time assist list with 696. Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin took a scary looking slap shot to the head in the third period, but was apparently saved by his visor. He later returned.

Sharks' Jones, Tierney find more success in Vancouver in 4-1 win

Sharks' Jones, Tierney find more success in Vancouver in 4-1 win

VANCOUVER – One of the more appealing NHL road cities, Vancouver dazzles with its beautiful mountain scenery and walkable downtown avenues.

The Sharks undoubtedly relish those aspects of their trips to British Columbia, but more importantly they’ve enjoyed them on a professional basis, too. San Jose won its 10th straight game at Rogers Arena on Saturday, 4-1, kicking off the final push to the playoffs with a victory coming out of the bye week.

“I think we definitely got better as the game went on, and that’s what you’re looking for,” said Mikkel Boedker, who was one of four Sharks’ goal scorers. “We came out with the win.”

Two Sharks in particular have enjoyed their recent excursions into Vancouver. 

Martin Jones was the best player on the ice, making 35 saves in his hometown. He was relied upon early as the Sharks predictably struggled to get their legs underneath them in what was their first game since last Sunday.

Jones made an impressive stop on Loui Eriksson in the first period, and in the second he stopped Jannik Hansen from point blank range with the Sharks holding a 1-0 lead. Later in the second, it was saves on Alex Edler and Hansen again that preserved San Jose’s 2-1 lead at the intermission. Vancouver was outshooting the Sharks 30-16 after 40 minutes, but trailed.

The Sharks rewarded their goalie with scores by Boedker and Logan Couture on the power play to make the final few minutes of the third period relatively easy.

“When [Jones] plays like that it gives us confidence, and we’ve just got to stick with it and keep creating chances, and we did that tonight,” said Boedker, who snapped a 19-game goal drought.

“[Jones] was our best player tonight,” coach Pete DeBoer said.

Jones improved to a perfect 4-0 in Vancouver, all in a San Jose sweater, with a 1.25 goals-against average and .959 save percentage. He spent the bye week in the area, and had several supporters in the stands.

“It’s always fun playing in front of friends and family,” Jones said. “Happy to get the win here.”

Chris Tierney is another player who seems to thrive in Vancouver. He notched a pair of assists and centered the team's most effective line, after getting his first career two-goal game here earlier this month.

His new line, featuring wingers Tomas Hertl and Joel Ward, opened the scoring in the second period, with Hertl finishing off a pass from Tierney after Ward’s breakaway attempt crept just wide of the net. Later, Tierney got a secondary assist on Patrick Marleau’s second period goal, restoring the Sharks' lead at 2-1.

“They did a good job. I thought some of those guys had our better legs early,” DeBoer said of his third line. “It took some of our veteran guys a little longer to get into it.”

Tierney, who was scoreless in eight straight games since his last time at Rogers Arena on Feb. 2, said: “I thought we generated some good chances. I think we can get better, too. We kind of talked on the bench throughout the game of what we can kind of do to improve and where each other is going to be on the ice, but it felt good playing with those guys. It’s easy to create offense with them.”

In seven career games in Vancouver, Tierney has four goals and three assists for seven points.

“Something about the Vancouver air, or Canadian air,” he said. “I always feel good when I play here.”

After dropping a 2-1 overtime decision to Boston in their final game before the break, the Sharks had a five-point lead over the rest of the division headed into a week off. Saturday’s win pushes the lead back up to five points again on Anaheim and Edmonton, and they now have games in hand on both of those teams, too.

It all adds up to a good start in what is the final stretch before the postseason, and a quest for a division title. Overall, the Sharks are 3-0-3 in their last six games, and have just one regulation loss in their last 11 (5-1-5).

“It’s huge, that’s what you play the regular season for,” said Boedker, when asked about the Sharks padding their lead. “You keep trying to gain as many points as you can, and lately we’ve had some overtime losses, but we keep gaining points.”

Instant Replay: Sharks blow past Canucks in first game back from break

Instant Replay: Sharks blow past Canucks in first game back from break

BOX SCORE

VANCOUVER – Playing for the first time since their bye week, the Sharks scored two goals in each of the final two periods to down the Canucks at Rogers Arena on Saturday, 4-1.

San Jose improved to 11-2-5 in its last 18 games, and increased its lead in the Pacific Division to five points over Anaheim and Edmonton.

After a lackluster first period without much action, the Sharks opened the scoring in the second.

Joel Ward took advantage of some confusion at the Vancouver bench, plowing ahead untouched for a breakaway. His attempt squirted just wide, but Chris Tierney pushed the loose puck to the front of the net where Tomas Hertl pounded it home at 3:31.

Vancouver tied it later. Brent Burns’ defensive zone turnover resulted in Daniel Sedin buzzing in a wrist shot short side on Martin Jones at 12:02.

The Canucks had a chance to take the lead on the power play later, after Micheal Haley jumped Joseph Labate for hammering Melker Karlsson along the wall. Bo Horvat was staring at an empty net, but fired the puck high with four minutes to go in the middle frame.

That allowed the Sharks to reclaim the lead on Patrick Marleau’s 22nd goal. The forward was set up beautifully by David Schlemko, who passed the puck through the seam, confusing Ryan Miller and allowing Marleau to tuck it in at 19:04.

Jones, who was outstanding for the duration of the game, made a key stop on Alex Edler’s wrist shot from the top of the circle with 20 seconds to go, keeping it a 2-1 San Jose advantage after two.

Mikkel Boedker added to the Sharks’ lead at 11:31, whooshing a wrist shot past Miller on two-on-one with Logan Couture. The goal, Boedker’s first in 20 games, was unassisted after defenseman Ben Hutton gave the puck away to the San Jose winger.

Couture capped the scoring with a power play goal, picking the top corner from the faceoff dot at 14:20.

Karlsson returned to start the third period. Early in the third, Labate answered the bell and fought Brenden Dillon, with Dillon seemingly landing more punches.

Vancouver was without five players due to a mumps outbreak in their dressing room, while defenseman Luca Sbisa did not finish the game due to the stomach flu.

The Sharks won their 10th straight game in Vancouver, including both this season, increasing what was already the longest winning streak ever by a Canucks home opponent. The road team has won 15 in a row, extending an NHL record.

Special teams

The Sharks capitalized on their only advantage of the evening, scoring just their second power play goal in the last five games (2-for-13).

Vancouver finished 0-for-2 on the power play, with both of its advantages in the second period. The Sharks are 10-for-10 on the PK over the last six games.

In goal

Jones, a North Vancouver native, improved to 4-0 in his career at Rogers Arena with 35 saves. He’s 29-15-6 on the season, starting 51 of the Sharks’ 61 games.

Miller fell to 16-18-3 on the season, allowing four goals on 26 shots. He’s 10-6-0 in his long career against San Jose.

Lineup

The Sharks were carrying just 12 healthy forwards, as Joonas Donskoi did not make the trip after coming down with the flu. Donskoi, who has been out since Jan. 24 after suffering an upper body injury, is close to a return.

Barclay Goodrow played in his second game of the season, skating on the fourth line.

Vancouver defenseman Evan McEnany was making his NHL debut, while Labate was playing in just his fourth career game.

Up next

The Sharks return home to host the Maple Leafs on Tuesday, and see the Canucks again on Thursday at SAP Center.

Saturday’s game in Vancouver kicked off a stretch of 22 games over 43 days before the playoffs.