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Caps latest to dole out lesson to Sharks
Ovechkin and Smith combine for 4 goals in 8-3 pounding
3/4/2023 - By Mike Lee

The Sharks lost a bad one on Thursday night when they allowed a 2-0 lead to evaporate against the St Louis Blues. Rather than learn from their errors, the Sharks play almost a carbon copy on Saturday, coughing up another 2-0 lead, once again allowing the opposition to score 4 goals in the 2nd period. This time, the Washington Capitals handed out the lesson of the day, beating San Jose 8-3.

It was another nice start for San Jose, who scored a power play goal 12 minutes in. Sonny Milano was sent off for high sticking and the Sharks capitalized when Erik Karlsson hit Tomas Hertl with a lead pass just outside the Capitals blueline. Hertl carried the puck in on net and put a shot on Darcy Kuemper that was stopped. Hertl kept with the play and punched home a second chance for his first non-empty net goal in 19 games.

Alexander Barabanov double the Sharks lead at 15:30 after chipping home a Logan Couture feed past Kuemper. The Sharks pushed the puck behind the Capitals net when Couture poked as it to move it to the space above the crease where Barabanov was parked. The goal was the young Russian's 13th of the season.

San Jose out-shot Washington 20-5 in the opening frame and it looked like the game would be a route. It was, but not for the Sharks.

The Capitals would score the next 5 goals to gut-punch San Jose. The Sharks held a 27-7 advantage on the shot counter when Dylan Strome hit Craig Smith with a pass on the right wing. Smith carried it up the wing before whipping a shot that beat Kaapo Kahkonen low to the stick side.

Nicola Aube-Kubel would tie the game at 11:30 with another shot from the right side. This time Aube-Kubel carried the puck in tighter on Kahkonen, before sliding a shot between the netminder's pads.

Former Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin gave the Capitals the lead 4 minutes later on a shot from the top of the left circle after Erik Karlsson blew a tire and turned the puck over in the Sharks zone. Washington moved the puck via 4 passes ending with Irwin blasting his 1st goal in 48 games past Kahkonen.

Smith added his 2nd tally of the period with 57.6 seconds left in the frame. The Capitals forward was staged at the top of the crease when Rasmus Sandin tried forcing a shot from the left side. The puck deflected up in the air where Smith punched it home with a cross-checking move. Referee Gord Dwyer immediately waived the goal off citing that Smith punched the puck home with a glove, but a replay review confirmed the goal was scored legitimately.

Things got wackier in the 3rd period. Fueled by his team's poor play and a perceived slight by the referees for missing a pair of blatant calls earlier in the game, Sharks head coach David Quinn was ejected for berating Dwyer after Kevin Labanc was whistled for a clipping infraction.

With Labanc in the penalty box and Quinn on his way to the locker room, TJ Oshie converted 5 seconds into the penalty. After winning the faceoff in the Sharks zone, Sandin moved the puck to Alex Ovechkin on the left dot for a one-time chance that Kahkonen stopped, but the rebound bounced out to Oshie on the left post, who spun 270 degrees to this left and whipped a shot that split the goaltender's pads.

Nico Sturm made it a 5-3 at 9:02 of the period when he ripped a shot from the inside of the left circle after Noah Gregor left a drop pass to him as the two raced in on net.

Any idea of the Sharks mounting a comeback were dispatched 9 seconds after Sturm's goal when Ovechkin scored his 34th goal of the season. The Capitals had just won the faceoff at center ice, when Tom Wilson found Ovechkin streaking up the right wing. Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro turned to the inside as he tried to cover the Capitals captain when he should have pivoted to the outside. That mistake allowed Ovechkin to rip a shot from the right dot that caught the inside of the left post.

Ovechkin added his 2nd tally of the game with just under 4 minutes to play. Rookie Vincent Iorio carried the puck around the back of the net and fed the Russian sniper around the left post. Ovechkin quickly lifted the puck to the upper right corner of the net to narrow the gap between his 815 career NHL goals and Wayne Gretzky's record of 894 tallies.

Strome capped the game's scoring at 17:30 after Steven Lorentz made a bad pass in his own zone. Milano intercepted it and forwarded it to an unguarded Strome in front of the net. At that point it was shooting fish in a barrel.

Game Notes:

* Defenseman Radim Simek was injured in the middle period blocking an Alexander Ovechkin shot. He did not return.

* The Sharks finished their season long 7-game homestand with a 1-5-1 record. They now hit the road for three games that will take them through Winnipeg, Colorado and St Louis.

* Matt Benning, Fabian Zetterlund, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Tomas Hertl, and William Eklund all finished the game with a -3 plus/minus.

* Eklund made his first appearance of the season for the Sharks after being recalled from the Barracuda on Friday. The rookie finished with an assist on 4 shots, and added a hit and blocked shot.

* Erik Karlsson continued his impressive offensive output, by adding a pair of assists. The pushed his total point output to 80. He has 19 games to hit the illustrious 100 point mark.


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1 2 3 T
WAS 0 4 4 8
SJ 2 0 1 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Hertl 16 (Karlsson, Eklund), 12:03, (pp). 2, SJ, Barabanov 13 (Couture, Johnsson), 15:30.
2nd period - 3, WAS, Smith 5 (Strome, Milano), 8:46. 4, WAS, Aube-Kubel 3 (Sheary, Dowd), 11:30. 5, WAS, Irwin 1 (Carlsson, Aube-Kubel), 15:28. 6, WAS, Smith 6 (Sandin, Strome), 19:02.
3rd period - 7, WAS, Oshie 16 (Ovechkin, Sandin), 5:50, (pp). 8, SJ , Sturm 13 (Gregor, Karlsson), 9:02. 9, WAS, Ovechkin 34 (Wilson, Carlsson), 9:11. 10, WAS, Ovechkin 35 (Iorio, Sandin), 16:05. 11, WAS, Strome 4 (Milano), 17:30.
1st period - Hertl, SJ (high sticking), 6:53; Milano, WAS (high sticking), 10:07; Dowd, WAS (high sticking - double minor), 17:22.
2nd period - Aube-Kubel, WAS (slashing), 5:08; Lindblom, SJ (tripping), 12:26.
3rd period - Labanc, SJ (clipping), 5:45; Lindblom, SJ (game misconduct - head coach), 5:45.
Shots Saves
WAS - Kuemper 41 38
SJ - Khakonen 30 22
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
WAS 5 15 10 30
SJ 20 9 12 41
Power Play Conversion
WAS 1 of 3
SJ 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Alexander Ovechkin
Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Matt Irwin
SAP Center - 17,562
Referees: #3 Chris Schlenker, #19 Gord Dwyer. Linesmen: #89 Joe Mahon, #74 Trent Knorr.

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