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Eetu Makiniemi's big night
Rookie goaltender wins in first start for Sharks
12/9/2022 - By Mike Lee

Eetu Makiniemi made his 1st NHL start a memorable one. The rookie goaltender made 23 saves to help propel the Sharks to a 6-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center on Friday night. Makiniemi spelled Kaapo Kahkonen, who is the Sharks number one netminder with James Reimer on the shelf with a lower body injury. After making his NHL debut in a mop-up role for the Sharks on Wednesday night, the Sharks eased Makiniemi into a starting role against an softer opponent in the Ducks.

The youngster played a calm and collected game, never putting himself in tough situations. The Sharks simplified things for their young netminder by scoring a season high 6 goals. They unloaded on a struggling Ducks squad that trailed the inconsistent Sharks by 4 points in the standings at the start of play.

Timo Meier staked the Sharks to the 1-0 lead at 10:18 of the opening period, tapping home a laser of a pass from Erik Karlsson. The Sharks defenseman carried the puck along the right win boards, then snapped a pass to the far post, where Meier was lurking. Meier had slipped quietly behind the Ducks defense and took advantage with his 14th goal of the season.

Things got lively in the middle frame, but if you blinked you may have missed it. The two teams combined for 4 goals in a span of 3 minutes and 18 seconds.

Defenseman Scott Harrington scored his 1st goal as a Shark at 6:19. The Sharks established their offense in the Anaheim zone, cycling the puck around the perimeter before Harrington unloaded from the blueline. His shot hit defenseman Cam Fowler in the shaft of his stick, redirecting the shot past goaltender John Gibson.

Dmitry Kulikov was sent off for hooking Meier at 6:55 of the period, setting up the Sharks 2nd power play of the game. Karlsson converted with a blast from the high slot after Alexander Barabanov fed him the puck from behind the Ducks net. The goal was Karlsson's 12th of the season.

San Jose benefited from a fluke goal 8 seconds later. Off the ensuing faceoff, Matt Benning threw the puck in to the Ducks zone from outside the Anaheim zone. With the puck cycling around the end boards, Gibson tried to collect it behind his own net, but it hit a stanchion and deflected out to the front of the net. Nico Sturm swooped in and chipped it into the empty net for his 7th tally of the season.

Anaheim finally got on the board at the 9:37 mark when Trevor Zegras snapped a shot from the top of the left circle, beating rookie netminder Makiniemi. Zegras used Radim Simek as a screen, firing the shot between the defenseman's skates for his 10th goal of the season.

The Ducks started the 3rd period by making a change in net, inserting Anthony Stolarz between the pipes.

Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins pulled Stolarz with 3:46 to play for the extra attacker. That allowed Nick Bonino to cash in with his 3rd goal of the season on an empty net opportunity.

Steven Lorentz bagged his 3rd of the year 25 seconds later, drawing the ire of the Ducks. Sam Carrick dropped the gloves with Jonah Gadjovich on the ensuing faceoff in a clear sign of frustration.

Makiniemi put a bow on his big night with a pair of nice saves in the final 30 seconds to seal his first career victory. A victory the Sharks sorely needed.

Game Notes:

* Jaycob Megna played against his older brother Jason for the first time in an NHL game. Jason was claimed off waivers by the Ducks earlier in the week.

* Logan Couture may need some work by the training staff after he took a shot off the ankle, which hobbled him in the 3rd period. He left the game for some time, returned to test it out, then left in the final minutes.

* In earning his first NHL victory, Eetu Makiniemi added his name to the Sharks record book, becoming the youngest goaltender to win in his first start. Fellow Fin Miikka Kiprusoff had held the record for 21 years. Makiniemi is 23 years, 234 days old.

* Matt Benning has recorded assists in 3 straight games. Erik Karlsson extended his assists streak to 4 games.

* In a show of force, the Sharks beat the Ducks on the scoreboard, in shots, hits, blocked shot and faceoffs.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 3 2 6
ANA 0 1 0 1
1st period - 1, SJ, Meier 14 (Karlsson, Herlt), 10:18.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Harrington 1 (Labanc, Meier), 6:19. 3, SJ, Karlsson 12 (Barabanov, Hertl), 7:53, (pp). 4, SJ, Sturm 7 (Benning), 8:01. 5, ANA, Zegras 10 (Fowler, Kulikov), 9:37.
3rd period - 6, SJ, Bonino 3 (Benning), 16:!8, (en). 7, SJ, Lorentz 3 (Svechnikov, Barabanov), 16:43.
1st period - Bench, ANA (too many men), 11:20.
2nd period - Kulikov, ANA (hooking), 6:55; Barabanov, SJ (tripping), 14:44; Shattenkirk, ANA (high sticking), 16:59.
3rd period - Zegras, ANA (interference), 2:52; Barabanov, SJ (hooking), 3:28; Harrington, SJ (cross checking), 6:36; Gadjovich, SJ (fighting major), 16:54; Carrick, ANA (fighting major), 16:54; Meier, SJ (roughing), 18:47; Jones, ANA (roughing), 18:47.
Shots Saves
SJ - Makiniemi 14 13
ANA - Gibson 19 15
ANA - Stolarz 8 7
ANA - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 7 12 9 28
ANA 7 7 10 24
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 4
ANA 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Erik Karlsson
Timo Meier
Eetu Makiniemi
Honda Center - 14,487
Referees: #15 Jean Hebert, #49 Reid Anderson. Linesmen: #90 Travis Toomey, #59 Steve Barton.

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