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Donskoi ties it with 15.4 seconds left, Sharks win in OT

Donskoi ties it with 15.4 seconds left, Sharks win in OT

It all happened in a flash amid a scramble in front of the goal, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic didn't want to dwell on the details — like whether he actually touched the puck on the winning goal.

Joonas Donskoi tied it with 15.4 seconds left for the Sharks with his second goal of the game, and Vlasic followed with his fifth of the season amid a scramble in front.

"Why would you ask that?" Vlasic said when asked if he touched the puck.

"Lucky bounce," Vlasic said. "It popped up, I crashed the net and I was lucky enough to poke it in."

Donskoi scored with San Jose goalie Aaron Dell pulled for an extra skater after Arizona scored twice earlier in the period. Vlasic scored with an assist from Joe Thornton, who had a goal and two helpers to move ahead of Hall of Famer Adam Oates for 17th on the career scoring list (1,420 points).

Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture also scored for San Jose, and Dell stopped 13 of 15 shots after replacing Martin Jones in net.

"I hadn't scored in a while, so it was nice to get a couple tonight and I hope I can score more goals in the future," Donskoi said.

The Sharks were coming off a bye week and hadn't played since Jan. 7. They'd lost three straight and four of their last five going into Saturday.

"First game back, it took a while to find our legs but we found a way to win," Vlasic said. "It's all about getting points."

Arizona got goals from Stepan, Alex Goligoski, Christian Fischer, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Josh Archibald. Wedgewood made 38 saves.

Thornton opened the scoring at 5:53 of a frantic first period in which the teams combined for six goals. Pavelski and Couture also scored then for San Jose, while Stepan, Goligoski and Fischer combined to make it 3-3 at the first intermission.

Donskoi scored his ninth of the season late in the second period, but then Ekman-Larsson and Archibald scored early in the third to make it 5-4 Coyotes.

NOTES: Arizona has lost five of six. ... Thornton has 85 points against the Coyotes in 22 games, is expected to come off injured reserve for Monday's game against the Los Angeles Kings., more than he has against any other team. ... Arizona F Zac Rinaldo was back in the lineup for the first time after a six-game suspension for a blindside punch to Colorado's Samuel Girard. Coach Rick Tocchet scratched C Nick Cousins to make room for Rinaldo. ... San Jose F Mikkel Boedker,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-jakub-voracek-jersey]adidas Jakub Voracek jersey[/url], was back in the lineup. ... D Dylan DeMelo, a healthy scratch in the team's last game before its break on Jan. 7, out with flu symptoms

The latest NHL power rankings of 2018 come just ahead of the league’s annual All-Star Game,[url=http://www.penguinsofficialhockey.com/adidas-mario-lemieux-jersey]adidas Mario Lemieux jersey[/url], rising up six spots to get there., and fittingly, the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins are among the teams on the rise. In particular, All-Star Sidney Crosby has been leading the way like fans know he’s capable of,[url=http://www.penguinsofficialhockey.com/adidas-phil-kessel-jersey]Authentic Phil Kessel jersey[/url], and the team has now vaulted into the top 10 list. That has Pittsburgh looking like a contender once again, or at least like they’re working towards defending that Stanley Cup Championship. The Penguins have now joined the NHL top teams in the top 10

In addition to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Sporting News reports that the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators have also jumped up a bit among the top 10 teams. San Jose has won three games in a row and is sitting in second place for the Pacific Division behind the Vegas Golden Knights. The Predators have also won three straight and are in second place for the Central Division. Due to their positions in the standings and their recent winning streaks, San Jose has moved from No. 13 up to No. 8,[url=http://www.penguinsofficialhockey.com/adidas-sidney-crosby-jersey]adidas Sidney Crosby jersey[/url], while Nashville has moved from No. 6 to No. 4.

There are a few teams not listed in the top 10 worth mentioning due to their own surges or collapses lately. The Calgary Flames had been ranked at No. 22 a week ago, but since then, they have put together a seven-game winning streak to move to 19-16-4 for their record. That has them up to No. 13 in the rankings and trying to get to the top 10 with more wins.

The L.A. Kings are a team that looks to be plummeting in the NHL standings and power rankings, though. Los Angeles was at No. 4 in the rankings last week but has now lost four straight games, dropping them to No. 16 in the listing. Los Angeles will need to find their winning ways for the second half of the season or risk missing out on an NHL postseason trip.

The NHL is heading toward the 2018 All-Star Game, giving players a chance to get ready for the next half of the regular season. With Tampa Bay, Vegas, and Washington holding their spots at the top, teams will need to up their level of play to try to knock them off those perches.

The best news is probably just that his contract expires after 2018-19, so even if this remains a headache they can’t cure with a trade-based painkiller, the discomfort should lift soon enough.

