San Jose looked poised to at least force overtime against Ottawa in the team’s only SAP Center meeting this season, but a couple fluky bounces created a one-on-one that the Senators converted on with a minute to go to take a 3-2 lead. The Senators scored on the empty net to shock the Sharks and win 4-2 on Wednesday night.
The Sharks came into tonight's game against the Senators as one of the hottest teams in the NHL (.731 Win Percentage since November 7th) and on four days of rest. The eternal question with hot teams coming back from long breaks remains: Will there be any rust that will affect the hot streak?
The Sharks looked rested in terms of having a step on the Senators early but the rust showed up in terms of their team play. They looked lost and couldn’t mount much of an attack, or a defense for that matter, for the better part of the first period. After rebounding strong and outplaying the Senators for the final two-thirds of the game, the early confusion came back to bite San Jose as they dropped the matchup with Ottawa despite out-shooting their opponents 36-15 and racking up six power play opportunities.
The Sens opened up the scoring early and often. Shortly after a Tommy Wingels tripping penalty, Mark Stone slid a bouncing puck home from short range past a scrambling Martin Jones at 3:12 in the first period. Three minutes and 37 seconds later Ottawa’s uber talented captain, Erik Karlsson, snapped a wrister from between the circles past Jones with the help of a Tom Pyatt screen job.
Despite earning two power plays throughout the first period, the Sharks could only muster one shot on goal during each opportunity. Perhaps their best scoring opportunity came shortly after the second power play began: a pileup in Senators’ goalie Mike Condon's crease resulted in the puck squirting out to Brent Burns who couldn’t squeeze off a solid shot into an unguarded left side of the net.
After assisting on Stone’s first goal and then scoring shortly after Erik Karlsson would take a two point lead over Brent Burns into the first intermission of the battle between the two defensive titans.
36 seconds into the second period the Senators nearly added to their lead but Tom Pyatt’s short-lived goal was immediately waved off due to a high touch before the puck careened over Jones’ shoulder.
The Sharks finally gained some momentum when Logan Couture slid into the middle of the ice and wristed a slick pass from captain Joe Pavelski over Condon’s glove to give the Sharks a power play goal of their own, moving the score to 2-1 and shaving the San Jose deficit to a single goal. Couture didn’t look any worse for the wear after having a screw removed from his ankle over the weekend. Pavelski nearly missed tying the game up after receiving a beautiful cross-neutral zone pass from Brendan Dylan. Pavs glided through the Sens D and attacked Condon’s glove side again beating the glove but not the post behind it.
Ottawa came into the game with the fourth-ranked penalty kill in the NHL and tonight they seemed determined to prove how good they were on the PK as they displayed a commitment to taking every penalty in the book throughout the second period. Dion Phaneuf took an interference penalty with 32 seconds remaining in play to give the Senators their fifth of the game heading into the third.
After killing off Phaneuf’s penalty, Chris Neal racked up his third penalty of the game interfering with Pavelski on a one-timer opportunity at 4:52 into the third and was soon joined by San Jose’s Mikkel Boedker who was called for goaltender interference to create a 4-on-4 situation.
Not to be outdone by his peer, Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns quickly took over the abbreviated 4-on-4 session. Skating the puck around the offensive zone Burns took a shot from the blue line which created a high bounce off of Condon that Burns’ defensive partner Paul Martin corralled and promptly dished right back to Burns who absolutely ripped a wrister from the top of the right faceoff circle to once again beat Condon over his glove to knot the score up at 2-2, giving Burns and Karlsson both a goal in the contest.
The Sharks owned the action until the final two minutes of play when Justin Braun misplayed a puck at his own blue line, allowing the Senators’ Chris Kelly to just get enough off on a shot that floated over Martin Jones’ left shoulder to put Ottawa up for good 3-2. The Sens would add an empty netter to end the scoring for the night at 4-2.
Fear The Fin 3 Stars
- Mike Condon
- Erik Karlsson
- Brent Burns
Honorable Mention: Joe Pavelski