The San Jose Sharks Logan Couture (39) scores a second period goal on the Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) one of two goals enough for the Sharks to win it at the Canadian Tire Center in Ottawa on Thu Oct 21, 2021 (Canadian Press news photo)
By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks won their third in a row, winning 2-1 against the Senators in Ottawa. Logan Couture and Kevin Labanc scored for San Jose, and James Reimer made 30 saves for the win. Drake Batherson scored for Ottawa and Matt Murray made 22 saves in the loss. For Sharks defenseman Brent Burns, Thursday’s contest was his 600th consecutive game. He earned an assist and skated for 25:56.
Sharks Captain Logan Couture said that the key to this win was work:
“We didn’t have our best legs tonight. We didn’t have our best, we turned too many pucks over throughout that game. [Reimer] made some big saves, especially early in that third, but we just worked. Blocked shots at the ends, Reims stepped up huge, stuck together as a team.”
Sharks defenseman and ex-Senator, Erik Karlsson, said:
“This was a great win for us. I don’t think that we played good at all. This was our sloppy game. I feel like you could tell that they had a little bit more energy, they got a little bit more bounces, they were a little bit hungrier. But we thought we might win, that’s the most important thing.”
The Senators’ Drake Batherson scored the only first period goal, at 10:06. A Sharks three-on-two turned into a Senators two-on-one as Sharks scrambled to get back. Batherson opted to shoot instead of passing to Josh Norris and squeezed the puck under Reimer’s arm for his first of the season. Assists went to Brady Tkachuk and Artem Zub.
Midway through the period, the teams took almost simultaneous penalties and played most of two minutes four-on-four. During that time, Kevin Labanc put the puck in the net but the Senators challenged it for off-side and got it called back. Both Brent Burns and Nick Bonino had their skates in the zone before the puck crossed the line. While Burns was legal, since he had control of the puck, that exception did not extend to Bonino.
The Senators were short one forward as Shane Pinto sustained a shoulder injury during his first shift of the first period. He attempted to return for the second but left again after just one shift.
Shots were almost even at 8-7 Senators for the first period. Face-offs were also close, with the Sharks holding a slight edge at 58%. Both teams took penalties in the final minute of the period, so that the Senators had part of a power play to start the second period.
The Sharks killed that penalty off and tied the game with a goal from Logan Couture at 1:58. Brent Burns’ pass from the point found Couture right above the blue paint. Couture tapped the puck into an open net, as Murray was on the wrong side of the crease. Burns and Timo Meier got assists.
Kevin Labanc got his goal back on the power play at 14:36, giving the Sharks a 2-1 lead. Erik Karlsson sent the puck to Labanc at the top of the face-off circle for a quick shot through traffic. Jasper Weatherby created a good screen in front of the goaltender. Assists went to Karlsson and William Eklund.
Shots were even closer in the second, 13-12 Senators. Ottawa took two penalties in the second period, and the Sharks power play tallied four shots. The Senators power play had two shots. The Senators bounced back in the face-off circle, winning 71% of the draws.
In the third period, the Sharks rebounded in the face-off circle, winning 60% of the draws. The shots were very uneven in the final frame, at 11-4 Senators. The Sharks penalty kill gave up just one shot.
The Sharks next play on Friday in Toronto against the Maple Leafs at 3:00 PM PT.