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Sharks back in the L column
SJ drops 2-1 decision to Devils
10/22/2022 - By Mike Lee

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.

Top line 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.

New 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.

Yegor Sharangovich 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.

Dougie 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.

Game Notes:

* 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 scratch.

* 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.

* Oskar Lindblom recorded his 100th career point with the secondary assist on Kevin Labanc's goal.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 0 1
NJ 0 2 0 2
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, NJ, Sharangovich 1 (unassisted), 13:21. 2, NJ, Mercer 2 (Hischier, Bratt), 15:43, (pp). 3, SJ, Labanc 1 (Harrington, Lindblom), 16:15.
3rd period - None.
1st period - Nieto, SJ (hooking), 13:41; Hertl, SJ (hooking), 19:14.
2nd period - Smith, NJ (cross checking), 9:30; Svechnikov, SJ (goaltender interference), 14:29.
3rd period - Hamilton, NJ (cross checking), 15:41.
Shots Saves
SJ - Khakonen 37 35
NJ - Blackwood 22 21
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 6 8 8 22
NJ 10 20 7 37
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 2
NJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Yegor Sharangovich
Dawson Mercer
Mackenzie Blackwood
Prudential Center - 11,037
Referees: #13 Furman South, #5 Chris Rooney. Linesmen: #90 Travis Toomey, #83 Matt MacPherson.

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