Things started off well with a goal from Alexander Barabanov at 5:13 into the first period. Barabanov drew a penalty shortly after as well, but the Sharks were unable to capitalize. A Sharks penalty 10 minutes in allowed for Joe Pavelski to score his 12th goal of the season, and the Stars’ top line proved just how good they are. A too many men penalty gave another opportunity for Jason Robertson to continue his outstanding season and notch his 25th goal of the season.
San Jose opened scoring again in the second period, tying the game as Oskar Lindblom netted his third goal of the sesaon. This one we’ve heard before, but the Stars answered quickly. Fredrik Olofsson scored his first career NHL goal at 10:45 in the second. The Sharks put just seven shots on goal during the period to the Stars’ 10.
The third period was not nearly as quiet as the second — both teams had the more shots on goal during the third than any other. Two power play opportunities during the third, one at 4:09 and the other at 14:12, were unsuccessful and unfortunately, the latter resulted in a shorthanded goal from Roope Hintz for his 19th of the season. In a late effort to get back in, James Reimer was pulled in favor of an extra attacker, but Esa Lindell was able to net an unassisted goal at 18:47 to seal the deal for the Stars.
Despite moments of brilliance, this is the same struggling team we’ve been watching all season. Here’s to things changing in the new year.
Erik Karlsson, record holder?
Karlsson certainly did the thing. It took just over five minutes for San Jose to open scoring, and Karlsson recorded the secondary assist on Barabanov’s fifth goal of the season. While the play itself was pretty cut and dry, an early goal that tied a franchise record is nothing to complain about. Erik Karlsson is still good.
Barabanov opens up the scoring for the Sharks pic.twitter.com/zilWTCbFLy— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) January 1, 2023
Can Sharks keep up with Stars’ offense?
Not quite. There was hope throughout the first 40 minutes of the game with the early lead, and tying the game briefly during the second period, however, the Stars answered quickly every time a Sharks shot found the back of the net. San Jose played the majority of the game with just a one-goal deficit, something very manageable even for a team struggling as much as this one. Unfortunately, as soon as that deficit grew, the hope for a win faded quickly.
While the Sharks were quiet during the third period, the Stars were able to add two more points to their total, one shorthanded and the other on a cross-rink shot on an empty net with just over one minute left in the game.
Time to reunite Hertl and Meier?
Something certainly isn’t working with the way the lines are right now. Will reuniting Hertl and Meier fix it? Probably not on its own, but the team is certainly not in a place where it can hurt enough to rule it out. The line of Barabanov, Logan Couture and Meier posted a Corsi for percentage (CF%) of 63.3, while Matt Nieto, Tomas Hertl and Kevin Labanc line’s CF% was just 38.9. In the two and a half minutes that Barabanov, Hertl and Meier played together, they controlled their share of unblocked shots and attempts to the tune of 75 CF%. Small sample size, but putting these three together regularly could be good for the Sharks, if just for consistency purposes.
- Finishing and cleaning up rebounds is something the Sharks have seemed to struggle with this season, and Lindblom’s goal is a prime example of how important getting those rebounds can be.
- Olofsson’s first career goal came in just his third game in the league. It also marks his first career game-winning goal.