Dallas Stars defenseman Jani Hakanpaa (2) and center Joe Pavelski (16) defend against San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture (39) in real close battle at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Sat Apr 16, 2022 (AP News photo)
By Mary Walsh
The Sharks lost their ninth in a row Thursday, 2-1 to the Dallas Stars. Tyler Seguin and Michael Raffl scored for the Stars. Jake Oettinger made 23 saves for the win. Timo Meier scored for the Sharks and Kaapo Kahkonen made 24 saves in the loss.
After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner compared the game to the previous outing:
“I thought tonight we played exactly how we want to play in this building against an urgent team. We know how important this game was for Dallas, we tried to match that urgency early. I thought we did. I just thought our game was better, I thought that we played with good structure.”
The Sharks were eliminated from playoff contention after their loss to the Blackhawks on Tuesday. So it should be no surprise that a number of rookies in need of game time were in the lineup Thursday. Out of the lineup were Alexander Barabanov, Erik Karlsson and Radim Simek with injuries of varying degrees. Forward Jasper Weatherby had 8:01 TOI and won 29% of his face-offs, centering Jeffrey Viel and Scott Reedy. Viel had 7:51 TOI. Reedy had two shots, a hit and a blocked shot in 12:10 TOI. Sasha Chmelevski had three shots, two hits, and won 29% of his face-offs in 16:56 TOI, centering Noah Gregor and Matt Nieto. Defenseman Ryan Merkley had an assist, three shots, a blocked shot and a hit in 16:40 TOI, playing with Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Defenseman Nicolas Meloche had a shot, a hit and a blocked shot in 20:31 TOI, playing with Mario Ferraro.
Boughner was not unhappy with the performance of the younger players, and said:
“I thought the young guys all played well, I thought Weatherby coming in, I thought he played fine in the middle. I thought he had a little trouble in his face-offs. You know, but I thought Reedy, and Sasha, [Merkley], all those guys gave us good minutes.”
Tyler Seguin scored the first goal, at 5:55 of the first period. He redirected a shot from Jamie Benn that came across the ice to Seguin, right in front of the blue paint. Assists went to Benn and Ryan Suter.
Michael Raffl scored the second Dallas goal, short handed at 13:32 of the second period. Luke Glendening carried the puck from one o-zone to the other, two on one with Raffl. Glendening made the pass through a sliding Brent Burns to Raffl, who had a clear shot. Assists went to Glendening and Esa Lindell. It was the eleventh short-handed goal that the Sharks have given up this season.
Timo Meier scored at 19:23 of the second, his 33rd of the season. Ryan Merkley sent the puck to the middle of the slot for Meier, who took the shot through traffic. Assists went to Merkley and Mario Ferraro.
The shots were close throughout the game, with a final count of 26-24 Stars. Each team had three shots on the power play, but the Stars had three short-handed shots as well as the short-handed goal. The Sharks won 41% of their face-offs.
The Sharks next play on Sunday at 2:30 PM PT in Minnesota against the Wild.