Joe Pavelski

Video: Sharks must feed off of Pavelski’s leadership


Much has been made about the San Jose Sharks’ captaincy situation, but if you ask Jeremy Roenick and Keith Jones, they have a natural leader in Joe Pavelski.

He’s currently wearing the “A” in San Jose, yet Jones and Roenick believe the Sharks would be better off following the American-born forward. Check out more of that high praise for Pavelski in the video below:

Get your game notes: Penguins at Sharks


Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the San Jose Sharks hosting the Pittsburgh Pengins on at 10 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• On Feb. 1, San Jose was 2nd in the Pacific Division, but a 3-8-2 February put the Sharks on the outside of the playoff picture. SJ appeared to be gaining momentum winning its first two games in March, and taking a 2-0 lead in its last game vs. VAN on Saturday. However, the Sharks gave up 3 unanswered goals to the Canucks and lost 3-2 in regulation. The Sharks are now 5th in the Pacific, 5 points behind 3rd-place CGY w/ 16 gms remaining.

• The Sharks only have won 1 of their last 10 home games (1-7-2 record). Now 15-15-5 at home this season, the Sharks have more home losses (20) than they did in the past 2 seasons combined (19).

• This is PIT and SJ’s 1st of 2 meetings this season; they will meet again on March 29 in Pittsburgh.

• SJ is 13-2-1 in the last 16 head-to-head meetings, including an active 9 game win streak at home.

• The Penguins have not won a game in San Jose since October 22, 1997 (10 losses, 1 tie). This 11-game road winless streak is PIT’s longest active road winless streak vs. any NHL opponent.

• After a 3-game losing streak in mid-February that saw PIT score just 1 goal in each game (0-2-1 record), the Penguins have turned things around, going 6-1-0 in the 7 games since.

• This is PIT’s last game of a 4-game road trip. After losing the opener in COL (3-1 last Wednesday), the Pens won on back-to-back nights against ANA (5-2 on Friday) and LA (1-0 OT on Saturday).

• PIT has not swept ANA, LA, and SJ on the same road trip since December of 1996.

• With an 18-8-6 road record, the Penguins have the best road points % in the Eastern Conference.

• The Penguins boast one of the league’s top scoring duos this season in Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.

• Malkin’s 67 points are 4th in the NHL. He had a 7-game point streak (7G-7A) snapped vs. LA.

• Crosby has 45 assists (t-3rd) and 66 points (t-5th).

• The last time two teammates finished 1-2 in the scoring race in a full season was in 1995-96, when M. Lemieux and J. Jagr, also of PIT, accomplished the feat (S. Stamkos and M. St. Louis were 1-2 in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season for TB).

• Joe Pavelski had an assist vs. VAN to extend his pt streak to 5 gms (1G-5A). He is in position to lead the team in goals (32) and pts (61) for the 2nd consecutive year. He is also on pace for a 2nd consecutive 40-goal season.

• His 32 goals are t-4th in the NHL, and his 17 PP goals are 2nd (A. Ovechkin – 20), already eclipsing his previous career high of 16 PPG set last season.

• Marc-Andre Fleury is on pace to set career-highs in many key statistical categories. He is coming off a 31-save shutout vs. LA (shut out LA both times this season), extending his NHL lead and single-season franchise record to 9 shutouts.

• Fleury also reached the 30-win plateau for the 7th time in his career. Amongst active goalies, only H. Lundqvist (8) has more 30-win seasons (Lundqvist is 5 wins away from getting his 9th this season).

The Sharks are shaking up their lines


With just two wins in their last nine, the San Jose Sharks are shaking up their lines for tonight’s game in Dallas.

From CSN Bay Area:

Against the Stars, indications are Logan Couture will center Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels on the (top?) line, while Joe Thornton skates between Patrick Marleau and Melker Karlsson on another line. Tyler Kennedy will get bumped up to a third line role with center James Sheppard and Matt Nieto, while rookie Chris Tierney will be between Tomas Hertl and Andrew Desjardins on the fourth line.

Couture has spent most of the season skating with Marleau, while Thornton has most often been with Pavelski.

Of the four, it’s Marleau the Sharks could use more from. The 35-year-old has just 11 goals in 59 games. He finished last season with 33 goals.

Five-on-five, Marleau and Thornton haven’t skated regularly together since 2011-12.

Related: Sharks risking ‘national embarrassment’ in outdoor game: columnist

Video: Rinne shines with spectacular series of saves


How, exactly, did the San Jose Sharks not score here on Pekka Rinne?

The Nashville Predators goalie made a spectacular sequence of saves, including one off Joe Pavelski despite the sound of the whistle, early in the second period of Tuesday’s game. At that point, the Predators had a healthy three-goal lead.

The Predators went to defeat the Sharks 5-1. Rinne made 42 saves. That’s now six wins in a row for the Predators, who increased their lead in the Central Division to six points, and in the NHL’s overall standings.

With that kind of goaltending, and that kind of talent on the blue line, they could be a force to be reckoned with once the playoffs come around.

On the other hand, the Sharks, in a fight to even make the playoffs, remain in the final Wild Card spot for right now, but the L.A. Kings are only two points back.

Pavelski doesn’t blame fans for smaller crowds


The San Jose Sharks don’t have the kind of attendance issues that teams like the Florida Panthers face, but at times this season has been a trying one when measured against their past success. San Jose sold out 205 straight games until that streak was broken on Oct. 25. They have gone on to sellout just 14 of their 29 home contests and Wednesday’s game against Washington drew their smallest crowd since Feb. 2, 2006 with a total of 16,956 fans in attendance.

That’s caught Joe Pavelski’s attention, but he doesn’t blame the fans for the diminished showings.

“I think right from the start we were aware of it. The first game,” Pavelski told CSN Bay Area. “Obviously, the crowd has been there, and we love our fans. I’ll be the first to say I love playing in the Shark Tank.

“But, the way things were handled in the summer – I don’t blame some of the fans, either. There was no real buzz created. Not that there has to be, we as players own part of that and we’ve got to play better and harder. We’ve got to put our best product out there. They are bringing it for us and supporting us, and we’ve got to create that atmosphere on the ice for them.”

San Jose had an unusual summer to say the least. There was talk of a rebuild after the team’s first round collapse to the Los Angeles Kings, but that led to little material change to the team’s core.

The Sharks have since had a decent season and are in position to make the playoffs for the 11th straight campaign. Every team that enters the postseason has a chance to win it all, but the Sharks will have a tough time getting far and optimism is difficult to generate given the past playoff showings that statistically better Sharks squads have produced.

Head coach Todd McLellan is of the mindset that the team’s performance is the biggest factor in attendance numbers and that if they “keep doing our job to try and get better and improve” then they can bring people back. Which is fair because certainly there’s no question at this point that there’s a sizable fanbase willing to support this team.

In the meantime, it’s worth repeating that while their sellout streak might be broken, the crowds haven’t been bad.