The San Jose Sharks’ Pacific Division lead is in some peril. They’ve now lost four straight games after Saturday’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Flyers in Philly. Is it time to panic?
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer isn’t too flustered by this tough span – something Joe Pavelski deems a “funk” – especially since some of these defeats feel a little random, as he told CSN Bay Area.
“We’ve lost three games in overtime or shootouts. Those are coin flips,” DeBoer said. “I don’t feel we’re in a rut, no. No.”
(Aside: it is a little amusing that this isn’t a rut [according to DeBoer] but it might be a funk [by Pavelski’s estimation]. So a funk is better than a rut? Cool.)
The Sharks get a chance to grab one win on this current four-game road swing if they can beat the Devils in New Jersey on Sunday. There is some logic to finding a silver lining in at least grinding out “charity points” during a stretch of road games, even if some fans will be left grumbling.
The rest of February isn’t too rough on the Sharks, trading off home and road games here and there. March is where the meat of their opportunities and challenges reside.
From March 9-18, the Sharks enjoy a six-game homestand that concludes with a March 18 meeting versus the Anaheim Ducks, their hated rival who’s currently ranked second in the Pacific.
After that, they play four in a row and seven of eight on the road from March 20 – April 2, then their season concludes with three home games.
With those stretches in mind, it’s understandable that DeBoer is trying to keep the highs and lows limited right now. There are bigger obstacles ahead.
OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.
The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.
Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.
The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.
Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.
CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.
The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.
The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.
The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.
The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.
The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.
Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.
The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.
TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.
The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.
“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”
Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.