Winnipeg Jets left wing Nikolaj Ehlers (27) takes the puck past the San Jose Sharks center Andrew Caliano (11) during the second period at SAP Center in San Jose on Sat Oct 16, 2021 (AP News photo)
By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks won 4-3 in their season opener against the Winnipeg Jets. Sharks rookie forward, Jasper Weatherby, scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game. Tomas Hertl, Rudolfs Balcers and Andrew Cogliano also scored for the Sharks. Adin Hill made 20 saves for the win. Pierre-Luc Dubois, Andrew Copp and Jansen Harkins scored for the Jets. Connor Hellebuyck made 27 saves for the Jets.
After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner said: “The bench was very cohesive tonight, together, very positive, helping the young guys out, you know, and being able to spread some ice time out and roll four lines was a treat for me.”
Those young guys made a good showing. Jasper Weatherby had a shot, a goal and and assist in 10:25 of ice time. William Eklund had a shot, an assist and a hit in 14:01. Jonathan Dahlen had a shot and a hit in 14:45. Lane Pedersen had four hits in 10:27 of ice time.
Tomas Hertl, explaining his exuberance celebrating the Sharks’ fourth goal, scored by Balcers, said: “It was a lot of fun again, I missed that, you know, just win at home, full crowd, it was amazing.” It has been a long time since the Sharks played for a crowd of 16,000+.
The Jets the only first period goal 4:20 in. Adin Hill had just made an impressive diving stop seconds earlier, when a puck went off of a linesman and surprised everyone by bouncing right to the net. But he was sliding in the wrong direction when Brenden Dillon’s shot was knocked down in front of the net by Pierre-Luc Dubois. Dubois gathered it up and put it away. Assists went to Dillon and Neal Pionk.
The Jets outshot the Sharks 10-6 in the first. The Sharks held a slight edge in the face-off circle, winning 57% of the draws. Each team took a penalty in the final two minutes. The Jets power play got one shot in before taking their own penalty. The teams started the second period 4-on-4 for 29 seconds before the Sharks went on the power play.
Copp scored almost 30 seconds into the Sharks power play, Copp scored short-handed to make it 2-0 Jets. Hill was trying to move the puck away from the net and instead put it into Erik Karlsson’s skates as the defenseman went around behind the net. The puck trickled around the back of the net and Adam Lowry got to it first, then put it in front of the net for Copp to shoot it in.
The Sharks got no shots on goal during that power play. Soon after, the Sharks were back on the penalty kill.
Andrew Cogliano changed things up for the Sharks by scoring short-handed about 25 seconds into the Jets power play. Assists went to Logan Couture and Brent Burns.
Adam Lowry knocked Rudolfs Balcers down with an elbow from behind at 6:44. That led to a fight between Logan Stanley and Jacob Middleton. Middleton acquitted himself well before going to the box to watch his team’s power play. The Sharks power play got one shot on goal.
They had another chance at 11:59. Jasper Weatherby caught a pass from Erik Karlsson at the top of the face-off circle. Weatherby took the a quick shot and beat Hellebuyck on the glove side. Assists went to Karlsson and Kevin Labanc.
The Sharks led the Jets in shots 11-6 for the second. In the face-off circle, they won 53% of the draws.
The Sharks took the lead with a powerplay goal at 3:25 of the third. William Eklund’s shot created a rebound that went right to Tomas Hertl who had an almost open net to shoot at. Assists went to Eklund and Karlsson.
Soon after, Rudolfs Balcers scored another goal for the Sharks while falling into Hellebuyck, who was next to the net instead of in the blue paint. The Jets took issue with that and several scrums broke out by the Winnipeg net. Assists on the goal went to Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl.
The Jets got one back at 13:28. The Sharks had just killed off a Jets power play and scored an empty net goal that didn’t count due to a player being off side. Jansen Harkins knocked a rebound in after Stanley’s slapshot created a big rebound. Assists went to Stanley and Josh Morrissey.
The Sharks won 69% of the third period draws, bumping their game total up to 59%. They led in shots 31-23 for the game.
The Sharks next play on Tuesday in Montreal against the Canadiens at 4:00 PM PT.