San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (48) scores on Dallas Stars right wing Alexander Radulov (47) and goaltender Braden Holtby (70) at SAP Center in San Jose on Sat Dec 11, 2021 (AP News photo)
By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE– Tomas Hertl and Erik Karlsson scored for San Jose. That goal tied Karlsson for third in the NHL among defensemen. James Reimer made 34 saves for the win. Michael Raffl scored for Dallas and Braden Holtby made 23 saves in the loss.
The Stars’ power play is ranked fourth in the NHL right now, so it was a good sign for the Sharks that their penalty kill was perfect Saturday. After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner said:
“Our penalty kill has been sort of our backbone all year and we take a lot of pride in that. It was nice to respond. This is a good power play here in Dallas. I thought we did a really good job of coming up with sort of a game plan to nullify that shot Klingberg has at the top.”
Tomas Hertl deflected Timo Meier’s shot to start the scoring at 8:30. Meier spun on the face-off dot before taking the shot. The puck ramped off of Hertl’s stick and went off the top bar and in. Assists went to Timo Meier and Alexander Barabanov. That was Hertl’s 14th goal of the season, and he has now scored in four games in a row.
The Sharks took two penalties in the first period, and allowed five shots to the Dallas power play. The Stars out-shot the Sharks 14-6, and beat them in the face-off circle 61% of the time.
Erik Karlsson scored with a hard shot from the blue line at 16:28. The Stars challenged it for goaltender interference as Tomas Hertl was in the blue paint behind Braden Holtby. Dallas defenseman Esa Lindell helped Hertl get into that spot. Assists went to Timo Meier and Alexander Barabanov. That was Karlsson’s eighth of the season.
The goal held up and the Sharks earned a power play from the failed challenge. The Stars killed the penalty, spending much of the penalty time in the Sharks zone.
The Sharks took one penalty in the second period and gave up two shots to the Stars power play. The Stars took two penalties. The Dallas penalty kill gave up one shot to the Sharks power play, and got one short-handed shot on goal. The second period shot count was 11-10 Sharks, and in the face-off circle, 54% to the Stars.
Michael Raffl cut the lead in half by deflecting Radek Faksa’s shot over James Reimer at 8:26 of the third period. Assists went to Faksa and Jani Hakanpaa. It was Raffl’s third goal of the season.
At the time the goal was scored, the shot count was 6-2 Dallas. After the goal, the Sharks reasserted themselves on offense and balanced out the shot disparity. Noah Gregor and Jonathan Dahlen in particular had some good shifts in the o-zone. The final shot count was 35-25 Stars, with the face-off wins also going to Dallas at 53%.
Kevin Labanc was injured on his first shift of the game and did not return. After the game, Boughner had no specific updates on Labanc’s condition but he said it was some type of upper body injury.
Timo Meier had two assists in the game but he is still chasing his 100th NHL goal.
The Sharks next play on Tuesday at 7:30 PM PT. They will host the Seattle Kraken for their first meeting ever.