The NHL’s Department of Player Safety billed Antoine Roussel $5,376.34 for his sucker punch to San Jose Sharks defenseman Justin Braun Saturday night.
“Obviously you don’t want to hurt anybody like that,” Roussel told the Dallas Morning News after he was fined. “I thought it was a fair fight for a second. When I saw he was tied up, I broke off.”
Braun is fortunately okay as he logged 20:55 minutes on Sunday.
Sharks forward Logan Couture remarked in his postgame interview that Roussel’s “kind of known for that,” which led to a reporter asking the Stars forward if he thinks he has that kind of reputation.
“I don’t care,” Roussel said.
He’s accumulated 337 penalty minutes in 134 career games, but this was the first time he received a fine or suspension. He has four goals, eight points, and 43 penalty minutes in 14 contests in 2014-15.
The San Jose Sharks and New York Islanders spent most of Saturday’s contest tied, but the Sharks stepped up in the second half of the third period to earn a 3-1 victory.
After enduring a four-game losing streak, the Sharks have now come away with seven of a possible eight points.
Antti Niemi has played between the pipes for that recent stretch. He started the season in a battle for the starting gig with Alex Stalock and while that contest isn’t over, Niemi has done plenty lately to reassert himself as the Sharks’ top goaltender.
Logan Couture deserves a lot of credit for tonight’s win too as he was the one that finally broke the 1-1 tie at 11:50 of the second period.
James Sheppard chipped in an insurance goal less than four minutes later.
Although this was clearly a great night for San Jose, Jason Demers might find himself in the department of player safety’s sights. He delivered a check to the head of Cory Conacher in the third period and while there is a height difference there, Demers did appear to elevate his elbow:
Conacher temporarily left the game, but returned before its conclusion.
The Islanders have now dropped three straight games and are 6-5-0 this season.
After three straight regulation losses, it seems like the San Jose Sharks might be facing another crisis of confidence (though not quite at the level of this offseason’s borderline meltdown). Perhaps a notable lineup change might help the Sharks find some stability?
CSNBayArea.com reports that the Sharks will bump Joe Pavelski down to the third line against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. Here’s how San Jose’s top nine forwards are expected to look:
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – James Sheppard
Matt Nieto – Joe Thornton – Tomas Hertl
Tommy Wingels – Pavelski – Chris Tierney
If one thing stands out about this alteration, it’s that it gives the Sharks better depth. Wingels has been drawing strong reviews as a depth winger even before his two-goal performance against the Los Angeles Kings in the 2014-15 opener, but skating with a center like Pavelski could make him that much more effective.
Sharks head coach Todd McLellan explained that this move is more about improving defense than creating more scoring chances.
“We’re kind of going in waves where we have a line or two that’s responsible and then one that falls off, and it varies,” McLellan said to CSNBayArea.com. “It’s not just the top lines or the third or fourth lines. It varies. We’re trying to find some balance defensively.
“I think offensively we’ve been fine. I’m not too concerned about creating chances or anything like that. It’s the play in our zone, and it comes from a variety of different areas. It’s not just one thing.”
Of course, the biggest defensive improvements would theoretically come from improving the defense, yet the Sharks don’t enjoy the same array of options among their blueline corps.
If nothing else, Saturday’s game against Buffalo could provide a confidence boost. The first real test for such a tweak – assuming this even sticks – would come against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.
(H/T to Rotoworld.)
The San Jose Sharks looked in good shape, a lead heading into the third period on the road against the Boston Bruins. And then, it all got away from them.
Boston scored three times in the final period and Milan Lucic suddenly went all playmaker on everyone with the hat trick in assists, as the Bruins came back for a 5-3 win. In a back-and-forth contest, the Sharks grabbed the lead on goals from Logan Couture and Joe Thornton just 37 seconds apart late in the second period.
But the Bruins, on only nine third-period shots, took it back. Seth Griffith, a fifth-round pick of Boston’s from 2012, scored his first NHL goal to tie the game early in the final period.
The loss concluded a five-game road trip through the Eastern Conference for the Sharks. It started off just fine, two wins in the first three games. But it ended with back-to-back losses, in which San Jose was outscored a combined 9-3.
“That’s a game we needed to get at least a point,” Couture told the San Jose Mercury News.
“We kind of let that one slip away. Those goals that we gave up, they were very preventable. It’s not like they were making great plays — we were giving them their chances.”
Joe Thornton’s third period, empty net, goal was his 1,200th career NHL point – it was the insurance marker as the San Jose Sharks doubled up the New Jersey Devils 4-2 Saturday night.
Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau had the other Sharks goals while Adam Henrique and Mike Cammalleri scored for New Jersey.
Antti Neimi made 35 saves for his third win in as many starts.
Cory Schneider made 28 saves in the loss.
With his goal, Thornton becomes just the 46th player ever to reach the 1,200 point plateau.