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Sharks Locker Room: Eklund, Zetterlund on ‘Hell of a Play’ From Prospect



SUNRISE, Fla. – What choice do the San Jose Sharks have, but to look at the positive?

They’re now 0-5-1 after a 3-1 loss to the Florida Panthers, their fourth-straight regulation defeat.

By and large, they’re not playing good hockey. I mean, duh. But micro-stats from SPORTLOGiQ further amplify the point. This is how they came out in the first period:

The Sharks did get better as the game progressed, and furthermore on the bright side, goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood kept them in it with 16 saves in the first frame. Acquired for just a 2023 sixth-round pick from the New Jersey Devils before the most recent Draft, Blackwood is making a convincing comeback after being felled by various injuries over the last two years.

Blackwood, after stopping 32 of 34 shots, raised his Save % to .914, a minor miracle considering that he’s facing, on average, 41 shots a night.

“He’s had a really good start. Unfortunately, we’re giving up too many shots,” San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn said. “But he’s been bailing us out, when need be.”

Also, Fabian Zetterlund and William Eklund connected on a highlight-reel Zetterlund goal, and had the type performances, if they can keep it up, that the Sharks can certainly build around in the coming years.

The Sharks, of course, will need more than three bright spots to get in the win column right now. But a potential solid starting goaltender, top-six winger, and middle-six winger, all 26 or younger, is something to get excited about.

Eklund shares his thoughts about his performance and how Zetterlund has raised his game from last year.

Zetterlund talks about that Eklund pass.

Quinn explains why he was disappointed with some of the team’s breakdowns but continues to be impressed by Zetterlund.

William Eklund

Eklund, on his pass on the Zetterlund goal:

I saw Z open there, trying to find him.

Eklund, on what the San Jose Sharks did better in the third period:

Holding the puck, not throwing it away all the time. I think that’s a big thing that we could do better.

Eklund, on if this was one of his better NHL performances:

I think this is probably one of my best games this season. I’m going towards that.

Eklund, on what worked for him tonight:

Play hockey, pretty simple. I play hockey out there, I enjoyed playing. I had fun out there. I was hunting pucks, played my game. That’s what I was [doing] all night.

Eklund, on Zetterlund’s bounceback this year:

I think it’s a whole different Fabian coming here.

I think he did a great job in the off-season. See how he plays out there. He’s always first in the corners, always first on the puck, always hitting guys, creating chances for us.

Fabian Zetterlund

Zetterlund, on Eklund’s pass:

I read it pretty well. We practiced it too. I know Eky’s going to give it to me there. Shocked Florida with that pass.

It was a hell of a play by him.

David Quinn

Quinn, on what the San Jose Sharks did better in the third period:

Our third period was our best period. I thought as the game went on, we started finding our footing. Did a better job on breakouts and establishing some forecheck. Just too little, too late.

Quinn, on what the Sharks were struggling with in the first period:

We just kept giving the puck away. I didn’t think we were committed in our battles. Against a team like that, you got to spend a lot of time in your end [if you play like that] and give up chances.

Quinn, on Mackenzie Blackwood’s performance:

He’s had a really good start. Unfortunately, we’re giving up too many shots. But he’s been bailing us out, when need be.

Quinn, on giving up momentum so quickly after the Zetterlund goal with the Carter Verhaeghe goal against:

It was just disappointing that we gave up the goal we did. Completely avoidable. If we had just slashed on the breakout? Kind of faded away from the puck, didn’t give the guy a lot of support. They turned around and just a big break down in the D-zone.

Quinn, on the type of player that Fabian Zetterlund is establishing himself to be:

I love his pace and I love his physicality. He’s a guy that plays in straight lines and he’s been physical and he’s grown more confident with the puck, so I’m really happy for him.

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