EDMONTON, Alberta — Darnell Nurse scored at 4:45 of overtime to give the Edmonton Oilers a 5-4 win over the struggling San Jose Sharks on Monday night for their fourth straight win.

Mattias Ekholm had two goals, Kailer Yamamoto had a goal and an assist, and Nick Bjugstad also scored to help the Oilers win for the sixth time in seven games. Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had two assists, and Jack Campbell had 28 saves.

Erik Karlsson scored twice, Alexander Barabanov had a goal and an assist, and Steven Lorentz also scored for the Sharks, who lost their seventh straight (0-4-3) and fell to 2-11-4 in their last 17 games. James Reimer had a season-high 46 saves.

With the clock winding down in the extra period, Nurse got a long pass from Yamamoto along the right side, skated in on Reimer on a breakaway, and beat him through the five-hole for his eighth of the season.

Ekholm tied it 4-4 with 3:47 left in the third with his second of the night and eighth of the season as he got a pass from McDavid, skated into the left circle, and fired a shot past Reimer. It was Ekholm’s first multigoal game since he had two against Columbus on Feb. 27, 2021. McDavid, who has an NHL-best 58 goals, extended his league lead with 78 assists and 136 points.

Karlsson put the Sharks ahead 4-3 with a one-timer from between the circles off a pass from Barabanov for his second of the night and 22nd of the season with 5:37 left in the second.

Barabanov got San Jose on the scoreboard first with a slap shot from the left circle on the rebound of a shot by Tomas Hertl at 5:48 of the first. It was his 15th.

Bjugstad tied it 1:20 later as he scored from the left doorstep off a setup from Warren Foegele before Reimer could get back over. It was his 16th.

Yamamoto put the Oilers ahead 2-1 as knocked in a loose puck from the inside edge of the right circle for his 10th just 30 seconds into the second.

Lorentz tied it eight minutes later on a breakaway as he batted the puck out of the air after Campbell had stopped the initial shot. It was his eighth.

Karlsson gave the Sharks a 3-2 lead less than two minutes later as he got a pass from Fabian Zetterlund, skated in on Campbell, and went backhand-forehand-backhand to get the goalie out of position before putting it in.

Ekholm tied it with 8:12 left in the second as he skated between two defenders in the left circle and put a backhander past Reimer on the glove side.

Lost goals

The game featured four goals that were erased — three for San Jose — after video reviews. Hertl appeared to give San Jose a 1-0 lead 1:14 in but was overturned for offside. Zach Hyman gave the Oilers a 2-1 lead midway through the first, but it was disallowed for goalie interference.

The Sharks looked to have tied it 2-2 six minutes into the second on a goal by Andreas Johnsson, but once again it was called back for goalie interference. Noah Gregor’s goal on an odd-man rush four minutes into the third that would have given San Jose a 5-3 lead was wiped out for offside.

Up Next

Sharks: At Vancouver on Thursday night in the second of a three-game trip.

Oilers: Host Arizona on Wednesday night in the second of a three-game homestand.

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson might not have necessarily agreed with goalie James Reimer’s decision to not wear a Pride-themed warmup jersey before a game in San Jose over the weekend but reiterated that NHL players are free to make their own choices regarding such topics.

Karlsson and all other Sharks players who participated in pregame warmups Saturday on Pride Night at SAP Center donned jerseys that were meant to show support for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Reimer, citing his religious beliefs, did not want to wear the jersey and stayed off the ice for warmups. He backed up Kaapo Kahkonen in the Sharks’ 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders.

Reimer is starting Monday as the Sharks, looking to snap a six-game losing streak, play the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place.

Asked Monday in Edmonton how the Sharks handled the situation in their room, Karlsson said, “We live in a free world, everybody has their own decisions to make. I made mine, I’m happy about that. I think that everybody else did the same, and that’s pretty much all you can say about it. I can’t speak for anyone else. But I think that overall, you do the best in the situation you have, and we all make our own decisions.

“Like I said, I made mine and I’m happy with it.”

Karlsson said having such nights to show acceptance of groups that might feel marginalized in the sports world are important from an organizational standpoint.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Karlsson said. “We are in a position where we have a lot of focus and a lot of people are watching us and to be able to use our platform for certain things is a great opportunity to try and bring in knowledge.”

RUMOR MILL: Karlsson was asked how much he paid attention to reports that said the Oilers were interested in acquiring him prior to the March 3 trade deadline.

Sharks general manager Mike Grier and Oilers GM Ken Holland had talks about the defenseman but It never reached a point where Grier had a proposal to bring to Karlsson, who has a full no-movement clause in his contract.

“I read the same things as everybody else. I didn’t hear much different,” Karlsson said. “I was never approached in any fashion. I just kept to myself and did what I did.”

Karlsson entered Monday as the NHL leader among all defensemen in goals (20), assists (65), and points, and still has a realistic chance to become the first defenseman to collect 100 points in a season since Brian Leetch had 102 In 1991-92.

Karlsson’s eye-popping statistics make him the favorite to win a third Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman. He maintained that he hasn’t thought about that distinction, adding that he’s just trying to help the Sharks finish a dismal season on an upbeat note.

The Sharks are in next-to-last place in the NHL with a 19-37-14 record, as they have gone 1-7-2 since trading Timo Meier to the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 26.

