Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks
By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks ended a three-game losing streak with a 7-6 overtime win against the Washington Capitals Tuesday night at the Capital One Arena. Sharks goals came from Tomas Hertl (3), Evander Kane (2), Joe Pavelski, and Logan Couture. It was Hertl’s third career hat trick, and the first in Sharks history to include an overtime goal. Capitals goals came from Alex Ovechkin (3), Andre Burakovsky, T. J. Oshie, and Evgeny Kuznetsov. The Sharks’ power play went 2-6 while the Capitals scored one power play goal in three tries. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 33 saves on 39 shots, while the Capitals’ Braden Holtby made 36 saves on 43 shots.
After the game, Sharks forward Logan Couture talked about their defensive lapses: “We shouldn’t have checked out defensively like we did tonight. We weren’t there in our own end, leaving our goaltender out to dry on many occasions and in overtime there he made some big time saves for us to win that game.”
Asked about the team’s ability to bounce back despite all that, he said: “We’re in a difficult spot here. You’re in the third period, you’re down a few goals on the back to back on a long travel day. All the guys in here could have easily looked forward to tomorrow and our break, but we decided to play hard for the third and found a way to tie it up and win it.”
Joe Pavelski started the scoring just 12 seconds into the game Tuesday. An early icing call gave the Sharks an offensive zone draw, which Pavelski won, getting the puck up to Burns at the point. Burns shot the puck, it bounced off of Timo Meier in front of the net, and landed in front of an open net for Pavelski to knock it in. Meier and Burns got the assists.
The Capitals tied it up at 10:41 of the period with a power play goal. Tim Heed was in the box for hooking. Martin Jones made two stops before the puck trickled out to the side of the net, where Alex Ovechkin was tracking it down. He popped the puck in before Jones could get back for the stop. Assists went to Nicklas Backstrom and TJ Oshie.
Andre Burakovzky gave the Capitals the lead less than two minutes later, at 12:11. Burakovsky took a shot off the rush, beating Jones on the glove side through some traffic. Assists went to Chandler Stephenson and Travis Boyd.
Tomas Hertl tied the game back up with a power play goal at 14:27, while T.J. Oshie was in the box for tripping Timo Meier. The Sharks gave up a short-handed chance early in the power play but, once back in the Capitals’ zone, executed a nice tic-tac-toe play. Hertl found Thornton at the mid boards, Thornton passed to Pavelski below the goal line, and Pavelski sent it back to Hertl, who was low in the slot. Hertl’s one-timer went right over Braden Holtby’s shoulder. It was Hertl’s 20th goal of the season, with the assists going to Pavelski and Thornton.
T.J. Oshie exited the box and in less than a minute got the lead back for Washington. Ovechkin carried the puck into the zone and then fed Oshie with a pass that escaped the pursuing Sharks. Oshie drew Jones to the left, then shot to the right side of the net. Assists went to Ovechkin and John Carlson.
Less than a minute into the second period, Evander Kane tied the game again. Timo Meier retrieved the puck behind the net, then reversed direction and got the puck to Kane on the left side of the net. Kane’s first shot did not go in, but by the time the puck bounced up and across the goal mouth, Kane was in position to shoot it back in. Assists went to Meier and Brent Burns.
Washington grabbed the lead back again at 2:53. Martin Jones had just stopped a shot from Jakub Vrana, but the rebound went to the goal line where Evgeny Kuznetsov pulled it in and shot it past Jones. The Sharks defense was not very helpful for Jones on that goal. Assists went to Vrana and Tom Wilson.
Alex Ovechkin extended the lead to 5-3 at 5:41. Backstrom made a drop pass to Ovechkin at the top of the faceoff circle, while drawing Justin Braun away and creating a moving screen. Ovechkin’s shot went by Jones’ glove side. Assists went to Backstrom and Oshie.
Logan Couture got one back at 14:39. The Sharks had just killed a penalty when Logan Couture followed a puck through John Carlson at the Sharks blue line. He headed through the neutral zone with Tomas Hertl and Brent Burns trailing him, three on none. Couture slipped the puck under Holtby with a backhand shot for his 19th goal of the season.
The teams traded penalties to start the third period, before Ovechkin completed his hat trick at 5:52. The Capitals drove through the neutral zone, ending up 4-on-2, then 4-on-3 against the Sharks’ defenders. Kuznetsov passed the puck to Vrana on the right, who passed it back across the ice to the trailing Ovechkin. He took the shot from the slot for his 36th of the season. Vrana and Kuznetsov got the assists.
Tomas Hertl scored his second, another power play goal, at 10:02 of the third. John Carlson was in the box for holding Joonas Donskoi. This play was like Hertl’s first goal, in that Couture’s pass found Pavelski below the goal line, and Pavelski found Hertl open for the shot in the slot. It looked a little faster than the first one, but very similar. Assists went to Pavelski and Couture.
Evander Kane sent the teams to overtime with his second of the game at 19:59. Martin Jones left the net with just over 1:30 left, giving the Sharks a sixth skater. The Capitals cleared the puck three times, but did not hit the empty net. Pavelski took a shot from the boards, it slowed down when it hit Hertl’s stick, then bounced in front of Kane and an open net.
Hertl completed his hat trick with the overtime game winner 1:48 into the extra period. Hertl carried the puck through the neutral zone and then gave it to Couture at center. Couture hesitated a moment, then gave it back to Hertl, who took the shot from just below the hash marks.
The Sharks will resume after the All-Star Game on February 2 against the Arizona Coyotes in San Jose. Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns will join the other All-Stars in San Jose, starting Thursday. Erik Karlsson’s participation is less certain.