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Game Notes #30: Donato Scores Again, Sharks Crown Kings 2-1



Credit: Sheng Peng

Period 1

It looks like Devan Dubnyk has lost the starter’s net for now. Jones gets the start, his first not a back-to-back start since Mar. 3. And the San Jose Sharks’ goaltending nightmare continues…three seasons of unreliable goaltending and running: Do San Jose Sharks win Feb. 27 vs. Blues, Mar. 5 vs. Vegas, Mar. 17 vs. Vegas, and Mar. 20 vs. Blues with better netminding? Dubnyk had three of those four. Not to mention all the games that were lost before these aforementioned games, mostly by Jones? A team with little margin for error, making constant decision-making errors at the most important position.

Couture goal: Labanc was first on the forecheck on the puck. All said, Labanc appears to be living up to his contract halfway through the season.

9 minutes left: Athanasiou ahead for possible breakaway, but Burns gets a stick on the lead pass. Heads-up defensive play.

In OZ, Gabriel evades a potentially thunderous MacDermid hit. Think MacDermid said something to Gabriel then? Not sure. Then at other end, Lizotte slides awkwardly into boards after Vlasic tangle-up. Lizotte OK, but Gabriel and MacDermid drop the gloves. 10-8 Kurtis…MacDermid. Gabriel goes in for repairs.

Lethargic first for San Jose Sharks: No High-Danger at 5-on-5, per Natural Stat Trick, LAK up 2-0 there. So at least San Jose kept Los Angeles to perimeter? But LAK 11-3 Scoring Chances show which team came to play. Jones didn’t have to make a ton of difficult saves, but a steady stream of rubber from the Kings.

Period 2

Opening shift, Couture pickpockets Kopitar. That’s a sentence straight from 2014, those playoff battles still seem like yesterday.

Balcers the big guy left off these PP groups.

8 minutes in: Couture does nice job hanging up top, third man high in middle, to intercept that breakout pass. It’s where he should be, but credit regardless. A lot of good work defensively tonight by the captain.

9 minutes in, Hertl doesn’t take a good angle on Carter’s entry, becomes a brief 2-on-1 for LA. Not a great read, he was covering for attacking Karlsson, but looks too puck-focused at middle of ice.

On Vlasic penalty: Sorensen has puck at stand-still, but regardless, full possession, Walker just explodes into him, separates. Nice play by Walker, but Sorensen has to do better there.

8 minutes left: What a fun shift from Leonard-Donato-Gabriel. Favorite plays were Donato pickpocketing Wagner behind the net, then Leonard kicking an errant pass to his forehand.

6 minutes left: Looks like Karlsson knew exactly where he wanted to go, luring in Kings forecheck before breaking out Sorensen up middle. Yup, Karlsson saw Sorensen. Beaut of a play.

Another strong Leonard-Donato-Gabriel shift leads to Leonard post. San Jose Sharks definitely look more engaged in this middle frame. Natural Stat Trick supports it: SJS 16-3 Scoring Chances, 7-1 High-Danger at 5-on-5.

Period 3

Burns lose puck, then Labanc too slow to cover for Burns roaming. Big Jones save on Iafallo. If Dubnyk gets traded, Jones is going to get a lot of work to close the season. Good goaltending so far tonight.

Donato goal: He does a nice job winning puck in DZ, beating Walker to puck along wall. The underrated, Leonard does good job to bat down Knyzhov area pass with his glove, hand it off to Donato. Donato gets a bounce, but well-earned considering volume of chances that he’s been getting.

Their next shift though, Donato, feeling it, loses it attacking two Kings d-men by himself over blueline. That might be stuff that gets him demoted.

Watching Marleau closely tonight. Still flashes of that speed and strength (like there, 7 minutes left, wraparound chance), but not enough consistency with it. He’s just another guy now, in my opinion, a veteran-savvy fourth-liner. I get moving him up in game if you like what you’re seeing, but not a fan of starting him on the second line like tonight. Well, at least he didn’t fail his audition playing up like Vlasic did earlier this month.

3 minutes left, Brown and Kopitar double-team Karlsson behind goal line, another big Jones save on Iafallo.

Kane raised his arm in celebration, wonder if he thought that Kempe bobbled puck was going in for ENG?

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