“It’s been a tough year,” Karlsson said. “Obviously I’ve had some individual success, but I’m not going to lie, it’s not been fun for the majority of it, and that’s the way it should feel when you’re not winning games and you are where you are in the standings.”

Karlsson, who will turn 33 in May, was asked what he’s thought about the Sharks’ effort to retool on the fly as an older player.

“I’m in a different situation now than I was four years ago when I signed here,” he said. “It is what it is. I’ve seen other guys go through it before. It’s unfortunate. I want to win hockey games and I want to be able to compete for the ultimate goal, and unfortunately, we haven’t been able to do that here for quite some time now.

“We’ll see what the future brings.”

KARLSSON ON EKLUND: The Sharks on Sunday reassigned William Eklund to the Barracuda and recalled Andrew Agozzino. Eklund had three points in eight games for the Sharks this month but had he played a 10th game this season, the first year of his three-year entry-level contract would have kicked in, and expired after the 2024-25 season. Now Eklund can’t become a restricted free agent until after the 2025-26 season.

“I think he kind of knew the situation he was in, unfortunately, with the contract situation and everything,” Karlsson said. “He was obviously still very disappointed, as he should be. I’m sure this is where he wants to be, in the NHL. This is where he’s going to be for a very long time, so there’s no need to rush into anything. He’s done a good job this year in acclimating to the style of play, it’s only going to benefit him coming into training camp next year.”

Karlsson is excited about Eklund’s future.

“I don’t think this organization is in any rush to try and force him into doing things earlier than he’s supposed to,” Karlsson said. “He’s a big part of the plan here and I think he knows that, so I’m sure he’s going to go down to the Barracuda with a good attitude and hopefully make the playoffs down there and get some more experience, which is just going to benefit himself and this organization, this team coming into next year.”

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer knows his refusal to wear a Pride-themed warmup jersey at a home game over the weekend could have a negative effect on his ability to play in the NHL past this season.

“I mean, I think I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t something that crossed my mind, honestly,” Reimer said Saturday.

Reimer, citing his religious beliefs, didn’t take part in pregame warmups Saturday when the Sharks wore jerseys meant to show support for the LGBTQIA+ community. Reimer didn’t play but backed up Kaapo Kahkonen, who made 29 saves in San Jose’s 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders.

Reimer is believed to be the second NHL player this season to openly refuse to wear a Pride-themed jersey in warmups. Philadelphia defenseman Ivan Provorov, also citing his religion, skipped warmups prior to a Jan. 17 home game against the Anaheim Ducks.

But while Provorov is in the fourth year of a six-year, $40.5 million contract that pays him an average of $6.75 million per season, Reimer’s future in the NHL is uncertain. Now 35, Reimer is a pending UFA, as his two-year, $4.5 million deal he signed with the Sharks as a free agent in 2021 expires after this season.

A return to San Jose might not be in the cards as general manager Mike Grier has said that improving the team’s goaltending will be a priority this offseason. The Sharks entered Sunday with the second-worst team percentage in the NHL at .881.

Reimer said he took his playing future into account before he made public his position regarding the Sharks’ Pride night.

“This is not a stance that I was looking to make,” Reimer said. “I saw this happening and we started conversations almost a year ago with people in high places. Not because I’m ashamed of my faith, but because of certain consequences that could have for me or other people that feel this way. Those conversations happened, and here I am standing up for what I believe in.

“I’m sure there are people in management or ownership that won’t look favorably on this, and I get that, and I understand it and respect everyone’s right to think and believe whatever they want about me. But at the same time, I hope that there’s another handful of people in management and in ownership that respect me for standing up for what I believe in and that’s a big part of who I am.”

At least one former NHL executive said the Sharks goalie’s stance — in and of itself – might not adversely impact his career in the league past this season.

Gord Stellick, former general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, said he didn’t necessarily agree with Reimer’s position, but added that other on-ice factors would likely play a role in whether the 13-year NHL veteran is able to continue his career past this season.

“I would be looking at James Reimer the goaltender,” said Stellick, co-host of NHL Network Radio’s morning show on Sirius XM. “There’s age issues, there’s other issues, whatever it may be. So I’d have to say right now, in my particular case, I wouldn’t see it as being a difference maker. But I can’t speak for the 32 GMs that matter.”

NHL general managers might also take into account the public’s reaction to signing Reimer, who has generally been well-liked and respected throughout his career.

Reimer could get a gauge on the public’s reaction to his decision as soon as tonight when the Sharks play in Edmonton. Reimer could get the start after Kahkonen’s loss Saturday.

Stellick, though, said he wondered whether Provorov was going to get booed extensively everywhere he went, “and it didn’t happen.”

On the ice, Reimer has been inconsistent at best this season as the Sharks, at 19-37-13, have plummeted to last place in the Western Conference.

Reimer enters this week with a 10-17-7 record. In 35 games, Reimer has an. 895 save percentage, marking the first time he’s had a save percentage below .900 in his NHL career.

For his career, Reimer is 202-165-60 with a .912 save percentage and 2.64 goals against average.

“The people that know me well, every team knows that I give my all every day,” Reimer said. “That’s part of my personal convictions, again, from the Bible, is to do everything with all your heart. When I go on the ice, I give it everything. When I go in the gym, I give it everything. When I go home, I give it everything.

