Sunken Pacific Pennant Hopes

Photo: Ticket Master

By Victor Cabrera

While the Sharks had been basking on top of the Pacific Division the month of March flipped the script. San Jose had a terrible month playing 16 games and recording a 6-10-0 record for a mere 12 points. The Sharks suffered six consecutive losses this past month, and as a result, the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers are battling for the Division Championship. Although the Sharks have clinched a playoff spot there is some doubt about a run for the cup with the recent play of the team. The goal scoring has disappeared and the team has begun to allow more goals in every game. There are a few regular season games left to get back to being consistent but for now to review this past month which was a struggle for the San Jose Sharks.

The month started with a home game against the Vancouver Canucks. The visitors took an early lead finding the back of the net with the man advantage. Late in the period, Mikkel Boedker tied the game for the Sharks. A 1-1 score after the opening period led into a memorable night for Marcus Sorensen. He gave the Sharks the 2-1 lead in the second period by scoring his first career NHL goal. Logan Couture doubled the Sharks lead with a goal later in the period. The 3-1 Sharks lead became the final score as neither team managed to score afterward. San Jose then traveled for a brief two game back to back road trip in the Central Division. The first stop on the schedule was the Minnesota Wild. Minnesota opened the scoring with a power play goal, shortly followed by another quick goal for a 2-0 lead in the first. Melker Karlsson cut the deficit scoring late in the first for San Jose. The 2-1 Wild lead remained unchanged in the second period with neither team scoring. The third period was tight the Sharks only trailed by one and aimed to tie the game by pulling the goalie late in the game but, gave up an empty net goal falling to the Wild 3-1. The loss wasn’t in the mind of San Jose as the next night they paid a visit to the Winnipeg Jets.  The Captain Joe Pavelski opened the scoring, giving the Sharks a 1-0 lead. The lead didn’t last long as the Jets scored tying the game at one. The scoring seized in the first period and throughout the whole second period. Mikkel Boedker restored the Sharks’ lead scoring a short-handed goal in the third. The one goal lead forced the Jets to pull their goalie late in the game. A defensive zone takeaway by Joe Thornton led to Joe Pavelski scoring his second of the night, and a very important milestone for Joe Thornton who recorded an assist on the empty net goal. Joe Thornton recorded his 1000th career assist only the 13th player to do so in the league’s history. The game, however, wasn’t over as the Jets scored on a power play with seven seconds left, ending the game 3-2 for a Sharks’ road win.

Next on the Sharks’ schedule was a six game home stand at the SAP Center. First to visit were the Washington Capitals and Alex Ovechkin. The visitors got on the scoresheet early in the game. Joe Thornton tied the game later in the period with a goal for the Sharks. One a piece was the score after the opening period. The captain Joe Pavelski scored at the start of the second giving the Sharks the lead. The Capitals scored later in the period knotting up the score at two. The Sharks regained their lead late in the period, capitalizing on a power play with a goal from Logan Couture. 3-2 San Jose with one period to go. Another power play for Logan Couture in the third period sealed the game for the Sharks for a 4-2 win to start of the home stand. The Nashville Predators came to visit for the next game. Paul Martin opened the scoring in the game giving the Sharks a brief lead that was quickly answered, by a Predators goal tying the game. The tie wasn’t broken till the middle of the second period in which the Predators scored the period’s lone goal for a 2-1 lead. The Sharks struggled to tie it in the third forcing themselves to pull their goalie. Hoping they could score with a power play and their goalie pulled to force overtime, they gave up a short-handed empty net goal giving Nashville the 3-1 win. The following night the Dallas Stars came for a game at the Shark Tank. The game got to an early start with Patrick Marleau scoring the game’s first goal. The Stars answered back but Joe Pavelski scored late in the first recapturing the Sharks’ lead. 2-1 after the opening period, a lead that wasn’t good enough for San Jose. Joel Ward scored an early period goal to make it 3-1. Joe Pavelski further added to the lead stealing a puck for a breakaway and scoring short-handed for a 4-1 lead which held through the middle frame. Chris Tierney secured the Sharks win scoring early in the third period for a 5-1 final score.

The Buffalo Sabers were next to take on the Sharks at home. The Sharks had not defeated the Sabers since 2010 a five game losing streak when these two teams faced off at the SAP Center. The Sabers looked to keep the Sharks down scoring in the first minute of the game and the opening period’s goal. San Jose struggled to tie but found magic on the power play with Captain Joe Pavelski scoring to tie the game. Micheal Haley gave the Sharks the lead late in the third scoring a fortunate goal in which he attempted a cycle but the Buffalo defender got the puck and attempted a pass that deflected off a skate and past the goaltender for a goal. The Sharks had to protect their 2-1 lead in the third and Joe Pavelski helped them increase their lead by scoring his second goal of the night. Logan Couture later scored in the third to seal the game 4-1 giving the Sharks their first win against the Sabers at SAP Center since 2010. The St. Louis Blues were next on the schedule for the home stand. St. Louis got on the board first late in the opening period. Marc-Edouard Vlasic tied the game for the Sharks a minute later. The 1-1 score was unchanged until the second period in which the Blues scored the only goal of the second period for a 2-1 lead. The Sharks had one period to tie the game but the Blues scored on the man advantage giving them a two goal lead. Being down by two San Jose risked it pulling the goalie and St. Louis secured a win scoring on the empty net, the Sharks fell 4-1. To close out the home stand were the Anaheim Ducks who were also fighting for the Pacific Division Championship. The Ducks scored at the commence of the game just 39 seconds in. The Sharks did not have an answer till the closing seconds of the period scoring on the power play for 1-1 tie after 20 minutes of play. Both teams battled to get an advantage but the Ducks would be the ones to get it scoring in the second period off a breakaway. 2-1 was the score in favor of the Ducks with one period left to play. Neither team managed to score in the final frame and the Sharks lost 2-1 to the Ducks. San Jose now had a four game road trip against Central Division opponents.

