photo from sfgate.com: Vegas Golden Knights center Paul Stastny (26) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the San Jose Sharks during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019
By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks have lost a third game in a row, again. The 3-1 loss was to the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday. Vegas goals came from Paul Stasny, Shea Theodore and Jonathan Marchessault. Malcolm Subban made 37 saves for the win. Logan Couture scored the only Sharks goal and Aaron Dell made 34 saves in the loss.
The Sharks have earned the distinction of scoring the fewest goals(19) this December of any team in the NHL. Comparing the team’s performance in November to this abysmal December, Sharks captain Logan Couture said:
We’re finding ways to lose now whereas in November we were finding ways to win. That was the close games, you know. We were getting games to overtime, we were finding a way to score in overtime, we were getting to a shootout, win in a shootout. Now we’re giving up goals in the last ten minutes in a tie game in the third period and losing those games.
Sharks head coach Bob Boughner was not available for the post game press conference, but Associate coach Roy Sommer said: “Another one of those games where we were in it and end up tying it up and I thought positive things were going to come out of it. It’s kind of like you’re waiting for the other shoe to fall off and sure enough that’s what happened. I thought for the most part we battled.”
In the scoreless first period, the Golden Knights out-shot the Sharks 13-7, and had two power plays. The power plays came at the start of the period, a 1:30 penalty to Evander Kane for tripping, and at the end, a 17:17 penalty to Erik Karlsson for sending the puck over the glass. Vegas got credit for four shots during those power plays.
Almost six minutes into the second period, the Sharks had just one shot on goal, taken by Joe Thornton during a breakaway. Vegas goaltender Subban got enough of that shot so that it rang off the outside of the post. By contrast, Vegas had five shots and Aaron Dell was busy in net.
The Sharks finally had a good shift in the offensive zone around a minute later. They added a couple of shots to their count and drew their first penalty of the game- another puck over the glass penalty. The Sharks applied some pressure during that power play but registered just one shot on goal.
About 90 seconds after the Sharks’ power play expired, they were on the penalty kill for an elbowing penalty to Brent Burns. Vegas came up with no shots on that power play.
Vegas broke the tie with just 2:29 left in the second period. Paul Stasny, guarded by Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Erik Karlsson both on the same side of the ice, took a shot that went off the post. It bounced out to the other side of the net and Stasny got to it again before either Sharks defenseman could get to him. He also had an open net to shoot at. Assists went to Alex Tuch and Valentin Zykov.
The final minute of the period was spent four-on-four with Brenden Dillon and Ryan Reaves in the box with matching roughing penalties.
Logan Couture tied the game back up at 3:54 of the third. Brent Burns carried the puck around behind the net and sent it through the blue paint across to the open shooter. Assists went to Burns and Tomas Hertl.
Vegas took the lead back at 8:05. William Karlsson had his pas intercepted by a Sharks skate as he moved into the Sharks zone. He turned as if to retrieve the puck but instead left it for Shea Theodore to collect, while Karlsson kept Patrick Marleau clear of Theodore. Theodore took a quick shot from above the face-off circle and beat Dell. Assists went to Karlsson and Nicolas Hague.
The Sharks had a third period power play after that, but could not score.
Vegas expanded the lead with a third goal at 16:35. Reilly Smith got the puck after a neutral zone face-off. He carried it over the blue line and out-skated Erik Karlsson before making a cross-ice pass to Jonathan Marchessault who was closing on the net. Dell could not get across quick enough to stop Marchessault’s shot. Assists went to Smith and William Karlsson.
As they have for three games in a row now, the Sharks closed out the game with a late third period power play and a six-on-four advantage with their goaltender pulled. As before, they did not score.
The Sharks will next play after the Christmas break, on December 27 against the Los Angeles King at 7:00 PM PT.