The Sharks returned home to open their true
home schedule with a game against the Carolina Hurricanes at SAP Center on
Friday night, but the sad sack hosts played good hosts by gift-wrapping a 2-1
decision for the visitors from the east on a last second goal. San Jose also
welcomed home former defenseman Brent Burns, how was traded to Carolina over
the off-season. San Jose may be going through the curse of the Burnzbino as
they are having issues scoring, and giving up key goal late.
victories don't mean much in the cut-throat world of professional sports, so
the Sharks can take no solace in dropping their third consecutive game to start
the season. San Jose was in the game for 58 minutes against a quality opponent,
mostly due to goaltender James Reimer's effort. The netminder stopped 33 shots,
but his defense let him down at the wrong times.
The opening goal of
the game had more money on the Hurricanes Andrei Svechnikov scoring it, but it
was big brother Evgeny who potted his first in teal 2:12 before the 1st
intermission. The new Sharks forward gathered a Jaycob Megna feed in the high
slot before striding toward the left dot and whipping a shot that slipped
between Carolina goaltender Antti Raanta and the left post. The shot wasn't a
blistering chance, but Raanta either picked it up late or thought it was going
to sail wide. It didn't and the Sharks grabbed the 1-0 lead.
Sharks struggled to generate any offense in the middle period and did not
record a shot on goal for the first 13:28 of the period. That came on a power
play after Jesperi Kotkaniemi was sent off for hooking. It was the Sharks
second man-advantage of the period, but both chance proved fruitless.
That first shot came off a Kevin Labanc one-time chance from the doorstep.
Carolina countered with a chance of their own on the penalty kill, but Sharks
goaltender James Reimer gloved a chance to keep the lead intact.
Carolina out-shot San Jose 17-4 in the period.
The slim lead looked as
if it would stand through the first to periods, but a Labanc turnover just
outside the Sharks blueline cost San Jose late in the period. Andrei Svechnikov
stripped Labanc from behind, then raced up the left side before sliding the
puck to Martin Necas on his right side. Necas swooped in toward the left post
before pulling the puck back and slipping it between Reimer's pads with 22.9
seconds left in the period.
Nico Sturm missed a wide open net 4 minutes into the
3rd period after the Sharks generated one of their few real threats on the
night. Matt Nieto tried forcing the issue on the right wing, but the puck
kicked out to the slot where Sturm was trailing. With Nieto drawing everyone's
attention over to the right half the Hurricanes zone, the net was left
unattended, but Sturm's shot attempt sailed wide left.
Teravainen high sticking penalty at 8:21 was the fifth infraction by Carolina,
but each of them when unpunished by San Jose.
The absence of any punch
on the power play cost the Sharks, who would surrender the game winning goal
with just under 2 minutes left in regulation. Defenseman Brett Pesce fired a
puck to the front of the net from the right point. Sebastian Aho deflected the
puck with his left skate past Reimer to give the goal they needed to tilt San
Aho was in position to score the game winner, after skating past
Erik Karlsson, who was late to cover the elusive forward. It wasn't the only
mistake the Sharks made during the game, but it was the one that mattered the
most. That's a tough pill to swallow when it's not one of the many youngsters
on the team, but the guy making $11 million a year. Game Notes:
* William Eklund's time on the Sharks roster lasted a matter of
hours, as his recall was a cap-space move by the Sharks. He was returned to the
Barracuda earlier in the day, which was purely administrative as the Sharks
prospect played for the Barracuda in their shootout win over the Wild in Iowa.
* The Sharks paid tribute to former defenseman and team scout Bryan
Marchment, who died during the off season. Marchment played 334 games for San
Jose over 6 seasons. He played for 9 teams over 17 NHL seasons.
Brent Burns was greeted with a video tribute before the game. In warm-ups, the
burly defenseman stood in front of the Sharks bench, chatting with members of
the training staff, and his former teammates as they stepped off the ice.
* Defenseman Scott Harrington and left winger Jonah Gadjovich were
scratches for San Jose.
* Five Shark forwards failed to generate a
shot on goal, including captain Logan Couture, who seemed lost as he centered
the second line. A consistently streaky player, Couture is starting the season
in a rut that isn't helping the Sharks offense, which is struggling to generate