Their first game on the road was against the Dallas Stars. A very interesting game that had a rare score of 1-0. Dallas scored the game’s only goal in the second period resulting in the Sharks third consecutive loss. San Jose moved quickly after that losing squaring off with the Wild the very next night. The Sharks gave up the first period’s only goal on a power play. In the second period, a strange sequence occurred late in the period. Patrick Marleau scored tying the game 1-1. Just 33 seconds later the Wild regained their lead scoring, and then 15 seconds later the Wild scored again for a 3-1 lead. However, Patrick Marleau scored 15 seconds after that making the score 3-2. The game would have no more scoring after that unique 63 seconds in the second period resulting in a 3-2 Wild win and wild it was. The Sharks had two nights off before their next two games which were back to back. A return to Dallas for the first game. The Stars scored the opening period’s only goal. Dallas didn’t stop their scoring three goals in the second in 5:10 of game play. Joe Thornton helped the Sharks answer back scoring on the power play to trail 4-1. The Stars scored two in the third for a 6-1 win making it 5 losses in a row for the Sharks and now getting tied for first in the Pacific Division. To close out the road trip San Jose Visited the Music City for a match up against the Nashville Predators. The home side did all the scoring in the first scoring two goals. Patrick Marleau scored in the second off a power play to make it 2-1. Less than 30 seconds the Predators scored on a power play of their own making it 3-1. The Preds would then increase their lead to three with another goal but the Sharks answered back making it 4-2 with one period to play. A tough deficit to overcome for the Sharks. The third period was all Nashville scoring three unanswered goals in the final period two of them on the power play for a 7-2 San Jose loss. The Sharks had now lost their last six and remained tied for first in the Pacific.

The Sharks returned to the SAP Center for one game against the New York Rangers. San Jose started off on the right foot with a goal from the newest member of the Sharks Jannik Hansen. The Rangers tied it later in the period but, Melker Karlsson gave the Sharks back the lead scoring short-handed for a 2-1 lead at the first intermission. Chris Tierney scored in the second giving the Sharks a 3-1 lead however, the Rangers capitalized on a power play scoring in the closing seconds of the middle frame for a 3-2 score with the last period to play. The Rangers got momentum scoring at the start of the third tying the game and then got the lead scoring minutes later on a power play. Chris Tierney scored his second of the night late in the third forcing overtime with a 4-4 end of regulation score. The Sharks won in overtime with a power play goal from Brent Burns ending their six game losing streak. With both teams earning a point they both had now clinched a playoff spot. The Sharks would then head out for a Western Canadian road trip. Facing the Edmonton Oilers first who were also now in the race for first in the Pacific. The Sharks got the early start scoring one minute into the game with a goal from Jannik Hansen. The Oilers tied it later in the opening period and took the lead late in the period with a short-handed goal. The 2-1 score didn’t change as there was no scoring in the second period. In the third, the Oilers scored making it a two goal lead. Joe Pavelski scored later in the third attempting to rally back but the Sharks lost 3-2 to the Oilers. The Sharks visited the Calgary Flames the next night to close out March. The Flames managed to score the opening period’s solo goal. Calgary then increased their lead in the second with a power play goal. Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored bringing the Sharks within one. However, the Flames had other plans scoring two more goals in the third for a 4-1 lead with one period to play. Aaron Dell replaced Martin Jones for the third period of the game. Melker Karlsson scored in the third reducing the Flames to two goals but the Flames scored late in the game on an empty net for a 5-2 win. With that loss the Sharks had just a one point lead over the Flames for third in the division.

The Sharks leaders for the month of March are as followed: Goal Leader Joe Pavelski 29 goals, Assist leader Brent Burns 45 assists, Point leader Brent Burns 73 points, Goalie leaders Martin Jones 33 wins two shutouts, Aaron Dell 10 wins one shutout.

The Sharks had a terrible month of March and this can lead to an early elimination in the Playoffs. The six-game losing streak is not something you want especially when those loses are against potential playoff opponents. The scoring disappeared in many games and the defense was allowing too many goals. The penalty kill is struggling and the power play is doing good, having said that the best thing is to play smart thereby staying out of the box. Capitalize to take the lead and close out games on the power play. There’s a few games to fix the issues but, some strong wins can generate momentum once the playoffs get in gear. Hopefully the team can get back into the swing of things and dominate once again in the playoffs.

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April 8th, 2017

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Sharks Continue Atop The Pacific

Photo: Associated Press

By Victor Cabrera

The San Jose Sharks have been on top of the Pacific Division and the month of February was an example of why they may be this year'[s divisional champion. This month the Sharks played 11 games marking a 5-1-5 record for a total of 16 points. While that may not look impressive they managed to get at least one point in all games this past month except for one. One regulation loss in 11 games is not an easy thing to do and points are tough to get in this league. It’s starting to look like another Stanley Cup run team but, first to analyze the Sharks’ February performance.

The first game of the month was a road game in Vancouver against the Canucks. A slow start to the game and then the game’s first goal, while on the power play, a historic moment for Patrick Marleau as he scored his 500th NHL career goal with the Sharks for a 1-0 lead. The excitement did not end as Chris Tierney scored to increase the visitors lead. A 2-0 lead after the opening period and the goal scoring did not appear for either team in the second period. The scoring returned quickly in the third as Brent Burns scored for the Sharks in the first minute of the final period. Vancouver clawed back scoring a goal of their own in the third. Chris Tierney scored on the power play for his second goal of the night, late in the third sealing a 4-1 road win for San Jose. The Sharks returned home for a game against the Arizona Coyotes. Neither team was able to score in the opening period. The visiting Coyotes scored the game’s first goal while on the power play. Brenden Dillon found the back of the net late in the period tying the game, the score held up into the third period. Logan Couture gave the Sharks the lead early in the third but the Coyotes tied it up less than 30 seconds with a goal of their own. The tie couldn’t be broken and the extra session was required but, even then neither team scored so a shoot out was required. Patrick Marleau attemped the shot in the first round but was denied by Mike Smith. Arizona’s first shooter scored giving them the lead.Logan Couture scored in the second round tying the score momentarily. The second Arizona shooter scored making it a must score round three for San Jose. Captain Joe Pavelski with the game on his stick was denied and the Sharks fell to the Coyotes 3-2 in the shoot out. A tough home game loss as the Sharks never really had the lead.