“This is something that people might feel negatively about. But my faith in Christ is who I am and that’s what makes me the competitor and the loyal teammate that I am, too.”

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Jesper Bratt scored three goals for his first NHL hat trick as the New Jersey Devils rallied from two goals down and beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2 Sunday night to end a three-game skid.

Nico Hischier and Nolan Foote also scored to help the Devils improve their league-leading road record to 26-5-4. Vitek Vanecek finished with 22 saves to help New Jersey get a win after losing at home to the Lightning on Tuesday and Thursday before blowing a 2-0 lead in a 4-2 loss at Florida on Saturday.

Nikita Kucherov reached the 100-point mark for the third time in his career with a goal in the first period and Alex Killorn also scored for the Lightning, who had won three straight. Andrei Vasilevskiy had 34 saves.

Kucherov put Tampa Bay ahead 1-0 at 3:26 of the first period, one-timing a power-play feed from Steven Stamkos past Vanecek to reach the 100-point mark. Kucherov previously had 100 points in 2017-18 and then led the NHL with 128 in 2018-19.

Killorn made it 2-0 at 6:30 of the second, drifting unchecked into the slot before beating Vanecek.

The Devils responded 9 seconds later when Bratt took a pass from Hischier and beat Vasilevskiy with a wrist shot from the slot. He tied it another 2:43 later when his straightaway shot from just inside the blue line sailed through traffic and past Vasilevskiy.

Hischier, the first played taken in the 2017 NHL Draft, became a 30-goal scorer for the first time and put New Jersey ahead with just under eight minutes left in the middle period by beating Vasilevskiy from the high slot.

Foote made it 4-2 at 9:51 of the third with his first of the season, and Bratt completed his hat trick with an empty-netter with 11.6 seconds remaining for his 30th.

UP NEXT

Devils: Host Minnesota on Tuesday night.

Lightning: At Montreal on Tuesday night.

As Reported by WFLA

SAN JOSE – William Eklund is going to Loveland, Colorado next week, not Edmonton, Alberta.

The San Jose Sharks are reassigning Eklund to the AHL, coach David Quinn said Saturday after his team’s 4-1 loss to New York Islanders at SAP Center.

Just minutes after the game ended, and after player interviews had been completed inside the Sharks’ dressing room, an upset-looking Eklund walked out of Quinn’s office, as he received the disappointing news, at least from his perspective, from Quinn and general manager Mike Grier.

Eklund, considered the Sharks’ top prospect, was recalled from the Barracuda on March 3 and had two goals and an assist in eight games, as he played exclusively inside the Sharks’ top-six forward group.

But the decision to reassign Eklund now prevents him from playing a 10th NHL game this season. Had that happened, the first year of his three-year entry-level contract would have kicked in, and expired after the 2024-25 season.

Per the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and as worded by CapFriendly, a player who is signed to an ELC at 18 or 19 (as of Sept. 15 of the signing year), and does not play in a minimum of 10 NHL games, can have their contracts slide, or extended, into the following year.

Since Eklund signed his entry-level contract when he was 18, and he only played nine NHL games last season as well, his contract can slide for two seasons. Games in the AHL do not count for entry-level contract purposes.

The first year of Eklund’s contract will start next season, and expire after 2025-26.

Sunday, the Sharks are leaving for a three-game road trip that starts Monday in Edmonton against the Oilers. The Barracuda’s next two games are in Colorado against the Eagles.

The Barracuda (26-29-1-4) is fighting to get into an AHL playoff spot, as the team entered Sunday in seventh place in the Pacific Division with 57 points. The top seven teams in the Pacific Division make the postseason, and San Jose is one point ahead of eighth-place Tucson.

The Barracuda play in Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday, then return home to play Bakersfield next Saturday and Sunday.

Quinn stressed that the Sharks feel being in a playoff chase and potentially playing in a postseason series is important to the development of Eklund, who the Sharks drafted seventh overall in 2021.

“It was a tough (decision),” Quinn said. “But the value of making the playoffs and potentially playing in a playoff series is huge for development. He’s 20 years old and we really like what we saw out of him up here and he gets an opportunity to go down there. He’s disappointed. But he’ll get back at it and get that team to the playoffs.”

The Sharks, as of Saturday night, had not announced a corresponding move. Right now, they have just 11 healthy forwards as Evgeny Svechnikov missed Saturday’s game with an injury, and is not expected back soon.

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Brandon Hagel had his second NHL hat trick, Steven Stamkos reached the 30-goal mark for the eighth time and the Tampa Bay Lightning rallied in the third period to beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-3 on Saturday night.

Stamkos tied it at 3 at 3:14 of the third with a power-play one-timer. Hagel put the Lightning ahead to stay at 5:58 with his second of the game when his deflection of Mikhail Sergachev’s shot went past Samuel Montembeault.

Hagel, playing his 200th NHL game, completed his hat trick by hitting the empty net with 43.6 seconds remaining.

Victor Hedman also scored for Tampa Bay, which was coming off back-to-back road wins against the New Jersey Devils. Brian Elliott finished with 18 saves.

Mike Hoffman, Denis Gurianov and Jesse Ylonen scored, Nick Suzuki had two assists, and Montembeault made 36 saves for the Canadiens. They were coming off a 9-5 road loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday night in which they allowed seven goals in the first period.

