Sharks 2, Senators 5: Senators’ third line downs Sharks

Aaron Dell was pulled for the first time in his career.

Allegedly, the San Jose Sharks played a hockey game against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday afternoon. Whatever they did, they lost 5-2.

In all seriousness, the Sharks played an overall boring game for their seventh regulation loss of the season. They even allowed three goals to players with the most boring names: Connor Brown and Nick Paul.

The Senators got the first goal, but the Sharks had a chance to gain momentum when Ottawa took two penalties in about a minute, granting the Sharks an extended man advantage.

Evander Kane tied the game on the 5-on-3, but the Sharks didn’t gain any notable jump from the goal.

The Senators started pushing again in the last ten minutes of the period, and took the lead with 4:33 left. They had their own two-man advantage at the end of the period, which mercifully they didn’t cash in on.

The Sharks held the Senators within one until halfway through the second period, when Nick Paul scored his second goal of the game. Kevin Labanc put the Sharks back within one on a lucky off-the-bench breakaway, but the Sharks wouldn’t score again.

The Senators regained the two-goal lead in the final minute of the period. It didn’t so much all go downhill from there, as the hill got steeper.

Martin Jones started the third period, marking the first time Aaron Dell has been pulled in his career.

Anthony Duclair scored in the final five minutes, burning Brenden Dillon along the right side. Dillon and Erik Karlsson were on the ice for four of the five goals against.

The Sharks had a power play for the final 1:17 and did nothing with it; they didn’t even choose to put an extra attacker on the ice.

The Sharks will play the Boston Bruins on Tuesday to end their road trip.

First Period

Good afternoon, everyone! I’m coming to you from my student paper newsroom for this game.

18:37: Mario Ferraro’s shot gets blocked and could have given the Senators a dangerous breakaway. Luckily, the Sharks caught up before they got too far.

17:35: The Sharks poke the puck away from the Sens at their blue line and jump Logan Couture into the zone.

15:18: Tim Heed and Marcus Sorensen nearly create a tap-in goal for the Sharks. Sorensen shot the puck against the outside of the goal.

13:26: Ottawa scores first. There were three Senators in “home plate” and Connor Brown was unattended.

11:58: Mark Borowiecki squishes Dylan Gambrell’s head against the boards. That’s a penalty.

10:50: Connor Brown takes a tripping penalty and the Sharks take a time-out before their 5-on-3 advantage.

10:30: Evander Kane gets the tap-in goal from the left side of Craig Anderson.

7:24: The Senators start picking up the pressure before a stoppage in play sends us to commercial.

6:52: Joe Thornton and Marcus Sorensen run into each other in the offensive zone.

6:43: Brent Burns collides with Brady Tkachuk at center ice. Burns ends up on the ice and Tkachuk ends up in the penalty box. It’s a tripping call.

5:43: With about a dozen legs in the crease, the puck somehow stays ahead of the goal line.  Ron Hainsey swept it away with his glove.

4:33: 2-1 Senators. Nick Paul rushes the right wing and pulls the puck just out of Erik Karlsson’s reach before taking the shot.

3:03: Brenden Dillon leans into Scott Sabourin as the two turn wide. The refs call it interference. First penalty kill of the night for the Sharks.

2:27: Anthony Duclair slid easily across the middle of the Sharks’ blue line through two defenders. His shot was blocked up, but it wasn’t encouraging to see him enter the zone so easily in the middle of the penalty killers.

1:54: Erik Brannstrom glides through the penalty killers until Tomas Hertl clips his skates. It’s a tripping call on Hertl, sending the Sharks to their own two-man disadvantage.

END FIRST: Sharks 1, Senators 2

Well, the Senators scored twice on only eight shots. That’s not ideal. The Sharks haven’t been that great or exciting.

Second Period

18:51: The Sharks take their third straight penalty of the game. Their penalty kill is strong, but they don’t need to flex it this much.

18:18: Aaron Dell just made a save by doing a barrel roll. Not really sure if it was necessary, but it was fun to watch.

17:48: Brenden Dillon hits Anthony Duclair and cuts him on the nose, while Erik Karlsson is down in the corner. Also, the Sharks had too many men on the ice.

16:57: Tyler Ennis trips Logan Couture, so now both penalty boxes are populated.

15:45: The Sharks icing the puck to start their brief power play is such an accurate summation of their performance so far.

13:34: Marcus Sorensen carries the puck into the zone against four Senators and only generates one (missed) shot from the effort.

9:52: Tim Heed races against a Senator to get the puck in the defensive end, and he does, but he cuts right across Dell’s crease. It would have been very bad if he’d lost it there.

9:01: Erik Karlsson holds onto the puck too long under pressure from two Senators near the red line and gets stripped. The Senators force it the other way and Nick Paul gets his second goal of the game.

6:46: Brent Burns spots Kevin Labanc coming off the bench and springs him in against Craig Anderson. Labanc brings the Sharks within one.

0:50.7: Aaron Dell punches the puck in front of him, where Brady Tkachuk was ready to sweep in for a goal. 4-2 Senators.

