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Another painful reality
Sharks cough up 3rd period lead, lose with 17.2 ticks left
2/16/2023 - By Mike Lee

The sad sack Sharks just can't help themselves this season. Carrying a 1-0 lead into the 3rd period of their contest with the host Vegas Golden Knights, the Sharks tripped over themselves and coughed up a pair of goals to drop a 2-1 decision at T-Mobile Arena. The game deciding goal was of he gut-punch variety, coming with 17.2 seconds remaining in regulation. San Jose wasted a 36 save gem of a performance by goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen, who gave his teammates plenty of chances to win this one.

They didn't oblige him. In fact, they cost the goaltender a just finish for one of the better netminding performances of the season. Kahkonen stood on his head all night, but a minor league turnover early in the fateful 3rd period and a full scale defensive lapse late in the contest robbed the Finnish backstop from earning his 9th victory of the season.

Kahkonen made 13 of his 36 saves on the penalty kill. The Golden Knights enjoyed 7 power play chances, setting a season high in that category. The Sharks did not allow a power play goal, but it clearly denied the Sharks from mounting much offensive momentum.

San Jose had trouble generating any offensive looks in the opening period, but most of that was self induced. The Sharks spent 6 minutes of the period killing penalties which were all avoidable infractions. They would only generate 4 shots in the period, versus the Golden Knights 13 shots directed at goaltender Kahkonen.

Tomas Hertl continues to struggle, taking a high sticking and tripping penalty in the contest. The latter came midway through the 2nd period, staking the Golden Knights to their 4th power play of the night. The Sharks denied the Vegas special teams, but the Sharks were living dangerously.

San Jose was first to crack the score sheet, when Alexander Barabanov converted his 10th goal of the season at 17:04. Marc-Edouard Vlasic fired a shot on former Sharks goaltender Adin Hill from the left point. Hill made the initial save, but a juicy rebound landed right on Barabanov's stick for the put-back chance that the young Russian lifted home.

Noah Gregor took the Sharks 4th tripping penalty of the night with 1:57 remaining in the period, but the Sharks killed it off, along with the 3 seconds that carried over to the 3rd frame.

The Golden Knights thought they had tied the game after Jacob MacDonald was sent of for holding early in the 3rd period, but Jonathan Marchessault was ruled to have pushed Kahkonen into the net.

The Sharks luck finally ran out 6:22 into the 3rd period when MacDonald coughed up the puck in the Vegas zone, then over-skated the coverage. Jack Eichel sent the puck up ice to Paul Cotter on a 2-on-1 chance that ended with Cotter rifling a shot past Kahkonen.

San Jose decided to go napping at the worst possible time. After losing their 41st face off the game, the Golden Knights worked the puck deep. With only a single defender positioned down low, Chandler Stephenson gathered a Shea Theodore pass on the left side and zipped the puck over to the right post where Will Carrier slammed it home. There wasn't a defender within 15 feet of Carrier, who could have moon-walked the puck into the net.

Game Notes:

* Nico Sturm sustained an apparent arm injury 3 minutes into the game when he attempted to block a shot. The puck hit Sturm in the right arm. He missed the remainder of the period after skating off, but returned early in the 2nd period.

* Alexander Barabanov is 3 points from matching his career high in scoring (39 points). He matched his career high in goals scored tonight (10). Barabanov has 4 goals in his last 6 games.

* San Jose won 22 of 63 faceoffs for a paltry 35% win percentage. Nick Bonino went 6-for-21 (29%) and Logan Couture turned in a 2-for-15 night (13%).

* Sharks head coach David Quinn was clearly agitated with the disparity in penalties called in this game.

* The Sharks now return to the friendly confines of SAP Center where they will play their next 7 games. The Sharks may want to use this opportunity to turn the tables on their home ice performance. They are 5-13-7 on home ice this season.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 1 0 1
VGK 0 0 2 2
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Barabanov 10 (Vlasic, Couture), 17:04.
3rd period - 2, VGK, Cotter 11 (Eichel), 6:23. 3, VGK, Carrier 15 (Stephenson, Theodore), 19:42.
1st period - Ferraro, SJ (tripping), 6:33; Hertl, SJ (high sticking), 9:14; Howden, VGK (cross checking), 14:40; Eyssimont, SJ (tripping), 17:39.
2nd period - Hertl, SJ (tripping), 11:34; Gregor, SJ (tripping), 18:03.
3rd period - MacDonald, SJ (holding), 0:42; Meier, SJ (high sticking), 9:27; Bonino, SJ (10 min misconduct - abuse of officials), 19:42.
Shots Saves
SJ - Kahkonen 38 36
VGK - Hill 27 26
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 4 9 14 27
VGK 14 8 16 38
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 1
VGK 0 of 7
3 Stars of the Game
Will Carrier
Paul Cotter
Kaapo Kahkonen
T-Mobile Arena - 17,544
Referees: #37 Pierre Lambert, #14 Trevor Hanson. Linesmen: #55 Kyle Flemington, #91 Ben O'Quinn.

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