The Canadiens opened the scoring 5:12 into the game when Hoffman took Suzuki’s pass from the right boards and snapped a shot from the slot past Elliott. The Lightning got even at 11:31 when Hedman’s wrister from between the circles beat Montembeault.

Tampa Bay went ahead 2-1 at 4:50 of the second period when Hagel took the rebound of Nikita Kucherov’s shot off the end boards and beat Montembeault from the right circle. But Montreal got even 1:29 later when Gurianov beat Elliott on a one-timer from the lower right circle, then went ahead 3-2 when Hoffman set up Ylonen’s power-play goal.

Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin dressed for the game but did not see the ice after missing a team meeting Friday.

As Reported by WFLA

SAN JOSE — San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer said today the Pride-themed jerseys team members are planning to wear to show support of the LGBTQIA+ community runs counter to his personal religious convictions.

For that reason, he won’t be participating in the team’s pregame warmup, with the Sharks set to face the New York Islanders at SAP Center

Here are statements from Reimer, the Sharks, and the You Can Play Project.

James Reimer

Under the umbrella of the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone initiative, the San Jose Sharks have chosen to wear jerseys in support of the LGBTQIA+ community tonight.

For all 13 years of my NHL career, I have been a Christian – not just in title, but in how I choose to live my life daily. I have a personal faith in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for my sins and, in response, asks me to love everyone and follow Him.

I have no hate in my heart for anyone, and I have always strived to treat everyone that I encounter with respect and kindness. In this specific instance, I am choosing not to endorse something that is counter to my personal convictions which are based on the Bible, the highest authority in my life.

I strongly believe that every person has value and worth, and the LGBTQIA+ community, like all others, should be welcomed in all aspects of the game of hockey.

San Jose Sharks

Continuing a long-standing commitment of allyship with the LGBTQIA+ community, Sharks Sports & Entertainment is extremely proud to host our 2023 Sharks Pride Night. This week’s events, culminating with tonight’s game against the New York Islanders, reinforce our organization’s values and dedication to an inclusive, welcoming, and safe environment for all guests in each of our venues.

As we promote these standards, we also acknowledge and accept the rights of individuals to express themselves, including how or whether they choose to express their beliefs, regardless of the cause or topic.

As an organization, we will not waver in our support of the LGBTQIA+ community and continue to encourage others to engage in active allyship.

You Can Play Project

Looking back over our 11 years of working with the NHL, we are so appreciative of teams like the Sharks hosting pride nights and all the players, staff, fans, and community that support the visibility and welcoming of the LGBTQ+ community to hockey. We hope the press and story focuses on the progress made and celebration of that effort over anyone trying to take away from the message of the event.

Religion and respect are not in conflict with each other, and we are certainly disappointed when religion is used as a reason to not support our community. Wearing pride jerseys, like any celebration jersey worn, is not about the personal feelings of an athlete; rather the communication from the team that a community is welcome in the arena and the sport. In the well-chosen words of Brian Burke, “In other words: As disappointed as I am, it’s important that people realize these are setbacks of a minor nature, in my view, in terms of where we are versus where we were 12 years ago…And I don’t think anyone should lose sight of that.”

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

SAN JOSE — James Reimer will not participate in the San Jose Sharks’ pregame warmups tonight, saying the Pride-themed jerseys team members are planning to wear to show support of the LGBTQIA+ community run counter to his personal religious convictions.

Reimer, a devout Christian, said he came to the decision earlier this week.

The Sharks organization earlier this week announced a host of activities that revolve around their Pride Night celebration, including wearing warmup jerseys with specific crest and patch artwork designed to show acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community. Reimer, who is not scheduled to play Saturday when the Sharks host the New York Islanders, will not take part in the team’s usual pregame warmups.

“I get what the message is. I think people are trying to show support to the community and I’m sure people in the community feel marginalized,” Reimer said Saturday afternoon. “So it’s people trying to come along (with) them in a public way and support them. For me, to some extent, that’s what you want to do is you want to love them.

“But what I’m saying is where it intersects for a Christian and the way I personally and the people close to me in my life interpret the bible is you love them, but you can’t support the activity or lifestyle.”

Kurt Weaver, chief operations officer for the You Can Play Project, said he was disappointed with Reimer’s decision.

The mission of the You Can Play Project, which has worked with the NHL for 11 years, per its website, is to “ensure the safety and inclusion for all who participate in sports, including LGBTQ+ athletes.”

“Religion and respect are not in conflict with each other, and we are certainly disappointed when religion is used as a reason to not support our community,” Weaver’s statement said. “Wearing pride jerseys, like any celebration jersey worn, is not about the personal feelings of an athlete; rather the communication from the team that a community is welcome in the arena and the sport.

“In the well-chosen words of Brian Burke, “In other words: As disappointed as I am, it’s important that people realize these are setbacks of a minor nature, in my view, in terms of where we are versus where we were 12 years ago. And I don’t think anyone should lose sight of that.”

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

SAN JOSE – It took San Jose Sharks winger William Eklund a little time to get used to the North American professional game after he started the season in the AHL.

Now that he’s with the big club, it looks like he deserves to stay, as he scored his second goal in as many games Thursday in the Sharks’ 2-1 overtime loss to the Seattle Kraken at SAP Center.

