Sharks Beat Sabres 5-3; Seven Sharks sit for Covid protocols still get second straight win

San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl celebrates scoring his fifth goal of the season on this third period goal at 6:02 against the Buffalo Sabres at SAP Center in San Jose on Tue Nov 2, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-3 Tuesday night in San Jose. Sharks goals came from Tomas Hertl (2), Jonathan Dahlen, Ryan Merkley and Mario Ferraro. James Reimer made 25 saves for the win. Sabres goals came from Jeff Skinner (2) and Drake Caggiula. Craig Anderson made 22 saves in the loss.

The Sharks roster is still in a state of flux due to COVID-19 protocols. Jonathan Dahlen was back, as was Andrew Cogliano, but Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc were out. Erik Karlsson, Jake Middleton, Matt Nieto, Radim Simek and Marc-Edouard Vlasic remained out. Logan Couture returned after missing the last game, though not for COVID-19.

After the game, Couture said: “It was chaotic but proud of the effort again. I mean, found a way. Went down to five D early in that second period, or maybe even half way through that second period. Credit to those guys back there, they found a way. I mean, it wasn’t pretty, the whole game, but, found a way.”

Jonathan Dahlen scored first for the Sharks, at 7:25 of the first period. Brent Burns sent a shot from the blue line right down the middle and into a swarm of bodies at the net. The puck evaded Anderson and sliped back into open ice where Dahlen lifted it into the net. Assists went to William Eklund and Burns.

A little over a minute later, Buffalo’s Jeff Skinner tied the game during a delayed penalty. His shot zipped through traffic in the slot and past Reimer. Assists went to Vinnie Hinostroza and Robert Hagg.

Ryan Merkley made it 2-1 Sharks at 12:49. After holding the puck patiently at the blue line, he took a shot that went off of a couple Sabres in front of the net before landing behind Anderson. Assists went to Alexander Barabanov and Tomas Hertl.

Hertl made it 3-1 Sharks early in the second period. Rudolfs Balcers picked up a turnover in the Sabres zone and carried it almost to the goal line before passing it back to the Hertl at the top of the slot. Hertl carried the puck around traffic down to the net and put it past Anderson at 6:13.

Drake Caggiula cut the Sharks lead down a bit at 13:33. Hinostroza brought the puck across the line and then passed it to Caggiula on the boards. Caggiula took a hard shot that went by Reimer on the far side. Assists went to Hinostroza and Dylan Cozens.

Early in the third, Mario Ferraro scored his first of the season with a one-timer from the blue line, off a pass from Nick Merkley. Assists went to Merkley and Jasper Weatherby.
Tomas Hertl added another at 11:46 to make it 5-2. He got the puck from Balcers just as he entered the zone, then wove his way through traffic right down the slot before taking the shot. Assists went to Balcers and Ferraro.

Jeff Skinner scored his second of the game at 18:13. Just as the puck jumped off of Reimer’s glove, Skinner tapped it out of the air. It bounced off the back of Reimer’s helmet and landed over the line. Assists went to Tage Thompson and Rasmus Asplund.

A littl emore than half way through the second period, Sharks defenseman Santeri Hatakka left the game with an upper body injury. He did not return and the team did not have any updates after the game.

The Sharks made an excellent showing in the face-off circle, winning 64% of the draws. The shot count was consistently close through the three periods, ending up 28-27 Sabres. There were few penalties in the game, and fewer power play shots. The Sharks power play had one shot on goal, the Sabres power play had none.

The Sharks next play on Thursday, at home against the St. Louis Blues at 7:30 PM PT.

Sharks Defeat Oilers in Overtime 4-3

photo from The San Jose Sharks Eric Fehr (16), Joakim Ryan (47) and Brendon Dylan celebrate a third period goal against the Edmonton Oilers Wednesday night at Edmonton

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks started a three-game road trip with a 4-3 overtime win in Edmonton. Two Sharks goals came from Tomas Hertl, including the overtime game winner. Logan Couture scored a power play goal in the second period and Brenden Dillon scored the tying goal in the third. Oilers goals came from Drake Cagguila, Oscar Klefbom and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 25 saves, while Al Montoya made 36 saves for the Oilers.

Joonas Donskoi left the midway through the third period after an awkward hit from Ethan Bear. Donskoi has been playing very well with Joe Pavelski and Evander Kane. Evander Kane also left the game briefly but returned to play. After the game, Sharks Head Coach Pete DeBoer was unwilling to speculate on the severity of the injuries. Of the game, he said:

It was a gutsy effort, it was a grind out there. We had a lot of things going on, we had some chances we didn’t cash in on and they got a stick on a couple tips and we had the goalie interference one go against us. And we lost a couple guys to injury at different points but we kept battling and found a way and, you know, that’s kind of been the story of our group all year.

The Sharks came back three times in the game, after trailing by a goal. Sharks forward Logan Couture described the team’s approach to coming back like that: “I think we always know on the bench that we got a chance to come back. They took three one-goal leads and the bench doesn’t deflate. Guys stay positive and keep the pressure on, play in their end and we were able to respond each time.”

The Sharks power play scored, a good sign that they have cured what ailed them during the long drought that ended a few games ago. Their faceoff percentage also improved to 52% for this game, perhaps a sign that they are addressing what has been a shortcoming lately.

Drake Cagguila scored just 2:39 into the first period to give the Oilers their first lead. He caught Zack Kassian’s pass from behind the net and put it away with a lighting quick flick of the wrist. Assists went to Kassian and Jujhar Khaira.

Tomas Hertl tied it up at 8:03. Mikkel Boedker intercepted a Leon Draisaitl pass in the Sharks’ zone and sent the Sharks the other way at speed. Boedker gave the puck to Logan Couture, who went in two n one with Tomas Hertl. Hertk went to the net and caught Couture’s pass to score. Couture and Boedker got the assists.

Midway through the second period, Oscar Klefbom took a shot from the blue line off a pass from Connor McDavid to give the Oilers their secon lead. The shot went off the left post and in. The Sharks challenged the goal due. From one camera angle, you could see that Pontus Aberg clipped Jones’ skate and stick, pulling him right just before Klefbom’s shot went left. The goal was upheld. Assists went to McDavid and Aberg.

Drake Cagguila was called for high-sticking Donskoi and drawing blood at 9:43 of the second. The Sharks did not need the four minutes to score. Logan Couture scored 18 seconds into the penalty off a pass from Brent Burns. Assists went to Burns and Pavelski.

Before the second penalty expired, Timo Meier was called for high-sticking Klefbom, and the power play ended early.

The Sharks ended the second period on another power play that carried over into the third period. Moments after it expired in the third, Klefbom shot again from the blue line. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins deflected in and it went off the post, this time the right one. Assists went to Klefbom and McDavid.

Midway through the period, Tomas Hertl passed the puck to Brenden Dillon at the Oilers blue line. Dillon took the shot but it was blocked. The puck went right to Boedker, who gave right back to Dillon. Dillon shot again and this time it went in.

Almost three minutes into overtime, Tomas Hertl fought the puck away from Leon Draisaitl in the way into the Oilers’ zone. He left the puck off for Logan Couture to pick up and then got to the slot where he caught Logan Couture’s pass and put it away with a one-timer.

The win puts the Sharks three points ahead of third-place Los Angeles and fourth place Anaheim in the Pacific Division, and two and three points ahead of the current wild cards Dallas and Minnesota. The Sharks next play on Friday at 6:00 pm PT against the Flames in Calgary.