Bay Area

Playoff berth continues to evade Sharks

After an often-stellar bounce back season from last year’s disappointment, the San Jose Sharks’ home woes are returning at a most inopportune time. Saturday, the Dallas Stars defeated the Sharks 4-2 in San Jose, denying the Sharks yet another opportunity to clinch a spot in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was the Sharks’ third straight loss at home – after a four-game home win streak – and each loss has prevented the club from securing a playoff position.

For the season, the Sharks are just 16-18-3 at home in SAP Center. Their home record contrasts sharply with their league-leading 25-10-3 mark on the road.

Forward Mattias Janmark scored two goals and former long-time Shark Antti Niemi made 34 saves to pace the Stars to victory.

Janmark opened the scoring at the 15:28 mark of the first period with a deflection of a shot from Jordie Benn at the point, slipping it past Sharks’ goaltender Martin Jones. Janmark was back at his tricks at 4:22 of the second when his second goals sported the Stars a 2-0 lead. Patrick Sharp’s 18th goal of the season gave the Stars a 3-0 lead entering the second intermission.

The Sharks finally got on the board with Joel Ward’s 21st goal of the season 3:44 into the final period, a shorthanded goal into an open net after a collision with Niemi. Tomas Hertl got the Sharks with a goal just two minutes later, but the Sharks could never get the equalizer.

Jamie Benn’s empty net goal with 1:08 left finished the scoring.

The Sharks were 0-6 on the power play, and gave up a power play goal to offset Ward’s shorty. The Sharks outshot the Stars 36-17, but just couldn’t recover from the three-goal deficit.

While the Sharks were unable to clinch a playoff spot, they could back in pending the outcome of the Arizona Coyotes’ late Saturday game with the Philadelphia Flyers. If the Coyotes post a regulation loss, the Sharks are in.

That wouldn’t be the way the Sharks would want to qualify for the postseason. The next opportunity they have to punch their ticket for the playoffs is Monday, when intrastate rival Los Angeles pays a visit to San Jose.

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Ray Hartjen

A Public Relations pro by day, by night @RayHartjen follows parallel - yet somehow still often conflicting - paths searching for hair metal guitar legend status, a career as a journeyman 4th line center in the NHL, and the treasured laminates to be a hanger-on in the circus that is Formula 1.


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