Sharks Fall to Blues 5-3; St Louis scores 3 goals in second period

St Louis Blues goaltender Joel Hofer stopped 23 shots in his first NHL game against the San Jose Sharks on Thu Nov 4, 2021 at SAP Center (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks lost 5-3 to the St. Louis Blues Thursday. Blues goals came from Brandon Saad (2), Pavel Buchnevich, James Neal and Robert Thomas. Joel Hofer, in his first NHL game, made 23 saves for the win. Sharks goals came from Brent Burns, Logan Couture and Nick Merkley. Adin Hill made 23 saves in the loss.

After the game, Assistant Coach John MacLean was asked whether the Sharks let a win slip away here. He said: “No game’s a given here in the NHL. I mean, yeah we had some opportunities and we let a couple of opportunities slip away.” He summarized the loss as “just one of those games. We can’t forget that St. Louis is a pretty good hockey club and when they got the lead they shut’er down pretty good, they didn’t give us a lot after that.”

The Sharks scored a power play goal at 7:13 of the first. The teams were playing 5 on 3 due to several overlapping penalties. Burns’s one-timer went by three skaters and under Joel Hofer. Assists went to Tomas Hertl and Alexander Barabanov.

Brandon Saad tied it up with a short-handed goal as the Sharks power play was winding down. Tyler Bozak carried the puck into the zone along the boards and made a pass across the ice to Saad on the other side of the ice, avoiding two Sharks defenders. Saad’s quick shot went by Hill on the far side.

Logan Couture got the lead back for the Sharks with his own short-handed goal at 17:16. Couture stole the puck from [x]Faulk in the neutral zone before making a run into the o-zone. His wrist shot snuck under Hofer. Rudolfs Balcers got an assist.

The Sharks out-shot the Blues 12-7 in the first. Their power plays got seven shots on goal and their penalty kill gave up one shot. They also did well in the face-off circle, winning 56% of the draws.

The Blues tied it again at 4:20 of the second. Ivan Barbashev intercepted the puck in the o-zone and found Pavel Buchnevich by the face-off dot with a quick pass. Buchnevich shot it right in and beat Hill over the glove. Assists went to Barbashev and Klim Kostin.

Nick Merkley put the Sharks ahead again less than 30 seconds later. Merkley tipped Mario Ferraro’s shot, sending the puck between Jake Walman’s skates and under Hofer for his first of the season. Assists went to Ferraro and Burns.

Saad tied it again with his second of the night at 8:09. A slick wrist shot from the face-off dot went off the post and in on the far side. Assists went to Robert Thomas and David Perron.

James Neal gave the Blues their first lead of the night at 11:42. Hill stopped Walman’s shot from the point but Neal picked up the rebound and swept it around the Sharks’s goaltender. Assists went to Walman and Tyler Bozak.

The Blues edged the Sharks in the face-off circle in the second period, 10 wins to 9. They also out-shot the Sharks 12-8. Their power play got three shots on goal.

Midway through the third period, Nikko Mikkola sent Logan Couture into the boards. Couture got up slowly and walked into the tunnel but he returned to the bench instead of going to the dressing room. After the game he said he was fine.

Robert Thomas scored an empty-netter with a minute left. Assists went to Colton Parayko and Hofer.

In the final tally, the Sharks won 58% of the face-offs. The Blues outshot the Sharks 28-26. The Sharks had nine shots on the power play and the Blues had four.

Thursday’s game was William Eklund’s ninth game. If he plays another with the Sharks, he cannot be sent down without triggering his entry level contract.

Due to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol, the Sharks are still without forwards Keving Labanc, Timo Meier, and Matt Nieto, and defensemen Erik Karlsson, Jake Middleton, Radim Simek and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Head Coach Bob Boughner, Head Trainer Ray Tufts and Equipment Manager Mike Aldrich are also out.

Of the Sharks’ young defensemen, John MacLean said: “One of the hardest positions to break into the National Hockey League is playing defense… the experiences they get, they played out of necessity, and you don’t jump on them because they gave a good solid effort.”

Logan Couture also talked about how the inexperienced players are doing:

“The guys that have stepped in and played their second or third NHL games have played well and they’ve given it all they have. The veterans, we can do a better job protecting those guys, playing out of our end and in their end a little bit more.”

The Sharks next play on Saturday at home, against the New Jersey Devils at 7:30 PM PT.

Sharks Preseason: Sharks Shut Out Golden Knights 4-0

The Vegas Golden Knights and the San Jose Sharks faced off for the final pre season game Sat Oct 9, 2021 at SAP Center in San Jose (photo from fearofthefin.com)

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE– The San Jose Sharks (3-2) defeated the Vegas Golden Knights (3-4) by a score of 4-0. In their final pre-season game, the Sharks got goals from Jonathan Dahlen, Keving Labanc, Willim Eklund and Brent Burns. Adin Hill made 25 saves for the shut-out win. Robin Lehner made 30 saves for the Golden Knights.

