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Ugly start for San Jose
Season kicks off with a thud in Vegas
10/2/19 - By Mike Lee -

The 2019-20 NHL season got underway on Wednesday night, and the San Jose Sharks executed a glorious belly-flop en route to a 4-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena in Southern Nevada. San Jose looked out-classed all night, holding no momentum in this stinker.

Four months removed from a Conference Championship appearance, the Sharks looked like an AHL team matched up against their rivals from Vegas. The Knights out-skated, out-shot and out scored the Sharks, who were skating without Evander Kane and Erik Karlsson.

Kane's absence was no mystery, having been suspended two days earlier for his antics in a pre-season game against Vegas last weekend. The real gut-shot was Karlsson's absence, which was announced an hour before the game. The Sharks defenseman participated in the morning skate, but left the arena to deal with what the team called a 'personal matter.'

The absence of Karlsson's speed was a big loss, coming against a team that is loaded with speed.

Brent Burns failed to answer the opening bell and got caught flat footed deep in his zone early in the contest. The defenseman was forced to haul down William Carrier at 2:48 of the contest. Vegas took advantage when Mark Stone buried a second chance from the left dot 58 seconds into the power play. Stone clanked a shot off the right post moments before a loose puck found it's way back to the Vegas forward.

Riley Smith collected a William Karlsson feed less than three minutes later and put a shot past Martin Jones as he skated down the slot. Marcus Sorensen missed his defensive assignment, covering space in the left corner and Smith had all day to navigate between the circles.

Brandon Pirri was called for hooking Timo Meier at 5:47, but the Sharks negated the power play when Kevin Labanc took his own hooking penalty a minute later. Sorensen was sent off for slashing at 9:52, but Paul Stastny countered with his own slash 7 seconds later.

Once Sorensen found his way back to the ice, he turned in the first positive of the season by snapping a wrist-shot past Marc-Andre Fleury from the high slot at 12:14. The Sharks forward took a Logan Couture feed and lifted the puck over Fleury's left shoulder for his 1st goal of the season.

San Jose failed to use the first intermission to regroup, coming out to open the 2nd period with more poor defense. A turnover near the right wing boards as San Jose thought they were clearing the zone turned into Cody Glass' first NHL goal at 2:12. Max Pacioretty stripped Mario Ferraro before sending a cross ice pass to Glass on the left side. The rookie forward one-timed a shot that slipped under Jones' stick for the 3-1 Vegas lead.

Sorensen appeared to cut into the Knights lead with 62 seconds left in the middle frame when he deflected a shot past Fleury from just outside the left post, but a review deemed the puck was redirected with a high stick.

Shea Theodore was called for hooking 3:08 into the 3rd period, setting up one last chance for the Sharks to make a run at the Knight's lead. San Jose would trip yet again, when they allowed Smith and William Karlsson to skate up the ice uncontested, before depositing a short-handed goal.

The rest of the game was just clock-killing. San Jose did nothing to even make a fight of it after going down 4-1.

Game Notes:

* New team captain Logan Couture recorded 1 shot on goal, in 18:18 of ice time and was 3 of 9 from the face off circle.

* Marc-Edouard Vlasic was on the ice for three of the Knights four goals. It was a rough night for the Sharks senior defenseman.

* San Jose rolled out a slew of new players, including Dalton Prout, Mario Ferraro, Lean Bergmann, and Danil Yurtaykin. Jonny Brodzinski was a healthy scratch.

* Martin Jones finished the evening with 31 saves on 35 shots. Jones play wasn't stellar, but it was a little lopsided given the absence of defense in front of him all night.

* Tomas Nosek nearly decapitated Kevin Labanc in the third period with a high stick that caught the Sharks forward in the throat. Labanc was helped off the ice and did not return.

* Logan Couture and Nate Schmidt ran into each other in a knee-on-knee collision that landed Schmidt in the locker room with a left knee injury.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 1 0 0 1
VGK 2 1 1 4
1st period - 1, VGK, Stone 1 (unassisted), 3:46, (pp). 2, VGK, Smith 1 (Karlsson), 5:21. 3, SJ, Sorensem 1 (Couture, Burns), 12:14.
2nd period - 4, VGK, Glass 1 (Pacioretty, Stone), 2:12.
3rd period - 5, VGK, Smith 2 (Karlsson), 4:00, (sh).
Penalties
1st period - Burns, SJ (tripping), 2:48; Pirri, VGK (hooking), 5:47; Labanc, SJ (hooking), 6:47; Sorensen, SJ (slashing), 9:52; Stastny, VGK (slashing), 9:59.
2nd period - M. Karlsson, SJ (slashing), 6:02; McNabb, VGK (roughing), 13:44.
3rd period - Theodore, VGK (hooking), 3:08; Nosek, VGK (high sticking), 14:59.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 35 31
VGK - Fleury 22 21
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 8 5 9 22
VGK 12 16 7 35
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 5
VGK 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Cody Glass
Riley Smith
Mark Stone
Attendance
T-Mobile Arena - 18,588
Officials
Referees: Joanette, Pochmara. Linesmen: Gibbons, Gawryletz.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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