Bay Area

Sharks’ sizzling start stalls

The San Jose Sharks lost to the New York Islanders 6-3 on Saturday night, stalling their sizzling start to the new NHL season. With the loss, the Sharks dropped to 4-1 on the season.

The Sharks have one more game on their current east coast swing, Monday night in New York against the Rangers, before they come home to SAP Center to host the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, October 27.

It’s been a big start to the season for the Sharks, including the following:

Jones’ impressive start

Goaltender Martin Jones had a somewhat shaky start to the season. In his first game as a Shark after his mid-summer acquisition, Jones surrendered a goal in the first shot he faced, and against his old team the Los Angeles Kings at that. But, after that goal, Jones locked down the crease in record-setting fashion.

Before giving up a power play goal with 3:38 left in the third period Friday night against the New Jersey Devils, Jones reeled off a club-record shutout streak of 234 minutes and 33 seconds, as well as a club-record streak of 104 consecutive saves.

Goaltending is looking to be a possible strength of the Sharks this season. Before Jones’ shutout streak, the former club record had been held by Jones’ backup, Alex Stalock, who compiled a 178:55 streak as a rookie in 2014.

Penalty kill back on track

Last season, the Sharks struggled not only five-on-five, but their penalty kill was surprisingly ineffective for large stretches of the season. So far, through five games, the Sharks seem to have turned it around.

The Sharks gave up one power play goal in Saturday’s loss, and for the season are now 18 for 20 in killing off penalties. While the team has probably committed more minor penalties than head coach Peter DeBoer would like, they haven’t paid the price for it, and as they work on taking less penalties, it will swing puck possession numbers even further in their favor.

Couture out 4-6 weeks

Overshadowing the Sharks’ fast start this week was news that center Logan Couture will be sidelined 4-6 weeks after fracturing is right leg during a team practice on Thursday. Couture was scheduled to have surgery on Saturday to repair the injury where his fibula meets the ankle.

Couture caught his skate in a rut on the ice just as he was getting leaned on, leading to his injury. During his absence, DeBoer will have to juggle the forward lines, bringing Tomas Hertl off the third line to center Couture’s second line, with wingers Patrick Marleau and Joel Ward. Chris Tierney will likely move up to the third line, and Ben Smith, a healthy scratch through the season’s first three games, will likely center the fourth line.

Goldobin promoted

With Couture’s injury, the Sharks promoted 2014 first-round draft pick Nickolay Goldobin from their AHL-affiliate San Jose Barracuda. Goldobin was one of the last cuts from the NHL team at the end of training camp, and with Melker Karlsson still rehabilitating an undisclosed lower-body injury, he’ll get some spot opportunities to show off his immense offensive talent. He scored his first ever NHL goal early in the second period Saturday night.

The Sharks don’t have a lot of opportunity to make roster moves as forward Raffi Torres counts as a roster position during his 41-game suspension. To avoid a situation where a player would have to clear waivers before being demoted to the Barracuda, the Sharks will have to juggle players with two-way contracts, like Goldobin. Of course, if he lights the goal lamp like he’s capable, there might not be need to move him up and down in the organization.

Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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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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