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The San Jose Sharks couldn’t extend their win streak to three games, losing 5-0 to the Vegas Golden Knights last night.
With Anthony Duclair out with an illness, the Sharks’ lines were rearranged. Filip Zadina moved up to play with Mikael Granlund and Luke Kunin, while Nico Sturm centered Kevin Labanc and Oskar Lindblom (who was recalled for his first NHL action of the season). Mike Hoffman moved down to play with Ryan Carpenter and Givani Smith, while Kaapo Kahkonen got the start.
The Sharks found themselves down pretty much right away, as Alex Pietrangelo drove down towards the net and beat Kaapo Kahkonen with a wraparound to open the scoring. While the Sharks did have a power play a little later, they couldn’t get anything going and then later in the frame, Alec Martinez beat Kahkonen from the point through traffic to extend the lead. It was a pretty tough opening frame, and while the Sharks had a couple chances late in the period, they were still outshot 15-6 and went to intermission down 2-0.
The middle frame didn’t go a whole lot better for San Jose. They were outshot by a 13-6 margin and once again gave up the better chances, despite neither team being able to convert.
The Sharks did end up having a few power play opportunities in the third period, but on the first of them, Calen Addison got beaten down the wing by Jack Eichel, who then set up William Karlsson with a cross-crease pass for a shorthanded goal. Then only two minutes later, Alex Pietrangelo set up Alec Martinez for a shot from point-blank range, and Martinez beat Kahkonen with a perfect shot for his second goal of the game, to make it 4-0.
Vegas wasn’t done there, and midway through the frame, Brett Howden buried the third goal of the period after a turnover from Mikael Granlund. The Golden Knights cruised to the win from there, as the Sharks fell 5-0.
I don’t think anyone was really expecting the Sharks to pick up a third straight win, but it would’ve been nice if they could’ve used the momentum from the two previous victories to get a little more going last night. Even just a goal, or anything they can carry forward.
San Jose had four power play opportunities as well, and really couldn’t get much going.
The top line of William Eklund, Tomas Hertl and Fabian Zetterlund, which had been very good over the two wins, had a tough night. They were outshot 13-4 at 5-on-5 while on the ice together (according to NaturalStatTrick.com), so it wasn't great to see them struggle as much as they did. Still, it seems like there could be something there based on the last couple games, and hopefully the unit is kept together for an opportunity to build chemistry.
In all fairness, the Sharks are still missing half of their top-six group. Logan Couture and Alexander Barabanov remain out, while Anthony Duclair, who’s been much better over the last few games, was unavailable as well.
I do wonder if Danil Gushchin is in the running for a call-up at some point soon. He’s leading the San Jose Barracuda in points by a big margin already, with 13 points in 10 games. Even if it’s only for a couple of games, it would be great to see him get into some NHL games this year.
On another note: Adin Hill continues to remind us how poor of a decision it was to cut him loose after a single season for virtually nothing. He’s now a Stanley Cup Champion, just shut out his former team, and while I’m not sure anyone predicted he’d be as good as he has been with Vegas, it’s ironic that Hill is having the success he is while the Sharks continue to search for a goalie to truly build around.
Regardless, the Sharks were outshot by a huge margin yet again in the loss, having now been outshot 119-57 over their last three games. This time, they weren’t able to win despite it.
San Jose will be back in action tomorrow, when they face the Anaheim Ducks.
OTHER ARTICLES FROM NOVEMBER
- Sharks remain winless after allowing 10 goals in second straight game
- Sharks earn first win of season, acquire Calen Addison from Wild
- Sharks take down Oilers in battle of NHL’s worst