San Jose had a four-game Eastern Conference road trip next on their schedule. The Sabers were the first stop on the road trip. The home side took advantage of a power play and scored the game’s opening goal. Joel Ward tied the game with a goal of how own but the Sharks scored another quick goal courtesy of Logan Couture giving them a 2-1 lead after the first period of play. Melker Karlsson helped build the team’s lead scoring the only goal in the second period. In the third Joe Pavelski scored a power play goal practically giving them the win but, the tides turned for San Jose. The Sabers scored a power play goal closing in on the Sharks’ lead but it didn’t stop there. Buffalo scored two more goals less than a minute apart tying the game at four a piece and forcing overtime. The next goal decided the winner and the Sabers could not be stopped scoring the game winner in over time for a San Jose 5-4 loss in overtime. Next on the road trip were the Boston Bruins with their new head coach debuting, Bruce Cassidy. Less than a minute into the game the Sharks were already behind with a goal from the Bruins. Joe Thornton the former Bruin made his presence felt tying the game with his goal for the Sharks. Boston reclaimed their lead a few minutes in the period and scored a power play goal to make their lead 3-1. With a two goal deficit in the second the Sharks wasted little time chipping at the lead with a goal from Justin Braun. The Bruins would recover their two goal lead and made it grow with another late period power play goal for a 5-2 lead. The Sharks struggled to mount a comeback in the third but, Timo Meier gave them hope with a late period goal, down by two the Sharks pulled the goalie and the Bruins would seal their win scoring an empty goal for a 6-3 Sharks loss.

The Flyers were the next team the Sharks would visit on their road trip. A slow defensive game as neither team managed to score in neither the first or second period. Philadelphia struck first but, San Jose answered quickly with a power play goal from Patrick Marleau. But there was no more scoring a 1-1 regulation score required overtime. The extra session didn’t last as a turnover lead to the game winning breakaway for the Flyers. The loss wasn’t one the team could lament on as the next day the Sharks had to visit the New Jersey to close out the four-game road trip. Another shaky start for the Sharks as the Devils scored the only goal of the opening period. In the second period the Sharks’ “Beards” took over, with Brent Burns scoring two in a row followed by a Joe Thornton goal for a 3-1 lead. With a two goal lead and only twenty minutes to play the Sharks were close to their first win the road trip. The Devils couldn’t formulate a comeback and with the goalie pulled Tomas Hertl put the game away scoring on the empty net. A 4-1 comeback win for San Jose who were now on their way back West.

The Florida Panthers were next on the schedule at the SAP Center. The Panthers took an early lead which is short-lived when Brent Burns tied the game back up 31 seconds later. The tie was also short as the Panthers took back their lead just 44 seconds later. Then the Panthers added another goal for a two goal lead. Joel Ward scored late in first for the sharks making it a 3-2 Panthers’ lead after the opening period. Marc-Eduoard Vlasic scored the solo goal in the middle frame making it a 3-3 game with the final period to play. The Panthers recaptured their lead early in the final frame. Florida then scored another goal, with a historic point for Jaromir Jagr who recorded his 1900th NHL Career point. The captain took matters into his own hands scoring off a lucky deflection and then tying the game in the final minute with the Sharks having the goalie pulled. Roberto Luongo suffered an injury during the game-tying goal and was removed from the game forcing backup James Reimer to take over. The Captain’s pair of goals forced overtime after a 5-5 regulation. The switch of goalies did not affect Florida as they quickly scored in overtime taking the second point and preventing the Sharks from a cardiac comeback win with a 6-5 final score in favor of the visiting team. The Sharks visited the Arizona Coyotes for their last regular season meeting. Brent Burns got the goal scoring started in the first period. Melker Karlsson increased their lead to 2-0 which was taken into the intermission. Michael Haley then scored his first goal of the season and the only goal of the second period for a 3-0 Sharks’ lead. The Coyotes struck with their first goal, in the opening minute of the final period. Brent Burns found his second goal late in the third on the power-play for a 4-1 road win.

The Sharks had to get back home to the SAP Center for the next night’s game against the Bruins for their second and last meeting of the season. Boston was hot on a three-game win streak since Bruce Cassidy took charge behind the bench. The Bruins took the lead by scoring the opening period’s only goal. The Sharks struggled but Patrick Marleau scored late in the second tying the game at one a piece. In the third period neither team managed to score and overtime was required. Midway into overtime the Bruins scored a breakaway goal for a 2-1 Sharks’ loss. The upside was the bye week gave the Sharks six days off till their next game. At the conclusion of the rested days the Sharks’ first game was a road game versus the Canucks. A scoreless first period between the two teams. The first goal was scored early in the second by Tomas Hertl. The Canucks tied the game later in the period with some magic from the Sedin twins. In the final minute of the middle period Patrick Marleau recovered the lead for the Sharks. A 2-1 lead with just one period left to play a tough game to play. Mikkel Boedker gave the Sharks a cushion as he capitalized on a turnover making the score 3-1. A few minutes Logan Couture secured the win scoring on the power-play for a 4-1 win. The final game of the month was a home game versus the Toronto Maple Leafs. Both teams couldn’t get the puck in the net for a scoreless opening period. The Maple Leafs got on the board first scoring on the power play. Brenden Dillon later knotted up the score with his second of the season. The 1-1 tie was to be dealt with in the third but neither team was able to get the go-ahead goal till near the end. Patrick Marleau controlled the puck with three Leafs’ players around him feed the puck to Tomas Hertl, controlled the puck and slide a sniper through Frederik Andersen’s arm for the go-ahead goal with a little over a minute to go. Toronto had no choice and pulled the goalie which gave Joe Pavelski the superb chance to seal the game scoring on the empty net with a pass from Joe Thornton who has 999 career assists now. A big 3-1 win to close out the month of February.

