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Postgame Notes #34: Karlsson Scores 2, Shootout Winner, Sharks 4-3



Credit: Sheng Peng

Period 1

I score that 10-8 Viel.

4 minutes in: Scanning neutral zone, Donato passes it right to Wild player. File that under stuff that he has to toss out of his game to get back into middle-six for good.

6 minutes in: Wild top line has a lot of possession, but San Jose Sharks keep them to outside. Alert on their rotations, example is Labanc challenging centering pass to Kaprizov charging down slot.

8 minutes in, Sharks 5-0 shots. San Jose has done of excellent job of closing down time and space when Minnesota thinks they have an opening. Example we just saw, Bonino looks open in front, but as centering pass arrives, Meier right there, no shot.

Typical: Pretty much San Jose Sharks’ first breakdown, Fiala all alone, big Jones save. But then Jones lets in one he probably should stop from Johansson. So good start, Sharks, here’s your reward. Watching it over, didn’t like Vlasic on initial Fiala chance – Vlasic steps up in neutral zone, not close to stopping anything, Simek shuffles over to cover for him, but nobody covers for Simek’s lane, where Fiala is. Not a great read.

6 minutes left: Couture line battering Wild on forecheck.

Simek goal: Donato is the engine there. A couple of nifty, clever plays to get it in, distribute it to right person.

Eriksson Ek turns Knyzhov into dust, Bonino beats everybody up ice – maybe Kane needs to identify him on backcheck faster? – and somehow, Sharks find themselves down in period that they’ve dominated.

Period 2

1 minute: After Balcers’s unforced turnover on exit, Karlsson makes a slick play to himself in corner to initiate another breakout, this time successful.

7 minutes in, loose puck in NZ, Karlsson beats Kaprizov to it. He’s had good jump tonight. Follows with slick move at blueline to free himself off point – then end of long shift, bad turnover trying to break out by himself. Seems like he had no energy at end of a long shift, there’s a place, hate to say it, glass and out would’ve been sufficient. That seems like an everything you need to know about EK65 shift this year.

10 minutes in, Labanc does nice job of absorbing forecheck along wall, giving it to open Hertl to exit. This starts a long San Jose Sharks shift that leads to Spurgeon delay of game.

7 minutes left: Burns just one-timed an aerial low-to-high pass from Donato at end of PP. Literal batting practice there, cool. Special Burns skill on display there.

That Bjugstad centering pass, by the way, was in the pair, so doubly-impressive that Kane was able to chop it down, go the other way.

3 minutes left: Fantastic Labanc chance set up by Couture. Karlsson, again end of long shift, but skating it up from DZ to red line, soft dump, get off. Small play, but good work by Karlsson there to leave puck in decent position for Couture, who takes it off Wild defenseman, then while falling, finds Labanc dead in slot. You’re not going to get a better chance than that, but Talbot better.

Period 3

3 minutes in, Viel has puck down low, but Bjugstad just eliminates him. Welcome to the NHL.

Karlsson goal: Little plays were Gambrell intercepting Wild rim, then Donato getting it to Karlsson under duress. Good team work keeping it in.

Fiala equalizer: Hertl actually had 3 chances to clear, twice off pretty Karlsson plays. Karlsson breaks his stick on top of post after that goes in.

8 minutes left: Good forecheck by Leonard to at least keep much bigger Greenway from getting going. Not a huge play, but small plays that count, keeps Wild from getting in transition.

Karlsson saved a goal there, checked Rask’s stick in front.


That high-touch goal wasn’t even close. Earlier in shift, Burns holding off puck in OZ, Wild defender loses stick. Just a reminder that he’s still a load to deal with.

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