Besides his goal, Eklund also had 20:40 of ice time and was credited with three shots on net, three blocked shots, and two hits.

“Honestly, ever since I saw him for the first time, I thought, ‘this kid is special,’” Sharks goalie James Reimer said of Eklund. “Just the way he plays, the way he sees the ice, the way he can move. He’s just a little water bug out there.”

Salary cap management, though, could soon end Eklund’s brief run in the NHL.

Per the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, if Eklund, 20, is returned to the AHL before he plays a 10th NHL game this season, his three-year entry-level contract will not begin until next year.

San Jose Sharks' William Eklund (72) stands on the ice before a face-off against the Seattle Kraken in the third period at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, March 16, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
San Jose Sharks’ William Eklund (72) stands on the ice before a face-off against the Seattle Kraken in the third period at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, March 16, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

The same thing happened at the start of last season, as Eklund was returned to his native Sweden before he played a 10th game with the Sharks. Games overseas or in the AHL do not count for entry-level contract purposes.

Returning Eklund to the Barracuda certainly would make financial sense for the Sharks, as his salary cap hit, per CapFriendly, would remain below $900,000 at least until the 2025-2026 season.

Presuming Eklund remains a top-six forward once he becomes a full-time Sharks player next season, his second NHL contract figures to be much more lucrative than his ELC.

Sharks management also wants to see the Barracuda and its cadre of young players experience playoff hockey at that level, and having Eklund on that team would certainly help in that endeavor.

Going into Friday, the Barracuda was one point out of the seventh and final playoff spot in the AHL’s Pacific Division, and after a slow start, Eklund, in his first full season of North American professional hockey, had 30 points in his final 39 games before his NHL recall on March 3.

No doubt, though, Eklund has hit his stride after a bit of a slow start with the Sharks earlier this month, and is exceeding expectations right now.

“If he keeps playing the way he plays, he deserves to be here right now,” Reimer said of Eklund. “I have no reason to believe that that’s going to change.”

San Jose Sharks' William Eklund (72) can't get the puck past Seattle Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer (31) in the first period at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, March 16, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
San Jose Sharks’ William Eklund (72) can’t get the puck past Seattle Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer (31) in the first period at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, March 16, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Eklund’s goal came on a penalty shot. After he was hooked on a breakaway chance by Ryan Donato, Eklund came in slowly on Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer and beat him five-hole to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead at the 1:18 mark of the third period.

After he scored, Eklund exhorted the crowd.

“I just wanted everybody to celebrate,” Eklund said.

With the goal, Eklund became the second-youngest player in Sharks history to score on a penalty shot, with Jeff Friesen scoring one on Dec. 2, 1995, when he was 19. But Eklund also helped kill penalties, and his line with Logan Couture and Kevin Labanc badly out-chanced the Kraken whenever they were on the ice together during 5-on-5 play.

“You can see his growth not only since he’s been up here, but throughout the season and certainly from last year,” Sharks coach David Quinn said. “So, 20 years old, just really happy and impressed with the way he’s playing.”

“He’s just going to get better as he gains confidence and gains an understanding of the game, how to play the game, when there are opportunities and when there’s not and when, more and more, to trust his instincts,” Reimer said. “He’s got some incredible God-given talent, so, the more experience he gets, the better he’s going to be.

“Really, really happy with his game, and hopefully he keeps growing here until the end of the year.”

The Sharks have 13 games left, starting with Saturday’s date with the New York Islanders that closes out a three-game homestand. That would be Eklund’s eighth game. The Sharks then start a three-game road trip Monday in Edmonton.

The Sharks could bring Eklund on the trip, which also includes stops in Vancouver and Calgary, and just make sure he doesn’t play two games if they didn’t want to burn the first year of his ELC. Or they could simply return him to the Barracuda after the Islanders game.

So what’s going to happen?

“That’s a question for above me,” Quinn said. “He’s certainly making a case (to stay). “Whether it will happen or not, it’s out of my hands.”

San Jose Sharks' William Eklund (72) celebrates his goal, his first NHL goal, against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second period at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
San Jose Sharks’ William Eklund (72) celebrates his goal, his first NHL goal, against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second period at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

SAN JOSE — Vince Dunn scored 1:58 into overtime and the Seattle Kraken beat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on Thursday night.

Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and assist for the Kraken, tying the score with his 15th of the season on a breakaway at 7:03 of the third period.

Philipp Grubauer stopped 31 shots, and Dunn extended his point streak to 11 games — especially impressive for a defenseman.

“There was a will to him tonight,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said about Dunn. “You can see his confidence offensively with the puck. At times he controlled some of the play, and maybe fitting that he was the guy to make the play on the winning goal.”

Sharks forward William Eklund scored on a penalty shot for his second career goal, both in the last two games. James Reimer was terrific in net, finishing with 30 saves.

Seattle Kraken's Vince Dunn (29) celebrates his 2-1 game winning goal against the San Jose Sharks in overtime at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, March 16, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
Seattle Kraken’s Vince Dunn (29) celebrates his 2-1 game-winning goal against the San Jose Sharks in overtime at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, March 16, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

The Sharks are now 1-7-3 at SAP Center since mid-February, as their record at their formerly formidable home is now 6-19-10.

