Monthly Archives: February 2011

“Worcester Sharks Weekly”…Sharks earn points in three straight games

WORCESTER SHARKS WEEKLY

Worcester Sharks Jamie McGinn scored three goals this weeks, including two against Manchester Sunday afternoon. Photo courtesy of http://www.sharksahl.com

Playing four games in five nights, the Worcester Sharks struggled this week by dropping three of their four games but did earn points in three straight and ended the week on a high note with a win over the division leading Manchester Monarchs Sunday afternoon at the DCU Center.  With the win, the Sharks are now 27-21-3-8 with 65 points, jumped into third place of the Atlantic Division and back into a playoff spot.

The four game week started Wednesday night in Worcester where the host Sharks lost 4-2 to the Springfield Falcons despite jumping out to an early 2-0 lead as Sharks forwards Jonathan Cheechoo and Brandon Mashinter scored their 18th and 11th goals of the season respectively.  However, the Sharks could not hold the lead as the Falcons scored twice within three minutes late in the second period to tie the game at 2-2 with goals by Nikita Filatov and Trevor Smith.  Then, with 2:45 to go in the third period, Falcons Kyle Wilson scored his 11th goal of the season, which would be the game winner. Dane Byers would seal the win for the Falcons with an empty net goal, his 12th goal of the season.  The loss marked the first time in 17 games that the Sharks lost to the Falcons in regulation {13-1-3}.

On Friday night, the Sharks hosted the Portland Pirates and despite Tyson Sexsmith stopping 29 shots in his first game in net for the Sharks this season, the Sharks lost 3-2 in a shootout.  After falling behind 2-0, Sharks forward Mike Swift dropped with gloves with Pirates Paul Byron at 5:57 of the second period and the scrap energized the Sharks as T.J. Trevelyan scored his 13th goal of the season at 13:43 to cut the Pirates lead in half.  Late in the third period and still trailing by a goal, Sharks head coach Roy Sommer pulled Sexsmith for an extra skater, giving the Sharks a 6-on-4 advantage with their Power Play and the Sharks capitalized as Benn Ferriero blasted home his 12th goal of the season to send the game into overtime.  Unfortunately for the Sharks, the Pirates scored on all three of their shootout shots to get the win.

Saturday night, the Sharks traveled to Adirondack to play the Adirondack Phantoms and just like the night before, the Sharks would be defeated in a shootout for a 2-1 loss.  After Greg Moore scored his seventh goal of the season at 1:59 of the second period to give the Phantoms a 1-0 lead, Sharks forward Jamie McGinn scored his fifth goal of the season on the Power Play at 17:38 to tie the game at 1-1.  After a scoreless third period and overtime, Moore would win the game for the Phantoms in round six of the shootout.  Cheechoo was the only Sharks player to score in the shootout and goalie Daren Machesney made 36 saves in net for the Sharks.

On Sunday afternoon, the Sharks were back home, hosting the Monarchs, and sent the 5,052 fans home happy with a 5-2 win.  After as scoreless first period, McGinn scored his sixth goal of the season just 21-seconds into the second period to put the Sharks up 1-0.  Almost three minutes later, Corey Elkins scored his 15th goal of the season for the Monarchs to tie it at 1-1. Trevelyan would give the Sharks the lead back on the Power Play with his 14th goal of the season and defensemen Nick Schaus scored his third goal of the season at 14:20 to send the Sharks into intermission with a 3-1 lead.  In the third period, Elkins scored again for the Monarchs to cut the Sharks lead to 3-2 but McGinn would answer back with his second goal of the game, seventh of the season, at 16:05 and just 1:05 later, forward Tommy Wingels scored his 10th goal of the season to extend the Sharks lead to 5-2.  Sexsmith stopped 25 shots in net for the Sharks to earn his first win of the season.

