by Ivan Makarov
SAN JOSE, CA — Resting since Saturday and preparing for a long seven-game road trip ahead, San Jose Sharks missed out on a chance to get any points at in their last home for a while, losing a close 3-2 contest to Vancouver Canucks.
Sharks lead the game twice, but Canucks tied it and when they took the lead, the home team ran out of time on the clock to tie it, literally.
Pulling their goaltender Antti Niemi out of the net for an extra skater, Sharks had an extra man advantage for the last 90 minutes of the game. They kept the puck away from Canucks and their best chances to score came within the last 10 seconds of the game when they put several shots on the net. The very last shot in the game by Joe Thornton appeared to have went into the net right before the buzzard went off signaling the end of the game. But the video replay showed that the time clock ran out right before the puck crossed the net.
“As far as I knew, the puck went in before the horn,” said Sharks assistant captain Joe Pavelski. “But it is whether the clock and the horn are on the same page, and they weren’t tonight.”
But the final score was not indicative of how the game went and both Sharks players and the coaches felt they deserved more.
“We probably feel like this one got away from us,” said Joe Thornton. “We felt we played good for the 60 minutes tonight and we felt like we deserved the two points.”
Sharks got on board first when Tomas Hertl opened on the left wing and got the pass from Tyler Kennedy. Hertl skated forward and sent a great pass from the wing and just below the face-off circle to James Sheppard who was parked in front of the net. Sheppard didn’t have much room to move around, but the pass was so good that it found his stick and an open net.
With less then a minute left in the first period, Vancouver tied the game at 1-1 when Radim Vrbata picked up a bouncing puck that flew past Joe Thornton along the board and took off on 2-on-1 breakaway. He did have an open pass to make, but decided to shoot it himself and the puck flew into the net.
Logan Couture helped the Sharks take 2-1 lead when he scored half way through the game, just 10 seconds into the Sharks power play. Sharks won the face-off, kept the puck inside the zone, and Pavelski found Couture in front of the net with a quick pass. Couture was at an uncomfortable angle, but managed to turn his stick behind him in such a way as to redirect the puck past Ryan Miller.
The Canucks did not take long to equalize, also on the power play when Tyler Kennedy was sent to the box for high sticking. With Sedins cycling the puck inside the zone, it made its way to Alexander Edler who shot the puck from up top. The heavy shot flew past everyone and Niemi did not react in time to stop it.
Former Shark draftee Nick Bonino scored towards the end of the second half as Canucks punished the Sharks for Tomas Hertl broken stick and the subsequent turnover. Sharks did not get enough time to regroup and Bonino scored his seventh goal of the season, giving his team the first lead in the game – and the one Sharks were never able to overcome.
“When you look at analytics, the possession numbers, the shot attempts and all that type of stuff – they were certainly in our favor, but that doesn’t put points in the bank,” said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. “At the end of the night, they got three [goals], we got two. … We got to look at our game. Later on in the game we maybe tried to make some cute plays at the blue line that worked into [the Canucks] favor.”
Sharks now have losing 2-3 record at home, but McLellan did not appear to be too concerned with that, saying it is still a small sample.
“We need to be better at home, we know that. Most of the games have been one-goal games. We’ve led in some of them, which is disappointing. But now we have to focus on the road for the next two week and when we get back, we’ll have to get to work and start putting points in the bank.”
– Sharks made changes to their active roster before the game by sending rookie forward Chris Tierney to Worcester Sharks and recalling Tyler Kennedy from Worcester where he was on a conditioning assignment. Kennedy missed the first part of the regular season with injuries and this was his first game with the San Jose Sharks this season. He looked sharp playing alongside James Sheppard and Tomas Hertl and their line was one of the best ones on the ice.
– Sharks defenseman Brent Burns and forward Tommy Wingels both won the honors of “Sharks Player of the Month,” as selected by the Sharks Foundation for their outstanding play during the first month of the season. Burns shared the lead in the league in points among all defensemen in the month of October at 13 (4 goals and 9 assists), while Wingels was tied for the first place in goals among all Sharks players, scoring 5. This was second such recognition for Burns during his career with the Sharks, and the first for Wingels.