The NHL held their inaugural "Frozen Frenzy"
night, with all 32 teams playing games that were stagger started over a 5 hour
span. The Sharks played in the second game of their current 5-game road trip
with a stop at Amerant Bank Arena to take on the Florida Panthers. The game
started at 7:45pm in Florida, but even the odd start time would shake the
Sharks out of their season starting funk. The Panthers denied San Jose their
first win of the season by knocking off the visitors 3-1.
20 minutes looked similar to a number of the games the Sharks have played so
far this season. Not a bad period, with the puck largely being controlled by
the opposition, which netted a deficit on the shot counter 15-9. The important
distinction in the period was that San Jose made it to the 1st intermission
without surrendering a goal.
The defense played relatively efficiently
and goaltender MacKenzine Blackwood didn't give up second change opportunities
with the bigger Panthers lineup.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson was called for
holding at 6:35 of the 2nd period and San Jose used the advantage to put the
first goal of the game on the board. William Eklund carried the puck along the
end boards out of the left corner then sent a blind pass from behind the left
post as he continued on to the right side. Fabian Zetterlund then punched home
one of the easiest goals he'll ever score, shooting into a wide open net from 8
The disparity in skill showed itself off the ensuing
faceoff. Florida won the draw, gained the Sharks zone then scored when Carter
Verhaeghe pumped a shot past Blackwood from 15 feet out. Mathew Tkachuk fed
Verhaeghe from behind the Sharks net to tie the game at 1-1. Tomas Hertl was
sent off for lofting a puck over the glass at 14:03, then Kyle Burroughs was
called for tripping on a clean hit at center ice. The referees tried to cover
their tracks by calling Verhaeghe for hooking 4 seconds later, but the 4-on-3
situation opened up the ice for the Panthers who would score on the power play.
Sam Reinhart forced a shot through Blackwood on that power play to
make it a 2-1 Florida lead.
The Sharks Would finally outshoot an opponent in a
period, but getting the puck over the goal line was an entirely different
matter. San Jose was still hard pressed to maintain much offensive zone time in
the final frame, and a hooking penalty to Eetu Luostarinen with 4:10 remaining
in regulation appeared to be the crack that might help San Jose equalize.
Sharks head coach David Quinn felt it was the last opportunity, so he
pulled Blackwood in favor of a 6-on-4 situation. William Eklund started things
off by trying to skate the puck into the Florida zone but was quickly denied.
That play would set the tone as San Jose never pressured Panthers goaltender
Anthony Stolarz who finished the game with 27 saves to earn the victory.
Kevin Stenlund was credited with an empty net goal with 1.2 seconds
left in the contest after Mathew Tkachuk sent a puck to the Sharks goal.
* Jan Rutta made his 300th career NHL start
and suffered an injury midway through the 1st period, after he blocked a shot
by Dmitry Kulikov. He would return to start the 2nd period.
Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic was a healthy scratch. The veteran was a injury
scratch on October 17th in the Sharks 6-3 loss to Carolina.
Defensemen Kyle Burroughs and Nikolai Knyzhov were the only Shark skaters not
to record at least 1 shot on goal. Fabian Zetterlund led all Sharks with 4 of
San Jose's 28 shots. Burroughs did block 6 shots in the game.
Sharks finished 31 of 50 from the faceoff circle for a 62% win rate. Nico Sturm
was 12 of 17 (71%) and Tomas Hertl was 11 of 16 (69%).
Blackwood is averaging 40.2 shots per 60 minutes of ice time, which ranks 2nd
in the NHL behind only Petr Mrazek who is averaging 40.7 (for goaltenders who
have appeared in at least 3 games).