It took a late game scare and then some but the San Jose Sharks have swept out the Vancouver Canucks with a 4-3 victory in OT.
Patrick Marleau scored a power play goal 13:18 into overtime to give the Sharks the victory. The call that led to the man advantage wouldn’t be without controversy as Daniel Sedin was whistled for boarding Tommy Wingels in OT. Joe Pavelski scored two goals to lead the way for San Jose including a power play goal late in the third to tie things up.
Alex Burrows led the way for Vancouver with two goals in a vastly improved effort. After a rough Game 3, Cory Schneider bounced back nicely making 43 saves in the loss.
The win gives the Sharks their first playoff sweep in franchise history and makes them the first team to move on to the second round.
Here are your talking points for this one:
— Penalties are sure to be a point of contention as the Sharks tied the game and won it thanks to two iffy calls. A cross-checking call to Kevin Bieksa late in the third led to Pavelski’s power play tally. Sedin’s penalty in OT is sure to generate a lot of heat.
— For what it’s worth, Daniel Sedin got a misconduct for abusive language after the game. Those are 10 minutes he’s probably OK with taking given the circumstances.
— What’s next for Vancouver? A potentially explosive summer. The future of GM Mike Gillis and head coach Alain Vigneault could both be up in the air. Roberto Luongo may have played his final game as a Canuck and had to take a seat the last two games, much as he did last year against the Kings. Guys like David Booth and Chris Higgins could wind up in new uniforms as well. Vancouver’s season might be over, but the drama is just beginning.
— What does San Jose do now that they’ll get nearly a week of rest before the start of the second round? They’ll root for the other three series to be destructive to everyone involved. These Sharks are going to be tough to deal with.
— Want some crazy numbers? Look at what Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, and Patrick Marleau did. Those three combined for 21 points in the four games against Vancouver. Pavelski finished with five goals and three assists while Couture had three goals and five assists. Marleau had four goals and an assist for himself. He’s so un-clutch.
Matthews to sit out preseason tilt versus Sabres, as Maple Leafs give him ‘a little break’
The Toronto Maple Leafs play the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. But No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews won’t be in the lineup, according to multiple reports.
“Sooner or later, he’s going to get in, but not tonight,” said assistant coach Jim Hiller, as per the Toronto Sun.
“The lineups are day by day. They (World Cup players such as Matthews, Milan Michalek, Leo Komarov and James van Riemsdyk) went through a solid three weeks. It’s a little break, a little down time. There are tons of games coming. They’ll get a lot of ice time. They’ll get in shortly.”
(The report also notes that Matthews is not dealing with a health issue, which is obviously good news for the Leafs.)
Matthews played for Team North America at the World Cup held in Toronto. He had two goals and three points in three round robin games, but the young North American team was unable to advance to the semifinal round.
The Maple Leafs play the Montreal Canadiens at home on Sunday.
McLellan: Maroon’s lower-body injury not considered serious
It appears Patrick Maroon‘s injury from Wednesday’s preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks looked worse than it is.
The Edmonton Oilers forward was in obvious pain immediately after he went hard into the boards from an awkward hit delivered by James Sheppard just past the midway point of the third period. Maroon needed help to the bench and was unable to put much, if any, pressure on his left leg.
Anticipation has been building since the Winnipeg Jets officially took Patrik Laine with the second overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft.
On Friday, Laine, the highly coveted Finnish forward, will make his preseason debut for the Jets when they play the Edmonton Oilers in Winnipeg, as the home fans get the chance to take in the occasion.
The Jets have done a nice job of amassing good young forwards in their organization. Laine, who has the gifts to be a prolific scorer in the NHL, is at the top of that prospect list.
Laine enters this season with high expectations placed on him from fans and media, after coming to the NHL following a standout career in Finland as a teenager. He’s aware of the expectations, but toned down the hype with the usual statements of just playing his game.
“Just be brave on the ice and show everybody I will earn my spot on the team,” he told reporters.
Laine has already seen game action this month. Not with the Jets, but with Finland’s entry at the World Cup of Hockey.
Following offseason knee surgery, Laine wasn’t happy with his performance in Finland’s first pre-tournament game. In three tournament games, Laine failed to register a point, despite a team-best 10 shots on goal, as Finland was quickly eliminated in the round robin.
With a big laugh, Murray on Friday said the only way Ristolainen could speed up contract talks is if “he got all lovey-dovey” and elected to take the Sabres’ latest offer.
Ristolainen is a restricted free agent whose rights were retained by the Sabres in June. After representing Finland in the World Cup of Hockey, Ristolainen reported to the Sabres on Thursday in what was regarded as a sign of good faith.
Though he’s not allowed to play because he’s not under contract, Ristolainen is practicing with the team and also taking part in meetings. Ristolainen is not making himself available to reporters.
Murray says he didn’t see anything wrong with allowing Ristolainen to practice, saying he’d rather the player be in Buffalo than working out elsewhere.
Murray says the two sides are still negotiating.
In three seasons, Buffalo’s 2013 first-round draft pick has established himself as the Sabres’ top defenseman. Last year, Ristolainen led the team in averaging more than 25 minutes of ice time per game, and led Buffalo defensemen with 41 points (nine goals, 32 assists).