Team Leaders after this month are as follows: Goal, Assist, and Point Leader Brent Burns, 27 goals 39 assists for 66 points. Leader in wins Martin Jones 30 wins (2 Shutouts) and Aaron Dell 7 wins (1 Shutout).

The Sharks did good in getting points in almost every game a key part to winning the division and cementing a playoff spot. Their problem has been the penalty kill and blowing some leads. They have the goal scoring ability and should keep their foot on the gas as sometimes the big leads slip through as seen versus Buffalo. A good sign was two wins right after the bye week there was no rust which is a factor in the playoffs in between series. The two possibilities for personal achievements is Thornton reaching 1000 assists which is going to happen, and Burns winning the Norris or Hart Memorial Trophy maybe even both as he has franchise league, and NHL: historical records. The biggest accomplishment is reaching another Stanley Cup Final but, winning Lord Stanley this season. This team is a heavy candidate in the cup talks and time will tell how far their journey goes.

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March 18th, 2017

Sharks Stay Hot

Photo Credit: bladesofsteal
Photo Credit: bladesofsteal.com

By Victor Cabrera

San Jose looked to keep the momentum going in 2017 and that’s exactly what they did in the month of January. The Sharks played 14 games through the month earning a 9-4-1 record for 19 points. They currently are at the top of the Pacific and Second in the Western Conference with 66 points on the season. They’ve been very consistent this season and are on the right track of battling for Lord Stanley in the 2016-2017 season.  In January the All-Star game also took place where the Sharks had, Captain Joe Pavelski, scoring, assist and point leader Brent Burns, goaltender Martin Jones, and Head Coach Peter DeBoer represent the Northern California club.The Pacific defeated the Central 10-3 in utter dominance in the semi-final. The Pacific, however, lost the 3-on-3 tournament final 4-3 to the Metropolitan Division. The Sharks seek to remain high in the standings and continue this great season being consistent. Now to review the January month for the Sharks.

The Sharks would start of January with a three game home-stand. The first game was against the Los Angeles Kings. The game would have a scoreless first period. Logan Couture would score the games first goal midway into the second period the only goal of the period. The Kings would tie it early in the third at one a piece. With no more scoring in the third period, the overtime would have to be played. In the first minute of overtime, the Kings would capitalize on a Sharks turnover and win the game 2-1. The Sharks would secure just one point in the overtime loss. Next in town came the Minnesota Wild. An eventless first period between both the teams. Joonas Donskoi and Joe Pavelski would open the scoring in the second period giving them a 2-0 lead in the second period. The Wild would get one back on the powerplay later in the period for a 2-1 score at the end of the second period. The Wild would tie it early in the third period. It didn’t take long for the Sharks to go and score two goals with goals from Joel Ward followed by Patrick Marleau. A 4-2 lead in the third but, the Wild had different plans scoring three goals of their own in 5:12 which was enough for the Minnesota to win 5-4 against San Jose. Two tough loses at home and the Red Wings would come into town to close the homestand. Detroit would strike first in the game. A flurry of goals came from San Jose scoring 3 unanswered in the first period. Joonas Donskoi would score the first, Mirco Mueller who got his first point on the Donskoi goal scored his first NHL goal with a blue line blast, and Patrick Marleau would score in the closing seconds of the period for the 3-1 lead after 20 minutes of play. The scoring would seize in the second period. Captain Joe Pavelski would score the Shark’s fourth unanswered goal, Mikkel Boedker would score the fifth unanswered goal. The Red Wings would get one back. Pavelski would score his second of the game and his 600th career point. Detroit would score again and the game would end in a 6-3 win for San Jose a big night for Joe Pavelski and Mirco Mueller. The Sharks managed to bounce back after two tough home losses.

The Sharks would take a brief Western Canadian trip that was back to back games against the Oilers and the Flames. First was the visit to Edmonton. Early in the first Mikkel Boedker would score for the lead. The Oilers would score later into the opening period to tie the game. Brent Burns scored in the last seconds of the period with a wrist shot from the blue line, giving the Sharks the 2-1 lead at intermission. Mikkel Boedker scored his second of the night at the beginning of the second period. Minutes Later he would score his third for the hat trick on the road his fourth hat trick of his NHL career. A 4-1 lead with one period to play in Edmonton. The Oilers would strike twice in the third period to bring them closer to tying the game. Logan Couture stopped the Oilers hopes poking away the puck from a defender and scoring on a breakaway. The game would end 5-3 in favor of the Sharks now with two in a row won. The next night they would visit the Calgary Flames to close out the road trip. Logan Couture would open the game’s scoring putting the visitors on top. Flames would tie it up later in the period. Brent Burns would restore the Sharks lead and the period would end 2-1 in their favor. The second was almost scoreless till the Flames tied it in the closing seconds on a power play at 2 a piece. The game plan was clear win the third period and win the game. Late in the period the Flames would net the game-winning goal and hand the Sharks a road loss by a 3-2 score. The next two games were at home first was to host the St. Louis Blues. The first period had no goals. The Sharks gave up a power play goal followed by another Blues goal. St. Louis would repeat and score two more in the third for a one-sided 4-0 win. The Jets would be the next to come visit. Joel Ward would score the opening period’s only goal a short-handed goal. A Timo Meier goal and Brent Burns Power play goal gave them a 3-0 lead with one period to play. Chris Tierney would add to the lead in the third. The Jets would score two in the third but a late Thornton empty net goal gave the Sharks a 5-2 victory.

