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Kaapo Kahkonen comes up big for Sharks in win over Senators

November 22, 2022, 6:53 PM ET [0 Comments]
Ben Shelley
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The San Jose Sharks ended their brief three-game homestand with a win last night, defeating the Ottawa Senators 5-1.

Nico Sturm was injured and didn’t suit up for the Sharks, while Evgeny Svechnikov was a scratch. As a result, Jonah Gadjovich and Noah Gregor entered into the lineup, while Kaapo Kahkonen got his seventh start of the season.

The first high-end chance of the game came when Noah Gregor had an early breakaway but backhanded a shot right off the crossbar. Just moments later though, Gregor ended up with the puck in front and he beat Cam Tablot, opening the scoring for San Jose. Ottawa ended up controlling a lot of the frame (outshooting San Jose 13-4), and while Kaapo Kahkonen came up with some big saves, Tim Stutzle tied the game later off a pass from Brady Tkachuk in front.

The Sharks took the lead back early in the second period though, with Timo Meier beating Talbot from a bad angle. The Senators ended up having some good chances to tie the game off odd-man rushes afterwards but Kahkonen continued to be key for San Jose. Then only a couple minutes after taking the lead, San Jose made it a 3-1 game as Matt Nieto tipped in a shot from Matt Benning. The Sharks then started to generate more chances to take over the game a bit and with four minutes to go in the frame, Logan Couture’s shot was tipped in by Tomas Hertl, giving San Jose a three-goal lead through two periods.

Ottawa started outplaying the Sharks once again in the final frame, outshooting San Jose 17-7. However, Kahkonen continued to be a difference-maker for San Jose and with just a minute remaining, Logan Couture sent the puck down ice for an empty net goal, securing a 5-1 win for the Sharks.

While the score may indicate a lopsided win for the Sharks, it really doesn’t represent how the game actually played out. San Jose gave up 38 shots in the win and were pretty clearly outplayed in the first and third periods.

That said, Kahkonen put together what was probably his best game of the season, facing a ton of high-danger chances but consistently making key saves for San Jose. After somewhat of an underwhelming start to the season and with high hopes that Kahkonen could be a long-term fit, this was a big game for him.

San Jose’s offense is also turning things around (led in a big way by their top forwards). While they still rank 23rd overall in goals per game, the Sharks have now scored 23 goals over their last six games.

San Jose will be back in action tomorrow, when they face the Seattle Kraken.


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