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Sharks Locker Room: Eklund & Mukhamadullin Shine, But Winning Streak Snapped

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Well, the winning wasn’t going to last.

The San Jose Sharks got off to a quick start on Saturday afternoon with Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Jan Rutta giving them a 2-0 lead in the first 10 minutes over the Buffalo Sabres. But the Sharks couldn’t sustain it, surrendering five unanswered goals on their way to a 5-2 defeat.

This loss snapped the last-place squad’s three-game winning streak.

At least there were two bright spots for the Sharks: Shakir Mukhamadullin’s NHL debut and William Eklund’s two 5-on-5 assists.

“He’s got a mental composure to him when his body’s moving fast, which is hard to do,” Quinn said before the game of the top prospect’s calm.

“You think of guys like Doughty, Heiskanen. I’m not comparing him to those guys. But those guys play without a heartbeat almost,” Logan Couture said. “Shakir has some of that in his game.”

Did Mukhamadullin, who finished with a game-leading nine shot attempts, look like he belonged in the NHL?

“He did tonight, that’s for sure,” Quinn said.

Meanwhile, Eklund, who has struggled to produce 5-on-5 this year, netted two primary assists at even strength.

Going into tonight, he was 233rd of 238 forwards with 0.88 Points Per 60 at 5-on-5.

He was arguably the Sharks’ best player tonight and was rewarded with a promotion back onto the top-six late in the game.

Eye test, he’s been more effective at 5-on-5 than the stats suggest, so it’s good to see him get rewarded.

It’s also good to see the future of the San Jose Sharks shine. There are plenty of dark days ahead in the rebuild, so you have to enjoy the snatches of sunshine.

Logan Couture

Couture, on Eklund:

I think he played well. He is a very good player, and he’s only going to get even better each day that he gets to play in the league. He’s got a great attitude, he works hard. You like that he’s one of your younger players because he wants to improve, has that drive and determination to be a better player. [Fabian Zetterlund] as well. It’s good for the Sharks.

Couture, on if he’s still catching up on his game after missing the first 45 games of the season:

Yeah, I don’t think I was great. I don’t know if I was great the other night either.

Trying to contribute as much as I can in different areas. I don’t think, offensively, the chances have come. I don’t think I’m creating enough on the net. I don’t know how many shots on goal I’ve had in four games. I don’t know how long it’s gonna take, I’m just happy to play.

Kyle Burroughs

Burroughs, on the Pride tape he put on his stick during the warmups:

I think just representation. In the past, I’ve said it: It’s showing people—friends, family, others—through hockey organizations, that anybody that is a fan of hockey or wants to get into hockey, they’re welcome here. It’s something little we can do to show that we’re an ally to them.

William Eklund

Eklund, on what he thought about Mukhamadullin:

He’s gonna be a good player. He’s so good with the puck.

I think [he belongs]. He’s doing great things out there and moving the puck well, so I think he does.

David Quinn

Quinn, on the Nico Sturm turnover that led to the Alex Tuch game-winner:

It’s a bad turnover. Going in the middle of the rink when there was no play to be made. But overall, even before that, and even after that, we just weren’t anywhere near playing together and playing with pace.

Quinn, on what’s next for Mukhamadullin:

Just the pace and learning how to play NHL hockey. It’s not one particular thing. But just getting acclimated, finding out how to use his body. He’s a tall kid but still thin. Use leverage in his stick and body position. Little more anticipation with the puck. But for his first NHL game, he did very well.

Quinn, on why Justin Bailey was benched in the second period:

Listen, if he’s gonna stay in the National Hockey League, he needs to be way more physical than he was tonight.

You gotta win that battle [on the second Buffalo goals against Alex Tuch].

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