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Preview/Lines #21: Kahkonen Doesn’t Think Confidence Is Problem

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

David Quinn likes where Kaapo Kahkonen’s game is at.

Kahkonen hasn’t played since a 5-3 loss on Nov. 10 at St. Louis, and by and large, has struggled this season. His .878 Save % is fifth-worst in the NHL of 58 goalies (5-plus starts).

More is expected of the 26-year-old, acquired last Trade Deadline for Jake Middleton, and inked to a two-year, $5.5 million dollar contract in the off-season.

According to Quinn, Kahkonen has been working on “a couple of technical things” over the last week and a half with goaltending coach Thomas Speer.

“He feels really good right now about where he’s at,” Quinn said.

We’ll see tonight, as Kahkonen gets the nod against the visiting Ottawa Senators.

I asked Kahkonen about his confidence, which Quinn had touched on a couple weeks ago.

SJHN Daily: Quinn Says Kahkonen Needs to Improve ‘Confidence’

“Confidence, I never really understood that word,” Kahkonen told San Jose Hockey Now. “I don’t think you just lose your confidence overnight or you get it back overnight.”

It’s probably just two ways of looking at the same thing. Kahkonen couldn’t be in the NHL if he didn’t have confidence that he could stop pucks at this level. But Quinn is probably suggesting that if you stop more pucks and feel better about your game, that feeds on itself for more positive results.

“I think if you just work hard and work smart, you should be feeling good every day,” Kahkonen said. “You’re not always getting results and that’s part of hockey and life, but as long as you work hard and you compete and try to improve and look at things that maybe you could do different, that’s the most important thing, eventually it’ll turn around. That’s what I believe in.”

That fits with the unflappable Kahkonen, who seems to be the same guy to me, win or lose.

“He’s a very composed guy. I think that helps him in the position he plays in,” Quinn confirmed. “There’s not a lot of highs and lows with him.”

Whether it’s confidence or not, one thing that we can all agree on, the Sharks need more highs, in terms of performance, from the talented young Finn.

Sharks Probably Need Kahkonen to Step Up Sooner Than Later

San Jose Sharks (6-11-3)

Kahkonen will start, per Quinn, and…

So we might see?

Meier-Hertl-Labanc
Nieto-Couture-Barabanov
Bonino-Sturm-Kunin
Gadjovich-Lorentz-Gregor

Megna-Karlsson
Vlasic-Benning
Cicek-Ferraro

Kahkonen

Ottawa Senators (6-10-1)

This is what Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun saw yesterday:

Where to Watch

The San Jose Sharks will take on the Ottawa Senators at 7:30 PM PST at SAP Center. Watch it live on NBC Sports California. Listen to it on the Sharks Audio Network.

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