Sat, 15 May 2021

Sharks vie to keep guard up against Ducks

Field Level Media
12 Apr 2021, 22:55 GMT+10

The San Jose Sharks probably won't get caught looking past the visiting Anaheim Ducks when they meet on Monday night.

The Sharks might have been guilty of that last week, when the Ducks came to San Jose for one game and skated away with a 5-1 win.

The loss ended a season-best four-game winningstreak for the Sharks, who had pulled within striking distance of the final playoff spot from the West Division.

San Jose split its next two games at the Los Angeles Kings, leaving the Sharks four points behind the St. Louis Blues for fourth place in the West.

Anaheim is the only team below San Jose in the West Division standings that the Sharks will face over the final 16 games of the regular season.

The Sharks and Ducks also are scheduled to play in San Jose on Wednesday.

"We're running out of time," Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. "We can't keep splitting games here during the week."

The win against San Jose last week is Anaheim's only victory in its past six games (1-4-1).

They struggled to generate offense in back-to-back losses against the visiting Colorado Avalanche this past weekend, combining for one goal on 53 shots against backup goalie Jonas Johansson.

"We might have to take a lesson from (the Avalanche)," Ducks defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "We have to get some pucks to the net and hope for some lucky bounces ourselves."

The Sharks have been leaning heavily on goalie Martin Jones, starting him in the past seven games and 10 of the past 11.

San Jose also traded his backup, veteran Devan Dubnyk, to the Avalanche on Saturday. Rookies Josef Korenar and Alexei Melnichuk will compete for the No. 2 role behind Jones.

Korenar made his NHL debut in the third period on Saturday against Los Angeles after Jones gave up four goals in the first two periods. Korenar stopped all seven shots he faced.

If the Sharks are going to give Jones a game off, it likely will come in the next two against the Ducks.

After all, playing their backup goalie didn't slow down the Avalanche against the Ducks.

"If some other opportunity is going to come, I can't wait for it," Korenar said.

San Jose scored one of its two goals on Saturday on the power play. It was nothing fancy, just a hard-fought battle for a loose puck off a rebound that Timo Meier was able to push it across the goal line.

"That's what we're looking for," Boughner said. "It's a simplified game plan on the power play, and we had two guys in a good scoring position in the blue paint, digging away at pucks."

Boughner pointed to the Carolina Hurricanes and Dallas Stars, two of the top five teams in the NHL in power-play efficiency, and how simple they keep their sets.

"If you watch their goals, what they're doing, there's nothing fancy about it," Boughner said. "They're cracking shots off the flanks, they're cracking shots up top, they're getting tips, they're getting rebounds. It's simple."

--Field Level Media

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