Sharks beat Kings in OT, take 3-0 stranglehold on series

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A weird goal started it, and a weird goal ended it as well.

The San Jose Sharks stunned the Kings 4-3 in OT on Tuesday night, winning on the strength of a deflected Patrick Marleau backhander. With the victory, San Jose took a commanding 3-0 series lead over L.A.

Getting there wasn’t easy, however.

The Sharks were out-shot 5-1 in the extra frame and barely looked to be holding on before Marleau flipped the puck towards L.A.’s goal; Kings defenseman Slava Voynov proceeded to tip it past a stunned Jonathan Quick, who made a series of huge saves in the third period to get the game to OT and finished with 36 saves on 40 shots.

The finish was a gut-punch for the Kings, who rebounded from two sub-par efforts in San Jose to play their best game of the series at Staples. That’s not to say San Jose was dominated, however — Game 3 was by far the most competitive game of the series and easily the most exciting. Two two teams traded scoring chances, put 71 total shots on goal and continued to pound away at each other, combining for a staggering 98 hits.

As mentioned, the game was bookended by a pair of odd goals. Brent Burns opened the scoring on a weird one, lobbing home a fluttering puck past Quick to give San Jose a 1-0 lead, one the Sharks would hold until 4:48 into the second when Jarret Stoll scored his first of the series on the power play.

Three minutes after Stoll’s tally, Marian Gaborik scored a highlight-reel marker to give the Kings a 2-1 advantage, but the Sharks quickly fought back and tied it up less than three minutes later when rookie Matt Nieto scored his first-ever playoff goal.

The teams then exchanged goals again in the third — Jeff Carter’s opening-minute tally was erased by Tomas Hertl’s goal at the midway point — which sent the game into OT.

With the win, San Jose is now one step closer to exacting a measure of revenge on the Kings, who ousted the Sharks in seven games in last year’s playoffs. It also marked the first time the Sharks won at Staples in over two years.

 

Avalanche reportedly settle with Nieto, avoiding arbitration

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Matt Nieto won’t need his arbitration hearing on Monday.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Nieto has agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

Nieto split last season between San Jose and Colorado, which claimed him off waivers in January.

In 43 games for the Avalanche, the 24-year-old forward scored seven goals with four assists.

Nieto was the only Colorado player on this summer’s arbitration list. However, the Avs still have a restricted free agent in Nikita Zadorov, who could be off to the KHL next season.

3 KHL players suspended after testing positive for banned substances

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The International Ice Hockey Federation has announced that three KHL players have been suspended after testing positive for banned substances.

Here’s an excerpt from the KHL’s website:

The IIHF has informed the KHL that three players – forward Danis Zaripov (then with Metallurg Magnitogorsk), defenseman Andrei Konev (Admiral Vladivostok) and defenseman Derek Smith (Medvescak Zagreb) – have tested positive for banned substances.

Derek Smith tested positive for a category S6.а stimulant.

Andrei Konev tested positive for a category S6.b stimulant.

Danis Zaripov tested positive for a category S6.b stimulant plus category S5 diuretics and masking agents.

Zapirov, who was part of Team Russia at the 2010 Olympic Games, has been banned from suiting up in “competitive hockey” until May 22, 2019. Konev will be unable to play until Nov. 19, 2017, while Smith, who is Canadian, will be suspended until Sep. 2, 2018.

Smith, 32, played in 94 NHL games with the Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames between 2009-10 and 2013-14.

Report: John MacLean could join Tocchet’s coaching staff in Arizona

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The Arizona Coyotes have a new head coach, but Rick Tocchet still has to fill out the rest of his staff.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the ‘Yotes might be looking to add John MacLean to their coaching staff.

MacLean, 52, spent six years as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils (2002-2009) before becoming the head coach of their AHL affiliate. After one year of coaching in the minors, MacLean was promoted to head coach of the Devils. His tenure didn’t last very long, as he was fired after just 33 games (they were 9-22-2 under his watch).

He spent the following three seasons as an assistant in Carolina, but he was let go after the 2014 season.

MacLean hasn’t been back behind an NHL bench since being let go by the ‘Canes. Instead, he’s served as a hockey analyst on various television networks.

Related:

Tocchet wants Coyotes’ young players to be ‘creative’ and ‘calculated’

Tocchet brings lessons from past mistakes (and successes) to Coyotes

Sabres re-sign Robin Lehner to one-year, $4 million deal

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The Buffalo Sabres avoided salary arbitration with goalie Robin Lehner, as they inked him to a one-year, $4 million contract on Tuesday morning.

Lehner and the Sabres were scheduled to have their hearing on July 27, but that obviously won’t be necessary anymore.

The 26-year-old played a career-high 59 games in 2016-17. He finished the year with a 23-26-8 record, a 2.68 goals-against-average and a .920 save percentage.

There’s no doubt that he’s a talented netminder, but he’s had his share of struggles when it comes to staying healthy and being consistent. Of course, the team in front of him hasn’t been very good either.

Both of Buffalo’s goalies (Lehner and Chad Johnson) will have something to prove this season because they’re both on one-year contracts. When their deals expire next summer, Lehner will be a restricted free agent again, while Johnson will be free to test the market on July 1st.

The Sabres now have just over $10.9 million in cap space with RFAs Zemgus Girgensons, Nathan Beaulieu and Evan Rodrigues still needing new contracts.

A huge extension for Jack Eichel is also on the horizon, but his new salary won’t count on the cap until 2018-19.