The Sharks looked like a shell of their former self in the season opener in Las Vegas tonight. Martin Jones initially looked to be all of the worst traits he had last season, letting in two quick back-to-back goals to give the Golden Knights an early lead. Luckily, he turned it around near the end of the period, and by halfway through the second period, was the only thing keeping the Sharks from suffering an absolute embarrassment of a loss.
Not only were the Sharks without Evander Kane for the first of his three-game suspension for abuse of an official, but about an hour before puck drop, Erik Karlsson was pulled from the lineup for “personal reasons,” after participating in morning skate. That left the Sharks scrambling to adjust the lineup, slotting in Tim Heed with newcomer Mario Ferraro.
Speaking of newcomers, the three players making their NHL debuts with the Sharks were impressive, but other (relative) newcomers in Dylan Gambrell and Dalton Prout left much to be desired.
Best case, this is simply Murphy’s Law in action and the tide will turn. Worst case, this is the rest of the year.
At least hockey is back, right?
#SJSharks defenseman Erik Karlsson will be missing tonight's game to attend to a personal matter.— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) October 3, 2019
Who will take our sweet prince’s place?
With Karlsson out, here the Sharks updated d-pairs— Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) October 3, 2019
Mmm, thanks, I hate it.
20:00: LET’S GO
18:40: Sharks with a nice chance up close. Apparently I missed a nasty hit on Tomas Hertl. Not loving that.
16:14: Martin Jones gives up the first goal to Mark Stone on the power play. 1-0, Vegas.
14:39: Now 2-0, Vegas, courtesy of Reilly Smith. Well. I think we all expected this.
14:13: Brandon Pirri called for hooking. Sharks to the power play. What do you call Jaws with no teeth?
13:24: Delayed penalty on Kevin Labanc for hooking Mark Stone. On to 4-on-4.
12:07: Jones with a good save on Jon Merrill, just as their abbreviated power play starts.
11:34: God, I miss Erik Karlsson.
10:59: Labanc with an excellent shot on Marc-Andre Fleury, but no dice.
10:30: Nate Schmidt is down and the trainer is on the ice, jumping over before play stopped. Apparently Logan Couture went to the bench and apologized, but Gerard Gallant is still losing his mind over it. Doesn’t look like there’ll be a penalty on the play.
10:08: Marcus Sorensen gets a penalty for clearly slashing Carrier. Cool. Vegas power play.
10:01: Ahahaha, Paul Stastny slashed Barclay Goodrow and now it’s 4-on-4. Jesus.
9:19: Okay, Jones has had a couple of decent saves.
7:46: Marcus Scorensen,,,, hello,,,,
Right over Fleury’s left shoulder and top corner. What a beauty. 2-1, Vegas.
5:31: Mark Stone is seriously so unreal. I hate having him in this division and not on the Sharks.
4:10: Jones made a save with his mask on Stastny. Ow.
3:20: Ryan Reaves and Barclay Goodrow having a pleasant conversation. Vegas cues “Bad Blood.”
2:11: So much time spent in the Knights’ offensive zone. What a mess.
1:33: The Meier and Couture combo is the only lethal part of the San Jose squad right now.
END FIRST: Golden Knights 2, Sharks 1
The Sharks are getting destroyed in the neutral zone and cannot maintain possession to save their lives. Prout sucks. This is rough to watch.
19:40: Starting out the period with a chance from Timo Meier. Not mad.
18:45: A much better start to the period already. Probably one of the better shifts for the Sharks so far.
17:49: Cody Glass scores his first NHL goal on a shift with Stone and Max Pacioretty. 3-1, Vegas.
16:55: Looks like Vegas is taking the game back. Having some possession was fun while it lasted.
13:58: Melker Karlsson slashes Nick Holden’s stick in half and the Sharks are back on the penalty kill. But how will they kill it without Melker????
12:57: Burns and Jonathan Marchessault pushing and shoving after Jones makes a save.
12:56: It’s official, Nate Schmidt will not be returning. That looked really rough, I hope he’s okay.
11:54: Penalty killed, without Melker Karlsson, somehow.
11:15: I love Mario Ferraro. That’s it, that’s the commentary here, folks.
