Matt Nieto scored twice and Kevin Labanc added two points of his own as the Sharks beat the Canucks 3-2 for their third straight preseason overtime win.
Andrey Pedan and Dan Kelly dropped the gloves just 2:08 into the game. Pedan picked up an instigator penalty, and a 10-minute misconduct. The Sharks couldn’t score on their ensuing power play, but Vancouver could. Tuomo Ruutu scored shorthanded with 16:16 left in the first, beating Martin Jones bar down on Vancouver’s second shot of the game.
The Sharks would get another chance on the power play around the midway point of the period. Julius Bergman’s right point shot couldn’t find the net, but Matt Nieto was able to bat the rebound out of mid-air past Ryan Miller to tie the game with 9:35 to go in the first.
Anton Rodin gave the Cancucks the lead just under six minutes later. Brenden Dillon left Rodin alone in front of the net to mark Bo Horvat below the goal line. Rodin buried Horvat’s quick pass, as Melker Karlsson failed to pick up Rodin in front of the net on the backcheck.
The Sharks would tie the game on the power play late in the second period, but after struggling for the most of the second frame with the man advantage. With San Jose already on the power play, Tomas Hertl drew a penalty on a strong move to the net with 4:48 remaining in the period. But, the Sharks squandered the 5-on-3 chance, thanks to a too many men on the ice penalty.
Alex Biega cleared the puck over the glass in his own zone with 1:23 left in the second, and Kevin Labanc tied the game 16 seconds later. Ryan Miller saved Labanc’s first shot off of a give-and-go with Chris Tierney, but he would not be denied on his second effort, jamming the puck past Miller to level the game at 2-2.
Neither team could find twine in the third period, with Vancouver pushing for the winner late in the third period. But for the third straight preseason game, the Sharks would need overtime to decide things.
David Schlemko stopped a Vancouver two-on-one with under two minutes left on the extra frame, stopping the Canucks’ best chance. With under a minute to go, the Sharks caught Vancouver on a bad line change. Nikolay Goldobin received an outlet pass, and dropped it off for Matt Nieto, whose glove side snipe gave the Sharks their third win of the preseason.
- Martin Jones started off slowly, allowing a goal on one of the first two shots he faced. Hard to blame Jones on either goal, although he may want the first one back. Still, he improved as the game went along, and it’s hard to ask for more than a .929 SV%.
- Kevin Labanc also picked up a secondary assist on Nieto’s power play goal with a nice saucer pass, in addition to his second power play goal. DeBoer’s praised Labanc’s offensive ability in camp, and he’s looked good on what’s been a disjointed power play through three preseason games. That ability on the power play could set him apart from the other forwards vying for spots in San Jose. 43 of the Sharks’ 62 power play goals came from the top unit last season, and given the second unit’s struggles, Labanc’s power play acumen just might help him crack the roster.
- Tomas Hertl played very well at center once again. DeBoer said he was the best player on the ice on Friday, and was one of their best players again tonight. He was great with the puck, setting up Joonas Donskoi for a prime scoring chance in the third period, and led the team with BLANK shots on goal. The true sign of DeBoer’s intentions will be how Hertl is used when Thornton, Pavelski, and Couture return to practice. If he stays at center, the Sharks’ depth down the middle will be hard to beat.
- The Sharks have an off day at training camp tomorrow, but are back at Sharks Ice on Tuesday. Mikkel Boedker, Brent Burns, Logan Couture, Joe Thornton, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic could skate with the team for the first time, while Joe Pavelski may participate in his second full practice.
Fear the Fin Three Stars
- Tomas Hertl
- Kevin Labanc
- Martin Jones