END SECOND: Sharks 2, Senators 4

Both teams scored in that period, but the Senators were able to extend their lead to two with a goal in the final minute. The first five minutes or so of the period were weird and I’m at least glad the rest of the period went differently.

Third Period

20:00: Martin Jones is now in goal. Aaron Dell allowed four goals on 22 shots.

15:26: The second too many men on the ice penalty of the game goes against the Senators this time.

7:57: Mario Ferraro hasn’t been on the ice in awhile, he’s hurt.

5:46: Never mind, Ferraro isn’t hurt and is in fact helping the Sharks keep control in the offensive zone.

3:34: Timo Meier tries to flip the puck behind him and between his legs for a goal. It didn’t happen. This really isn’t the time to try fancy moves. Especially if...

3:24: Anthony Duclair gets the puck and powers all the way to the net. He gives the Senators an insurance goal.

1:17: Scott Sabourin takes a roughing penalty. The Sharks will have a power play for the end of the game. If they don’t pull Martin Jones I’ll be shocked.

0:34: They haven’t pulled Jones. Not sure why, because what’s the worst that can happen—they lose by four goals instead of three?

FINAL SCORE: Sharks 2, Senators 5


As of this writing, the San Jose Sharks have collected nine — count them, nine! — points from their first 11 games. Those nine points are good for 11th place in the Western Conference. Luckily for the Sharks, they will play in Ottawa against the fabled Senators team that has won just five points in 10 games.

San Jose’s poor record to begin this season has fallen right in line with the team’s performance at 5-on-5. According to Evolving Hockey, the Sharks have the 11th-worst score- and venue-adjusted shot differential in the league. They give up the third-highest rate of expected goals on defense and produce the third-lowest rate of such chances on offense.

Behind that mess sit goalies Aaron Dell and Martin Jones, they of league-worst goaltending fame last year. This season, Dell’s save percentage is 0.3 percent higher than expected at all situations, a figure worthy of 18th-best among the 62 goaltenders who have played at least 50 minutes this season. Jones’ save percentage, on the other hand, is 1.13 percentage points below expected. In that regard he is firmly in the bottom half of the league, at 37 of 62 netminders.

Going for the Sharks is their power play. At 5-on-4, the team takes the ninth-highest rate of unblocked shots, and they create more expected goals than any team in the league. Their rate of actual 5-on-4 goals isn’t too shabby, either, sitting at a fourth-best league-wide. Unfortunately, the team has shown a propensity so far for taking just as many penalties as they draw. That, and the 10 percent of games they spend on the power play isn’t likely to float them all season.

In short, this team is in big trouble, and it doesn’t seem like either the coaching staff or general management with their lack of budget, know what to do. Tonight, at least, the team will try some different forward line combinations.

The most notable moves are Barclay Goodrow back to fourth-line center and Joe Thornton to third-line wing. Yes, Joe Thornton playing wing.

The first move makes sense. Goodrow played well defensively in his fourth-line center role last season, and defense has been something this team has so far avoided trying to play. Thornton on the wing is a curious alteration, lipstick on a pig most like. The change reaffirms the organization’s commitment to making Dylan Gambrell work, even if they have to manufacture his defensive impact by providing him with responsible linemates.

Beyond the bottom-of-roster shuffle, Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer has swapped Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc. What he expects Logan Couture to do with Patrick Marleau dragging him down is anyone’s guess, but Labanc has thus far been more impressive than Meier at driving shot differential so far, so there’s that at least.

If there is a get-right spot on the schedule, however, it’s tonight. Though the Senators have so far edged the Sharks in 5-on-5 expected goal differential, the Sharks East squad is one of the few teams with a worse shot differential than San Jose’s. They allow the second-highest rate of expected goals against on defense and shouldn’t pose a problem, even for San Jose’s feeble offensive effort so far this season.

The new-look second line of Evander Kane, Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier should produce what offense the team is able to generate tonight, so add them to your fantasy lineups and reap the rewards.



Expected scratches: Lukas Radil (healthy), Trevor Carrick (healthy), Jonny Brodzinski (healthy), Dalton Prout (IR), Jacob Middleton (IR), Radim Simek (IR),

Senators (Projected, via Bruce Garrioch)

Brady Tkachuk — Logan Brown — Anthony Duclair
Vladislav Namestnikov — former Shark Chris Tierney — Tyler Ennis
Nick Paul-Jean — Gabriel Pageau— Connor Brown
Bobby Ryan — J.C. Beaudin — Scott Sabourin

Thomas Chabot — Nikita Zaitsev
Erik Brannstrom — Ron Hainsey
Mark Borowiecki — former Shark Dylan DeMelo

Craig Anderson
Anders Nilsson

Where to watch

This game will begin from Canada Tire Centre at 4 p.m. Pacific / 7 p.m. Eastern. It will be broadcast on SN360, SN1, TVAS and NBCSCA. Streaming is available on NHLtv and ESPN+. The radio broadcast will be, per usual, on 98.5 KFOX in the Bay Area, and available on the NHL app or the Sharks + SAP app.

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