Sharks Fall to Capitals 5-4 in OT; Losers of seven of their last nine games

sfgate.com photo: Washington Capitals center Lars Eller (20), of Denmark, celebrates his winning goal in overtime of an NHL hockey game with defenseman John Carlson (74) as San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) skates away Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Washington

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks lost to the Washington Capitals 5-4 in overtime on Sunday. The Sharks dominated through most of the game, with a second period hat-trick from Evander Kane, and an empty net goal from Logan Couture in the third. But the Capitals came back with two goals in the final minute of the third to tie the game. Washington goals came from Jakub Vrana (2), Nic Dowd, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller. Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby made 25 saves in the win, while Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 24 saves in the loss.

An important bright spot for the Sharks was that they scored two power play goals. With their game going so well, the last-minute collapse was a shock. After the game, Sharks forward Joe Thornton summarized his team’s game as: “It looked good, it looked real good, then all of a sudden just disappeared, real quick.”

Sharks interim head coach Bob Boughner gave the Capitals some credit in the loss:

It’s tough to let that one get away, 4-2 with a minute to go. I mean, you know, third period we didn’t allow a lot five on five. Defensively, we were pretty tight. You could take a million great things out of this game for us but, you know, that’s why they’re leading the league. That’s why they’ve got the most points, because they find ways to win games. As disappointed as I am, I’m pretty content on the way our five-on-five game looks.

The first period was scoreless and penalty free, with the teams very close in shots at 13-10 Sharks. At 1:14 of the second period, Barclay Goodrow tipped a Timo Meier shot into the net. The goal was disallowed, as Goodrow’s stick was too high when he touched the puck.

The Sharks scored their first goal on the power play at 6:25. Joe Thornton picked up a rebound from an Evander Kane shot. He circled around by the boards and then gave the puck back to Kane for a quick shot to the far side of the net. Assists went to Thornton and Timo Meier.

The Capitals got that back at 7:29 when Nic Dowd skated to the net and got a pass from Brendan Leipsic. The Sharks were caught out of position defensively, allowing both Washington skaters to get a step on them. Assists went to Leipsic and Michal Kempny.

Another defensive breakdown by the Sharks left Martin Jones to make a save while Hathaway was tripping over him at 7:56. A slashing penalty to Evander Kane came out of that.

The Sharks killed that off and as soon as the penalty ended, Kane came out of the box and followed Logan Couture into the zone. Couture dropped the puck to him just inside the blue line. As Couture continued to skate to the net, he created a screen for Kane to shoot and score at 10:06. Assists went to Couture and Melker Karlsson.

Kane completed the second period hat trick with a second power play goal at 16:49. Radko Gudas was in the box for slashing Patrick Marleau as they competed for position in front of the net. Erik Karlsson took a shot right up the center and before anyone else could find the puck, Kane caught the rebound and knocked it in. Assists went to Karlsson and Timo Meier.

The Capitals got one back before the period ended, at 18:42. Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s attempt to send the puck around the boards was thwarted by an official’s skate behind the net. T.J Oshie gathered up the puck and sent it to the front of the net where Jakub Vrana was waiting to shoot it in.

The shots were close again in the second period, 12-11 Capitals.

The Sharks held their lead but did not extend it through most of the third period. The Sharks had killed off a Washington power play and failed to score on two of their own. Logan Couture scored into the empty net at 19:00, giving the Sharks the two goal lead.

Washington got one back just 13 seconds later. The Sharks couldn’t get the puck out, under siege from six Washington skaters. When Lars Eller went to center the puck, his pass went off of Mario Ferraro’s skate and to Jakub Vrana in a perfect shooting position. Assists went to Eller and Radko Gudas.

The teams sat for some time then, waiting for an issue to be resolved by officials.

When they got back to play, T.J. Oshie tied the game at 19:45. With their net empty again, and with a clear prevented by a bounce off of an official (again), the puck ended up in the face-off circle, on Oshie’s stick. Assists went to Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom.

The shots in the third period were surprisingly low but shocking for the Sharks, who had only three. The Capitals had six.

The Sharks had some good moments in overtime. Timo Meier broke up a pass to prevent a three-on-one goal at early, then he sent a pass to Brent Burns for a breakaway. Timo Meier had a shot go off of the goal post, and then Burns and Kane had a two-on-one that Holtby stopped. The Sharks got two shots on goal before it was over.

The Capitals responded with a two-on-one against Erik Karlsson. John Carlson carried the puck in and made a pass across to Lars Eller, who scored as Martin Jones slid across to follow the pass. Assists went to Carlson and Holtby. It was Washington’s only shot of the overtime period.

The teams ended the game with 29 shots each.

The Sharks next play on Tuesday in St. Louis against the Blues at 5:00 PM PT.

Sharks Come Back for 7-6 OT Win Over Capitals in Washington

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks ended a three-game losing streak with a 7-6 overtime win against the Washington Capitals Tuesday night at the Capital One Arena. Sharks goals came from Tomas Hertl (3), Evander Kane (2), Joe Pavelski, and Logan Couture. It was Hertl’s third career hat trick, and the first in Sharks history to include an overtime goal. Capitals goals came from Alex Ovechkin (3), Andre Burakovsky, T. J. Oshie, and Evgeny Kuznetsov. The Sharks’ power play went 2-6 while the Capitals scored one power play goal in three tries. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones made 33 saves on 39 shots, while the Capitals’ Braden Holtby made 36 saves on 43 shots.

