The less said about the first period of this game, the better. Suffice it to say, the Vancouver Canucks came out flying, firing 22 shots at Martin Jones in the opening frame. The last time the Sharks surrendered this many shots in a single period was December 26, 1992. In the Cow Palace.
The Canucks opened the scoring early with a power play goal from Markus Granlund just 44 seconds into the game. Brent Burns scored a power play goal of his own on a blast from the point at 10:45 of the period. Granlund then scored his second of the night at 14:27. The Sharks were fortunate to only be down 2-1 after twenty minutes.
After the intermission, the Sharks took control of the game to start the second. About eight minutes in, the Sharks were out-shooting Vancouver 8-1, and it felt like they had a good chance of tying the game back up. However, at 11:29 of the second, Justin Braun took a high sticking penalty. On the ensuing power play, Daniel Sedin slid a pass to a wide open Brock Boeser, who snapped the puck past Martin Jones.
After the goal, which was Boeser’s rookie leading 17th, the Canucks carried play for long stretches of the period. Jones was equal to every challenge, making some highlight reel saves against Boeser and Loui Eriksson.
The Sharks cut the lead to one late in the second. Justin Braun and Jannik Hansen had a 2-on-1 break, and Marcus Sorensen banged in the rebound for his first of the year (Side note: Justin Braun is bringing the offense this year).
Justin Braun's benefited from secondary assists (six), but now has the second-most primary, five-on-five assists of his career this season.— Marcus White (@marcuspwhite) December 16, 2017
The third period started out as something of a slog. Lots of checking in the neutral zone. Neither team got much going offensively.
With 14:48 left in the third, Alexander Burmistrov ran Logan Couture. Burmistrov was penalized for interference, but Couture stayed down for a moment. He was helped off the ice and did not return.
The Sharks did not score on the ensuing power play; in fact, they did not even register a shot on net. Halfway through the third, they had only one shot on Jacob Markstrom. With each passing minute, it looked less likely that the Sharks would make up any ground in the standings on the division leading LA Kings, who had lost earlier in the evening.
But Jones kept making saves and the Sharks stayed in the game. At 14:11, Brent Burns launched a shot from the point into a mass of humanity in front of Markstrom. The puck deflected off the skate of Vancouver defender Alex Biega and into the net. Burns’ second of the night tied the game at three, and the Sharks pressed hard for their fourth in the remaining minutes.
It did not come, leading to some free hockey. If during the first intermission, you had told me the Sharks would get this game to overtime, I would have been thrilled.
Martin Jones was the Shark’s best player on the night. Had he not made several key saves, the Sharks almost certainly would not have been able to draw even and send the game to overtime. This is a fine example of Jones’ work this evening:
In the extra frame, the Sharks had plenty of possession and zone time, but were unable to generate many dangerous chances. The Canucks did create a few odd-man rushes that could have ended the game. Jones made some great saves, but in the end, Sam Gagner managed to put the winner in the net in the final minute of OT.
It’s too bad they couldn’t complete the comeback, but getting a point out of this one is probably as much as the Sharks deserved tonight.