The San Jose Sharks had a narrow edge with just a third left to play in tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators. Then San Jose fell apart in the final stretch to lose 4-2.
That’s unfortunately become a great metaphor for their season. With roughly 61% of the campaign in the books, the San Jose Sharks had a 27-17-6 record and were on track to narrowly make the playoffs. Similarly, Patrick Marleau gave the Sharks hope of at least squeaking by with a win tonight after his power-play goal in the second period allowed them to enter the intermission with a 2-1 lead.
The Ottawa Senators came charging back in the third though with three unanswered goals. Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman was the hero tonight with two goals and an assist, including the game-winner.
While the 2014-15 campaign hasn’t reached its conclusion, if San Jose continues down this path it will be remembered as a team that squandered its postseason aspirations in the final third of the season. As it is, the Sharks finished February with a 3-8-2 record. Given that the second Wild Card seed Minnesota Wild won tonight, the Sharks are now five points shy in that race. However, they’re still only two points behind the Los Angeles Kings and the third seed in the Pacific Division.
There’s enough time left for San Jose to dig itself out of this hole, but the team is running out of chances.
Steve Mason will make his first start since Feb. 8 tonight when the Flyers play host to the New York Rangers. Mason allowed one goal on nine shots in relief of Rob Zepp on Thursday night. Mason is 0-2-0 with a 2.59 G.A.A. and .914 save percentage in two starts against New York.
Cam Talbot, who has shutout the Flyers twice this season, gets the nod for the Rangers.
Hurricanes at Islanders: Cam Ward vs. Chad Johnson
Devils at Blue Jackets: Cory Schneider vs. Curtis McElhinney
Coyotes at Bruins: Mike Smith vs. Tuukka Rask
Maple Leafs at Canadiens: Jonathan Bernier vs. Carey Price
Wild at Avalanche: Devan Dubnyk vs. Semyon Varlamov (unconfirmed)
Blues at Oilers: Brian Elliott vs. Ben Scrivens (likely)
Senators at Sharks: Andrew Hammond vs. Antti Niemi
San Jose forward Logan Couture has been fined $5,000 — the maximum allowable under the CBA — for slew-footing Detroit’s Brendan Smith on Thursday night, the NHL has announced.
The incident occurred at the 16:03 mark of the third period, as shown here:
Couture was given a tripping minor on the play while Smith was whistled for hooking.
Smith, who appeared to be shaken up after landing on the ice, didn’t play for the remainder of the contest. Wings GM Ken Holland later updated Smith’s status as “fine, day-to-day, nothing serious,” per MLive.
This is the third slew-footing offense the NHL has punished this season. Ryan Garbutt was suspended three games for his on Dustin Byfuglein back in early December, and Brad Marchand was suspended two games for his on Derick Brassard in mid-January.
Torres undergoes another ACL surgery, won’t return until next season
The San Jose Sharks officially put a wrap on Raffi Torres’ 2014-15 campaign Thursday, announcing the veteran forward underwent a second ACL surgery yesterday, one that rules him out for the remainder of this season.
Torres, who had a problematic right ACL removed in the offseason, had the ligament replaced from a cadaver. It’s essentially the same surgery he had on Sep. 26, 2013, after which he suffered numerous infections.
The delay for Torres’ most recent surgery was to ensure that no further infections occur, according to [Sharks GM Doug] Wilson.
Torres, 33, has only appeared in five regular-season and seven playoff games since suffering the initial ACL tear during an exhibition game against Anaheim in 2013, and hasn’t appeared in any contests this year.
Per Wilson, the gritty winger should be ready to return for next season’s training camp, at which time Torres will be in the last of a three-year, $6 million with a $2M average annual cap hit.
Goalie nods: Zepp starts fourth straight as Flyers push for playoffs
Philly will turn to Rob Zepp for the fourth straight game when it takes on the Leafs in Toronto this evening.
Zepp, 33, has fared reasonably well in his first-ever NHL campaign. He’s posted a 5-2-0 record, though his GAA (2.80) and save percentage (.893) leave something to be desired.
At the same time, the Flyers need wins right now — they head into tonight’s action four points back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference — and Zepp has provided those; he’s won two of his last three starts, which included impressive victories against the NHL-leading Predators and Washington, who currently holds the east’s other wild card.
For Toronto, Jonathan Bernier will be in goal.
Canucks at Sabres: Eddie Lack vs. Michal Neuvirth (more here)
Coyotes at Rangers: Mike Smith vs. Cam Talbot
Habs at Jackets: Carey Price vs. Curtis McElhinney
Hawks at Panthers: (No word on a Chicago starter yet) vs. Roberto Luongo
Blues at Jets: Brian Elliott vs. Michael Hutchinson
Wild at Preds: (Devan Dubnyk likely) vs. Pekka Rinne
Sens at Kings: (No word on an Ottawa starter yet) vs. Jonathan Quick
Wings at Sharks: (No word on a Detroit starter yet vs. Antti Niemi