With 25 games to play, the Sharks don't have
the luxury of making any mistakes if they're going to pull of a miracle and
make the playoffs. Games against Western Conference opponents are doubly
important. San Jose kicked off an odd 4-game stretch which pits them against
the Los Angeles Kings 3 times. They started with a gritty 4-3 overtime victory
at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Thursday night.
goaltender Zach Sawchenko made 33 saves to earn his first NHL win, out-dueling
Jonathan Quick. After a shaky first half, Sawchenko stopped the final 13 shots
he faced as San Jose chipped away at a 3-1 Kings lead.
San Jose scored
the final 3 goals of the contest after trailing by a pair of goals with 9:20 to
play in the middle period. It was a gutsy showing from a team that has had too
few of those this season.
The Sharks took advantage of a Quinton
Byfield hooking penalty early in the 1st period, when Brent Burns sent a
Howitzer shot from the high slot. The blast converted to Burns 6th goal of the
The Kings responded in a big way. Phillip Danault scored his
17th goal of the season at 5:58, when rookie goaltender Zach Sawchenko tried to
glove a puck that was destined for the right corner. Sawchenko got a piece of
the puck, but it landed to the right of the goal and his stab took him out of
the crease. Danault buried a Trevor Moore pass into the wide open net.
Sawchenko will have nightmares after allowing a long Andreas Athanasiou shot to
slip past him just 8 seconds after Danault's goal. It was an unscreened shot
that just got past him.
The Sharks continued to be in a giving mode in
the middle period. After working with a second man-advantage of the period, San
Jose got sloppy with the puck and it burned them. Danault stripped Jonathan
Dahlen in the Sharks zone as San Jose was trying to exit their own zone. The
Kings forward slid the puck to Trevor Moore, who had Sawchemko dead to rights
out in front of the Sharks goal.
Nick Bonino got the goal back right
before the Sean Durzi's interference penalty expired, scoring at 12:13 of the
Alexander Barabanov snapped a 5 game pointless streak with his
9th goal of the season just 1:21 into the 3rd period. The Sharks forward
gathered a pass from Karlsson out in front before roofing a shot past Quick.
A Blake Lizote holding penalty at 8:19 of the period
setup San Jose's 5th power play of the evening and was ripe to help San Jose
jump back into the lead, but an inability to hang on to the puck prevented any
special teams heroics. Los angeles actually out-shot the Sharks 2-1 during the
power play, including a point blank chance by Adrian Kempe that Sawchenko
snuffed out with a spectacular save.
Tomas Hertl ended the game 1:13
into the overtime, when he raced up the right side, drawing Quick to take the
near side away. In doing that Quick was forced to dive to deny the Sharks
forward. That allowed Hertl to circle around the back of the net and slide his
23rd goal of the season into a wide open net. Game
* Erik Karlsson returned to the lineup after missing 15
games while he recovered from surgery on his left forearm. He had 2 assists on
* Jake Middleton took a shot off a skate late in the 3rd
period. The defenseman hobbled off and limped down the tunnel to the locker
room. Middleton was chipper in the post game interview room, although he did
mention that he would be icing the ankle.
* San Jose also had Jonathan
Dahlen return to the lineup after missing the last 4 games.
Hertl snapped a 12-game stretch without scoring a goal. He finished the evening
with a goal and an assist. Alexander Barabanov and Brent Burns also finished
with a tally and a helper.
* San Jose placed defenseman Radim Simek on
the injured reserve for an undisclosed injury.