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Sharks stay above the pack with win over Red Wings

SAN JOSE — On a night where the Sharks desperately needed a win to stay above the pack in the Pacific Division, the team managed to fend off the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings by completing their six game homestand with a 4-2 record.
Clinging to a one-point lead over the Ducks and a two-point edge over the Kings, the Sharks handed the Detroit Red Wings their seventh consecutive loss Monday by picking up a 5-3 win at SAP Center. The Ducks, who entered the night in third place, dropped into a wild card spot by losing to the St. Louis Blues. The Kings moved into third place by beating the Vancouver Canucks.
Timo Meier picked up his second point of the game by scoring the game-winning goal on the power play at 5:12 of the third. Meier recorded his 18th goal by redirecting a Mikkel Boedker shot in the slot. Dylan DeMelo earned the secondary assist, his second of the game, giving him seven points on the homestand.
The goal was the Sharks second with the man advantage in their last 35 tries over a 15-game span.
Before Meier’s heroics, Eric Fehr gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead at 12:39 of the first, scoring his first goal with the Sharks. Fehr, who joined the Sharks in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 20, recorded his first tally in 12 NHL games this season by redirecting a point shot from Brenden Dillon on a delayed Red Wings penalty.
Joonas Donskoi got the Sharks on the scoreboard just 1:44 before Fehr’s goal, recording just his third goal in 26 games on a Sharks rush play. Evander Kane set Donskoi up with a shot into a wide-open net after he received a cross-ice pass from Joe Pavelski, forcing an overcommitment from goalie Jimmy Howard.
Kevin Labanc scored the Sharks third goal at 1:39 of the second, poking the puck between Howard’s pads in a scrum after Chris Tierney put a backhanded shot into the crease on a half-breakaway. The goal was Labanc’s second in 18 games.  Tierney iced the game with an empty-net goal at 18:26 of the third.
The Red Wings opened the scoring at 5:01 when Henrik Zetterberg fed the puck to Trevor Daley in the slot and he beat goalie Martin Jones with a shot to his glove side. Gustav Nyquist scored the Red Wings second goal amidst some controversy. Nyquist tapped the puck over the goal line after Tyler Bertuzzi redirected a point shot from Daley off the left post with what appeared to be a high stick.
If Bertuzzi had scored on his redirection, the goal would have certainly been reviewed. The play, however, was not reviewable because the deflection, high stick or not, didn’t produce the goal itself. Zetterberg cut the Sharks lead to 4-3 just 41 seconds after Meier’s game-winning goal, punching in a pass from Nyquist.
Jones, who started all six games of the homestand, continued his stellar second half play, making 23 saves on 26 shots. The Sharks goalie’s best save came in the final minutes of the second when he stopped a Luke Glendening breakaway attempt with his right pad.
The Sharks penalty kill went 2 for 2 on the night, completing the homestand with perfect grades by going 8 for 8.
— Jannik Hansen followed every cliché in the book. He worked hard in practice, he waited for an opportunity, and when it came, he played his best hockey as a member of the Sharks.
Still, after the Sharks swung a deal to acquire Evander Kane from the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline last month, Hansen got bumped out of the lineup again, erasing any delusion about where he stands with head coach Pete DeBoer.
Hansen served as a healthy scratch for a sixth-consecutive game and the 32nd time this season Monday.
Prior to the trade deadline, Hansen, a pending-unrestricted free agent, told the Mercury News that he wanted to finish the season with the Sharks even though he’s struggled to earn playing time under DeBoer. Now, he appears to be stuck in purgatory for the remainder of the season.
“That was obviously for family reasons,” Hansen said. “For hockey reasons, this obviously isn’t a very good fit for me. It’s been proven now. It is what it is. Show up at work every day, good attitude. That’s about all I can control.”
The numbers paint a fairly accurate picture of why Hansen has spent nearly half of the season in the press box. In 52 games since the Sharks acquired him at the trade deadline last season to skate on Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski’s left wing, Hansen has scored two goals and produced just 15 points.
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Hansen is also one of six Sharks forwards, along Chris Tierney, Joel Ward, Mikkel Boedker, Marcus Sorensen and Melker Karlsson, who’s produced a possession rating (49.94 percent) below 50 percent this season.
Regardless, the 31-year-old Dane put together a string of quality performances after injuries to Ward, Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl created an opportunity for him to join the lineup in mid-February. Hansen produced four assists in nine games, but still wound up in the red, possession wise, five times, which clearly wasn’t enough to earn favor with DeBoer.
“The one thing we’ve done is we’ve made decisions fairly around here,” the Sharks coach said. “Everyone that has played has gotten the opportunity to show their stuff. We’re going with the guys that we think can help us win tonight. That’s the only agenda.”

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