The Sharks returned to the loss column on
Saturday afternoon, dropping a 2-1 decision to the New Jersey Devils at the
Prudential Center. San Jose squandered a chance to extend their lone win streak
of the season, dropping the matinee game. The broken record story of the season
continued to be a bad 2nd period defensively followed by a fruitless 3rd period
sent the Sharks to their 6th loss in 7 games this season.
performers continue to struggle on both the offensive and defensive side of the
puck. The Sharks lone goal came from a third line forward. Timo Meier and Tomas
Hertl aren't scoring and were defensive liabilities on Saturday. Hertl in
particular was flat all game, and impeded his team, rather then generating the
juice they needed to compete.
The Devils book-ended the opening period
with strong play, out-shooting San Jose 10-6. They had the advantage of a pair
of Shark hooking penalties, but San Jose's penalty kill remained perfect
through the first 22 chances they've faced.
Both teams had multiple
scoring chances foiled by the absence of that one key pass to spring the
opportunity. Lots of good defensive coverage by both teams clogged up the
middle of the ice, preventing any breaks or strong odd-man rushes.
Jersey opened the 2nd period with 1:14 of a Tomas Hertl penalty to kill, which
allowed the Devils to jump start the period with more energy than San Jose.
Sustained pressure for the first 5 minutes of the period translated to a 5-2
shot advantage for the Devils.
The most notable shot of the period
came off Miles Wood's stick from just outside the right post. Wood was
undefended and a back door pass seemed destined for the back of the Sharks net,
but goaltender Kaapo Khakonen made the save of the game by shifting to his left
to snuff out Wood's grade-A scoring chance.
The Devils appeared to
convert on a shirt-handed chance at 11:17 of the period, but Nico Hischier was
ruled to have kicked the puck into the Sharks goal.
finally broke the deadlocked game 13:21 into the middle frame after he stripped
Marc-Edouard Vlasic of the puck as the Sharks defender was trying to exit the
Sharks zone. Vlasic made a rookie mistake by trying to carry the puck towards
the middle of the ice, rather than using the left wing boards. Sharangovich did
an about face and deeked Khakonen to the left before pulling the puck to his
backhand and lifting it home for his 1st goal of the season.
Evgeny Svechnikov was sent off for goaltender
interference at 14:29, and the Devils used their 3rd power play of the game to
snap the Sharks penalty-kill streak at 20 stops. Dawson Mercer took a couple of
whacks at the puck from the doorstep, pushing his second chance past Khakonen
for the 2-0 Devils lead.
Kevin Labanc answered just 32 seconds later
when he cranked a shot from the left wing on a Sharks rush. The goal was
Labanc's 1st of the season, and was notable following his benching on Thursday.
The Staten Island native surely had lots of friends and family in attendance
during the Sharks three games in the New York / New Jersey metro area, so the
benching was a stern message to the winger. His response was exactly what the
sharks coaching staff was looking for.
The net net of that 2nd period
was a one-goal deficit in the end. San Jose surrendered 20 shots in the period
for a two period total of 30. Simply too many shots to win.
Hamilton served up one last chance for San Jose when he took a cross checking
penalty with 4:19 left in regulation. The Sharks added to the offensive
presence by pulling Khakonen with 2:40 to play.
They would whiff on
the chance. The inability to move the puck quickly on the man-advantage allowed
the Devils penalty killers to setup and negate any attempts on goal.
* Kevin Labanc and Scott Harrington returned to the
Sharks lineup after being scratched on Thursday. Harrington has not seen the
ice since the season opener in Prague on October 7th. He responded with an
assist on Labanc's 2nd period goal.
* San Jose scratched Jaycob Megna,
Jonah Gadjovich and Noah Gregor. For Gregor, it was his fourth consecutive
* Nick Bonino was injured 5 minutes into the 3rd period when
both he and Kevin Labanc tried to jump and glove a puck floating above them.
Bonino landed awkwardly and was visibly distressed, grabbing his chest as he
limped to the bench and made a bee-line down the tunnel to the dressing room.
* Goaltender Kaapo Khakonen was the best player on the ice for San
Jose. The netminder stopped 35 shots and kept the final deficit from being much
bigger. Khakonen has yet to win a game this season in his three starts, but he
couldn't have done much more to help his team on Saturday.
Lindblom recorded his 100th career point with the secondary assist on Kevin