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Sharks 0, Capitals 2: Grubauer stands tall to shut out Sharks

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Another pair of strong goaltending performances ends in a very different result.

Mar 10, 2018; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) and Washington Capitals defenseman Jakub Jerabek (28) collide during the second period at SAP Center at San Jose. Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

If you like goals, it’s been a rough couple of games. After failing to put the puck past Jake Allen on Thursday night until eight minutes into the third period, the Sharks bounced 26 shots off of Phillip Grubauer for a full 60 this afternoon en route to a 2-0 loss to the visiting Washington Capitals. For the first time in eight games, the Caps left a California arena with two points to show for it, souring Sharks general manager Doug Wilson’s 1100th game in that position.

A scoreless first period was defined by a lot of back and forth action. Some good saves by Martin Jones and some very good saves by Grubauer kept fans in their seats, but the Sharks looked like the better team overall, out shooting the Capitals to the tune of 12-6, and leading in shot attempts 19-14. San Jose’s third line of Timo Meier, Chris Tierney, and Kevin Labanc in particular were dangerous, with more than a few dangerous chances over the course of the frame.

After the first intermission, however, a different story started. The Sharks came out flat to start the second, and did not register their second shot on net until 8:33, by which point Washington had recorded 11. The Sharks had a few dangerous chances, but were one-and-done into the Caps’ zone for the most part, while Washington maintained zone pressure for minutes at a time.

Tom Wilson put himself in the box with a dangerous clipping penalty on Evander Kane. It was his second penalty in a game with only two total penalties, and his second for an infraction on Kane. Wilson already led the league in penalty minutes with 160, and his lead is safer after today. The Caps’ penalty kill stood tall, however, and did an excellent job of limiting the Sharks’ looks on net.

Head coach Pete DeBoer did what head coach Pete DeBoer does and moved some forwards around to juice the Sharks’ offense, and Logan Couture finished out the last half of the frame on the top line with Kane and Joe Pavelski. It was less than fruitful, however, as a bullet from Niklas Backstrom put the Capitals up 1-0 at 18:32 of the period from a clean cross ice pass from Brett Connolly.

A 1-0 deficit was pretty lucky for the Sharks after being out shot 12-3 and out attempted 26-14.

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The third period saw DeBoer set his line blender to “fine teal mist,” as Timo Meier, Couture, Tierney, and Couture again all saw time on the top line with Pavelski and Kane. Despite a much better effort than the second, and some strong sustained pressure, the Sharks couldn’t get past Grubauer.

Jones was strong, and had a good game despite the L, including this save on an Alex Ovechkin breakaway:

The Capitals’ patented Trotz-turtle paid off though, and at 18:11, about ten seconds after Jones vacated his net for an extra attacker, Lars Eller launched a shot from the parking lot for his 100th career goal to kill any last vestiges of hope for San Jose.

Notes

  • That Backstrom goal sure looked offside to me:

I wonder what angle the coaches have that we don’t. Keeping in mind that a failed offside challenge results in a power play this year, there have been more than a few instances over the past few years where the angle of a TV camera has combined with the depth of the paint under the ice to make the puck look farther away than it actually is. I’m clutching at straws for the sake of charity here, but I have to assume that the lateral angle from the blue line showed something different, otherwise this is a big oopsie from the replay team.

  • The Blues seem to have let bygones be bygones and done the Sharks a solid this afternoon, starching the Kings to help preserve San Jose’s standings position on a day our boys were ripe for the overtaking. Still, that’s another squandered opportunity to gain ground in the standings when division opponents lose.
  • Is Tomas Hertl playing hurt? He’s looked a little behind for a while now, and has only recorded two points in eight games since coming back from injury.
  • That’s two games in a row where the Sharks have come out flat for the middle frame.
  • From where I’m sitting, this game stood in stark contrast to Thursday’s contest as an example of a low scoring game that can still be entertaining. There was a lot of very good hockey played today, fandom aside.
  • Fandom back: the Capitals just won their first regulation game in San Jose since 1993 and, with Backstrom recording the game winning goal, that lack of an offside challenge looks very ugly.
  • Brent Burns took a puck to the face late in the third period, hopefully there was no serious damage done, but it did not look pretty.