theprovince.com photo: Vancouver Canucks centre Jay Beagle (83) goes into the boards with San Jose Sharks right wing Stefan Noesen (11) during first period NHL hockey action in Vancouver, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020
By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks fell 4-1 to the Vancouver Canucks Saturday and go into the All-Star break on a three-game losing streak. The win put the Canucks at first in the Pacific Division. Canucks goals were scored by Loui Eriksson, Tanner Pearson, Quinn Hughes and T.J. Miller. Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko made 17 saves for the win. Barclay Goodrow scored the Sharks goal and Aaron Dell made 35 saves i the loss.
After the game, Sharks forward Timo Meier said:
Showed some good stuff but not 60 minutes. That’s what it takes on the road, you’ve got to play 60 minutes of honest hockey, hard-working hockey. We didn’t get that done. Now we’ve got a break. We’re obviously not feeling great going into this break. But coming back from the break we’ve got to be ready to give everything we’ve got, push for it.
After the game, Sharks interim head coach Bob Boughner was asked why the team was having so much trouble creating offense. He mentioned the absence of Logan Couture and the fact that the team is having trouble getting out of their own zone. He also pointed to face-offs: “I think the big difference is, this road trip, we’ve been horrible in the face-off circle. Now you’re never starting with the puck, even in the offensive zone, you’re chasing. You can’t chase pucks all night. That limits your possession, and tires you out.”
The Sharks finished the game with an abysmal 38% face-off win percentage. Tomas Hertl and Barclay Goodrow have been struggling there, though they had regular success earlier in the season and tend to take a lot of draws. The only Sharks above 50% in Saturday’s game took relatively few draws. They were Evander Kane, who won three of five draws, Annti Suomela, who won four of seven, and Joel Kellman, who won three of five.
The first period was scoreless and that was the only good thing about it for the Sharks. They finished it with three shots on goal to the Canucks’ nine. The Canucks also won 67% of the face-offs.
The second period did not shape up to be any better than the first for the Sharks, while the Canucks seemed to gain confidence. The period was still scoreless until 14:05 when Tanner Pearson took a shot from the slot. He did not get all of it and it went off of a Sharks before getting to Dell. Loui Eriksson was at the net to pick up the rebound and put it in the net. Assists went to Pearson and Bo Horvat.
The Sharks challenged the goal as an offside play but the review determined otherwise and put the Sharks on the penalty kill. The Sharks killed the penalty but by the end of the period they still only had four shots and had allowed 18 including the goal.
The Sharks had a better start to the third period, getting the first shots in the first few minutes of play. But at 4:37, Timo Meier went to the box for goaltender interference. 24 seconds into that penalty, Vancouver scored again. This one came as the Canucks entered the zone with Jake Virtanen on the wall. He took the shot and Pearson tipped it in. A secondary assist went to Adam Gaudette.
Barclay Goodrow got one back for the Sharks at 7:09. Erik Karlsson’s shot wound up in traffic in front of the net, where Goodrow dug for it and put it across the line. It was Goodrow’s eighth of the season, a career high for him. Assists went to Karlsson and Antti Suomela.
Vancouver took that back less than a minute later. Quinn Hughes took the shot from the blue line, right through a line of traffic. Assists went to Antoine Rouselle and Adam Gaudette.
Near the midpoint of the period, refereee Kendrick Nicholson took a shot to the head. It appeared that his helmet took the brunt of it but he left the game to be checked out.
Vancouver scored again at 15:27 of a two-on-one against Brent Burns. Burns dropped to block the pass but Virtanen passed the puck over him to J.T. Miller, who beat Dell on the blocker side. Elias Petterssen got the secondary assist.
For the second game in a row, the game ended with laundry list of penalties as scraps broke out at 17:18. Joe Thornton and Alexander Edler took matching roughing penalties. Thornton got an extra one for interference, and Edler was given a misconduct. Barclay Goodrow and Brenden Dillon both had misconducts. Brandon Sutter had a misconduct and Christopher Tanev got a roughing and a misconduct.
The Sharks finished the third period with a more respectable 11 shots to Vancouver’s 12.
Tomas Hertl will attend the All Star game starting on the 24th. The rest of the team will be off until the 29th, their first game after the break.