Despite outshooting the San Diego Gulls 38-16, the San Jose Barracuda lost last night’s series opener 3-2, and home ice along with it. Tonight at the SAP Center at 7:00 PM, the Barracuda can even the series in Game 2.
The Barracuda looked well on their way to a win last night, when Ryan Carpenter gave San Jose a one-goal lead with just under eight minutes left in the period, thanks to this AHL-leading fifth goal of the postseason.
But just as they had when Joakim Ryan opened the scoring 9:35 into the game, the Gulls would equalize. Just under four minutes after Carpenter’s goal, Nate Guenin tied the game with his first of the postseason, ensuring at least one extra period.
That extra period lasted just 38 seconds, as Kevin Roy sped past a pinching Tim Heed and into the Sharks zone, firing a wrist shot upstairs past a dropped Troy Grosenick to give the Gulls the win.
Grosenick allowed three goals on 16 shots, marking the third time in six postseason games that the Baz Bastien Award winning-netminder has failed to stop more than 90% of the shots he faced. His playoff save percentage stands at .897, much lower than the .926 he posted in the regular season.
The Barracuda will need more from Grosenick, but they will also need to determine a way to score on Jhonas Enroth. For the third time this year dating back to the regular season, Enroth stopped 25 or more Barracuda shots (36 saves last night) and allowed two or less goals.
Enroth faced constant pressure last night, as the Barracuda dictated the pace of the game. San Jose also managed to score on the power play for just the second time this postseason.
If the Barracuda can continue to control play at even strength and improve on the power play, they should be able to send this series back to San Diego knotted up at a game apiece. But if Grosenick continues to struggle, it may not be enough.