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Last minute losers
SJ masters of surrendering last minute goals
12/7/2022 - By Mike Lee

Some things are difficult to explain in hockey. Losing 11 times in 13 tries on home ice is one of the mysteries of San Jose Sharks hockey this season. Allowing opponents to repeatedly score in the last minute of a period is another baffling unexplainable phenomenon that the Shark have mastered. San Jose allowed the visiting Vancouver Canucks to score goals within the final 60 seconds of a period three times on Wednesday night, including the game winning goal with 35 seconds left in overtime, as they fell 6-5 at SAP Center.

The game never should have reached overtime, but cellar-dwelling teams like the Sharks don't get any breaks from on-ice officials. Referee Justin StPierre certainly didn't cut them any slack, as the zebra called the Sharks for a suspect interference penalty, which allowed Vancouver to tie the game late in the 3rd period.

Timo Meier's breakaway chance in overtime should have sent the 11,492 in attendance home happy, but he lost control of the puck at the worst moment. Vancouver scooped up the puck, then raced down ice before Elias Pettersson scored the game winner.

It was a wild back-and-forth game all night. The Canucks have found ways to win as of late and they jumped at the chance in this one. Doing it against a team that seems to make the wrong play more times than not seemed inevitable.

San Jose wasted no time getting on the score sheet, as they scored just 18 seconds into the game. Matt Benning uncorked a shot from the right point, throwing it to a spot out in front. Nick Bonino was parked in the slot and got his stick blade on the puck, redirecting it past Canucks goaltender Spencer Martin.

Dakota Joshua was the benefactor of some timely rebounds, helping the Canucks tie the game, and then take the lead. Joshua was lurking in front of the Sharks net at 4:!5, when Oliver Ekman-Larsson threw the puck to the front of the net from the right end line. Goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen let the puck hit him and kick out to Joshua for the quick put back. Joshua's shot found a seam between Kahkonen and the right post for his 5th of the season.

CJ Suess, making his Sharks debut after being recalled from the Barracuda on Tuesday, was called for holding at the 18 minute mark. Once again, Joshua was in the right place at the right time, sliding home a rebound after a Conor Garland attempt slid over to the left post for the easy deposit. It was the 6th power play goal allowed by San Jose in their last 3 games.

Riley Stillman put the Sharks on the power play at 5:44 of the 2nd period. San Jose responded with a Timo Meier power play goal.

Joshua appeared to record a hat trick on the very next shift but Sharks head coach David Quinn challenged the play for goaltender interference. Replay confirmed the challenge, negating Joshua's goal at the 8 minute mark.

Scott Harrington used his infrequent opportunity with the big club to take a cross checking penalty at 9:22. San Jose would turn the tables on Vancouver when Jaycob Megna intercepted the puck then sent it up ice to a breaking Logan Couture. The sharks captain brushed off a defender and drove to the net, getting a shot off that got caught between Martin's pads, but it flipped on edge and slowly rolled over the goal line for the equalizing short-handed tally.

The Sharks fell asleep in the final minute of the period, surrendering a goal to Vancouver after Ilya Mikheyev slipped past the Sharks defense after the puck was chipped into the San Jose zone. Mikheyev scooped it up and skated in on Kahkonen unimpeded, before slipping the puck between the goaltender's pads with 31.9 ticks left.

Kahkonen's night was done after the first 40 minutes as Quinn elected to insert rookie Eetu Makiniemi in net to start the 3rd period.

Jonah Gadjovich tied the game with his 1st goal of the season 2:45 into the final frame. Ironically, he scored the goal on Martin, who is his brother-in-law. The sharks forward ripped a shot from the right wing boards, beating Martin to the upper left corner of the net.

Kevin Labanc put San Jose in front at 11:28, after the Sharks skated in 3-on-2. Erik Karlsson advanced the puck on the right side, then dropped a pass to the trailing Labanc who wound up and cranked a shot past Martin for his 6th of the season.

San Jose fell victim to some shoddy officiating when Radim Simek was called for a questionable interference penalty at 14:57. The man-advantage aided Vancouver in scoring the equalizer at 16:07, when Andrei Kuzmenko redirected a Quinn Hughes past Makiniemi.

The rest is history as the Canucks would finish things in the overtime frame.

Game Notes:

* The Sharks made a few roster moves over the last couple of days. Nico Sturm made his return from the injured reserve. He missed the last 8 games with an upper body injury. Matt Nieto was placed on injured reserve. The Sharks also waived Evgeny Svechnikov and recalled CJ Suess.

* Logan Couture's short-handed goal was the 1st of the season for San Jose. They were one of three teams without a short-handed goal entering play on Wednesday. It was teh 14th of Couture's career, which ranks 2nd all time for San Jose.

* Alex Stalock and Nolan Schaefer are the only two Sharks goaltender's to win earn their 1st win in a relief role.

* Timo Meier was a team low -3 in the game. Tomas Hertl was also a -2. The pair didn't do much to help the Sharks in this loss.

* Nick Bonino and Luke Kunin combined for 11 of the Sharks 39 shots.


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1 2 3 OT T
VAN 2 2 1 1 6
SJ 1 2 2 0 5
1st period - 1, SJ, Bonino 2 (Benning, Couture), 0:18. 2, VAN, Joshua 5 (Ekman-Larsson, Bear), 4:15. 3, VAN, Joshua 6 (Garland, Ekman-Larsson), 19:35, (pp).
2nd period - 4, VAN, Hoglander 3 (Horvat), 1:34. 5, SJ, Meier 13 (Barabanov, Hertl), 7:27, (pp). 6, SJ, Couture 14 (Megna), 10:53, (sh). 7, VAN, Mikheyev 9 (Myers), 19:28.
3rd period - 8, SJ, Gadjovich 1 (unassisted), 2:45. 9, SJ, Labanc 6 (Karlsson, Hertl), 11:28. 10, VAN, Kuzmenko 13 (Hughes), 16:07, (pp).
Overtime - 11, VAN, Pettersson 13 (unassisted), 4:25.
1st period - Joshua, VAN (fighting major), 7:45; Simek, SJ (fighting major), 7:45; Bench, VAN (too many men), 8:39; Suess, SJ (holding), 18:00.
2nd period - Stillman, VAN (interference), 5:44; Harrington, SJ (cross checking), 9:22.
3rd period - Myers, VAN (tripping), 8:28; Simek, SJ (interference), 14:57.
Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
VAN - Martin 39 34
SJ - Khakonen 19 15
SJ - Makiniemi 8 6
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
VAN 8 11 4 5 28
SJ 10 17 8 4 39
Power Play Conversion
VAN 2 of 3
SJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Elias Pettersson
Logan Couture
Kevin Labanc
SAP Center - 11,492
Referees: #12 Justin StPierre, #3 Chris Schlenker. Linesmen: #79 Kiel Murchison, #52 Shandor Alphonso.

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