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Khakonen plays big in return to net
Sharks take a 5-1 win over Ottawa
11/21/2022 - By Mike Lee

The Sharks needed an opponent like the Ottawa Senators to come to town. After dropping their last two games on home ice, the Sharks squared off with the worst team in the Eastern Conference on Monday night at SAP Center. San Jose scored a trio of 2nd period goals to take a 5-1 win over the Senators. The win was only the 2nd on home ice for San Jose this season and 1st regulation win in their own barn.

Sharks netminder Kaapo Khakonen made 37 saves, including some big stops in the opening period to lead San Jose. The key to the goaltender's big night was his ability to secure the puck and not give up big rebounds.

Noah Gregor made a rare lineup appearance after both Evgeny Svechnikov and Nico Sturm were scratched for upper body ailments. The forward made good use of his ice time early in the game when he scored his 1st goal of the season. Gregor tried lifting a shot past goaltender Cam Talbot, but the puck rang off the crossbar. Luke Kunin would get him the puck back to him where he snapped a shot from the slot to beat goaltender Cam Talbot.

Tim Stutzle evened things up at 13:14 with a shot from the slot after Brady Tkachuk fought off two defenders along the end boards and made the feed out front. Stutzle simply gathered Tkachuk's pass and snapped a wrist shot past Khakonen.

The Finnish goaltender was making his first appearance in net for San Jose since November 10th when the Sharks lost at St Louis.

Both teams would trade tripping penalties later in the period, but nothing would materialize from the infractions. Kevin Labanc's minor carried over into the 2nd period for a brief respite, which partially contributed to the Sharks meager shot output in the opening frame. They would only generate 3 shots in that opening period, compared to Ottawa's 13 shots.

The quality over quantity mantra carried over to the middle frame, where the Sharks would generate a pair of goals early in the period on 4 shots.

Timo Meier bagged his 9th of the year at 1:18 with a shot from the bottom of the left circle that found a gap between Talbot and the left post. Erik Karlsson earned the only assist on the goal as he dished Meier the puck from the end boards.

The head hunting that has resulted in a couple of Shark injuries continued when Mark Kastelic ran rookie Nick Cicek with a hit up high behind the Sharks goal. Cicek took exception to the hit and immediately engaged with Kastelic for his 1st NHL fight.

Matt Nieto was credited with his 4th goal of the season at 4:53 after Matt Benning ripped a shot from the right point that found the back of the net. Nieto was jostling in front of Talbot, and may have touched the shot to get credit for the tally.

Ottawa head coach D.J. Smith was not content with the 3 goals Talbot gave up on only 7 shots, so he inserted Anton Forsberg in net after Nieto's goal.

Travis Hamonic was sent off for tripping at 14:01 and the Sharks would capitalize. Logan Couture ripped a shot from the high slot to beat Forsberg for his 10th of the season. The play was kept alive after Karlsson back skated to retrieve a clearing attempt by the Senators. Couture used a screen by Tomas Hertl to slip the shot past Forsberg and a 4-1 Sharks lead.

Smith pulled Forsberg with 3 minutes to play for the extra attacker. That allowed Logan Couture to score an empty net goal to cap the game's scoring.

Game Notes:

* Nico Sturm was a scratch, likely due to the hit he took on Saturday night in the loss to the New York Rangers. Sturm was hit from behind by former Sharks Ryan Carpenter. The shot crumpled the forward, who had contact with the side boards. The Sharks are still without Radim Simek who is recovering from concussion like symptoms.

* Speaking of Simek, he has now missed 4 games after catching an elbow in the head against Minnesota on November 13th. Oskar Lindblom may be joining him in the infirmary after the forward was caught with a stick up high in the middle period.

* Timo Meier has 9 goals in his last 12 games. Logan Couture has scored 8 points in his last 7 games. Tomas Hertl has 14 points in his last 11 games.

* Meier recorded 9 shots on goal, and has eclipsed the 100 shot mark for the season just 21 games in. Erik Karrlson added 6 shots and Logan Couture recorded 5.

* For as poorly as the Sharks have played they sit a mere 3 points out of a playoff spot. A hot run or two could actually put the Sharks in the playoff picture. Stranger things have happened.


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1 2 3 T
OTT 1 0 0 1
SJ 1 3 1 5
1st period - 1, SJ, Gregor 1 (Kunin, Benning), 6:22. 2, OTT, Stutzle 7 (Tkachuk), 13:14.
2nd period - 3, SJ, Meier 9 (Karlsson), 1:18. 4, SJ, Nieto 4 (Benning), 4:53. 5, SJ, Hertl 5 (Couture, Karlsson), 15:56, (pp).
3rd period - 6, SJ, Couture 10 (Megna), 19:01, (en).
1st period - Zub, OTT (tripping), 15:04; Labanc, SJ (tripping), 18:08.
2nd period - Kastelic, OTT (fighting major), 2:22; Cicek, SJ (fighting major). 2:22; Hamonic, OTT (tripping), 14:01.
3rd period - Karlsson, SJ (slashing), 11:05; Tkachuk, OTT (slashing), 12:48.
Shots Saves
OTT - Talbot 7 4
OTT - Forsberg 23 22
OTT - empty net 1 0
SJ - Khakonen 38 37
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
OTT 13 8 17 38
SJ 3 21 7 31
Power Play Conversion
OTT 0 of 2
SJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Erik Karlsson
Kaapo Khakonen
Logan Couture
SAP Center - 11,295
Referees: #40 Steve Kozari, #10 Kyle Rehman . Linesmen: #95 Jonny Murray, #50 Scott Cherrey .

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