In what has become a common refrain this short season, San Jose controlled play for most of the game, but didn’t quite convert shot advantage into goal advantage. Timo Meier scored twice, including the overtime winner, and even had a third marker wiped off the board because he was offside. Erik Karlsson’s stretch pass to Logan Couture became the primary assist to Meier’s first goal — signs the heaven-high ceiling of the all-world defender is starting to shine through.
Though somewhat maligned to start the year, Erik Karlsson has done all season what Erik Karlsson does best: ensure: his team out-shoots and out-chances the other team while feathering 70-foot passes to teammates’ tape. The recently acquired defender helped the Sharks take 19 shots on net while only allowing seven against at 5-on-5 tonight, opening the ice for his teammates to pelter Ducks goalie, John Gibson with pucks. It is unclear what more is expected of the offensive difference-maker, but he seems ready to silence the doubters he seems to have already acquired.
Despite the onslaught, San Jose gave up a goal late in the second period and another in the third to allow the Ducks a shot at overtime. One was after a mistake and a good defensive play by Pontus Aberg and another was a shot that Jones should have had.
In the end, the 4-3 scoreline and game arc represent well the Sharks’ season to date. They’ve outplayed all of their opponents save one, but the team’s record lags a bit behind their dominating play thus far. That’s not a huge surprise, given the Sharks tend to allow a fair amount of dangerous chances against, and that their starting goalie is off to a rough start to the season. If the Sharks can fix one of those items, it should be smooth sailing for the season. If they can fix both, then watch out.
There is probably just one image we need in order to preview this game tonight (which, by the way, begins at 5 p.m. PT.):
The Sharks control around 60 percent of all 5-on-5 shots, while the Ducks are at the opposite end of the league, taking just 41 percent of all shots. That type of shot-differential disparity usually works in teams like the Sharks’ favor. Working against them will be Ducks’ goalie John Gibson’s stellar play. So far this season, the netminder has saved 11 goals above average at 5-on-5 despite only playing in nine games so far. His save percentage is 4.37 percentage point above average, the best mark in the league and the best mark by 0.65 percentage points.
Potentially working against the Sharks could be coach Pete DeBoer’s lineup decisions. Ahead of the Carolina game, the Sharks’ coach chose to play Marc-Edouard Vlasic with Justin Braun and Erik Karlsson with Brenden Dillon, turning what had been two excellent defense pairs into two replacement-level pairs in the process. So far tonight, we know Rourke Chartier should draw back into the fourth-line center position, which should be a benefit to Lose Tiburones.
Tomas Hertl, injured in Carolina, will also play tonight, it appears. San Jose will have to hope he doesn’t aggravate whatever is bothering him.
Last time out, these teams played to a 5-2 Anaheim victory, but the scoreline belies the run of play. In that contest, San Jose controlled nearly 70 percent of all 5-on-5 shots, but came up short due to guess who? John Gibson. Tonight the Sharks will look to continue the barrage they’ve delivered to every opponent save Carolina so far this season and put a few more past the current Vezina frontrunner.
Tonight’s game will be broadcast NBC Sports Bay Area and the radio call will be on 98.5 KFOX. Puck drop is at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET.
Evander Kane - Joe Pavelski - Kevin Labanc
Tomas Hertl - Logan Couture - Timo Meier
Marcus Sorensen - Antti Suomela - Joonas Donskoi
Barclay Goodrow - Rourke Chartier - Melker Karlsson
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Erik Karlsson
Joakim Ryan - Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon - Justin Braun
Martin Jones (-4.47 goals saved below average)
Jakob Silfverberg should return for Anaheim tonight, though with their run of injuries, it’s uncertain how he might slide into their lineup.
They looked like this last time out:
Nick Ritchie - Ryan Getzlaf - Rickard Rakell
Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg (assuming he’ll slot in for Isaac Lundestrom. Though there Lundestrom goes is anyone’s guess)
Ben Street - Adam Henrique - Pontus Aberg
Brian Gibbons - Sam Steel - Kiefer Sherwood
Cam Fowler - Josh Manson
Hampus Lindholm - Brandon Montour
Marcus Pettersson - Luke Schenn
John Gibson (11.05 goals saved above average)
20:00: DeBoer did the weird thing with his defense pairs again. Get ready for a long slog tonight
17:26: Couture scores! Burns shoots, it banks off a Duck, into the end boards and directly to Couture, who sends the puck into an empty net. Really encapsulates two things: outshooting your opponent is good, and goals are random and heavily influenced by luck.