The Sharks are now 5-14 this season in games that have gone past regulation time. Only the Calgary Flames have as many losses.

“It was a good hockey game. A hard game. There wasn’t a lot of room out there. I really liked our effort. I thought we did a lot of good things, just weren’t able to capitalize on some of our chances,” San Jose coach David Quinn said. “I thought we defended a lot better tonight. I liked a lot about our game, and it’s unfortunate.”

Dunn beat Reimer through the legs to win it.

The San Jose Sharks leave the ice following their 2-1 loss to the Seattle Kraken in overtime at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, March 16, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
The San Jose Sharks leave the ice following their 2-1 loss to the Seattle Kraken in overtime at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, March 16, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

“Just fortunate, I think. Just get it on net and try not to turn it over,” Dunn said. “If you miss a shot wide, it can turn the other way, and it’s an odd-man rush the opposite way.

“So for me, just give myself a chance. I think it was a fortunate goal for me. Just kind of caught them on the change a little bit. I think just reading the pre-scout and everything (helped).”

Eklund’s goal early in the third was the first penalty shot a Sharks player had converted since Logan Couture scored against the Minnesota Wild on March 11, 2019.

“It was nice to get a goal,” Eklund said. “I was just trying to find my spot there.”

Less than six minutes later, Yanni Gourde found Bjorkstrand streaking through the middle of the ice and he beat Reimer over his catching glove.

San Jose Sharks' Alexander Barabanov (94) controls the puck against Seattle Kraken's Matty Beniers (10) in the third period at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, March 16, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
San Jose Sharks’ Alexander Barabanov (94) controls the puck against Seattle Kraken’s Matty Beniers (10) in the third period at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, March 16, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

SAN JOSE – Defenseman Shakir Mukhamadullin, one of the key players the Sharks acquired from the New Jersey Devils as part of last month’s Timo Meier trade, was set to arrive in the Bay Area from Russia on Thursday, although it remained unclear when he would play his first game with his new organization.

Mukhamadullin, 21, was one of New Jersey’s three first-round draft choices in 2020 and just completed his season with Salavat Yulayev-Ufa of the KHL. He was eager to come to California and meet people inside his new organization, a team official said.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Mukhamadullin had 25 points in 67 regular season games for Salavat Yulayev, which is coached by former Sharks player Viktor Kozlov. The team lost in the KHL’s conference quarterfinals as Mukhamadullin had a goal and an assist in the six-game playoff series.

Sharks coach David Quinn said earlier this week he’s looking forward to meeting Mukhamadullin, already considered one of the Sharks’ top overall prospects.

“I’ve gotten a lot of good reports on him,” Quinn said. “I’ve never seen him live, obviously, but other people like him, so it’s going to be exciting to have him here.”

Early indications are that if Mukhamadullin does play, he’ll begin his North American professional career with the San Jose Barracuda, the Sharks’ AHL affiliate. The Sharks are on a three-game road trip through Western Canada next week and the Barracuda play games in Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday and host Bakersfield on Saturday and Sunday.

Mukhamadullin is in the first year of his entry-level contract after he was loaned by the Devils to Salavat Yulayev at the start of the season.

The Sharks, already eliminated from playoff contention, have 12 more games after this week, with their last game on April 13. The Barracuda, which is fighting for a playoff spot, also has 12 regular season games left after this week.

“It’s early,” Quinn said. “We’ll see how that plays out.”

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

SAN JOSE – The San Jose Sharks just lost to the NHL’s last-place team in front of their second-smallest announced crowd of the season.

Are we sure Connor Bedard can cure all that ails this organization?

Seems like a tall order for a 17-year-old.

The Sharks are now just two points out of 32nd and last place in the NHL after a wild 6-5 overtime loss to that last-place team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, on Tuesday. The Sharks announced that 10,127 tickets had been distributed for the game, the fourth-smallest total over the last two years.

The team that finishes 32nd and last overall will have a 25.5 percent chance of winning the NHL’s draft lottery and thereby earning the right to select Bedard, the projected superstar-in-waiting, this summer.

Bedard, with 125 points in 51 WHL games this season, is the consensus No. 1 player available in this year’s NHL Draft. He turns 18 in July, and would no doubt give a shot in the arm, on the ice and off, to any team he joins.

But to go from an entertaining team to one that competes for a playoff spot, the Sharks (19-36-13) are going to have to learn how to keep the puck out of their own net.

San Jose Sharks' William Eklund (72) skates off the ice following their 6-5 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
San Jose Sharks’ William Eklund (72) skates off the ice following their 6-5 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

It’s now three of the last four seasons that the Sharks will finish as one of the NHL’s worst teams in preventing goals, and this year is shaping to be the lousiest of the lot.

During 5-on-5 play, the Sharks are allowing 2.73 goals per game, the second-worst average in the league ahead of only Anaheim (2.82). Not coincidentally, the Ducks have the fourth-worst record in the NHL at 22-35-10.

The only teams in a playoff spot right now who have allowed 2.1 goals per game or more during 5-on-5 play are the Edmonton Oilers (2.13) and Pittsburgh Penguins (2.10), who are led by Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby, respectively.

Goalie Kaapo Kahkonen made 42 saves Tuesday but the Sharks allowed four 5-on-5 goals to the Blue Jackets. The fifth even-strength goal came in overtime when Johnny Gaudreau capped a five-point night with his 17th goal of the season.