7:40: My stream went out for a minute, but wow, can Reaves lay off the children???
7:00: A linesman just got flattened, holy shit.
Goodrow just got called “Goodrow, Game 7 Hero,” as he deserves.
6:16: McNabb punched Meier in the face (after two other dirty plays from Vegas) and the Sharks have a power play.
5:14: Jones with another great save. He’s definitely pulled it together after that rough start.
3:22: Really great save on Pacioretty up close
3:04: AND AGAIN, A SAVE ON PACIORETTY. DAMN, JONES.
1:02: A SECOND FROM SORENSEN??? Right off the faceoff.
LOL NOPE of course not, they’re calling it a high stick. No goal.
:53.4: Jones is keeping the Sharks alive, but barely.
END SECOND: Golden Knights 3, Sharks 1
The Sharks looked better, but the Knights are playing dirty and unfortunately, the Sharks are pitting fire against fire. Martin Jones has hit his stride, at least.
20:00: I’m tired. Let’s wrap this up.
19:44: Anyone else remember Vegas has only had five defensemen for this entire game? The Sharks have 13 shots.
18:13: Ferraro and Joe Thornton doing work really does it for me.
17:33: Ferraro seems to be getting a pretty long leash and I couldn’t be happier about that.
16:52: Delayed penalty on Shea Theadore for hooking, but as soon as the whistle is blown, Reaves and Dillon start hitting each other. Cool.
16:27: The top power play unit is almost certainly missing Pavelski, huh?
15:59: Reilly Smith with a shorthanded goal. Gambrell shouldn’t be on special teams, yikes. 4-1, Vegas.
Oh, and Meier is hurt!
11:55: This is miserable, not gonna lie.
10:52: The worst thing is that most of the kids aren’t even the ones looking bad in this game.
10:28: Smith with a five-hole chance. Jones makes the save, but the Knights are keeping it in their zone.
8:46: Oh my god, was that a shot attempt by Prout? Danil Yurtaykin is a god for that set up.
5:01: Holy shit, Labanc was run over by Tomas Nosek and took a stick to the face. He goes down hard. Scary scary.
Nosek gets called for high-sticking. Sharks to the power play, Labanc to the dressing room.
2:55: This power play is absolutely dreadful. Oh, another shorthanded chance? Of course! Now extended time in the defensive zone at the end of a long shift? Even better!
1:03: Dillon is Reaves’ new punching bag. Cool.
FINAL SCORE: Golden Knights 4, Sharks 1
Well that’s one way to end a preseason, huh?
Fresh off the final preseason game that eventually resulted in a three-game suspension for Evander Kane, the San Jose Sharks will once again face the Vegas Golden Knights, seeking retribution. In a truly awful bit of scheduling, these two teams will see each other three times this week, and won’t see each other after December 22. Banking early points against the team widely considered to be the team to beat in the division will be even more critical for the Sharks — who I’m sure would love it if they could just relax about the first two games of the season, but hey, when have things ever been easy for San Jose?
The Kane suspension leaves even more room for the Sharks’ fresh-faced roster to utilize the services of their newcomers. Three players (Danil Yurtaykin, Lean Bergmann and Mario Ferraro) will be making their NHL debut in teal, while two fringe forwards from last year (Dylan Gambrell and Lukas Radil) will also be included on the opening night roster.
As frustrating as the schedule may be, maybe it’s good that the Sharks need to be hot right out of the gate. It’ll build character, or something.
Fun fact from NHL.com: Doug Wilson is one win from tying Conn Smythe (682) for 19th in NHL history. Unlucky for him, Vegas is 3-1-0 against the Sharks at home, and 5-1-2 against them overall in the regular season, so he might have to wait a little bit longer.
Injured reserve: Radim Simek (leg)
Golden Knights (via NHL.com)
Expected Scratches: Jimmy Schuldt
Where to Watch
Puck drop is tonight at 7:30 p.m. Pacific/10:30 p.m. Eastern from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will be broadcast on NBC Sports nationally in the United States, meaning if you use NHLtv, you will have to find another way to catch this game. Radio call will, as always, be on 98.5 KFOX in the Bay Area, or streamable through the Sharks + SAP Center app.