Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Schmidt (88) scores the go ahead goal in the second period as Josh Morrissey (44) celebrates with Schmidt against the San Jose Sharks in Winnipeg on Thu Nov 11, 2021 (Canadian Press photo)
By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks lost 4-1 to the Jets at Winnipeg Thursday. Kyle Connor, Nate Schmidt, Jansen Harkins and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored for the Jets. Connor Hellebuyck made 26 saves for the win. Andrew Cogliano scored for the Sharks and James Reimer made 30 saves in the loss.
After the game, Sharks Assistant Coach John MacLean was not willing to attribute the loss to fatigue: “I don’t know if [we] ran out of gas… I thought we had a couple of opportunities, we just weren’t able to bury it. And, you know, it was a close game there for a bit.” He also mentioned the lopsided penalty calls: “They get some power plays, we never really got any special… we never got any power plays. It was just one of those things, guys tried and it just didn’t come our way.”
The roster and the bench will likely look different for the next game, as players and staff will be returning from the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. McLean assessed the performance of the team in the absence of those players:
“After a loss you’re not really pleased, I mean you wish, there’s a couple of opportunities there missed as well in that. So, I will say that I’m pleased with the total effort that these guys showed throughout this, you know, the guys who got called up and the guys who were here. I mean I think overall they all buckled down and gave us an opportunity each night to win.”
The Sharks scored the first goal of the game, at 6:28 of the first period. Brent Burns picked up the puck near the boards and carried it across into the slot, then made a quick pass to Andrew Cogliano who was on the far side of the net. Cogliano lifted it into the short side for his second of the season.
Kyle Connor tied the game at 11:38. As the Jets entered the zone, Evgeny Svechnikov passed the puck from the right wide to Dubois in the middle of the ice. Dubois tok a shot that went off of Reimer’s pads for a short rebound. Connor was right there to shoot it back in behind Reimer.
The Sharks penalty kill gave up one shot on a single penalty for the period. The teams were dead even at ten shots each. It was the Sharks’ best face-off period, at 69%.
The second period started with an early fight, between the Sharks’ Jonah Gadjovich and the Jets’ Adam Lowry. The Sharks took a delay of game penalty at 7:24, and then matching roughing penalties at 10:02 went to Dominic Toninato and Ryan Merkley. Again, the Sharks penalty kill gave up just one shot.
The Jets took the lead at 14:11, with a shot from the blue line by Nate Schmidt. Assists went to Josh Morrissey and Blake Wheeler.
Jansen Harkins made it 3-1 at 19:16 of the second. Harkins and Adam Lowry got behind the Sharks for a two-on-one. From low in the slot, Lowry made a pass to Harkins for a deflection.
The Jets out-shot the Sharks 13-8 in the second, but the Sharks continued to dominate in the face-off circle at 60%. The third period saw the Sharks slip in that area, winning only 44% of the draws. The Sharks penalty kill allowed two shots during the single third-period Jets power play.
Pierre-Luc Dubois scored his eighth of the season into an empty net at 19:27 of the third. Assists went to Andrew Copp and Nikolaj Ehlers.
The Sharks’ next game will be in Colorado against the Avalanche, on Saturday at 6:00 PM PT.