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Preseason Notes #4: Sharks Lose Shootout to Ducks

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Period One

The Meier-Couture-Dahlen line works in theory for the San Jose Sharks: Meier is the transition force, Dahlen should be clever and craft down low, Couture fills in the rest of the holes with spackle. I’ve seen a couple small, good plays from Dahlen to start – an NZ interception, a sharp pass from wall to center on the breakout – but ultimately, he’ll need to make hay producing points and creating offense.

Six in: Wish this was streaming. In OZ, Eklund with puck just lured fellow lottery-pick McTavish to point, then Eklund doubled back leaving McTavish a step behind and Eklund in a good offensive position. Nothing came of it though.

But hey, there’s McTavish. I’m told he’s looked quite good and should be expected to break camp with Ducks and get his nine games. Beyond that, we’ll see.

But Eklund answers with a beautiful carry from blueline to blueline, Ducks didn’t pressure him, then he pulled off a spin-o-rama at right dot and hit not sure who in front with a pass. Gibson save. Eklund has treated five-on-five play as if it were the power play so far tonight.

Ten in: Pederson seems to be pressing. Low to high pass to empty point. Also a net crash earlier, but didn’t touch puck, just got goalie – though maybe that was more on the goalie.

Raska stirring it up: He hit Steel or Shattenkirk maybe a little behind – then Larsson chased Raska down after whistle and knocked him down. Larsson and Weatherby go, I assume Weatherby for retaliation. Watching Raska is an adventure for sure, Raska Cam would be highly entertaining.

Six left: Dahlen does a nice job on power play, beats Shattenkirk twice for puck down low. Then misses his low-to-high pass, sails it wide, but beating an NHL-caliber defender – granted, it’s Kevin Shattenkirk – for the puck is good stuff.

Then Hatakka catches up to Max Jones, who’s on a partial break, and knocks him off the puck. All the physical tools are there for the Finn – strong and fast – still need to see if the brain is there yet though for NHL action.

Eklund shooting a lot more tonight, hammering one-timers on PP that are missing net. But regardless, good to see him shoot, it keeps the killers honest if they don’t know what’s coming.

Period Two

San Jose Sharks lines looking a little different — granted, Viel hasn’t played since his fight at puck drop. But Dahlen has been with Hertl and Eklund, Barabanov with Couture and Meier.

Eklund with a pretty seam pass on PP to Barabanov. They’re the flanks, Weatherby in front, Couture high slot, Karlsson point.

Six in: It got hairy down low and Hatakka attempted a backhand pass up slot into nowhere land. Picked up by Ducks, Reimer saved his bacon. Like I said, physical tools all there for Hatakka, but like any young defenseman, seasoning probably won’t hurt.

Raska just buried Benoit into boards — he’s a scourge. Anyway, eight minutes in, Dahlen back with Couture.

One on one, Pateryn just eliminated Pederson along wall. Pederson had head of steam with puck. Not a great game for LP.

Ten left, Dahlen has a moment, two-on-one with Hertl — but he doesn’t get the pass through. Not going to judge a player on one play, but again, still waiting for something strong that tells me he belongs in an NHL top-nine, much less an NHL top-six.

Five left: Eklund and Hertl give and go, Eklund gets it coming down wing, one on one with maybe Larsson, forced behind the net, but then he pulls string on puck to create space, Larsson bites, Eklund wheels around net with defender a step behind for a chance. There’s no reason to not give Eklund his nine games — beyond that, who knows? But he’s routinely creating offense from nothing in this preseason.

There you go from Dahlen — that’s a pretty pass:

Period Three

Pederson walks in for breakaway after taking puck from Drysdale and maybe high sticking him? Uncalled — LP hits the post on a pretty backhander.

Six in: Two Ducks surround Eklund on wall on exit, Ek loses puck. That’s the kind of pressure he’s going to start facing in the NHL.

Eight in: Under pressure, Eklund on breakout turns around, no-look backhand to Balcers for easy exit. He’s been must-watch TV in the preseason. I honestly don’t know if it’ll last into regular season — he’s not going to come in and drop PPG like McDavid — but he’s been fun to watch in exhibition hockey.

Meier gets into it with Jones, both go to box. I wonder: Just freelancing here, but could Timo be a little better with a little rat in his game? That’s what I saw in first couple of years from him when he was proving himself, and there’s an argument over the last two years, he’s lost some edge in a lot of areas of his game. Not saying he needs to be a fighter — he’s never been — but a little anger, a little “F you” in his game.

Meier bullies his way down slot, just carries the Duck defender — that’s what you want to see. Then he drops it to Pederson trailing, Pederson fires high. Have to give Pederson some credit — I don’t know if any San Jose Sharks player has had more good chances tonight.

Eklund earns his first five-on-five point in the preseason, right place, right time here for a guy who the puck seems to follow around — like I’ve said, Eklund has been good in all three zones so far:

OT

Hertl-Eklund-Karlsson to start OT. Eklund does get beat up ice by I think Lundestrom. Not sure how that started though. Karlsson goes to box — for what it’s worth, both Karlsson and Burns have looked pretty good tonight. Hard to judge these vets based on preseason, but obviously, a lot riding on both this year for the San Jose Sharks.

Balcers comes off wall with puck with pop, nothing doing toward Gibson, but impressed by the burst there. I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Balcers so far in the preseason.

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Zach Ritter

> Pederson walks in for breakaway after taking puck from Drysdale and maybe high sticking him? Uncalled — LP hits the post on a pretty backhander.

It wasn’t a high stick. The puck ramped up and hit him in the face.

[…] San Jose: Sheng Peng of SJHockeyNow.com provides his overview of the Sharks’ preseason loss to the Ducks. […]

[…] 2021 first-round pick impressed once again last night, notching an assist and controlling play at times at five-on-five. The winger currently leads the San Jose Sharks with five points and is tied for the NHL preseason […]

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