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Game Notes #14: Leonard Scores First NHL Goal, Sharks Pull Out Actual Regulation Win 3-2

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First Period

Ferraro gets caught flat-footed, Steel races by him. About to be bailed out by not very good Steel drop pass, but pass hits his skate, past Jones. Will say, Ferraro wasn’t so sharp in last LA contest, if his game goes south too, San Jose in big trouble.

4 minutes in, how does Silfverberg get so open? Bad breakdown from disengaged looking San Jose Sharks.

6 minutes in, good team work between Burns and Ferraro. Ferraro looks in trouble with Anaheim forecheck behind Jones, but he eats puck and waits for Burns to swoop in. Good patience by Ferraro, live to fight another day. Mature decision.

7 minutes in, good forecheck, Balcers on Shattenkirk. Earlier in shift, Claesson and Meloche just hammering point shots. Meloche’s did get through, credit to him, but sans Karlsson, expect a lot of pounding it from the point, not too much dancing along blueline.

Sharks’ first unit PP more traditional look: Burns up top, Couture left flank, Labanc right flank, Hertl high slot, Kane net front. Second time in zone though, they switched positions a little. Then Leonard in on PP2 with Donato, Balcers, Meier, Ferraro. Young guns unit, a lot of speed, great Meier entry, give and go with Leonard, then Leonard smashes his first goal. Re-watching Leonard goal, kudos to Meier, he got a shot off while falling, then kept puck alive behind Gibson while sitting down. Pretty good work from prone positions.

7 minutes left, Ducks forecheck just coming at waves, challenging Ferraro then Burns. As I noted last week, Ducks have ferocious forecheck.

4 minutes left, big save by Jones. Balcers turnover on breakout, Lindholm walks down, Jones, no rebound.

3 minutes left. Sharks a little lucky to be tied. Trouble breaking out, Ducks getting a lot of high-danger chances. You can see Karlsson effect insofar as Sharks have one less guy, even if he’s playing at like 80 percent of his best, to make that little move, hold puck extra second for a clean breakout.

Second Period

Gambrell looking skyward, 2 minutes in, maybe because he didn’t get tip on Ferraro shot (he was wide open in front of Gibson). Offense not coming so far.

5 minutes in, like butter breakout from Couture line and Ferraro as 4th man jumping up. Eventually leads to Labanc getting a bounce, behind the goal line shot pass off Gibson’s shoulder.

6 minutes in, ugly exchanges between Vlasic and Knyzhov lead to icing. Small plays matter.

Gambrell does a nice job covering in NZ for Claesson when the Swedish defender steps up and misses pinch-in. Leads to good cycle for that line, led by Leonard. That kind of work will keep earning that line ice time.

Bad giveaway by Claesson behind Jones, passed it to no one, Lundestorm might not have got all he wanted on shot, but it was a 2-on-0 basically.

Kane, quietly, has had a very effective game on the forecheck. Instrumental on that Couture goal. No assist, but his pressure forced Shattenkirk to let puck go to Getzlaf, who fired a pass up middle to Couture.

6 minutes left, another strong forecheck from Couture line. Much-better San Jose Sharks period led by this group.

5 minutes left, pretty no-look breakout pass from Ferraro to Hertl. Scratch what I said earlier, he’s come back strong tonight after slow start. Not just that maneuver, but ending plays, his forte. Then next time down ice, Labanc does good job staying with Lindholm who has come down from blueline looking for offense and was circling Jones.

2 minutes left, another nice Burns-Ferraro exchange. Good to see chemistry flourishing between those guys. Both going back for puck, one Ducks forechecker. Burns, as usual, lets the Energizer Bunny Ferraro chase, but he picks Silfverberg slightly and gets in good position to be a safety valve. Burns moves it up on opposite side of ice, clean exit.

Per Natural Stat Trick, San Jose Sharks rebounded big at 5-on-5, San Jose 16-5 Scoring Chances, 6-3 High-Danger. Possibly best second period they’ve played this year, since that’s narrative.

Per SPORTLOGiQ, San Jose Sharks haven’t recorded a Scoring Chance Off the Rush tonight. Guess the Meier a la Bobby Orr power play chance didn’t register. But something that they’ll want a little more of, I wager, even if they’ve become less of a rush team than maybe they wanted before camp.

Third Period

Didn’t love Ferraro’s work on first Anaheim goal, but hard to fault him here. Good position, problem started with San Jose unable to establish forecheck or contain Ducks’ rush. That’s on the forward group out there, Hertl line.

Not a good shift for Hertl line: First one this period ended in Ducks goal, now Meier penalty.

Strong PK shift from Kane and Gambrell there in particular. Took up so much of offensive zone with their speed and long stick.

Burns looked a split second slow closing off that Silfverberg chance. That’s split second between tied game, a Norris nom. Jones bailed Sharks out there though. Burns still very, very good, but a little play like that suggests some dilution in game. Maybe reading too much into it, maybe Burns doesn’t get there in 2017 either. But that’s my view, watching accumulation of his work this year. Regardless, putting him with Ferraro should be godsend for him, Ferraro can do a lot of dirty work, free Burns up to do what he does best.

Redemption for Meier, draws a penalty on Shattenkirk. On balance, nice game for him.

5 minutes left, Hertl in fantastic defensive position on potential Ducks 3-on-2.

3 minutes left, another tough blind Balcers breakout pass up middle, meant for Hertl, easily intercepted by Ducks. A player like Balcers, the good (creativity, skill) has to outweigh bad (the details like these). Hasn’t tonight.

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[…] The San Jose Sharks actually pulled out a regulation win as they beat the Anaheim Ducks by a score of 4-2. (San Jose Hockey Now) […]

Alaskan_ice

Solid win.
I have to point out that the second PP unit was great!! Leonard, Ferraro, Meier, Donato and Balcers. I hope they stick with this for a while. Let these kids show their chops.

Go Sharks!!

Jackson Edward

When EK65 gets back I fo sho wanna see… PP1: EK65, Labanc, Cooch, Kaner, Hertl; PP2: Burns, Ferraro, Meier, Donato, Leonard

[…] I touched on all this in my Game Notes. […]

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