sfgate.com photo: San Jose Sharks right wing Timo Meier (28), of Switzerland, looses his footing against Detroit Red Wings defenseman Madison Bowey (74) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, in Detroit.
By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks lost 2-0 to the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday, ending 2019 much the way they started this season. In December, they had two wins and 11 losses. The 2-0 loss to the NHL’s last ranked Red Wings had some disappointing firsts in it, for Sharks fans.
It was Detroit’s first shut out of the season and also the Sharks’ first time being shut out. It also ended a nearly three year stretch during which the Sharks got points in games where they allowed two or fewer goals. The goals were scored by Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Hronek. Jonathan Bernier made 34 saves in the win while Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 21 saves for the Sharks.
If there is anything good to take away from this game, it might be that the team only gave up two goals. That is an improvement over some of San Jose’s more spectacular losses this season. They also did fairly well in the face-off circle, winning 52% of them.
Those facts are not very encouraging, though, considering the opponent in Tuesday’s match. The Red Wings are not the worst face-off team in the NHL, just the ninth worst. They are the worst in the goal scoring department.
Sharks captain Logan Couture was asked to find some positives in the game: “Well, Joner was great, that’s a positive. Um, I’m trying to think of other things we can take from this one. But Joner played well, PK had some stops, power play needs to be better, offensively we need to be better. I thought for the most part, five on five we didn’t give them too much.”
Sharks interim head coach Bob Boughner also identified the goaltender as one of the only good parts of the game:
There were some bright spots to our game. I think the maybe power play generating a goal would have been nice. I think that Jonesy played well. It’s one of those games, we didn’t give up much on the road. Defensively we’ve been tightening it up in that area. You know, we just didn’t get our bounce early and the longer the game went I thought Bernier looked more comfortable. I thought we could’ve got more bodies in front of him. But, you know, we just didn’t capitalize, didn’t execute offensively.
The first goal came at 3:15 of the second period. Tyler Bertuzzi deflected Madison Bowey’s shot from the point, after bringing the puck into the zone, then rushing into position in front of the Sharks net. A second assist went to Dylan Larkin. It was Bertuzzi’s 15th of the season.
The second goal went into an empty net at 19:11 of the third period. Brent Burns’ shot was blocked and then went to Filip Hronek, who shot it all the way down the ice into the net. An assist went to Luke Glendening.
The Sharks had three power play chances to the Red Wings’ two. No power play goals were scored. The Sharks out-shot the Red Wings in the game and 14-4 in the third period.
The Sharks next play on Thursday in Pittsburgh against the Penguins at 4:00 PM PT.