“You win in this league by defending hard. You create offense by defending hard,” Sharks captain Logan Couture said. “At the end of the year when you’re maybe out of a playoff race, it’s easy to forget about defending. But that creates good habits, is when you play hard, you play above your man, and I think we’ve got to get back to that. I don’t think we defended very well tonight.”

San Jose Sharks' Nico Sturm (7) just misses a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second period at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
San Jose Sharks’ Nico Sturm (7) just misses a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second period at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

“I thought it was very loose,” Sharks coach David Quinn said. “I thought it had a pond hockey feel to it from our end of it. You’re not going to win hockey games when you give up six goals and be that loose and give up the chances we gave up.”

At times Tuesday, it was obvious that these were the 31st and 32nd place teams in the NHL.

Alexander Barabanov scored a power-play goal eight minutes into the first period, then the Sharks went another 22:24 before they recorded their next official shot, as rookie William Eklund scored his first NHL goal at the 10:24 mark of the second.

At one point in the second period, the Sharks had more missed shots than official shots.

And although Columbus goalie Daniil Tarasov had faced just 16 shots in the first 40 minutes, he still allowed three goals, including one on a shot by Couture from close to 50 feet away.

“It’s always surprising when you wrist one in there that’s going about 40 miles per hour and it finds the back of the net,” Couture said.

There were other positives for San Jose. Eklund’s goal, his first in 20 NHL games, was all about effort as he found a loose puck in front of the Columbus net and backhanded it past Tarasov. Defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov also scored his first NHL goal since April 2021 after he spent much of the two seasons recovering from a litany of injuries and ailments. Kevin Labanc also scored and played his best game in weeks.

San Jose Sharks goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (36) makes a save against Columbus Blue Jackets' Liam Foudy (19) in the second period at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
San Jose Sharks goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (36) makes a save against Columbus Blue Jackets’ Liam Foudy (19) in the second period at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

“It’s something all kids dream of, scoring your first goal in the NHL,” Eklund, 20, said. “I’ve been waiting a long (time) for this and had a lot of chances. So it was nice to finally get this one and keep on going from here.”

Still, the Sharks are now 6-20-8 at home this season, and it could get worse. All seven of their remaining games at SAP Center are against teams that are currently in a playoff spot. They also have seven road games left, as finishing in last place in the NHL seems like a real possibility now for the Sharks.

There’s also a long way to go off the ice, as the average announced attendance/tickets distributed for Sharks home games this season is 13,852, down from 16,428 in 2019-2020.

Tuesday, all of those issues were laid bare.

It seems like a lot for one teenager to try and fix.

San Jose Sharks goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (36) makes a save against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second period at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
San Jose Sharks goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (36) makes a save against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second period at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Brandon Hagel had a goal and two assists, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 22 saves and Tampa Bay scored the last four goals in a 4-1 victory over New Jersey on Tuesday night.

Anthony Cirelli, Alex Killorn and Nikita Kucherov also scored for Tampa Bay in the opener of a two-game set. The teams will meet again in New Jersey on Thursday night, and face off Sunday night in Florida.

“They’re one of the top teams in the league,” Hagel said. “They’ve been having an incredible season. They’re a playoff team so it’s a good test for us and for us to be able to do this. Hopefully, we can get some momentum off this.”

Damon Severson opened the scoring for the Devils at 5:55 of the first period. Ryan Graves’ apparent goal midway through the first was wiped out because of goalie interference after a coach’s challenge.

“We didn’t start bad, that’s for sure,” New Jersey defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler said. “We just need to be consistent over 60 minutes.”

Cirelli tied it on a backhander while Tampa Bay was short-handed with 3:43 left in the first.

“It goes from down 2-0 to their head on a power play to now we’re 1-1 and it was a huge spark for us and we were able to get the second one to get the lead and that was big for us,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “But that was a big part of the game, the challenge and the shorty.”

Hagel gave Tampa Bay the lead midway through the second with his 24th goal of the season. Alex Killorn added his 21st goal, and Nikita Kucherov scored his 27th right before the second-period horn sounded.

“There were some big moments of the game and I looked up and I think he had the puck in the blue line with five seconds left but … Kucherov can finish in those areas,” Cooper said. “But probably the one that popped the balloon was definitely that fourth one.”

Tampa Bay scored its three goals in the second on just seven shots.

Vitek Vanecek made 26 saves for New Jersey.

“I look at his last game and I look at how well he played. He wasn’t the guy that was turning pucks over. He wasn’t the guy to give up the short-handed goal,” Ruff said. “You can always go to the goaltender. If he didn’t make some of the saves he made last game, I might be standing, explaining the same thing to you again.”

NOTES: Forward Curtis Lazar made his Devils debut after he was acquired at trade deadline from the Vancouver Canucks. He replaced Nathan Bastion (upper-body injury). … Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos (leg injury) remains day-to-day.

As Reported by WFLA

SAN JOSE — Johnny Gaudreau scored his second goal of the game with 43 seconds left in overtime, giving him five points as the Columbus Blue Jackets topped the San Jose Sharks 6-5 on Tuesday night at SAP Center.

