Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks
By Matthew Harrington
SAN JOSE–After a torrid stretch of November, the San Jose Sharks December has been a good reminder of how difficult it is to win in the NHL. Tuesday night, the Sharks were visited by the NHL leaders the Washington Capitals (20-4-5) and despite Alexander Ovechkin being held pointless, the Caps still crushed the Sharks 5-2.
San Jose (15-13-1) opened the scoring, but three Washington goals in three minutes swung momentum in a hurry. The Caps added two more goals before the Sharks could add another for a decisive victory for the 2018 Stanley Cup champs. Norris Trophy frontrunner John Carlson had three points (1g, 2a) and Garnet Hathaway and Jakub Vrana each scored a pair of goals. Martin Jones made 18 saves on 23 shots before being pulled in favor of Aaron Dell. Melker Karlsson had a two point night, scoring and assisting on Evander Kane’s third period goal.
Karlsson beat Braden Holtby for his third goal of the season just 2:33 into play, but Garnet Hathaway scored with 6:29 left in the first to tie the game. No more than 55 seconds later, Vrana found the back of the net for his 13th of the year. Just about two minutes later, Carlson scored his ninth of the year to have the Sharks reeling. Carlson now has 37 points on the season, leading all defensemen and putting him 14 points behind Connor McDavid, the scoring race leader.
Hathaway and Vrana scored again in the second, and Evander Kane scored his team-leading 13th goal in the 13th minute of the third period, but any hopes at a comeback stopped there. In total, Braden Holtby made 23 saves on 25 shots.
The Sharks head to Raleigh Thursday night looking to bounce back against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes will also be trying to rebound after getting shut out by the Boston Bruins in Beantown Tuesday night.