The cavalry arrived for the Sharks in Colorado
on Saturday night, but they turned out to be more F-Troop than saving grace as
San Jose dropped a 6-2 decision to the host Avalanche at Ball Arena. Mirroring
their start in Winnipeg, the Sharks grabbed an early lead, then someone pulled
the rug out from under them as Colorado would score 4 times before San Jose
could respond. The 7 players who spent the last 6 games on the NHL's COVID
protocol list were a combined -7 and spent most of the night trying to find
Like Thursday's game against the Jets, San Jose gave up
goals in all three periods. Turnovers in the defensive zone haunted the Sharks
all night. When they were able to move the puck into the neutral zone, they
would frequently lose possession. Colorado emerged from a bout with the injury
bug and won for only the 6th time this season, but they did it in resounding
Logan Couture gave the Sharks the early lead with a shot from
the right side boards 3:17 into the contest. Mario Ferraro sent a pass from the
blueline, hitting his captain who was parked between the right circle and the
boards. Couture uncorked a shot that beat Darcy Kuemper for his 6th goal of the
Kevin Labanc took a tripping penalty at 8:30 of the period,
which allowed the Avalanche to tie the game up. Samuel Girard just missed on a
shot that rang off the crossbar, but Devon Toews made the Sharks pay on a blast
from the blueline that beat Adin Hill.
The Sharks got a little
complacent and it would cost them. Nazem Kadri pushed the lead to 2-1 on a goal
from the right side at 13:55. The Avalanche forward took a Valeri Nichushkin
feed from the left wing after slipping past the sharks defense. Radim Simek had
peeled off for a change and nobody in teal covered Kadri who waited out Hill as
he skated across the top of the crease from left to right. He would easily lift
a shot past an outstretched Hill for his 4th goal of the season.
Middleton added to the Sharks woes when he took the third minor penalty of the
period for San Jose. They had little opportunity to establish much offensive
presence because they spent 30% of the period trying to kill penalties. A too
many men penalty with 9 seconds left in the period showcased how out of synch
the Sharks were with the wave of COVID protocol players all returning to the
lineup at once.
The latter penalty would carry over to the 2nd
period, but San Jose was able to kill it unscathed. Nick Merkley and Jasper
Weatherby missed on golden opportunities at the 11 minute mark of the 2nd
period. Merkley got past a defender off the right post, but Kuemper denied the
one-time chance in tight. The puck kicked out to Weatherby in the slot, but his
stick was clipped enough to force his follow up shot wide right.
period unraveled at the 12:38 mark when Alex Newhook scored his 1st NHL goal.
Turnovers burned San Jose, when Samuel Girard and Jayson Megna Helm setup
Newhook with a feed for a one-time chance from the just outside the right post.
Three Shark defenders got caught spectating as the Avalanche moved the puck up
the left wing boards before while Newhook setup all by himself on the off wing.
San Jose snapped a power play dry spell when Newhook was called for
high sticking at 14:54. The Sharks responded by giving up an awful short-handed
goal, when Logan O'Connor took a centering feed from Darren Helm and raced past
a stationary Burns before burying the breakaway chance.
aided the Sharks at 7:46 of the 3rd period when he clipped Mario Ferraro with a
high stick. San Jose used the man advantage to halve the Avalanche lead when
Alexander Barabanov snapped a shot past Kuemper from the lost while traffic
clogged up the front of the net.
Colorado responded immediately when
Andre Burakovsky punched home a rebound from outside the right post after
Girard bounced a blast off Hill from the high slot. The goal came 71 seconds
after Barabanov's tally, pushing the Avalanche lead back to 3 goals.
For some reason, Sharks head coach Bob Boughner pulled Hill with 4 minutes
remaining in the contest. That ended up helping Girard pad his personal stats,
when he bagged an empty net goal at 16:37. Game Notes:
* The Sharks activated the 7 players still on the NHL's COVID protocol list on
Friday. That list included Jacob Middleton, Timo Meier, Marc-Edouard Vlasic,
Radim Simek, Kevin Labanc, Erik Karlsson and Jonathan Dahlen. San Jose returned
Sasha Chmelevski, Joel Kellman, Artemi Kniazev, John Leonard, Jaycob Megnaand
Nicolas Meloche to the San Jose Barracuda on Friday.
* After winning
their first 4 games of the season, the Sharks have gone 3-6-1 following
Saturday night's loss. The
* Tomas Hertl had another poor defensive
game. He finished the contest a -3 and was repeatedly caught watching the play
instead of moving his feet. He was flat-footed on Logan O'Connor's goal and was
on the ice for 4 of Colorado's 6 goals.
* Samuel Girard finished the
night with a 4-point game (1 goal, 3 assists) and Nazem Kadri add 3 points (1
goal, 2 assists). 12 different Avalanche players recorded points in the game.
* San Jose surrendered 19 goals in their first 8 games. They've given
up 10 goals in the last 48 hours.