The following two games were in California while the first one was on the road at Los Angeles.The Sharks lost the previous meeting in overtime to the Kings. Brent Burns would initiate the scoring early. The Kings would tie, and Tommy Wingels would reacquire the lead for the Sharks. Joe Pavelski would score on the power play in the second period to increase the lead. The Kings would score making it 3-2 after two periods of play. Neither team scored in the final period and the score remained 3-2 for a Sharks road win. The team would have to head back home to host the Tampa Bay Lightning at the SAP center. Aaron Dell would get the start due to the back to back games. A scoreless first followed by both teams scoring once in the second period for the Sharks it was Ryan Carpenter. One goal was needed to win the game. In the starting seconds of the third period, Logan Couture would score the decisive goal for a 2-1 win. The next two games were against the Colorado Avalanche first at home than on the road. Joel Ward would score the opening period’s lone goal on the power play. Colorado would tie it in the second but the Sharks retook the lead with a goal from Melker Karlsson and hold the lead into the third. The Avalanche would score a game-tying goal in the third and forced overtime. David Schlemko would find the game-winner in overtime and the final score would be 3-2 in the first game vs the Avalanche. Now the game was in Colorado against the Avalanche. Brent Burns scored in the last-minute of the first period the only goal of the period. The Avalanche would tie it in the second period and the 1-1 score would carry to the third and final period. It looked like this game was going to be another tight contest but the unexpected happened. The veteran and once captain of the Sharks, Patrick Marleau scored a natural hat trick on three shots all unanswered goals. Colorado would score a goal but Marleau scored his fourth of the night for his first ever NHL career game with four goals. He became the 12th player to score four goals in a period and the first since Mario Lemieux with the Penguins in 1997. Marleau had his best career game by far accomplishing things the best players in the history of hockey did.

The big win was followed by a game the very next night as they visited the Winnipeg Jets. Brent Burns would score the game’s opening goal on the power play the Jets would tie it up later in the period for a 1-1 tie at intermission. Logan Couture would score for the lead but again the Jets tied it and the tie carried over into the second period’s intermission. The Jets would take the lead in the third. Melker Karlsson would tie it with a short-handed penalty shot goal and Patrick Marleau would lift them over the Jets with his late third period goal for a 4-3 win on the road.

The Oilers would come visit at the SAP Center for the last game before the All-Star Break. Logan Couture would score the first goal of the game for the Sharks. But things went bad from there for San Jose. The Oilers would tie it in the first. Then Edmonton would gain the lead in the second with a power play goal. Then would score two goals in the final period for a 4-1 win. The weekend off for most of the team before coming back to San Jose for the final game of the month against the Chicago Blackhawks. A scoreless first period between the two Western Conference teams. Patrick Marleau would score on the power play in the second and Chicago would tie it later on in the period. Late in the third period, Tomas Hertl would give the Sharks the lead and then a Joe Pavelski empty net goal sealed the 3-1 win at home.

The Sharks played very well this January lots of goals on the power play and some while being short-handed. Brent Burns and Patrick Marleau have made key plays along with Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski which is the reason for their consistency. If they want more breathing room in the standings they have to win against the Pacific Division rivals preferably in regulation so the other team doesn’t get a point. Brent Burns is the leader in scoring with 21 goals, the leader in assists with 32, and leader in points with 53 total points. Martin Jones leads the team with 26 wins while Aaron Dell has 6 wins as the backup. This team is going to be a tough one to play in the playoffs they’ve shown that they are just that good. The Sharks can score many different ways and should be top of the standings possibly the Pacific Division Champions this season.

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February 8, 2017

Analysis: Tommy Wingels To Ottawa

Photo: USA Today
Photo: USA Today
By Victor Cabrera
As announced by GM Doug Wilson, the San Jose Sharks and Ottawa Senators have agreed to a trade. The Sharks traded away Tommy Wingels in return for Buddy Robinson and Zack Stortini as well as a 7th round pick in the 2017 draft.
Tommy Wingels had spent his whole career with San Jose after being drafted in the 2008 draft in the 6th round as the 177th overall pick. Through his seven seasons with the Sharks, Wingels played 337 games and recorded 51 goals and 71 assists for 221 points. His final game with the club was against the Colorado Avalanche in the 5-2 San Jose win. His key stat was an average of 40% in the faceoff circle something which the Senators will look to utilize in his arrival to Ottawa. Wingels this season played 37 games scoring five goals and dished out three assists for eight total points. Two of his goals were game-winners.
The franchise expansion draft at the conclusion of this season could have been a strong factor for the trade. Las Vegas may have considered him as a third or fourth line centermen. The excellent play by the AHL Club’s players was also a factor in the trade with Timo Meier, Kevin Labanc and Ryan Carpenter making impacts in the NHL club this season. The cap on Wingels contract had a fee of 2.45 that would be paid at the end of this season when his contract expires. Wingels can also become a free agent July 1st, 2017 which may result in another relocation depending how he does with Ottawa.
Both players acquired will be assigned to the AHL Club the San Jose Barracuda. Zack Stortini is a 31-year-old veteran who has played both in the AHL and NHL. He played with the Oilers and most recently (2011-2012) with the Predators in the NHL. Since then he has played in the AHL. Stortini did not have very high offensive stats as he’s more of an enforcer. In his NHL career, he has played 257 games, scoring 14 goals and assisting 27 times for 41 points. He, however, has 725 penalty minutes. The Sharks may utilize him for limited games maybe on emergency call ups to add some muscle to the lineup. Buddy Robinson seems to be the more attractive player acquired. He has played seven games in the NHL with the Ottawa four this season and three last season. He has two NHL points one goal and one assist. Robinson has seven goals and five assists this season with Binghamton (AHL) in the 33 games played.
Then there is the 7th round pick the Sharks also acquired from the Senators. Depending the scouting of San Jose may acquire a very good player. With the deadline coming up soon, the Sharks could also sweeten a trade by adding the pick to the negotiation. As the season moves along San Jose could call up Robinson and Stortini to use in the NHL but as of right now they will continue to play in the AHL.

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January 24, 2017

Defensive Trouble

Photo: Kyle Terada, USA Today
Photo: Kyle Terada, USA Today

By Victor Cabrera

San Jose would announce that defensemen Dylan DeMelo would be out 6-8 following a wrist injury sustained on January 10th at Roger’s Place against the Edmonton Oilers. DeMelo has suffered a broken right wrist after suffering a slash. DeMelo had played 15 games so far this season in which he had four points (1 goal and 3 assists) but right now will be shelved at an inconvenient time for San Jose.

Tim Heed made his NHL debut as he drew into the Shark’s lineup on January 11th vs the Calgary Flames to replace DeMelo. Heed had 19 shifts for a final ice time of 16:29 in which he recorded a single shot. He’s gotten his feet wet but will have a tough task playing for an NHL team who is very good defensively. The veterans alongside him should be able to help him in his defensive play.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic was activated from injury reserve on January 10th after being out since January 31st. Vlasic had suffered an upper body injury and missed three games due to his injury. The defenseman has been given a heavy workload averaging nearly 26 minutes in his first two games back (Edmonton and Calgary) but there could be changes due to DeMelo’s injury. Vlasic has played 37 games for 3 goals and 8 assists a total of 11 points on the season so far. Two of his goals are game winners one of them in overtime and he’s also out on the ice for the power play. Hopefully, the injury does not stop him offensively as it’s clear that he is in good shape to play the minutes he has since returning.

David Schlemko was placed on injury reserve with an upper body injury on January second but has not played since December 31st against the Kings. The Sharks are yet to release any information on his return. Schlemko has played 30 games for the team has 1 goal and 7 assists for 8 points. He is a veteran and it would be good for him to draw back in the lineup but only if he is ready.

Mirco Mueller who had joined the Sharks from the Barracuda (AHL Affiliate) due to the defensive injuries was reassigned back to AHL. Mirco has played four games in the NHL this season recording a goal and assist for two points. This news was announced after DeMelo’s injury was confirmed.

It looks as Peter DeBoer will be going with Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Paul Martin, Brenden Dillon, Justin Braun and Tim Heed for his 6 defenders on the 20 man game roster. It doesn’t look as Mueller will come back to the NHL club but he could be recalled. Schlemko’s status could change and he could be ready to hit the ice in the upcoming games. The Sharks have a good defensive core and depth and the team should be able to manage with the lineup changes. It is a setback all injuries are but good NHL teams are able to battle through it and can succeed, the Sharks will have that obstacle to overcome.

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January 18, 2017

Scorching Sharks of December

Photo: USA Today
Photo: USA Today

By Victor Cabrera

The San Jose Sharks had a great month of December to end 2016. San Jose went 9-4-0 in their 13 games this past month for 18 points. They currently sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 48 points and fourth in the Western Conference. They are a high seed playoff team right now but their division has been tough over the years. Now for an in-depth look at how the team did in the last month.

At the SAP Center, the Sharks would host the Habs. Brent Burns would open the scoring with a power play goal followed by a Joe Pavelski goal later in the first period. An eventless second period had the score 2-0 with the final period to play. The Canadiens would spoil the party by scoring late in the third period removing Martin Jones‘ shutout. Jones had a 31 save performance in the 2-1 win over Montreal. The Senators would come into town next. The Sharks would trail 2-0 after the first period. Logan Couture would score on the power play in the second period to make it 2-1. Brent Burns would tie it 2-2 in the third. Late in the third, the Senators would take the lead and forced the Sharks to pull the goalie resulting in another Ottawa goal for a final score of 4-2 in favor of the Sens. The Sharks would head to Southern California to face the division rivals, the Anaheim Ducks. The Sharks would again trail 2-0 in the first but a late Brent Burns goal made it 2-1 at the intermission. Kevin Labanc would tie it in the second period. An intense two-way game would end with a Hampus Lindholm goal for the Ducks to win the divisional bout. The loss wouldn’t last long as the Sharks would have to head back north to host the Carolina Hurricanes at home. The game would start fast as Patrick Marleau would score just 12 seconds into the game. The Canes would score soon after to tie, and the Sharks would take back the lead with a goal from Paul Martin for a 2-1 lead at the first intermission. Carolina would tie it midway into the second period at two a piece. Couture and Labanc would score later in the second period for a 4-2 lead that would hold until the Canes scored on the power play in the third period. San Jose would hold the lead and win 4-3 over Carolina.

The Sharks would have a four-game road trip with the first three being in Eastern Canada. The first was a visit to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs. The Leafs would take a 2-0 through the first 40 minutes. Justin Braun would fuel the comeback scoring his first of the season followed by a power play goal from the captain Joe Pavelski to tie the game 2-2 forcing over time. Neither team scored in overtime and a shootout was required. Both the Leafs and Sharks would not score in the first round. The Leafs shooter would be saved, and Logan Couture would score for the Sharks giving them the lead. The Leafs faced the loss if they did not score and their third shot was saved by Jones for a 3-2 San Jose comeback win. The comeback win had to be put aside as they visited the Canadian capital to face the Senators the very next night. Joe Pavelski would score for the Sharks but the Sens would tie it in the first period. Brent Burns would put the Sharks up 2-1 in the second but again the Senators would tie it. The Senators would take the lead in the third off a power play goal and then Chris Tierney would tie it late for the Sharks to force the extra session. Neither team could get the deciding goal in overtime. So a shootout it was but neither team could score in the opening three rounds. Jones would make a save in the fourth round and then finally a goal as Kevin Labanc would score in the fourth round to win the game 4-3.  The Sharks were now on three-game winning streak. San Jose would visit Montreal to play the Habs. A perfect first period for the California team scoring 3 in the first against

San Jose would visit Montreal to play the Habs. A perfect first period for the California team scoring 3 in the first against Carey Price. David Schlemko scored first followed by, Patrick Marleau, and then the rookie Timo Meier scoring his first NHL goal and point to make 3-0 after the first period. Melker Karlsson would add to the lead in the second period, making it 4-0 and the Canadiens would remove Carey Price from the game. Montreal would get two goals in the third but lost the game to the Sharks 4-2. Chicago would be the next stop before heading back to California. Both the Sharks and Blackhawks had a four game winning streak. The game would have a scoreless first period. The captain Joe Pavelski would open the scoring but Chicago would tie it later in the period. 1-1 with 20 minutes to play a tough game indeed to win. Chicago would make the game there’s scoring 3 in the third period and denying the Sharks from making a comeback. 4-1 the final score, a loss that ended the streak for the Sharks.

