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Sharks continue to build
Power play continues to pay dividends for SJ
10/21/2021 - By Mike Lee
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.

The Sharks 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 air.

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 Tuesday night.

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.

Not 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.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 2 0 2
OTT 1 0 0 1
1st period - 1, OTT, Batherson 1 (Tkachuk, Zub), 10:06.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Couture 1 (Burns, Meier), 1:58. 3, SJ, Labanc 1 (Karlsson, Eklund), 14:36, (pp).
3rd period - None.
1st period - Simek, SJ (holding), 11:41; Chabot, OTT (interference), 11:59; Bonino, SJ (tripping), 19:37; Ferraro, SJ (boarding), 19:50; Tierney, OTT (roughing), 19:50.
2nd period - Bench, OTT (too many men), 8:16; Paul, OTT (high sticking), 13:38.
3rd period - Hertl, SJ (roughing), 7:13; Ennis, OTT (slashing), 7:13; Burns, SJ (interference), 8:58.
Shots Saves
SJ - Reimer 31 30
OTT - Murray 24 22
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 8 12 4 24
OTT 7 13 11 31
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 3
OTT 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
James Reimer
Drake Batherson
Logan Couture
Canadian Tire Center - 8,994
Referees: Rank, Lambert. Linesmen: Murchison, Brisebois.

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