SAN JOSE — Ryan Carpenter was in the right place at the right time when he scored his first preseason goal in the Sharks’ 3-2 win over Arizona on Friday night. Justin Braun’s dump-in deflected off of the high glass into the slot, where a Coyotes defenseman lost an edge, before Adam Helewka directed the puck to Carpenter.
“The puck just kind of squirted loose to me and I put it on net,” Carpenter said. “Sometimes you get a goal like that.”
Carpenter was in the right place at the right time later in the game, as the third year pro had to take on a bigger role in the game’s final stretch due to an ill-timed illness. Patrick Marleau missed the third period with what head coach Pete DeBoer described as “a little bit of a bug,” leaving the Sharks’ three remaining centers to pick up the slack.
Tomas Hertl and Tommy Wingels picked up much of Marleau’s ice time, finishing first and sixth among forwards in even strength ice time, respectively. Hertl scored the game-tying goal in the third period in his first game back from the knee injury that ended his postseason and forced him to miss the World Cup of Hockey.
“I thought he was the best player on the ice,” DeBoer said. “I thought he was really good and that’s a good sign.”
Carpenter also rose to the challenge in Marleau’s absence. He finished fourth on the Sharks in 5v5 score-adjusted fenwick, according to Natural Stat Trick. He did so despite starting just over 22% of his shifts in the defensive zone, the lowest mark on the team.
San Jose once again dominated possession at even strength, albeit against inferior level opposition than the Sharks will face when the games become more meaningful. Still, DeBoer said he likes what he’s seen through two preseason games.
“You’ve got to keep in mind the other team’s lineup isn’t their NHL lineup,” DeBoer said. “But I think for both games, we’ve done a good job of [possessing the puck], and we’ve got to keep doing it.”
Carpenter, like the Sharks’ other forwards competing for a roster spot, may get a chance to play a role going forward as well because of a different teammate’s sickness. The Sharks announced before the game that 2015 first round pick Timo Meier would miss any NHL or AHL games over the next four weeks after being diagnosed with mononucleosis.
“It’s unfortunate for [Meier] to put in a summer of work like he did, and show up in the kind of shape he did to get mono,” DeBoer said after the game. “The good news is we know when it is. We know when he’s going to be back. I’m sure he’ll be ready to prove himself as soon as he’s healthy enough to do that.”
Carpenter did not learn about Meier’s diagnosis until after the game. He said he felt bad to see it happen to someone like Meier, and that he’s not focusing on who is or isn’t missing from training camp.
“I’m really just trying not to look at the lineup. There’s a ton of good guys whether they’re returning guys, or even guys that are coming in, like [Kevin] Labanc and [Barclay] Goodrow.
“I can’t control that. I can just try and get better one day at a time.”