Gaudreau beat Kaapo Kahkonen after the Sharks’ goaltender stopped Patrick Laine on a 2-on-0 break.

Boone Jenner scored twice, and Liam Foudy and Kent Johnson added goals to help Columbus end a four-game losing streak.

Daniil Tarasov made 41 saves and recorded an assist for his first NHL point.

William Eklund scored his first NHL goal for the Sharks. Logan Couture, Nikolai Knyzhov, Kevin Labanc, and Alexander Barabanov also scored for San Jose, which lost its fourth in a row and seventh straight at home.

San Jose Sharks goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (36) makes a save against Columbus Blue Jackets' Patrik Laine (29) in the overtime at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
San Jose Sharks goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (36) makes a save against Columbus Blue Jackets’ Patrik Laine (29) in the overtime at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Kahkonen stopped 41 shots but lost his seventh consecutive start.

Barabanov opened the scoring in the first period with a power-play goal.

Gaudreau tied it later in the first, and Johnson and Jenner scored second-period goals to put Columbus ahead 3-1.

Eklund and Jenner traded second-period goals before Couture scored with 0.7 seconds left in the period.

Foudy scored early in the third to give the Blue Jackets a two-goal lead before Labanc and Knyzhov answered with consecutive goals to tie the game at 5.

Both teams went 1 for 3 on the power play.

NOTES: Laine had two assists to extend his point streak to six games. His four-game goal streak came to an end. … Columbus scored a power-play goal for the sixth straight game, tied for the third-longest streak in franchise history. … The Blue Jackets improved to 18-1-1 when scoring at least four goals. They are 3-37-6 when scoring three or fewer. … San Jose is an NHL-worst 6-19-9 at home.

San Jose Sharks' Nikolai Knyzhov (71) celebrates his goal with San Jose Sharks' Alexander Barabanov (94) against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third period at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
San Jose Sharks’ Nikolai Knyzhov (71) celebrates his goal with San Jose Sharks’ Alexander Barabanov (94) against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third period at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal

SAN JOSE – Although other NHL teams have backed out of such arrangements this season, including one earlier this month, the San Jose Sharks are planning to wear special Pride-themed jerseys in pregame warmups as part of the team’s Pride Night celebration on Saturday at SAP Center.

The Sharks on Monday detailed charitable plans for the event, including the auction of special player nameplates, sticks with Pride Tape, and warmup jerseys that feature crests and patches designed by a local artist. The Sharks host the New York Islanders that night.

Asked Tuesday if the team has had talks about wearing the jerseys during pregame warmups, Sharks coach David Quinn those discussions have not yet taken place.

“Obviously, it’s a topic that people want to talk about, and I understand that,” Quinn said. “So we feel good about supporting the community and obviously people have choices to make, and that’s what makes America special.”

On March 7, despite an announcement by the team that said players will be wearing special Pride-themed jerseys in warmups, members of the Minnesota Wild wore their normal uniforms prior to their game with the Calgary Flames. Sticks with rainbow tape and Pride-themed pucks were still used during warmups.

On Jan. 27, instead of the Pride Night warmup jerseys the New York Rangers organization said would be worn prior to a game against the Vegas Golden Knights, players instead wore the “Liberty Head” reverse retro jerseys in warmups.

Before that, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov, citing his religious beliefs, sat out warmups instead of wearing a Pride-themed jersey before a Jan. 17 game against the Anaheim Ducks.

“I respect everybody’s choices,” Provorov said later. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion. That’s all I’m going to say.”

The next day, the NHL released a statement that in part said “Clubs decide whom to celebrate, when and how — with League counsel and support. Players are free to decide which initiatives to support, and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues.”

On Nov. 30, Russia’s parliament approved a bill that expanded restrictions on activities seen as promoting LGBTQ rights in the country. The law bans the spreading of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.”

In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the legislation, which states that violators can face fines up to over $30,000 (USD), per the Associated Press.

The Sharks have three Russian players on their roster right now. Other Russian-born players have worn Pride Night jerseys since Putin signed the law.

Asked if he anticipates all players wearing the Pride-themed warmup jerseys Saturday, Quinn said that with games against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday and the Seattle Kraken on Thursday, he had not yet thought about it.

Monday, members of the Sharks’ front office scrimmaged against the San Francisco Earthquakes, an LGBTQ+ Adult Hockey Team, at SAP Center. Quinn attended the event and was behind the Earthquakes bench.

“It was an unbelievable time,” he said. “It’s so fun to be around people that love hockey. I sat there for three periods, and I could have coached another three. They were great people to be around. They love hockey, their passion was infectious, and it’s what makes hockey special. It was just a great night.”

The Sharks nameplates and sticks will be auctioned during the Sharks Foundation’s June Pride monthly campaign, with partial net proceeds benefiting a local LGBTQIA+ non-profit.

Per the Sharks, the pregame warmup jerseys feature a Pride crest and a ‘Love Wins’ patch and will be available to bid on via auction, with partial net proceeds benefitting Adolescent Counseling Services. The auction begins Saturday at 5 p.m. and closes Monday at 5 p.m. For more information, text “SHARKS” to 76278 or visit www.Sharks.Givesmart.com.

In previous years, the Sharks’ Pride initiatives have been interwoven with the You Can Play project and the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone initiative.

As Reported by Marin Independent Journal