After the game, Sharks forward Logan Couture talked about their defensive lapses: “We shouldn’t have checked out defensively like we did tonight. We weren’t there in our own end, leaving our goaltender out to dry on many occasions and in overtime there he made some big time saves for us to win that game.”

Asked about the team’s ability to bounce back despite all that, he said: “We’re in a difficult spot here. You’re in the third period, you’re down a few goals on the back to back on a long travel day. All the guys in here could have easily looked forward to tomorrow and our break, but we decided to play hard for the third and found a way to tie it up and win it.”

Joe Pavelski started the scoring just 12 seconds into the game Tuesday. An early icing call gave the Sharks an offensive zone draw, which Pavelski won, getting the puck up to Burns at the point. Burns shot the puck, it bounced off of Timo Meier in front of the net, and landed in front of an open net for Pavelski to knock it in. Meier and Burns got the assists.

The Capitals tied it up at 10:41 of the period with a power play goal. Tim Heed was in the box for hooking. Martin Jones made two stops before the puck trickled out to the side of the net, where Alex Ovechkin was tracking it down. He popped the puck in before Jones could get back for the stop. Assists went to Nicklas Backstrom and TJ Oshie.

Andre Burakovzky gave the Capitals the lead less than two minutes later, at 12:11. Burakovsky took a shot off the rush, beating Jones on the glove side through some traffic. Assists went to Chandler Stephenson and Travis Boyd.

Tomas Hertl tied the game back up with a power play goal at 14:27, while T.J. Oshie was in the box for tripping Timo Meier. The Sharks gave up a short-handed chance early in the power play but, once back in the Capitals’ zone, executed a nice tic-tac-toe play. Hertl found Thornton at the mid boards, Thornton passed to Pavelski below the goal line, and Pavelski sent it back to Hertl, who was low in the slot. Hertl’s one-timer went right over Braden Holtby’s shoulder. It was Hertl’s 20th goal of the season, with the assists going to Pavelski and Thornton.

T.J. Oshie exited the box and in less than a minute got the lead back for Washington. Ovechkin carried the puck into the zone and then fed Oshie with a pass that escaped the pursuing Sharks. Oshie drew Jones to the left, then shot to the right side of the net. Assists went to Ovechkin and John Carlson.

Less than a minute into the second period, Evander Kane tied the game again. Timo Meier retrieved the puck behind the net, then reversed direction and got the puck to Kane on the left side of the net. Kane’s first shot did not go in, but by the time the puck bounced up and across the goal mouth, Kane was in position to shoot it back in. Assists went to Meier and Brent Burns.

Washington grabbed the lead back again at 2:53. Martin Jones had just stopped a shot from Jakub Vrana, but the rebound went to the goal line where Evgeny Kuznetsov pulled it in and shot it past Jones. The Sharks defense was not very helpful for Jones on that goal. Assists went to Vrana and Tom Wilson.

Alex Ovechkin extended the lead to 5-3 at 5:41. Backstrom made a drop pass to Ovechkin at the top of the faceoff circle, while drawing Justin Braun away and creating a moving screen. Ovechkin’s shot went by Jones’ glove side. Assists went to Backstrom and Oshie.

Logan Couture got one back at 14:39. The Sharks had just killed a penalty when Logan Couture followed a puck through John Carlson at the Sharks blue line. He headed through the neutral zone with Tomas Hertl and Brent Burns trailing him, three on none. Couture slipped the puck under Holtby with a backhand shot for his 19th goal of the season.

The teams traded penalties to start the third period, before Ovechkin completed his hat trick at 5:52. The Capitals drove through the neutral zone, ending up 4-on-2, then 4-on-3 against the Sharks’ defenders. Kuznetsov passed the puck to Vrana on the right, who passed it back across the ice to the trailing Ovechkin. He took the shot from the slot for his 36th of the season. Vrana and Kuznetsov got the assists.

Tomas Hertl scored his second, another power play goal, at 10:02 of the third. John Carlson was in the box for holding Joonas Donskoi. This play was like Hertl’s first goal, in that Couture’s pass found Pavelski below the goal line, and Pavelski found Hertl open for the shot in the slot. It looked a little faster than the first one, but very similar. Assists went to Pavelski and Couture.

Evander Kane sent the teams to overtime with his second of the game at 19:59. Martin Jones left the net with just over 1:30 left, giving the Sharks a sixth skater. The Capitals cleared the puck three times, but did not hit the empty net. Pavelski took a shot from the boards, it slowed down when it hit Hertl’s stick, then bounced in front of Kane and an open net.

Hertl completed his hat trick with the overtime game winner 1:48 into the extra period. Hertl carried the puck through the neutral zone and then gave it to Couture at center. Couture hesitated a moment, then gave it back to Hertl, who took the shot from just below the hash marks.

The Sharks will resume after the All-Star Game on February 2 against the Arizona Coyotes in San Jose. Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns will join the other All-Stars in San Jose, starting Thursday. Erik Karlsson’s participation is less certain.