Sharks 7, Capitals 6 (OT): Defense optional in D.C.
Hertl hat tricks are better than Ovechkin hat tricks
The Sharks scored first and also last in a game where high-scoring is probably a bit of an understatement. Players from both teams contributed hat tricks to the final 7-6 overtime score with Tomas Hertl cashing in his third for the game winning goal.
Hertl has now scored two hat tricks in the space of a week and has 41 points so far this season. He joins Evander Kane, Erik Karlsson, Timo Meier, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, and Brent Burns as the seventh Shark with 40 or more points.
Joe Pavelski got the Sharks on the board in the first minute, but eight minutes later Alex Ovechkin scored his first of the night. The Caps took the lead less than two minutes later and held it until, quite truly, the very last second. Ovechkin was the last Capital to score, getting the hat trick just under five minutes before Hertl got a power-play goal halfway through the third period. Evander Kane tied the game with less than a second left on the clock.
The Capitals threatened early in the overtime period, but failed to finish.
Despite my saying the game looked more deliberate than last night in Florida, the Sharks didn’t show much of what I’d call organization or cohesion. It was an entertaining game to watch, but not a technically sound game overall.
The good news is, the Sharks carried the pressure most of the way. That’s a sign of good habits on the offensive side, even if it doesn’t look pretty.
On the other hand, the Sharks allowed six goals for the fourth straight game, which is concerning despite the winning outcome.
The Sharks are now off until February 2nd, as the All-Star break leads into the bye week for San Jose.
The San Jose Sharks (28-16-7, 2nd Pacific) hope to take a bite out of the Washington Capitals (27-16-5, 3rd Metropolitan), who have been struggling lately. Insert reference about sharks being drawn to struggling prey here.
The Sharks are trying to shake off last night’s 6-2 loss to the Florida Panthers and end this rough road trip on a good note before the All-Star break and unofficial second half of the season.
Both Vlasic and Karlsson will sit out for the Sharks tonight, Isabelle Khurshudyan reports. Khurshudyan also noted that several scouts are in Capital One Arena, including three from the Western Conference.
Sharks (via nhl.com):
Marcus Sorensen — Joe Thornton — Melker Karlsson
Timo Meier — Logan Couture — Joe Pavelski
Evander Kane — Tomas Hertl — Joonas Donskoi
Lukas Radil — Barclay Goodrow — Kevin Labanc
Radim Simek — Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon — Tim Heed
Marc-Edouard Vlasic — Justin Braun
NHL predicted Dell to start and Vlasic to play, but Khurshudyan says otherwise: Jones is starting in net and Vlasic is still out.
Capitals (via nhl.com):
Alex Ovechkin — Nicklas Backstrom — T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Tom Wilson
Dmitrij Jaskin — Lars Eller — Brett Connolly
Chandler Stephenson — Travis Boyd — Andre Burakovsky
Dmitry Orlov — John Carlson
Michal Kempny — Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik — Jonas Siegenthaler
Where to Watch
TV folks have the following options to catch the game: ESPN+, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS, NBCS-WA, NBCS-CA, NHL.TV. Radio listeners can find the game at 98.5 KFOX. And I’ll have live updates and reactions right here.
19:48: A captain wearing number 8 has scored. Wait, that doesn’t actually narrow it down. Pavelski puts the Sharks up early after the Capitals iced the puck with their first possession.
11:45: Fun facts from the D.C. steam: the Sharks have taken the most shots of any team so far this season, are one of the top teams at scoring first, and have the third-highest goals per game (3.53).
9:40: The Capitals ice the puck again; the Sharks haven’t done it once.
The pace so far has been way different from last night’s game.
9:32: Tim Heed takes a defensive-zone hooking penalty. The Capitals will have a power play.
9:19: The other captain wearing number eight scores. That should have been my bold prediction, dang. Anyway, it’s a 1-1 game.
7:49: Andre Burakovsky uses a Sharks defenseman as a screen and gets a wrist shot into the top corner. 2-1, Caps.
6:14: Not a fan of how Oshie took Meier down leading to this Sharks power play. Hauling a guy down with your stick is one thing, but taking your leg through his skates is pretty cheap.
5:33: Tomas Hertl ties it up on the PP.
4:41: Alex Ovechkin gets the puck to Oshie. Oshie uses his 10-ish feet of ice to pull a deke on Jones. It’s a 3-2 game.
1:14: Meier gets tripped again. Seriously Caps? Sharks power play will end the period and likely start the second period.
End of First Period
Aside from scoring the first goal less than a minute in, the Sharks didn’t look terribly urgent during the period. Hockey isn’t about who scores first, it’s about who scores the most. The Sharks are already halfway to six goals against.
The Sharks’ play looked a lot more deliberate than last night. Hopefully that’s a sign of learning from, and looking to avoid, mistakes, and not a symptom of fatigue.
19:09: Evander Kane takes a shot as he skates on the right side of the goal, the puck does some weird stuff, and Kane puts it in the net when he swings around to the left post. Tied game.
17:07: Kuznetsov reclaims the lead for the Capitals.
16:57: The Sharks have another power play. They’ve scored on one already.
14:19: Alex Ovechkin scores his second goal of the game and gives the Caps a 2-goal lead.
8:15: Sharks have a power play. Not to state the obvious but this is a good chance to close the gap.
7:26: The Sharks’ power play is cancelled by a Brent Burns penalty.
5:21: Good news: the Sharks can score on a 3-on-0. The Caps stepped up just at the wrong moment and the Sharks had three men with open ice; Couture gets the goal.
End of Second Period
Both teams added two goals, so the Caps still have the lead. If the pattern repeats in the third period, I’ll be sad for the goalies and the Sharks will lose. If the Sharks give up even one more, that’s a fourth straight game with six goals against. Win or lose, that isn’t a good streak to have.
So looks like the Sharks’ game plan will be score more goals and don’t allow any. Which should be the game plan all the time. I don’t have much to say about how they can do it; just the generic hockey things of “control the zone” and “don’t make mistakes.”
19:07: Kane takes a penalty early in the period. I thought we established the first minute of the period was for the Sharks to score goals?
17:10: The Capitals put too many men on for the end of the man advantage.
14:08: Alex Ovechkin trips on the puck in the defensive zone, and in revenge...puts it in the Sharks’ net. That’s a hat trick, and six goals on the Sharks for a fourth game in a row.
11:11: John Carlson takes a penalty. The Sharks can still get back in this if they score on this power play.
9:58: Hertl, who scored the Sharks’ power-play goal in the first period (that seems so long ago), gets the Sharks within one. The passing movement was super sharp.
1:37: Jones goes to the bench. Nothing to lose I guess.
0:01: The empty net move paid off at the last possible second. The Sharks will be getting a point out of this.
End of Regulation
The Caps looked like they had the win sealed when Ovechkin summoned the hats. I guess there’s something to be said for the Sharks not quitting, but personally I would prefer a game that didn’t get to 6-6 in the first place.
3:12: Hertl hat trick. Sharks win!
Final: Sharks 7, Capitals 6