16:32: Kane dangles once, twice around Mountour but can’t get a ton on the shot. Nice process, though.
15:44: Getzlaf to Manson for the equalizer. Sharks had trouble with it in their zone for a while and Manson has a clear path to the slot for a backhand.
11:01: Hertl-Couture-Meier are good, John Gibson just a bit better on a lovely 3-on-2 sequence that adds to the Sharks shot total but doesn’t break the tie.
5:50: Maybe they should pass once or twice on these odd-man rushes
0:00.54: Manson cross checks Timo Meier into the boards, and the Sharks get a late, great, power plate on a silver plate
Zeros: Sharks overcome their galaxy brain-delivered lineup and outshoot the Ducks 32-15 and outchance them 16-8 (numbers from Naturalstattrick.com) at 5v5. Chartier’s insertion back into the fourth line helps them take five shots while allowing just one, good for 83 percent of all shots with that trio on the ice. Burns and Ryan struggled defensively, allowing four scoring chances against.
19:06: Some lovely puck movement on the power play leads to a shot on goal but more of Gibson’s pads swallowing everything
17:47: Rooooourke! Chartier scores his first NHL goal after Hertl goes for a wraparound and the puck bounces right out to the rookie center’s stick.
15:15: Couture sends a nice pass to Meier for a one-time goal. Meier collects his seventh goal of the season.
Not:sure: Erik Karlsson just dangled through the entire Ducks team to set up a few chances. It’s almost like he’s really good.
10:00: 44/65 alert.
9:46: Sigh. Nevermind.
7:15: Jones deals well with another flurry of shots against. He’s having a solid night so far.
6:54: Another goal that shows you the absurdity that typically must precede a goale. Donskoi comes in, whifs/has the puck checked away from him while shooting, a Duck turns to move the puck up ice, and Meier just happens to be right there to bury the errant puck. This is not to take anything away from what Donskoi and Meier did on that play. But it is important to remember how much luck is involved in scoring and allowing goals.
6:54: Nevermind, folks. Meier was just barely offside because his back skate came up despite being behind the blue line. Oh well.
3:01: After some extended zone time, Pontus Aberg scores a bad-angle shot over Jones’ shoulder to bring the score to 3-2 Sharks. That was a team effort there. Sharks skaters couldn’t clear the zone, and then Jones let in a bad goal.
0:00.00: Sharks goal reversed, Ducks goal added, and 3-2 is the score in southern California. When adjusted for score and venue, the Sharks took just south of 62 percent of all shots at 5v5 in the second period, while limiting the Ducks to just three scoring chances. Things are looking good for a strong finish. Chartier continues to lead the team in shot differential, followed closely by the Dillon - Karlsson pair. With Karlsson on the ice at 5v5, the Sharks have taken 14 shots on goal and allowed ... 2.
15:58: Pavs gets his stick up where it doesn’t belong, sending the Sharks’ bad penalty kill to its first test of the evening.
14:01: That was terrifying. The ducks tic-tac-toe the puck all over the offensive zone, but Martin Jones eats the final shot on net with four seconds left in the penalty kill.
11:47: A Martin Jones poke check saves what would have otherwise been a dangerous chances as a puck trickles through Burns’ legs.
11:24: Pontus Aberg dangles Joakim Ryan after Bancer turns it over then pots the puck in an empty net after Jones goes down. Woof.
8:18: Timo just can’t quite catch Burns in his wheelhouse, as they say, and the puck never gets sent toward net again on the power play.
End of Regulation: Weeeell, shoot. The Sharks still take 55 percent of all 5v5 shots in that period, but give up a goal and cant’ quite sneak one more past Gibson. On to the coin flip.
3:50: Two solid chances for San Jose, but nothing doing as Gibson keeps doing his thing.
2:46. Timo Time. Goodnight