Those long season opening road trips have
always been a great opportunity for teams to gel. When the roster has seen as
many changes as the Sharks this past off season, the time together has been
almost crucial. Building on their surprising start early in the season, the
Sharks are using their current trip to figure each other out, as well as build
confidence as a team. That confidence was on full display in Ottawa on Thursday
night, as the Sharks rolled to their third consecutive win to start the season
with a 2-1 victory in Ontario.
The Sharks and Senators entered play
tied with the league's best power play, having both converted on 4 of 9 chances
to start the season. The power play would play a major role in the outcome of
the game, as San Jose scored on the man-advantage in a fruitful 2nd period.
The Senators drew first blood when Drake Batherson fired a shot past
goaltender James Reimer at 10:06 of the opening frame. The Senators worked the
puck up the right wing boards to Batherson who skated in on a 2-on-1 chance.
Defenseman Mario Ferraro tried to defend Batherson, but the winger's shot hit
Ferraro's stick deflecting it up and over Reimer's blocker.
appeared to tie the game 2 minutes later after Kevin Labanc snapped a lengthy
shot from the left wing boards, but a challenge by Ottawa confirmed that Nick
Bonino was offside as the Sharks entered the zone.
A penalty to Bonino
late in the period carried over to the start of the 2nd period, but the Sharks
were able to kill it. They would knot the score at 1-1 right before the 2
minute mark of the period when Logan Couture swept home a puck from that left
side. Brent Burns threw the puck on net from the right wing boards, but it
floated through the slot, where Couture had to swipe at it while it was in the
Ottawa staked the Sharks to a pair of power play
chances in the middle period. San Jose did little to pressure Senators
goaltender Matt Murray on their first go at a man advantage. They would not
waste the second. Labanc left no doubt his second attempt at a goal would
stick. The Sharks forward ripped a shot from the left dot, beating Murray for
his 2nd goal of the season. Labanc scored the Sharks 5th goal in Montreal on
The Sharks were tested early in the 3rd period, when a
Zach Sanford shot rang off the crossbar. Things got more contentious for San
Jose when Brent Burns was whistled for interference at 8:58. Tomas Hertl and
Tyler Ennis were already in the box for offsetting minors, but the Burns
infraction setup a brief 4-on-3 for Ottawa. The Sharks were able to withstand
the Senators man-advantage as they clung to their slim lead.
surprisingly, Ottawa out-shot the Sharks 11-4 in the period. San Jose went into
preservation mode, backing up in their own zone and dumping pucks out once they
gained possession. Reimer wasn't tested until the last 4 minutes of play as
Ottawa picked up the pace and skated with a man advantage after pulling Murray
with 48 seconds left in regulation. Game Notes:
Rookie centerman Shane Pinto was injured in the 1st period on a hit by Mario
Ferraro. The young Senator missed the remainder of the period and tried to
return when the teams emerged from the first intermission. He was on the ice
when Logan Couture tied the game at 1-1, but left the game after he couldn't
rotate his shoulder on a play along the side boards.
* William Eklund
became the Sharks first rookie to record points in his first three games since
Tomas Hertl in 2013. Eklund was credited with the secondary assist on Kevin
Labanc's game winning power play goal.
* The win marked the first
victory for Erik Karlsson in Ottawa since he was traded to San Jose in
September of 2018. San Jose lost 6-2 in December of 2018, 5-2 in October of
2019, and they did not travel to Canada in 2020-21.
* Josh Norris, one
of the players that San Jose traded to Ottawa in the Karlsson deal recorded no
points against San Jose. The centerman had 2 shots on goal, and was 11 for 19
in the faceoff circle.
* The Sharks will have a quick turnaround as
they will play in Toronto. The game starts at 6:00pm local time, which means
less than 20 hours between the completion of the Ottawa game and the opening
faceoff against the Maple Leafs.