So much for Mike Grier's scolding. There's no
doubt that the Sharks were out-classed by Vegas on Friday night, but losing 4-1
to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday was a big step backwards for a team that is
devoid of many positives. The Sharks held the Ducks to a 2-1 lead through 40
minutes, then buckled early in the 3rd to succumb to a team that has been
refocused on a rebuild the last two seasons.
In the end, the Sharks
demonstrated little fight in a crucial 3rd period, which cost San Jose once
again. They continue to give up bushels of shots on their goaltending, but
allowing a team that isn't considered an upper echelon team is something that
the Sharks need to react to.
It's clear that this lineup is comprised
of young developing players and a bunch of placeholders that will likely be
gone as soon as the Sharks are able to actually build a roster that can
This one cannot.
Anaheim drew first blood 4:49 into
the game when Frank Vatrano deflected a Ilya Lyubushkin shot. Lyubushkin sent a
shot in from the point, but Vatrano was positioned about 10 feet in front of
Sharks goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood. Vatron got a stick blade on the wait
high shot, forcing to a downward trajectory and past Blackwood.
Jose countered at 13:04 when Luke Kunin swatted a deflected puck out of the air
for his 2nd goal of the season. William Eklund threw a puck in on net from the
right side and Tomas Hertl gathered it an pumped a shot on John Gibson. The
puck deflected up and over the goaltender but Kunin, who was perched on the
left side of the crease reached in and poked at the puck to punch it home.
An avoidable interference penalty by Nikolai Knyzhov would cost the
Sharks as Anaheim converted on the ensuing power play. It was Vatrano once
again. He tee'd up a one-time slapper from between the right dot and the top
side border of the circle off a Cam Fowler feed.
A series of penalties
between the two teams in the middle of the 2nd period resulted in a great
chance for the Sharks but not in a traditional sense. The Sharks were handed a
breakaway chance after Mikael Granlund stepped out of the penalty box. His
unimpeded attempt on net was a bona fine disaster for San Jose after forward
mishandled the puck.
The middle period would end with the sharks till
trailing by a goal, but it was the shot output by Anaheim that has to be the
biggest concern for San Jose. Anaheim threw 18 shots at Blackwood in the frame,
to go with the 14 they added in the opening period.
The wheels came
off the bus for San Jose early in the 3rd period. Both teams started the period
4-on-4 after Jan Rutta and Ryan Strome were whistled for roughing to end the
2nd period. Fabian Zetterlund was whistled for a careless hooking penalty to
put the Ducks on a 4-on-3 power play. Mason McTavish converted on for the 2nd
power play goal of the night at 1:52.
Blackwood fell victim to some
bad luck less than a minute later when Radko Gudas fired a shot from the right
point that was deflected by Mike Hoffman's stick. The puck lofted high up in
the air, but Blackwood never saw it. The puck floated over the goaltender's
head adn into the Sharks net to make it a 4-1 game.
Both teams would
play chippy hockey the rest of the night, but in the end it was yet another
road loss for a Sharks team that has yet to win on the road in 7 tries.
* The Ducks have been celebrating their
30th anniversary in the league throughout the season, and on Sunday night they
brought in Guy Hebert, Paul Kariya and former Shark Teemu Selanne.
Facing the team with the worst faceoff percentage in the league this season,
the Sharks were losers in that statistic as well. They won 24 of 55 draws
(44%). Mason McTavish won 14 of 19 draws (74%) and Adam Henrique added 9 wins
on 12 draws (75%).
* Alex Killorn, Bo Groulx, and Frank Vatrano had 5
shots each. four other Ducks recorded at least 3 shots on goal. Tomas Hertl led
San Jose with 4 SOGs.
* On top of the 44 shots on goal by Anaheim, San
Jose blocked another 17 shots in the game. Anaheim missed on 16 shot attempts,
which equates to way to many pucks leaving the opponent's sticks.
Sharks radio play-by-play man Dan Rusanowsky missed Sunday night's game to
attend a ceremony in Toronto where he will be presented with the 2023 Foster
Hewitt Memorial Award. The award is presented in recognition of distinguished
members of the radio and television industry who made outstanding contributions
to their profession and the game during their career in hockey broadcasting."
The award comes with a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame.