Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks
By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks lost their first game back in San Jose, a 3-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. Power play goals were scored by Jonathan Marchessault, Mark Stone and Chandler Stephenson. Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves for the win. Tomas Hertl scored the Sharks goal, and Martin Jones made 23 saves in the loss.
Despite some lackluster seasons, the Sharks have maintained a respectable penalty kill. Not since 2009 have the Sharks allowed three or more power play goals in consecutive games, as they did in their last two games. On the season so far, the Sharks are 21st in the league with a 76.9 penalty kill percentage.
After the game, Sharks defenseman Brent Burns talked about what the Sharks need for a better penalty kill:
“In a pk, when it’s successful, you’re just pressuring hard, working, things are hitting you, blocking, you’re just disrupting things and, you know, I think we gotta get a little bit of that back. Taking time and space away, within our system, and making it difficult for them to create stuff. I think it looked a little too easy for them in the last couple games.”
Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner talked about the Sharks’ game even-strength: “We won the five-on-five game. I liked our five-on-five game. I think, you know, obviously I’d like to score more than one but you know, on the other hand we didn’t give them anything five-on-five.”
At 13:13 of the first period, Jonathan Marchessault scored his team’s first power play goal of the afternoon. The puck was bouncing in front of Martin Jones, and went over his head. Marchessault managed to get a stick on it in the air and tap it in. Assists went to Chandler Stephenson and Alec Martinez.
The Sharks had two power plays in the first period, and had two shots in those power plays. In total, the Sharks outshot Vegas 11-7 and came out even in the face-off circle. Vegas had just the one power play and got three shots before scoring.
Mark Stone scored the second Vegas power play goal at 9:56 of the second. Stone was next to the net when Jones moved forward to try to cover a rebound. When it got away from him, Jones was too far out to get back and prevent the goal. Assists went to William Karlsson and Cody Glass.
Tomas Hertl scored his goal at 18:39 of the second. Rudolfs Balcers took a pass from Marc-Edouard Vlasic and carried the puck down the ice two-on-one with Hertl. Balcers made a tidy pass from one face-off dot to the other so Hertl could score with a one-timer. Assists went to Balcers and Vlasic.
The only penalty in the second was the one that led to the Vegas goal, a delay of game penalty for sending the puck over the glass. The Golden Knights again had three shots on the power play before scoring. Vegas edged the Sharks in the face-off circle 55%-45%, and on the shot clock 10-7.
Chandler Stephenson finished the scoring off of his skate at 6:45 of the third, again on a power play. The Golden Knights had just enered the zone and didn’t need to get set up when Alex Tuch’s pass across the slot hit Stephenson’s well-angled skate, sending the puck behind Jones and in. Assists went to Tuch and Martinez.
Each team had two power plays in the third period, with the Sharks giving up three shots and a goal, and Vegas giving up just two shots. The Golden Knights took over the face-off circle, winning 76% of the thirs period draws. Much of that success can be attributed to Chandler Stephenson and William Karlsson, who took the lion’s share of the draws for Vegas. Both of those players won more than 60% of the time. In the end, the Golden Knights won 59% of the draws on Saturday.
Sharks defenseman Radim Simek left the game early in the second period after being cross checked in the mid-section by Jonathan Marchessault. The Sharks shared no further information on his status after the game.
Erik Karlsson’s game also ended early, not playing in the final 11 minutes. After the game, Bob Boughner said “lower body. He’s on the trainer’s table now just getting working on. So I don’t think it’s anything crazy serious. I think he just tweaked something.”
The Sharks next play on Monday at 7:30 PM PT, in San Jose, against the Anaheim Ducks.