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Game Notes #19: Karlsson Dominant, Sharks Ambush Avs 6-2



Credit: Sheng Peng

Period 1

Minute in, good work by Marleau and Knyzhov to sort out 2-on-1, make it a 2-on-2. Knyzhov took Burakovsky, the pass option; Marleau caught up to Kadri, forcing a shot, still a good chance, but probably released earlier than Kadri would’ve liked.

4 minutes in, initially critical of Karlsson letting that Girard pass to O’Connor through, but it looks like it deflected off Avs’ skate in front into O’Connor’s wheelhouse.

5 minutes in, Gambrell does nice job staying with MacKinnon and Avs in transition. Good defensive awareness, a little subtle interference from Gambrell.

8 minutes in, first sustained San Jose Sharks pressure off Labanc forecheck on Girard. Just smallish Girard, but in general, Labanc has made leaps in this area.

10 minutes in, True’s gotta get that out. That’s a ticket back to AHL.

Good hustle by Labanc to draw Colorado’s first penalty on Toews.

Followed by Kane-Couture-Balcers-Donato-Burns. This unit scored last game but was also responsible for honestly terrible play that led to MacEachern back-breaking short-handed goal.

6 minutes left, great step-up by Vlasic (!!) as Colorado exits, leads to Nichushkin tripping call.

3 minutes in, Rantanen missed a lay-up for him I think. San Jose has hung in there, but feels like we’re just bracing for an Avs’ explosion, that’s talent gap between the teams.

Yup. After two actual very good zone denials at end by San Jose Sharks PK, Girard gets inside move on Vlasic, Jones doesn’t make big stop. Then Marleau has a breakaway (off Girard bobble no less), but no joy.

I thought Sharks hung in there with Avs, per Natural Stat Trick, 11-11 Corsi, 9-8 Scoring Chances, 5-5 High-Danger at 5-on-5. In Colorado last month, Sharks looked in a different league, they’re in this one…so far.

Period 2

Minute in, gorgeous Karlsson set-up to Gambrell, high to low tip.

True tripping, his 4C audition here doesn’t look like it’s going well. By gawd, is that Joel Kellman’s music?

5 minutes in, Donato inches away from hitting Leonard for breakaway after good close-out at point, then a Karlsson spin-o-rama at center ice. Karlsson has looked very sharp tonight.

Good wall play, Meier and Balcers – I’m hard on Balcers, but that small-area work might be why he keeps getting looks on second line, he’s done that with some flourish at this level – then Simek beats the usually conscientious Bellemare from point to slot. Simek score.

Frantic, heroic PK shift there by Ferraro, 9 minutes in.

9 minutes left, MacKinnon goes in video game mode, shakes off a world-class player like Couture as if he were a mosquito.

7 minutes left, stretch pass by Karlsson that misses isn’t huge problem, but it’s Karlsson stepping up to try to close attack. 2-on-1 other way

Beautiful work by Couture-Kane-Labanc – Sharks took advantage of a small Avs defense and line change (Couture stretch pass to Labanc) there. Girard has no chance handling Kane, the big winger toys with Girard before he finds Labanc.

3 minutes left, Karlsson actually does a pretty good job denying Nichushkin in front. Have to re-watch replay, but when it’s big Nichushkin on ground when pass enters blue paint, instead of smaller Karlsson, that’s an upset.

20 seconds left, Ferraro does nice job denying MacKinnon rush.

Per NST, San Jose Sharks continue to hang at 5-on-5 with Avs: COL 25-23 Corsi, SJS 18-17 Scoring Chances, 8-8 High-Danger.

Per SPORTLOGiQ, here’s one thing that Sharks will want to contain in 3rd —  if they can: MacKinnon has five Slot Shots on Net, All Situations, no other Shark has more than one.

Period 3

In a tough season, this Kane-Couture-Labanc line has been a legitimate find. Strong opening shift.

Crafty lead pass by Gambrell to Balcers entering zone. Good offense from a spot where at 2C where Sharks desperately need offense.

5 minutes in, Leonard with back-to-back outstanding net drives.

Fortunate penalty there in some ways for San Jose Sharks: Avs were coming, Sharks were puck-watching on tat last MacKinnon line shift. Then Rantanen takes an interference. Clutch spot for Sharks PP here.

As a hockey fan, I’ve genuinely enjoyed watching Karlsson play tonight. Can’t say I’ve thought that a lot over the past 2 years.

Good work by Nieto up top, dogged puck pursuit, 8 minutes in, gets puck out.

Leonard has just had an expressway down the center lane at Grubauer all period. No Avs there to ticket him. What a goal!

Low-key, Balcers enjoying a 5 points in 4 games stretch right now.

8 minutes left, another brilliant Karlsson play, sucks in Avs forecheck, indirect off boards to Donato.

Not to be outdone, nice, soft lay-up stretch pass from Burns to Meier. This is the vision of the Sharks that Wilson had in off-season. 65/88 going, young forwards contributing.

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