Timo Meier sent the puck across the crease to where Jonathan Dahlen was lurking to tap the puck in behind the goalie. Assists went to Meier and Erik Karlsson.

Kevin Labanc made it 2-0 with a power play goal at 6:37. Labanc found the puck as it emerged from traffic in front of the net. He sent it back down the slot and past Robin Lehner on the glove side. Assists went to Jasper Weatherby and Tomas Hertl.

The teams were tied on the shot clock, 6-6, at the end of the first. Each team had a power play chance. The Sharks penalty kill gave up two shots and their power play needed just the one to score. The Sharks won 75% of the first period face-offs.

William Eklund made it 3-0 at 3:32 of the second. He carried the puck through the neutral zone and passed to Balcers, low in the slot. Balcers passed it right back and Eklund took the shot. Assists went to Balcers and Karlsson.

The Sharks out-shot the Golden Knights in the second, 16-9. The Sharks had the only second period power play. They got five shots in that one. The Golden Knights improved in the face-off circle, so the Sharks won only 56% of those.

Brent Burns made it 4-0 with a shot from the blue line at 9:36 of the third. The puck zipped through traffic and Lehner did not see it coming. Assists went to Kevin Labanc and Matt Nieto.

The teams each had a power play in the third period. Neither penalty kill gave up a shot. The shot count was very close in the third, 12-10 Sharks. The Golden Knights won 60% of the face-offs.

The Sharks will play their season opener at home on Saturday the 17th at 7:00 PM PT against the Winnipeg Jets.

Sharks Preseason: Sharks Fall to Ducks 3-2 in Shoot-Out Loss

San Jose Sharks’ Adam Raska (57) battles the Anaheim Ducks’ Greg Pateryn (29) for the puck against the boards in the first period during pre season action on Mon Oct 4, 2021 at the SAP Center in San Jose. (Bay Area News Group photo)

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks fell 3-2 to the Anaheim Ducks in a shoot-out Monday in San Jose. Mason McTavish and Trevor Zegras scored for Anaheim. John Gibson made 42 saves for for the win. Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl scored for San Jose. James Reimer made 23 saves for the Sharks.

Mason McTavish gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead in the first, scoring the only goal of the period. Assists went to Vinni Lettieri and Kevin Shattenkirk.

The goal came in the middle of a period that saw a slew of fighting and misconduct penalties in the first minute. Sam Carrick and Jeffrey Viel received matching penalties for fighting and unsportsmanlike conduct just five seconds in. Jacob Middleton and Nicolas Deslauriers took fighting majors 29 seconds in.

A few minutes after the goal, Jacob Larsson and Jasper Weatherby received matching roughing penalties. Seconds later, Jamie Drysdale went to the box for holding, giving the Sharks their first power play of the game.

A few minutes later, Vinni Lettieri took his second penalty of the period and gave the Sharks a brief power play, which ended when Jasper Weatherby went to the box again, for slashing John Gibson.

The Sharks had seven shots on the power play and 15 shots for the period. The Ducks had seven shots and none during their abbreviated power play. The Sharks won 67% of the face-offs.

The penalties continued in the second period, starting just 2:57 in with Greg Pateryn’s cross-check to Rudolfs Balcers. The Sharks could not capitalize on that and, at 11:30 of the period, found themselves on the penalty kill when Timo Meier went to the box for cross-checking Hampus Lindholm.

At 12:50, the Sharks were down two skaters because Erik Karlsson was in the box for closing his hand on the puck. The Sharks made it through the 5 on three but before the second penalty expired, Trevor Zegras scored for Anaheim. Assists went to Jamie Drysdale and Sonny Milano.

During the final penalty of the period, Logan Couture scored a power play goal for San Jose. Anaheim’s Isac Lundestrom was in the box for high-sticking Timo Meier. Assists went to Meier and Jonathan Dahlen.

The Sharks outshot the Ducks in the second, 18-7. The Sharks’ power play generated six shots to the Ducks’ one. The Sharks won 57% of the face-offs.

The third period went penalty-free until 9:30 when Timo Meier and Max Jones went to their respective boxes for roughing.

Tomas Hertl tied the game at 15:03 with assists from Rudolfs Balcers and William Eklund.

The Sharks led the shot count 11-7 in the third, and won 74% of the face-offs.

30 seconds into overtime, Erik Karlsson was called for slashing, giving the Ducks a 4-on-3 power play. The Ducks got three shots on that power play but the Sharks killed the penalty. In all, the Ducks managed four shots during overtime and the Sharks had none. The Sharks did, however, win both face-offs.

Gibson stopped shots from Alexander Barabanov and Jonathan Dahlen, and Rudolfs Balcers missed the net.

Reimer stopped shots from Max Comtois, but Trevor Zegras scored.

While the Sharks in general did well in the face-off circle, Nick Bonino came away with a noteworthy 82% win percentage. Alexander Barabanov led the team in shots with seven, while Erik Karlsson and William Eklund added five each.

The Sharks will not play again until Saturday when they host the Vegas Golden Knights at 5:00 PM PT in San Jose.