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Postgame Notes #55: Sharks Lose Melnichuk’s First NHL Start 5-4



Credit: Sheng Peng

Period 1

Dvorak goal: Burns’s slip will get the eyeballs, but you probably want the rookie goalie to get that. Was defended OK even after Burns fell. Ah well, that’s youth. Surely nervous too.

4 in: Wow, Barabanov does nice work coming out with the puck with two Coyotes on him along the wall. Re-watching: Okay, it was Keller and Soderstrom that he evaded until Ekman-Larsson stopped him in his tracks. Good play, but obviously, opposition matters.

Then Meier up top does a nice job to let a hard Burns pass go, lift the defending Coyotes stick, give Ferraro a chance to get it. Smart.

5 in: Garland takes Karlsson to the outside. Obviously a theme this year, I’ll explore that more in the off-season. Not a good theme, mind you.

8 in: Pretty Karlsson-Chekhovich high-low exchange – twice – then Gregor split the Yotes’ D with his feet and surprising strength. After a tough start, Sharks start to pile up chances.

9 left: Crowd ooh and ahhs as Gregor knifes through the Coyotes’ NZ forecheck.

You can’t pull a guy in his first NHL start, can you? Hopefully, Melnichuk settles down.

It’s Melnichuk’s first NHL start. What’s Adin Hill’s excuse? Good job by Labanc to pull puck back to avoid Chychrun’s long reach and key play here, not a great one or anything, but important, is Karlsson jumping up as a threat, occupying both defensemen’s attention. That goal doesn’t happen without Karlsson pushing back the defense.

2 left: Backhanded no-look breakout pass up the middle by Chekhovich…and it works. Skill play, good sense, you can live with the danger if he pulls it off consistently.

San Jose Sharks owned that period: Per SPORTLOGiQ, 7-4 Slot Shots, 4-1 Rush Chances. Per Natural Stat Trick, 5-0 High-Danger at 5-on-5.

Period 2

3 in: I don’t know if Burns knew that Hill had lost his stick there – if he did, guessing he fires it instead of going for highlight-reel pass.

4 in: Dynamic work by Karlsson to navigate through 3 Coyotes in slot, uncork a good shot in a dangerous area. Very high-skill play, that very few defensemen in the world would have the confidence to pull off at the NHL level.

9 left: Like how Barabanov stopped up, created space going one-on-one against Ekman-Larsson. Good effort. Then went up middle, got tripped up? No call though.

Every once a while, Karlsson pulled out an effort like this out of his hat. There’s no doubt that there’s still elite skill in him. But it’s just been a chore getting it on a nightly basis from him anymore.

That was a very loose middle frame from both teams: San Jose Sharks 7-6 High-Danger. Arizona 6-3 Rush Scoring Chances, San Jose 8-7 Slot Shots All Situations.

Period 3

1 in: Good burst by Pasichnuk to close on I think Oesterle in corner. First step seems to need work, but once he got going, closed.

2 in: Chekhovich comes down slot for give-and-go with Gregor, but looks like Ness ties his stick up there. Strength or craftiness to get stick free there will be on the to-do list this summer.

4 in: Good Ferraro recovery on Jenik. For a second, looked like Jenik might have a step.

7 in: Soderstrom closed on Barabanov there, but then, along wall, he surprised Kessel with indirect pass to point. Small, slick stuff.

10 left: You want to see Chekhovich win that 1-on-1 against Keller. Small play, no big in end, but those are some of the battles that add up to NHL player or just KHL star.

Garland goal: Again, Karlsson taken to the outside. If Karlsson could just fix that flaw or mitigate it significantly, you could probably repair a lot of his value right there.

Kane runs a soft pick on Kessel in neutral zone lol before the Barabanov goal. Aids entry. Nice patience by Barabanov on goal, doesn’t rush it, but gets off his shot with Coyote in his face.


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