The Sharks came with 8.6 seconds of recording
arguably their best win of the season. Unfortunately, the game is a 60 minute
affair, and they failed to finish off the New Jersey Devils at SAP Center on
Monday afternoon in a special holiday matinee. The Devils threw the kitchen
sink at the Sharks in a closing stages of regulation and bagged the equalizer
at 3-3 with less than 9 seconds on the clock. Neither team could score in
overtime, but the Devils were a lone goal better than San Jose in the shootout
to steal a 4-3 win.
San Jose lost for the 19th time in 23 tries on
home ice this season, which adds to the Sharks woes. After getting shelled by
the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night, the Sharks had something to prove to
themselves. It looked as if they missed the bus at the start but collected
themselves after a strange intermission.
If you blinked at the start
of the game, you missed Ryan Graves putting a puck past James Reimer just 29
seconds into the contest. The Sharks overplayed a puck in the Devils zone off
the opening faceoff. The Devils jumped on a 2-on-1 chance with Erik Karlsson
left back to defend the rush. Nico Hischier was stood up by Karlsson, but he
slid a pass over to the left side, where Graves was cutting. The forward
collected it and snapping a shot past Reimer who has his back to left corner.
San Jose regrouped after the early goal and actually controlled play
for the remainder of the period that was played.
A crack in the dasher
board behind the Sharks goal forced on-ice officials to end the period with
3:59 to play because of the facilities issue. The yellow plate was quickly
replaced, but the teams were forced to the locker rooms early.
regular 15 minute intermission, the teams returned to the ice to finish out the
period. That turned out to be a very good 4 minutes for San Jose.
Meier tied the game at 16:44 when Mikey Eyssimont carried the puck up the slot
and dished it to his left. Devils goaltender Vitek Vanacek setup at the top of
the crease to defense Eyssimont, and was late to cover the left side of the net
where Meier redirected the puck for his 25th goal of the season.
Devils were called for too many men with 70 seconds left in the frame, and San
Jose pounced on the man advantage. Erik Karlsson gathered a Meier feed, then
picked a shooting lane from the high slot and snapped a shot past Vanacek to
give the Sharks the 2-1 lead.
After the horn sounded signifying the
end of the period, the ice was given a dry scrape, and the 2nd period
immediately commenced. A Matt Benning interference penalty was killed by San
The Sharks didn't play poorly in the middle period, although the
shot differential suggested much different story. New Jersey held a 16-6
advantage in shots in the frame, although San Jose had more chances in the last
4 minutes of the period.
The 3rd period started much like the 1st,
with the Devils blitzing Reimer in the opening seconds to score a goal. Nico
Hischier was the trailer on a 3-on-2 break which afforded him an uncontested
shot from the slot that beat Reimer for his 20th of the season.
Hughes took a high sticking penalty at 3:52, which played a part in Nick
Bonino's 6th goal of the season. Bonino gathered an Eyssimont feed as he sat
parked in front of the Devils net, before spinning 270 degrees to his left and
whipping a shot between Vanacek's pads. The goal came 4 seconds after Hughes
penalty had expired, but it essentially came with the mad advantage as Hughes
was unable to help defend.
With time winding down under 5 minutes, the Devils
really put their foot on the gas. They got a little too pumped when they sent 6
skaters out, drawing a too many men penalty with 3:19 remaining in regulation.
The Sharks fell 8.6 short as Jack Hughes converted with an extra
attacker after his shot deflected off Karlsson's stick and past Reimer. It was
an unfitting end for one of the best performances by the Sharks of the season.
Karlsson committed an egregious turnover in the overtime period that
almost ended up in the Sharks net, but Reimer defended a break away chance.
Eyssimont missed on a golden chance at the other end of the rink. At the end of
the extra 5 minute frame, neither team could score.
In the shootout,
Nick Bonino, Logan Couture and Alexander Barabanov all missed on their chances.
Tomas Tatar scored as the Devils first shooter, which is all New Jersey needed
to send San Jose to their 32nd loss of the season. Game
* The Sharks announced they will host a Sharks legends game
on February 24th at Tech CU Arena, which comes the night before Patrick
Marleau's jersey will be retired. Tickets will go on sale to the public on
* Kevin Labanc was scratched in favor of Noah Gregor,
who voiced displeasure with this lack of playing time through the media earlier
this week. Labanc had recorded 7 points in his last 10 games, which made the
timing of the move odd.
* Sharks Equipment Manager Mike Aldrich was
recognized for working his 2000th NHL game. Aldrich has been with the Sharks
for 27 years.
* Erik Karlsson's 1st period goal was his 200th point as
* Timo Meier led all skaters with 8 shots on goal. Jack
Hughes led New Jersey with 7 shots.