After taking a 5-2 lead into the final period, what seemed to be a dominant performance by the Sharks turned into the most frustrating loss of the year for San Jose, falling to the lowly Ottawa Senators 6-5 in overtime.
It’s been no secret that defense and penalty killing have been the Sharks’ greatest strengths this season, and the penalty kill unit got off to a great start in this one. After some strong PK work and a couple of good saves by Aaron Dell, Logan Couture found Tomas Hertl up the ice with a no-look pass near the end of Ottawa’s first power play. Hertl found himself in alone on Craig Anderson and beat him above the glove to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead. The goal was Hertl’s 11th of the year, and somewhat surprisingly, his first career shorthanded goal in five NHL seasons.
Shorty looks good tonight.— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) January 6, 2018
A couple of minutes later, the Senators erased the deficit, as Mark Stone found the puck behind the net and fed Ryan Dzingel in front, who made a nice move around a helpless Aaron Dell to make the score 1-1.
The Sharks responded just three minutes later when the fourth line (consisting of the recently activated from IR Barclay Goodrow, Jannik Hansen, and Melker Karlsson) stepped out on the ice. Some good offensive zone time led to a blast from Joakim Ryan that deflected off Melker Karlsson and ended up behind a screened Anderson, who had plenty of bodies in front of him. The tally was initially thought to be Ryan’s first NHL goal, but it eventually turned out to be Karlsson’s sixth of the season.
Cutting through traffic like it's in the HOV lane on 101.#SJSharks pic.twitter.com/IIMOp4xlGD— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) January 6, 2018
The Sharks went into the dressing room feeling great at the first break, with a 2-1 lead against the 29th-best scoring team in the league.
In the opening minute of the second period, a trip on Tomas Hertl by Johnny Oduya gave the Sharks their first power play chance of the evening. After testing Anderson a few times, the second power play unit finally cashed in as the final seconds of the man advantage ticked away. Joonas Donskoi weaved his way into the Ottawa zone and was able to put a shot off the pad of Anderson. The rebound found its way to the stick of Chris Tierney, who put the puck top shelf above Anderson’s glove to give the Sharks a 3-1 lead.
The Cobra’s 10th.@tierney71 makes it 3-1 #SJSharks on the Power Play. pic.twitter.com/9eO2GmLMkx— Brodie Brazil (@BrodieNBCS) January 6, 2018
Just minutes later, Ryan Dzingel also found himself in the penalty box after a trip and the Sharks once again went on the man advantage. The Sharks only needed about 20 seconds to score their second power play goal of the night, when a signature Burnzie Blast got through traffic and beat Anderson — you guessed it — to the glove side.
Another Power Play marker.@Burnzie88 makes it 4-1 #SJSharks in Ottawa. pic.twitter.com/OoEbAZtzmt— Brodie Brazil (@BrodieNBCS) January 6, 2018
Barely a minute later after a Marc-Edouard Vlasic penalty, Mark Stone got his second point of the night, beating Aaron Dell short side to make the score 4-2, still in the Sharks’ favor.
Later in the second, after some gritty work behind the Ottawa net, Tomas Hertl tried a wrap-around attempt that caught Anderson by surprise. The puck hit Anderson’s paddle and deflected between his legs to give the Sharks a 5-2 lead with just over six minutes left in the second. The goal was Hertl’s second of the night, and Logan Couture picked up his third assist of the evening.
Not exactly a “shooter's angle”, but @TomasHertl48 gets his 2nd of the night.#SJSharks up 5-2 pic.twitter.com/M6dQt1i8AI— Brodie Brazil (@BrodieNBCS) January 6, 2018
The Sharks confidence should have been high going into the third period with a 5-2 lead, but that’s when the nightmare began. Less than 30 seconds into the third period, Derick Brassard threw a backhand shot to the net from a very wide angle, and somehow the puck went between Aaron Dell’s legs to make the score 5-3. It was a very rare mistake from Dell, who has been extremely sound in net for the Sharks this season, especially with a lead. And just like that, a game that seemed out of reach at second intermission was suddenly a two-goal game with nearly a full period left to play.
Dell would make up for the mistake shortly after, stoning the Senators on four consecutive point-blank chances given up by the Sharks in front of their own goaltender. With eleven minutes left in the period, the struggling Matt Duchene was able to put a loose puck past a scrambling Dell to get the game within one goal. The momentum in the building had completely swung the other direction, and the Sharks found themselves trying to hang on for dear life.
The Senators continued to dominate in the Sharks’ zone, leading the shot count 13-1 halfway through the third period. The Senators completed the comeback just past the halfway point in the third, when Mike Hoffman put a blistering one-timer past the short side of Dell to make it a tie game at five each. With the tying goal, Hoffman notched his third point of the night, while Duchene tallied an assist, marking only his second multi-point game with the Ottawa organization since being traded by the Colorado Avalanche.
After a better effort near the end of the period, the Sharks narrowed the third period shot totals to 17-9 in favor of Ottawa, but still couldn’t find the game winner in regulation. The Sharks would be playing extra hockey (and picking up at least one point in the standings) for the second night in a row.
The Senators immediately found themselves with an odd-man rush after the opening overtime face off, and Mike Hoffman found Matt Duchene backdoor for the game winner. The Sharks squandered a three goal lead in just over twenty minutes and left a critical point on the table in Ottawa.
- Though Aaron Dell gave up a season-high six goals, he made 38 saves, including a couple of very dangerous opportunities in the third period that could have handed the Sharks a regulation loss.
- Tomas Hertl had his first multi-goal game of the season, racking up his 11th and 12th goals of the year.
- This marks the first loss in Sharks history after leading by three or more goals going into the third period.
- The Sharks (21-12-6, 48 points) leave Ontario with two points in two nights, but will feel like they should have gotten all four. The Sharks travel to Manitoba on Sunday to take on the high-flying Winnipeg Jets at noon PT.