(photo: Trevor Will / SF Bay)
After enduring a long road trip and the first game at home that ended in a shootout loss against the Florida Panthers, the San Jose Sharks took to home ice again to face the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday – but with a change. The day before, the Sharks traded defenseman Jason Demers to the Dallas Stars for Brendon Dillon and a third-round pick in the 2016 Entry Draft. Dillon was paired with Brent Burns, and it was evident that the pairing was a healthy one with lots of communication on and off the ice. Dillon spoke of his transition to the Sharks:
“I felt pretty good. The coaches did a great job getting me prepared for the game. Quick turn around. The guys are great in the room. Burnzie is really easy to play with. It was great communicating, talking on the bench every play. It felt pretty good.”
With the first period underway, Antoine Vermette and the Coyotes took advantage of a power play opportunity and scored only six minutes into the game. Six minutes thereafter, the Coyotes scored again, leaving the Sharks two in the hole rather quickly. Antti Niemi only faced 7 shots during the first period and two of them went in. For comparison, the Sharks had 4 more shots than the Yotes but were unable to get past Devan Dubnyk. This trend seems to be plaguing them as of late: lots of shots, but low scoring.
In the second, the Sharks got revenge for the PP goal they let get away in the first. Tommy Wingels netted a short-handed goal from Barclay Goodrow, who recorded his second point, and assist, on the season. The rookie was happy to help. “It’s definitely nice to contribute. To play on short-handed opportunities is nice. Just finding ways to make the team be successful is nice.” Wingels and Goodrow seem to be a good pair too, hustling up and down the ice and grinding it out in the corners. After all that work, Wingels’ one and only shot was successful. Sometimes it just happens that way.
Andrew Desjardins got a chance for the Sharks late in the period, and tied up the game before intermission. It’s good to have that kind of momentum and confidence going into the locker room after the period and into the next 20 minutes… but that momentum was halted in the third. Coyotes Captain Shane Doan wristed one past Niemi only 52 seconds into the third period. However, the Sharks were able to tie things up on a power play almost halfway into the third, a deflection by Joe Pavelski from Burns. That was Pavelski’s 200th NHL career goal, and only the third player in franchise history to score 200 in teal.
The game headed into overtime, and it was the first time this season at SAP Center to not have the dry scrape in between the third and overtime periods.
After about a minute into overtime, the Sharks caught a break and went on a 4-on-3 power play but to no avail. Overall in overtime, the Sharks had 5 total shots, 2 of them on the power play, and all unsuccessful; the Yotes had 6 total shots, also all unsuccessful.
So it happened again: another shootout for two consecutive games at home.
For the Sharks: Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Barclay Goodrow
Vermette was the only successful shooter. Final score, 4-3, and the Sharks, yet again, had bad luck at home in the shootout. These one-goal games are hurting the Sharks, unable to get only one point instead of the valuable two, and could be their demise in the Pacific Division if this trend keeps up.