MOVIE POSTER GIVEAWAY

Photo courtesy of http://www.sharksahl.com

If you are one of the first 2,000 fans to make it to the Sharks game at the DCU Center on March 5 against the Charlotte Checkers, you will receive the “Band of Brothers” movie poster pictured above.  In the poster for the Sharks are James Marcou, captain Mike Moore, Andrew Desjardins, Brandon Mashinter and goalie Alex Stalock.  The tag line reads, “They depend on each other and Worcester depends of them.”  Needless to say, I will be checking eBay often for a chance to own one of these.

*Photos and information were used from www.sharksahl.com for this post entry.*

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“Hits and Misses” for Sharks at Flames 2/25/11

Result:  SHARKS 4, Flames 3  {Shootout}

San Jose Sharks Ryane Clowe celebrates his game-winning shootout goal with teammates. Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports.

HITS

Ryane Clowe – After unfairly being assessed a four-minute double minor penalty towards the end of the second period on a questionable call {which will be commented on in the “miss” section}, Clowe epitomized the term “redemption” tonight as it was his 18th goal of the season at 17:26 of the third period that tied the game at 3-3.  The goal came as the result of the Sharks aggressive forecheck in the Flames zone as Dany Heatley used his body to keep in the puck in the zone, got the puck over to Patrick Marleau, who passed the puck to a cutting Clowe in the slot and Clowe ripped a laser-beam pass Flames goalie Mikka Kiprusoff.  After a scoreless overtime and on the Sharks third attempt in the shootout, Clowe scored the game-winner as he went to his signature move, deked his backhand shot {fooling Kiprusoff and everyone in the arena}, and pulled the puck back to his forehand to put the puck in the net.

Antti Niemi – Niemi was once again solid in net for the Sharks, sans the second goal of the game scored by the Flames, which even Niemi would say was a soft one.  Niemi stopped 21 out of 24 shots in his 18th consecutive start in net for the Sharks, during which, Niemi has compiled  a record of 14-2-1.

Devin Setoguchi – Setoguchi continued his hot scoring streak as he gave the Sharks an early 1-0 lead with his 18th goal of the season at 3:34 of the first period.  The goal came as the result of a turnover in the Flames zone. Both Logan Couture, who assisted on the goal, and Joe Thornton sealed the boards off as Flames defensemen Cory Sarich attempted to pass the puck out from behind his own net.  Couture stole the puck and passed the puck out to Setoguchi, who was crashing the net.  Kiprusoff stopped Setoguchi’s initial shot but Setoguchi followed up his shot, got the rebound and put the puck in the net.  The goal was Setoguchi’s second in 12-career games against the Flames.

Kyle Wellwood – Wellwood would give the Sharks a 2-1 lead at 9:37 of the second period with his third goal of the season.  After a Flames turnover in the neutral zone, Sharks forward Joe Pavelski skated into the Flames zone with the puck and fired a slapshot from the face-off circle, which was turned away by Kiprusoff. Sharks forward Jamal Mayers picked up the rebound and as he was going behind the Flames net, centered the puck out towards Wellwood, who put the puck in the net.

Ben Eager – Eager gets a “hit” for his scrap with Flames forward Tim Jackman at 2:07 of the first period.  Eager could sense the Sharks weren’t skating on all cylinders in the opening minutes and injected some life into the Sharks as 87-seconds later, Setoguchi scored the games first goal and gave the Sharks an early 1-0 lead.

Penalty Killers – The Penalty Killers once again were flawless, going a perfect two-for-two, including killing off the Clowe four-minute double minor that had 3:18 carry over at the start of the third period.

Sharks Team – Simply put, these are not your father’s Sharks.  This team, playing their third road game in four nights and playing without Dan Boyle, somehow, someway, found a way to win once again.  The Sharks remain in first place of the Pacific Division and are now only two points behind the Detroit Red Wings for second place in the Western Conference standings.  Past Sharks teams have had a tendency to not take responsibility for their play on the ice and look towards the coach or the general manager with body language that read “can you help us or get someone to help us?”  Now, not only has the team learned how to win and not rely sole on their offense but the team is also holding each other accountable for their play on the ice. The results have spoken for themselves.

MISSES

Referees – I do my best to not be a “homer” and criticize the officiating but there was no excuse on God’s green earth for several of the calls tonight.  The first one occurred in the final seconds of the first period as Eager put a shot on net that Kiprusoff did not control and was put in the net by Sharks defensemen Niclas Wallin, who was crashing the net on the play.  However, the goal did not count because the referee, who had a bad view of the play to begin with, did not skate anywhere to improve his vision and blew the play dead as soon as the puck touched Kiprusoff.  Had the referee done his job and got into position, that goal would have won the game for the Sharks in regulation.  As for Kevin Pollack, if his kind is the future of officiating in the NHL, then the fans are going to suffer because the game will be controlled by arrogant jerks who overreact.  Pollack made a questionable holding call on Clowe at 19:17 of the second period that both Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda thought was going against the Flames.  Clowe, who was upset with the call, said something to Pollack, arguing his case and Pollack assessed Clowe another two-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Flames Goals – In all honesty, all three Flames goals should not have been scored!  The first Flames goal came 18:05 of the first period and was scored by defensemen Anton Babchuk on a play that should have been stopped at the blue-line. Three Sharks players, including Wellwood and Marc-Edouard Vlasic backed off and allowed Babchuk to enter the zone without any pressure and as a result, Babchuk, who skated to his right and used Vlasic as a screener to hinder Niemi’s view of the puck, fired a wrist-shot going back to his left that beat Niemi.  The second Flames goal was scored by forward David Moss at 15:54 of the second period and was a quick slap-shot that Niemi should have had.  Just 96-seconds later, the Flames got a 3-2 lead as forward Niklas Hagman scored on an awesome individual effort that could have been prevented had Wallin played Hagman instead of looking down at the puck!

Power Play – The Sharks only had two Power Play chances in the game, the first of which came at 4:03 of the third period, and it was clear as crystal to all Sharks fans how vital Boyle is to the Power Play unit as both times with the man advantage, the Sharks were atrocious.

“Hits and Misses” for Sharks at Penguins 2/23/11

Result:  SHARKS 3, Penguins {Overtime}

San Jose Sharks Patrick Marleau celebrates with teammates after scoring the game winning goal. Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports.

HITS

Patrick Marleau – Marleau scored his 23rd and 24th goals of the season, including the game winning goal at 4:56 of overtime.  Marleau’s first goal of the night came at 5:28 of the third period that gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead.  After the Sharks had dumped the puck into the Penguins zone, Marleau was aggressive on the forecheck, forcing Penguins defensemen Kris Letang to turn the puck over behind the Penguins net.  Sharks forward Dany Heatley came in from the weak side and got the puck back over to Marleau, who showed off his quick hands and stuffed the puck through the pads of Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury before anyone on the ice had a chance to react.  Marleau’s game winning goal in overtime, which came moments after being robbed on a breakaway, came off a rebound of a Marc-Edouard Vlasic slapshot.  Marleau, who worked himself back to the front of the net, fired the loose puck passed both a diving Zbynek Michalek and Fleury to win the game for the Sharks.

Logan Couture – “Calder Couture” tied Pat Falloon‘s Sharks rookie goal record by scoring his 25th goal of the season, tying him with New York Islanders rookie Michael Grabner and Couture’s 42 overall points now puts him only four behind Carolina Hurricanes rookie Jeff Skinner.  Couture’s goal came at 3:01 of the second period as the Sharks were on the Power Play.  With the second Power Play unit moving, Sharks defensemen Jason Demers passed the puck over to Devin Setoguchi, who took the puck behind the Penguins net and passed the puck out at an angle to Couture, who fired the puck past Fleury to tie the game at 1-1.

Antti Niemi – Making his 17th consecutive start, of which he has won 14, Niemi was once again outstanding in net, stopping 24-out-of-26 shots and his saves in overtime, especially in the first three minutes, gave the Sharks a chance to win the game in the extra frame.

Penalty Killers – The Penalty Killers were a perfect two-for-two tonight when shorthanded.

Sharks Team – In 48-hours, the Sharks have swept the last two Stanley Cup Champions in back-to-back road games {Detroit and Pittsburgh} and as a result, the Sharks find themselves in third place overall of the Western Conference standings and first place of the Pacific Division.  Instead of relying on the offense to carry the team, the Sharks have learned how to win by doing the little things, such as playing solid defense, battling for loose pucks, staying disciplined, having outstanding goaltending and making smart decesions with the puck.

MISSES

Ian White – This was probably due to having inexperience with his new team as White did a no-look, behind the net pass intended for Niclas Wallin.  However, the puck rimmed all the way around the boards to no one and was picked up just inside the blue-line by Penguins forward Deryk Engelland, who fired the puck at Niemi.  Niemi made the save but left a juicy rebound in the slot that Penguins forward Matt Cooke jumped on.  Cooke’s shot was blocked in front of Niemi but the puck trickled over to Penguins forward Tyler Kennedy, who was standing at the side of the crease and banged in the garbage cleanup goal at 5:48 of the first period to give the Penguins an early 1-0 lead.

Logan Couture – Couture gets a “miss” because in the final minute of the third period, he fired at the open Penguins net from just past center ice and missed!  Old rule of thumb is don’t fire at an open net from a long distance unless your 100-percent sure the puck will go in the net.  Couture could have skated closer towards the net before firing the shot as one of the Penguins players had broken their stick on the ice.

Dan Boyle – Boyle gets a “miss” because in the final minute of the third period, the puck was sitting by Boyle’s skate near the crease, just waiting to be cleared out.  Somehow, Boyle did not see the puck and Kennedy came in and pushed the puck over the goal line at 19:10 for the game tying goal, which was Kennedy’s second goal of the night.

“Hits and Misses” for Sharks at Red Wings 2/22/11

Result:  SHARKS 4, Red Wings 3

San Jose Sharks Joe Thornton scores his 300th career NHL goal late in the first period. Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports.

HITS

Joe Thornton – The Sharks captain broke a scoreless tie with his Power Play goal at 19:52 of the first period that not only gave the Sharks the lead and momentum going into intermission but the goal was also Thornton’s 300th career NHL goal.  Thornton also earned two assists, giving him three points for the game.

Devin Setoguchi – Setoguchi recorded his 15th career multi-goal game with two goals tonight, one of which was the game winner, giving him 17 goals for the season and five goals in the last six periods of hockey.  Setoguchi’s first goal of the game came at 18:43 of the second period that put the Sharks up 3-2 heading into the second intermission.  Logan Couture took a shot from the left side and Thornton grabbed the rebound, went behind the net and centered the puck out to Setoguchi, who was crashing the net.  Somehow, Setoguchi got his stick on the puck while Todd Bertuzzi was cross-checking him {Setoguchi} from behind {No surprise there} and shot the puck over the goal line and into the net before being cross-checked into the net himself.  The game-winning goal from Setoguchi came at 13:12 of the third period, which put the Sharks up 4-2.  Setoguchi was the third man in on the play and saw Thornton had gotten a turnover down low on the boards in the Red Wings zone.  Setoguchi positioned himself in the slot, a little bit away from the blue-line and after taking a Thornton pass, Setoguchi ripped a laser-beam one timer that no one saw until it was in the back of the net.

Antti Niemi – Niemi, who was voted the NHL First Star of the Week, was spectacular in net again, stopping 35-out-of-38 shots, including one in the final 30-seconds that took away the game-tying goal from Johan Franzen, who was dumbfounded on the ice after the Niemi save.  Somehow, someway, Niemi pushed himself across his crease and stuck his right leg pad out as far as he could reach and in doing so, robbed Franzen of a sure goal.  Had Niemi not played on top of his head the first 10-minutes and final 10-minutes of  the game, the Sharks would have been headed to Pittsburgh tonight with an “L” in the loss column.

Ryane Clowe – Clowe’s breakaway goal at 14:08 of the second period was a thing of beauty.  The play started in the Sharks own zone when “The Beast from the East” got himself into the shooting lane of the Red Wings player who took a shot from just inside the blue-line.  In doing so, Clowe blocked the shot and won the race to the puck.  Once Clowe was in all alone with Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, Clowe deked and lifted a backhanded shot up and over a sprawled out Howard to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead.

Logan Couture – Despite not scoring a goal, “Calder Couture” did have two assists, both coming on Setoguchi’s goals and had himself a typical Mike Ricci night.  In the first period, Couture took a puck right off his chin, followed by a stick to the face, giving him a fresh cut and moments later, Couture took another high stick to the face from a Red Wings player, opening another cut near the side of his mouth.

Joe Pavelski – Despite not appearing on the box score, Pavelski had himself a solid game as he was alert of his surroundings every shift, played solid defensive hockey and created several turnovers for the Sharks in the Red Wings zone.

Sharks Team – By winning tonight, the Sharks did something they had never done in team history before and that was sweeping the two-game season set in Detroit.  In addition, this game proved to be a good measuring stick for the Sharks as they faced a red-hot Red Wings team that had won five games in a row and were ahead of the Sharks by eight points {80 to 72} in the Western Conference standings.  With the win, the Sharks now have 74 points, are still in fourth place of the Western Conference but just one point out of first place in the Pacific Division {Phoenix Coyotes lead with 75 points}.  In addition, the Sharks proved their resiliency by not freaking out when blowing their one-goal leads or when the Red Wings scored a late third period goal on the Power Play inside of two minutes to go.  The Sharks buckled down and played solid defensive hockey by sweeping the puck away from danger, blocking shots and forcing turnovers, all of which prevented the Red Wings from tying the game in the final minute

MISSES

Dany Heatley – Heatley gets a “miss” because it was his interference penalty at 17:43 of the third period that allowed the Red Wings to get a Power Play chance, which the Red Wings capitalized on.  Also, had Heatley got himself in the shooting lane on his shift like Clowe would do later on, the Red Wings would have never tied the game at 1-1 because the shot would have been blocked out of  the Sharks zone.  Its the little things that make such a difference and have a huge impact on the outcome of a game.

Referees – I know that a road team is not going to get calls but tonight’s officiating was beyond atrocious. Even Drew Remenda said in the final five minutes of the game that the refs weren’t calling anything.  What truly irked me was when Couture got high-sticked in the face in the first period and was cut, the officials only assessed the Red Wings a two-minute penalty instead of the correct four-minutes because the Red Wings were just assessed a four-minute penalty and the refs said they couldn’t tell the difference between the first cut on Couture’s face and the new one.  Yeah, if one can’t tell the human chin from the mouth one would have  problem differentiating the cuts.  Is it too much to ask for the officials to call the game fairly and assess the correct penalty minutes instead of balancing the penalties out?

Special Teams – Even though the Sharks did score a Power Play goal at the end of the first period, that still doesn’t change the fact that the Sharks failed to capitalize on both a four-minute double minor penalty to the Red Wings and the ensuing five-on-three advantage they had for a full two-minutes.  Also, the Penalty Killers gave up a late Power Play goal to Henrik Zetterberg at 18:09 of the third period that not only cut the Sharks lead to 4-3 but also gave the Red Wings life in the closing moments of the game.

Blowing Leads – While it is a “hit” the Sharks proved their resiliency, it has to be considered a “miss” that the Sharks blew two leads in the game.  One thing the Sharks have to address is seizing the moment when the opportunity presents itself. The Sharks don’t want to give a good team like the Red Wings any sign of life or hope because in the blink of an eye, teams like the Red Wings can tie the game and take the lead.