San Jose would host two Canadian Pacific Divisional rivals in their home stand. First, the Calgary Flames would come to SAP Center. A scoreless first period for both the teams. The Sharks would let out a flurry of goals scoring four in the second period. Patrick Marleau, Paul Martin, two from Jonas Donskoi for a 4-0 lead with just one period to play. The Flames would get the solo goal in the third ending the game 4-1 in favor of San Jose. The Edmonton Oilers were the next team to be hosted by the Sharks. An early power play goal in the second period from Joe Pavelski would give them the lead with one period to play. The Oilers would tie it but Kevin Labanc would give San Jose back the lead. The Oilers would tie it again and forced overtime with the 2-2 score. Overtime didn’t last long as the rookie Kevin Labanc would score his second goal of the night for the 3-2 win.

The holiday break gave the Sharks some rest before heading to Southern California for a game against the Ducks. Paul Martin would have the only Sharks’ goal to give them the lead through the first 20 minutes. The Ducks would tie it at one apiece in the second until Melker Karlsson scored to bring the Sharks back into the lead. The Ducks would tie it in the third and force overtime. The overtime session was dominated by the Sharks and lead to a beautiful play in which Pavelski gave a marvelous pass for Brent Burns to deke out John Gibson for the game-winning goal. The Sharks would head back to SAP Center to host the Flyers. Patrick Marleau scored the lone goal off a power play in the first period. A scoreless second followed by another lone goal in the third by the Sharks from Justin Braun for the 2-0 win. Aaron Dell the Sharks’ rookie goaltender made his first career NHL shutout with 21 saves against Philadelphia. On New Year’s Eve the Sharks would visit the Kings at Staples Center for the last game of 2016. The Kings would score once each in the first and second period while the Sharks did not. Trailing 2-0 in the third then Brent Burns scored a power play goal to bring them closer to tying the game. The Kings would score making it 3-1. Kevin Labanc would bring the score closer but it was still a 3-2 loss for the Sharks. A tough divisional loss for San Jose to close out 2016.

Brent Burns is the current Goal (15) leader and point leader (37) while Joe Thornton leads in assists with (23). Joe Pavelski is second in points with 35 points, broken down into 13 goals and 22 assists. Martin Jones leads the team in wins as he has played in 34 games for a 19-13-2 record with two shutouts. Rookie goalie Aaron Dell has played 6 games for a 4-1-0 record with one shutout. Rookie Kevin Labanc has broken out having played in 26 games for 7 goals and 5 assists for a total of 12 points.

This month was very good for San Jose. They’ve lost games against the Ducks and Kings which could be a problem down the road for the playoffs as they are not ahead by much in the standings. The power play is very good they’ve found a good chemistry to produce scoring chances and score goals. The overtime session has also been good for them and DeBoer has made great selections for his shooters in the shootout. They have to play by their tempo and make the team chase them to continue to win. The division games to be played with more emotion and play harder to secure two points. As of right now they should make the playoffs and be a threat to any team they match up with but only time will tell.

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January 7, 2017

Shark Month: November

Photo: rukkus.com
Photo: rukkus.com

By Victor Cabrera

The Sharks had a very active November playing 15 games in the month’s 30 days. In their 15 games, the Sharks had a record of 8-6-1 for 17 points. Currently, the Sharks sit in 1st place in the Pacific Division and 3rd overall in the Western Conference with their 31 points in 25 games. A good month for the Sharks as they are currently in a playoff spot and are the best team in the Pacific.

November didn’t start off as planned for San Jose. The first game of the month was a road game versus divisional rival the Arizona Coyotes. Patrick Marleau would give the Sharks a lead after the opening period. The desert dogs woke up and made a comeback netting three unanswered goals in the middle frame and not conceding a goal. The sharks struggled to make a comeback but Mikkel Boedker managed to score in the closing seconds for the Sharks. The final score was 3-2 in favor of the Coyotes. The Sharks returned to the SAP Center for a two game home-stand. The Flames were the first game, a scoreless first period between the two division rivals. The 2nd period was for the Flames they scored two goals to take a 2-0 lead into the 3rd period. The Sharks tied the game in the third with a power play goal from Brent Burns and a goal from Melker Karlsson. However, Calgary’s rookie Matthew Tkachuk scored the game winner and his second of the game. This was the Sharks’ first home loss of the season a 3-2 final score. Pittsburgh was the next visitor to the Shark Tank the team that defeated San Jose last season for Lord Stanley. SAP Center was the very arena in which the Penguins were crowned champions. Pens took a 2-0 lead in the first period. Then in the second there was more of the same a one-sided period in which the Penguins scored three more goals. The 3rd period was scoreless and the Sharks had now lost their last two at home with this game being a slaughter.

The Sharks would now go on a six-game road trip which began in the Nation’s capital at the Verizon Center. The two teams would have a scoreless first period. In the second period two goals from Sharks defenders, Marc-Eduoard Vlasic and Brent Burns which gave the Sharks a 2-0 after the second period. Joe Thornton would seal the game in the third period with his empty net goal. Martin Jones would record a 24 save shutout in the 3-0 win. The Sharks then had their next two games in Florida and first up was the Panthers. Former long time Sharks’ defender Jason Demers would score two goals for the Panthers and give them a 2-0 lead in the first. Brent Burns would cut Florida’s lead and get the Sharks on the board. Joe Pavelski would tie the game for San Jose in the second period with the only goal of the second period. Tommy Wingels would give the Sharks their first lead of the game and Logan Couture secured the two points scoring an empty net goal at the end of the period. A 4-2 comeback win for the California team had the road trip going in the right direction. In game three of the road trip, San Jose set out to continue their win streak. Patrick Marleau opened the scoring for the Sharks and Tommy Wingels increased the lead to 2-0 in the first period. Vlasic would score in the middle frame for a commanding 3-0 lead with the final frame to play. Early in the third the Bolts managed to score a goal and stopped Jones from getting the shutout but still managed to save 25 shots in the 3-1 win for San Jose. The Sharks were now 3-0 in the first half of the road their road trip.

The Sharks would visit the Carolina Hurricanes in what would be a very tight defensive game. Two scoreless periods and half of the third till the Canes scored the game’s only goal. It was a hard-fought loss for Sharks and the first game they lost on the road trip. The Sharks would then visit the Blues the team they beat last season in the Western conference final. Logan Couture would score the goals first game but the Blues would tie it with a goal from Jaden Schwartz and it would be 1-1 at the intermission. Schwartz would give them the lead in the second period. Kevin Labanc would even the score scoring his first Career NHL goal and point to make it 2-2. The Blues would score on a power play to leave the second period leading 3-2. The Sharks were unable to score in the third to tie and it was now two losses in a row on the road. Now they would visit Arizona for their second matchup in the month. Arizona would score once in the first and once in the second without allowing any goals, for a 2-0 lead into the third period. Early in the final frame, Joe Pavelski scored to start the comeback and Tommy Wingels would tie it. The Sharks forced overtime but Martin Hanzal would give the Desert dogs the two points scoring in the extra session. The second half of the road trip was 0-2-1 only one point to show for their three games.

The Sharks came back to San Jose for a five game home-stand and a sixth game in Los Angeles. New Jersey was the first of the opponents they would face in the Shark Tank. Chris Tierney would score an early short-handed goal in the first followed by a Patrick Marleau goal for a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes. Logan Couture would score a power play goal, the only goal in the second period to make the game 3-0. Brent Burns would seal the game in the third with a goal for a 4-0 win. Martin Jones had 26 save shutout his second shutout of the season. The lethal Blackhawks would be next at the Shark Tank. A power play goal for Couture to start the period and a short-handed goal for Joel Ward gave the Sharks a 2-o lead through the first period. In the second period, Chicago’s Artemi Panarin would cut the Sharks’ lead in half scoring the only goal of the period. A scoreless third gave the Sharks a 2-1 win with Jones making a 33 save game.

San Jose would have two back to back games in the 5 game home-stand. The New York Islanders would visit the Bay area for what was a crazy game. The Islanders took the lead in the 1st scoring the period’s only goal on a power play. The Sharks would score two goals consecutively in the second period. Joe Pavelski would tie the game and Brent Burns gave them the lead which carried over into the third period. Nick Leddy would tie it for the Islanders in the final minute of the game with their goalie pulled. It looked like overtime was going to be played. However, Patrick Marleau would tip Brent Burns shot to score the game-winning goal with 22.5 seconds remaining in the game. That was now three wins in a row at home with two games to play still. The divisional and state rivals came to SAP Center, the Anaheim Ducks who were on a three-game losing streak looked to end the Sharks win streak. Logan Couture would score on a power play to open the game’s scoring. The Ducks would tie the game with a strange goal. Ryan Garbutt was skating, with an attempt to get a shot off but Burns elbowed and shoved Garbutt into the crease inadvertently causing the puck to cross the line. After review, the referees agreed it was a good goal which caused Peter DeBoer to initiate a Challenge but the call stood. Rakell would score for Anaheim allowing them to take the lead into the intermission. Dylan Demelo would tie the game for the Sharks but Getzlaf would score on a power-play giving them back the lead. Sadly the Sharks could not score in the third and they lost to the Ducks causing the three-game streak to end.

Sharks would play their next two games in California one at home and one at Staples Center. They would host the Desert dogs for what would be the third game between these divisional rivals in one month. Arizona had one both the previous games in November. The first period would be scoreless between both teams. In the second period, Max Domi would give Arizona the lead but, Chris Tierney would tie the game later in the period. The third would be scoreless however, the Coyotes took a crucial penalty with less than a second on the clock of regulation making overtime a 4-3 power play for the Sharks. Over time was brief as with the man advantage they Sharks were able to set up a point shot for Brent Burns to end the game and beat the Yotes. That very night San Jose took flight for the upcoming game at Los Angeles. Kevin Labanc would score first for the Sharks early into the game. Suddenly the Sharks scored two in the final minute of the first period to lead 3-0 on the road. The first goal was by Logan Couture and the second  goal was by Ryan Carpenter his first ever NHL goal and point. The lead would only be cut by one as Dustin Brown scored the solo goal of the second period. Logan Couture would score in fashion making an empty net goal from the defensive zone for a 4-1 final score in favor of the Sharks. Ending the Kings streak of six games without a loss. Martin Jones had a spectacular performance in net with 26 saves on 27 shots. The Sharks are now at a 2 game winning streak and can use the momentum against Montreal in their next game.

Currently, the Sharks point leaders are Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski the captain with 21 points each. Burns is tied with Couture in goals with 9 each. Pavelski leads the team in assists with 14 while Burns has 12 and Thornton has 11. Martin Jones leads the goal-tending with games played 21 for a record of 12-8-1 while backup Aaron Dell has played four games for a 2-1-0 record, his one loss being the 1-0 at Carolina. Dell replaced Jones in the game against the Penguins that ended 5-0.

San Jose had a rough start dropping three games but they played well in the first half of six-game road trip. The second half of the road trip was tough losses in games they really should have won. The 5 game home-stand was amazing except for losing to the Ducks but managed to bounce back for two wins. The Sharks need to continue their consistency and be able to score and get quality chances while not falling too far behind when they trail. Jones is doing good and make lots of saves as well as Dell being a very good backup when he plays. A little better defending to relieve pressure on Jones can result into more offensive zone time so they can catch up or amount their lead. The Sharks are in a good place in the standings and should be able to make the playoffs with their performance so far.

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December 5th