The more worrisome thought is this: it’s easy to picture more headlines about the Sharks wanting to trade bad contracts, particularly for aging defensemen who were once very good, in the not-too-far-flung future.

Brent Burns is already 32, and his eight-year, $64M contract just kicked in this season, so that $8M cap hit runs through 2024-25. Burns turns 33 in March.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic is about to see his ridiculous bargain $4.25M cap hit expire after this season. The Sharks already made a-near-Burns-sized commitment to “Pickles,” handing him an eight-year, $56M extension ($7M cap hit) that expires in 2025-26. Vlasic will turn 31 in, you guessed it, March.

Burns’ yearly salary works out to make him a little bit easier to trade as his deal goes along, but the bottom line is that those contracts are still pretty scary.

The Sharks are making big bets on some aging core pieces remaining difference-makers for the long-term. Martin Jones turned 28 on Jan. 10 and will see his contract extension ($5.75M cap hit through 2023-24) kick in next season.

When you consider how sneaky-old Joe Pavelski is (33 already,[url=http://www.penguinsofficialhockey.com/adidas-sidney-crosby-jersey]Authentic Sidney Crosby jersey[/url], only two years remaining on his deal) and Joe Thornton‘s shrinking window either as a difference-maker or as a difference-maker with the Sharks, you could practically hear the ominous music kick in.

Now, sure, some of this comes down to “the cost of doing business.”

That said, the Sharks likely weighed concerns about Martin’s age and dug themselves a hole with his contract, anyway. Such concerns may only become more abundant over the next few years.

They have a promising young core of talent centered around Johnny Gaudreau, Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie seemed to give them one of the better defensive units in the NHL (at least as far as the top-four is concerned) and Smith was expected to solidify a goaltending position that had been a pretty big sore spot the past couple of years., Sean Monahan, then spent a bunch of money to bring in Travis Hamonic and Mike Smith over the summer. Hamonic,[url=http://www.flyershockeyshop.com/adidas-jakub-voracek-jersey]Authentic Jakub Voracek jersey[/url], and Dougie Hamilton, along with Hamilton

When we last checked in with our power rankings two weeks ago the Flames were looking like one of the bigger disappointments in the league. They were on the outside of the playoff picture and looking like they were running out of time to make a big move in the standings.

Entering the week the Flames find themselves in the No. 2 spot in the Pacific Division and have built a four-point cushion over the first non-playoff teams in the West. One of those teams (San Jose) still has four games in hand on them, but the Flames are finally starting to resemble the team they were expected to be over the summer. They are 9-2-1 in their past 11 games.

Gaudreau is blossoming into a superstar while Smith has been on a roll in net over the past few weeks.

He left the second game of the season with an ankle injury,[url=http://www.penguinsofficialhockey.com/adidas-mario-lemieux-jersey]Authentic Mario Lemieux jersey[/url], and spent much of the year on injured reserve. In his absence,[url=http://www.penguinsofficialhockey.com/adidas-evgeni-malkin-jersey]adidas Evgeni Malkin jersey[/url], Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan established themselves as regulars along the San Jose blueline, and have seemingly forced Martin out of the lineup.

The 36-year-old has not played in an NHL game since Dec. 7, and is now reportedly on the verge of being traded. The Sharks are now "trying to find him another spot in the NHL,[url=http://www.penguinsofficialhockey.com/adidas-evgeni-malkin-jersey]Authentic Evgeni Malkin jersey[/url]," Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported.

A trade could come quickly. Defenseman Dylan DeMelo is ready to be activated from injured reserve,[url=http://www.penguinsofficialhockey.com/adidas-matt-murray-jersey]adidas Sidney Crosby jersey[/url],  and San Jose will need to make a corresponding roster move.

Timo Meier, according to the Mercury News., Joakim Ryan,[url=http://www.penguinsofficialhockey.com/adidas-phil-kessel-jersey]adidas Joe Pavelski jersey[/url],and Marcus Sorensen can be sent down to the minor leagues without being exposed to waivers, but the Sharks would risk losing any other player to a waiver claim. Otherwise, the Sharks will have to make some "tough decisions,[url=http://www.penguinsofficialhockey.com/adidas-matt-murray-jersey]Authentic Sidney Crosby jersey[/url]," head coach Peter DeBoer told reporters Saturday morning

"We've got NHL players," DeBoer said., in my mind, so that puts everybody on notice when they're in there to make the most of the fact that they're in there, sitting out every night, and take themselves out of that conversation for the next game

Martin played in at least 78 games over each of his first two seasons in San Jose. He averaged over 19 minutes per night in ice time, and played alongside Brent Burns for the bulk of the last two years. Burns was a Norris Trophy finalist both years, and won the award last season.

Martin is under contract through the end of next season, and carries a $4.85 million salary cap hit. He can submit a list of six teams he will not accept a trade to, according to Cap Friendly.