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Game Notes #24: Hertl Returns, Sharks Roast Ducks 6-0



Credit: Sheng Peng

Period 1

ANAHEIM, Calif. – 6 minutes in, good first step by Karlsson on receiving Meier pass draws penalty. Honestly, that’s not a penalty that too many players in the world would’ve drawn, that’s from Karlsson’s explosive, revived first step.

Followed by Meier-Hertl-Leonard-Marleau-Burns. I liked Labanc’s work on that PP shift, savvy puck distribution led to Couture post. Then good Burns hesitation up top, pass to Hertl, one-timer. Everybody expects Burns to shoot, good to play against type every once in a while.

8 minutes in, that Karlsson indirect pass off boards to Couture in NZ was magnificent.

10 minutes in, another Meier pass up middle on breakout intercepted. Details.

It’s like it was staged: Gabriel creams Larsson in corner, right in front of Deslauriers. What’s Deslauriers going to do?

I’m scoring it 10-9 Deslauriers.

One pass too many on first Ducks PP from…checks…Lettieri? Wow, okay, this isn’t a deep Ducks team.

San Jose Sharks kind of lost their way after Hertl goal. Need to re-assert themselves on breakout and forecheck. Can’t have let-down because of weaker opponent, they can’t afford it.

Period 2

Aimless opening shift by Burns: Misses Ferraro on return pass in DZ. Then loses track of Comtois in front. But then, Ducks lose track of Kane, Burns gets an assist from a cross-slot pass that will make Eakins tear out his hair. That was Hakanpaa defending Kane. Hockey is a funny sport.

8 minutes in, good backcheck by Gambrell to keep puck in NZ.

10 minutes in, good job by Labanc to stand up Rakell (I think) in NZ, turn puck back. Maybe San Jose Sharks’ details improving.

9 minutes left, looks like Knyzhov misses fairly easy breakout pass to Meier. Tough game for rook.

A thought about Marleau: A lot of criticism of his play this year, some warranted. But worth noting that it’s not his fault he was miscast as a center this year. I can see San Jose argument that he might be essentially team’s fourth-best center when healthy, after Couture, Hertl, and Gambrell – when he should be playing easier minutes on the wing. It’s wide-open for a Handemark to take the 4C job. Kellman, True, Chmelevski have all done good things, but none has truly, truly distinguished themselves at 4C.

7 minutes left: Gabriel does receive that flinch from turning defensemen when he’s bearing down on forecheck. He’s a punishing hitter.

Rakell slips Karlsson in front twice, Dubnyk bails him out. Play starts with Couture on forecheck, has puck, but just gives it away, doesn’t rim it hard enough to Labanc. Details.

4 minutes left, Karlsson just missed completing a Faberge egg delicate lead pass to Labanc for breakaway.

Period 3

Minute in, fun back-and-forth between Karlsson and Zegras, current star and future star. Karlsson cuts off Zegras puck pursuit, takes it, but then Zegras makes Karlsson think twice about attacking with his forecheck.

2 minutes in, Ferraro does opposite of what Fowler did versus Gabriel. Deslauriers bearing down behind net, Ferraro turns away but doesn’t lose the puck.

Karlsson PP goal: Outstanding job by Labanc to wait for everyone to get onside, toss it cross ice to unmarked Couture on opposite side. Good vision and execution.

That’s gotta feel good for Labanc, to punctuate his strong performance tonight with a goal.

It’s going to look like a rout, but full credit to Dubnyk, he gave San Jose Sharks that momentum in first two periods when their game was off. Then San Jose skill just ran over Ducks.

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