The San Jose Sharks visit KeyBank Arena to take on the Buffalo Sabres.
But they’re shut out 3-0.
Just for the record, lines this afternoon, Eklund back with Hertl, Zetterlund back with Granlund:
San Jose Sharks have actually decent jump to start after their travel ordeal. Defensemen moving the puck up well, which has been an issue. Ferraro, as he’s been doing recently. Burroughs filters it up along the wall. They’re breaking out decently.
6 left: Hedican makes a good spot, Burroughs goes down, he drops it back to point, Barabanov doesn’t look like he necessarily hustles back to the point to claim it. Puck out when it maybe should’ve stayed in. Barabanov is supposed to cover for Burroughs, so that’s a forward brain cramp, positioning himself lower in OZ when he needs to think like a defenseman.
5 left: Good basic example of a cleaner San Jose Sharks breakout tonight, Okhotiuk to Sabourin to Carpenter, all short passes, Carpenter exits in stride.
2 left: Good, basic hockey, Sabres give it up to Vlasic in NZ, quick-up by Vlasic to Bailey entering, weakside to Barabanov, Kunin and Bailey crash the net, Barabanov fires it from distance for the rebound/deflection.
A little wild shift by Ferraro, just manages a coast-to-coast entry with some help. Then makes a dangerous-looking pinch, misses, Duclair does a good job of covering on backcheck. There is that balance with him, for sure, of still playing within himself. He’s doing a better job of that, but reminder that it’s still an issue.
Not a lot of dangerous offense from either team, Sabres 3-1 Slot Shots, 1-1 High-Danger. One promising San Jose Sharks stat: They’ve had more possession, 1:46 to 1:26. Sharks are dead-last in the NHL in OZ Possession Time (5:10).
And here’s how you lose the zone time battle: Rutta has the puck clean, can’t advance it forward. Hertl, under more duress than Rutta, loses it in the corner. Thompson post.
Then coming up other side, one of those plays you have to make, 3-on-2, Zadina hits an open Hertl coming late, but passes bounces off. That Zadina, Hertl, or the ice? But that’s the basic hockey that has to happen.
7 in: Not surprisingly, Bailey has had some jump in his hometown. Great backcheck on Okposo, strong and fast, takes it away.
9 in: Thrun blind turnover, bailed out by Kahkonen. Benson was standing right between a D-to-D pass from Thrun to Rutta, Thrun has to know better. Benson to open Mittelstadt in low slot. That’s a Grade-A.
10 left: Gotta watch that again, but that looks like a spot, again, where the defenseman (Vlasic) needs to get it out.
Mittelstadt goal: Hedican broke it down well. In OZ, San Jose Sharks passed up multiple shot opportunities. Looked like Zetterlund and Duclair passing those up. Then, Duclair can’t handle a pass, NZ turnover, that can’t happen. It’s a routine distribution between Ferraro to Duclair, Hedican says Duclair wasn’t ready (he was wide open), or maybe it was the Ferraro, but regardless, that’s a 100 percent play, meaning you got to complete that play 100 percent of the time. Then Vlasic maybe could’ve stepped up on Mittelstadt more. But really, it’s blowing basic hockey. That puck shouldn’t have been in the zone in that position.
Tuch goal: Hedican says Kunin needed to be quicker on Tuch in PP high slot. Also, Sabres have last nine shots. Now 19-15 Sabres. So Sharks were doing pretty well. But it’s typical of them this year, teams just get on rolls against them. Not enough players who can create or kill momentum for them.
San Jose Sharks PP1: Granlund at point with Hertl, Zetterlund, Eklund, and Barabanov. Followed by Ferraro-Zadina-Duclair-Labanc-Kunin.
1 left: Think Granlund tried to rainbow a pass from behind the net, over the net, to the front. That’s fun,
Bailey strong on forecheck again. I wonder if he could help a playoff team on a fourth line. That size and speed could make a difference in a critical moment in a tight game. You won’t get a lot for him, of course, but for San Jose Sharks, it would be found money.
3 in: Barabanov looks like he’s moved up with Hertl and Eklund. Eklund finds Barabanov attacking slot hard, Luukkonen with a Grade-A second save on Barabanov. I think Quinn wants this to work, Barabanov has higher offensive potential than say Zadina, for sure.
5 in: Another good Hedican spot, off draw Eklund doesn’t look locked in to being available for his defenseman Okhotiuk on the wall. Lopes over instead of a hard skate over to wall.
9 in: Zadina does an impressive job getting a hard backhand off on PP off a bad pass off his skate. He is skilled, just hasn’t come together.
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