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Another rough middle period dooms SJ
Sharks fail to hold a lead for third consecutive game
1/18/21 - By Mike Lee -

This season is going to be hard enough as it is, but if the Sharks refuse to focus on defense, it's going to be a very long season. After imploding against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday, San Jose allowed another horrific 2nd period get the best of them in St Louis on Monday night. The Sharks blew a 2-0 lead, allowing the Blues to score four 2nd period goals before falling with a 3rd period goal 5-4.

In three games this season, the Sharks have blown 2-goal leads. A shootout win on opening night is the only reason the Sharks have recorded any points in the standings with their continued struggles on defense. They missed the playoffs by a wide margin last season because they couldn't stop opposing teams from scoring. Through three games this season, it seems little has changed.

The Sharks fully expected the Blues to start the game on afterburner, after St Louis was crushed 8-0 on Friday night. That's exactly what they got. St Louis out-shot the Sharks 7-2 through the first 10 minutes of the game, but new Sharks goaltender Devyn Dubnyk did a nice job of weathering the storm.

San Jose grabbed a 1-0 lead at 11:38 when Kevin Labanc redirected a Brent Burns shot while perched on the inside of the right circle. Burns was setup on the right point, teeing off on a shot that seemed to handcuff Labanc. The Sharks forward had to lift his stick blade to catch the puck before altering the trajectory on Blues netminder Jordan Binnington.

Oskar Sundqvist took a slashing penalty at 13:47 to setup the Sharks first power play of the game. San Jose converted on a one-time chance by Logan Couture who pumped Tomas Hertl feed from the bottom of the right circle. Hertl slid the puck through the slot from the left side to setup Couture's 1st goal of the season.

The Blues penalty kill has been their Achilles heel early in the season. The Sharks made it a strength in that opening period, stopping both St Louis power play chances.

Like Saturday's game in Glendale, the Sharks played a great opening period, then lapses in attention let the opposition battle back into the game. The Sharks were poised to build on their lead when Justin Faulk was whistled for tripping 29 seconds in the 2nd period, but the Blues turned the tables on San Jose.

St Louis killed the Faulk penalty, then Ivan Barbashev hit the Blues defenseman as he existed the penalty box. Fox took three strides towards the Sharks net, before lifting a shot that beat Dubnyk top shelf.

Mike Hoffman tied the game 93 seconds later when he deflected a Colton Parayko shot from the high slot. Dubnyk was setup to play the initial shot, unable to adjust to the knee-high redirect that found the back of the net.

Ryan O'Reilly put San Jose on their third power play of the game at 11:43 of the period, setting up another man-advantage goal. Burns bagged his 1st tally of the season with a shot from the doorstep after Evander Kane shed a check along the end boards and slid the puck out to the front of the net.

The Sharks lead was short lived. Brayden Schenn bounced a shot off Dubnyk from in tight. Dubnyk made a spectacular save to deny Schenn after stopping a Jordan Kyrou shot, then he just missed gloving the rebound which bounced off the right post and off the Sharks netminder for the 3-3 tie.

St Louis completed the comeback when Faulk scored his second of the period at 19:00.

Couture helped the Sharks even things up again 4:17 into the 3rd period, when he deposited a rebound chance from a sharp angle along the right side end line. Labanc tried to push a shot on net from the right side, but Binnington rejected the chance. Couture was lurking on the right side, staring at a wide open net.

A bad line change would doom the Sharks. While San Jose was trying to get fresh skaters on the ice, Kyrou took a drop pass from Parayko at the top of the right circle before sliding to his left and lifting a shot that found the top right corner of the Sharks net. Dubnyk may have missed the release, because he had an unscreened view of Kyrou but he barely flinched on the shot as is sailed over his left shoulder.

Game Notes:

* Frederik Handemark made his NHL debut for San Jose. The 27 year-old forward, centered the 4th line for San Jose. He was -1 on 11 shifts, logging 9:44 of ice time. The centerman was an even 2-for-4 on faceoffs.

* The Sharks announced that they waived Joel Kellman on Saturday. The forward cleared waivers, allowing the Sharks to assign him to either the taxi-squad or the SJ Barracuda.

* Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns were on the ice for three of the Blues goals. Only one (Faulk's second goal) saw both defensemen on the ice at the same time.

* San Jose was out-shot 33-25 and out-hit 12-8, but they did win the faceoff battle, potting 32 of 59 draws (54%).

* John Leonard and Burns led the Sharks in shots on goal with 4 each.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 2 1 1 4
STL 0 4 1 5
1st period - 1, SJ, Labanc 1 (Burns, Couture), 11:38. 2, SJ, Couture 1 (Hertl, Burns), 14:18, (pp).
2nd period - 3, STL, Faulk 1 (Barbashev, Gunnarsson), 2:36. 4, STL, Hoffman 1 (Parayko, Bozak), 4:09. 5, SJ, Burns 1 (Kane, Hertl), 12:06, (pp). 6, STL, Schwartz 1 (Schenn, Kyrou), 14:17. 7, STL, Faulk 2 (Perron, O'Reilly), 19:00.
3rd period - 8, SJ, Couture 2 (Labanc, Simek), 4:17. 9, STL, Kyrou 2 (Parayko, Krug), 10:28.
1st period - Labanc, SJ (slashing), 8:28; Sundqvist, STL (slashing), 13:47; Gregor, SJ (hooking), 14:28.
2nd period - Faulk, STL (tripping), 0:29; O'Reilly, STL (holding), 11:43.
3rd period - Hertl, SJ (tripping), 1:37.
Shots Saves
SJ - Dubnyk 32 27
STL - Binnington 25 21
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 8 9 8 25
STL 13 12 8 33
Power Play Conversion
SJ 2 of 3
STL 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Justin Faulk
Jordan Kyrou
Logan Couture
Enterprise Center - attendance not available
Referees: McIsaac, Hebert. Linesmen: Alphonso, Murray.

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