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Sharks Lose Kahkonen’s 1st Start Against Wild 4-3



Credit: NBC Sports California

The San Jose Sharks visit the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.

Mikael Granlund and Nico Sturm and Anthony Duclair scored, but the Sharks lost a hard-fought 4-3 game.

Period 1

This is Kaapo Kahkonen’s first-ever game versus the Wild. The San Jose Sharks have played the Wild four times since they acquired Kahkonen in Mar. 2022, James Reimer started in each of those games, Kahkonen as his back-up.

Kunin to center for Eklund, Labanc on the wing with Zadina. Might be the first time this year that Labanc has seen the top-six to start a game.

8 left: An offensive spark from Smith, good slot pass to Carpenter. Sharks haven’t had much offense so far, just their third shot so far.

As good as Kahkonen has been this season, trading Middleton for him was one of the worst deals in recent Sharks history. That’s not on Kahkonen, necessarily. He’s basically held up his end, and should bring the Sharks back decent value by Mar. 8. But a top-four defenseman on a reasonable deal is worth a lot more than a 1B goalie, whether to the Sharks or to another team. The deal at the time made some sense, because Middleton was still relatively unproven in 2022, but now?

Wild 3-0 Quality Chances, which is hard to contest. Sharks have nothing doing so far.

Period 2

Granlund goal: Addison-Hoffman-Granlund-Duclair-Zetterlund on PP1. Really good Duclair screen. A scout told me that Granlund appears to be trusting his shot more, stats seems to reflect that. Wonder what PP2 will be?

3 in: Hoffman’s gotta shoot that. I think losing a half step or whatever though, you don’t get to your shot or pass positions as well. You’re at your spot quicker, you’re ahead of the play more. When you’re not?

Sturm goal: Feints toward Carpenter on short-handed 2-on-1, then fires. Nice work.

Gaudreau goal: Thrun has to clear that.

Kaprizov goal: Labanc trying to make a play on attack, but turnover, San Jose Sharks have a bad change, and it’s too easy for Kaprizov, Shaw to Kaprizov stretch pass breakaway.

8 in: Good five-man Sharks attack there, from Granlund to Duclair to Vlasic and Granlund re-direct.

Labanc penalty: Labanc, of course, has a case to be an every-night player for this awful Sharks squad. But penalties like that, you can also understand why coaches get frustrated with him. Labanc doesn’t like the call, but it doesn’t look like a good penalty, a NZ high sticking.

It looks like Labanc throws his stick up high, not sure why, but then Lettieri keeps it up and sells it. Not sure when Lettieri is actually contacted, at which moment. Still not a good penalty.

8 left: Just watching this PK, Kunin showing some good skating pop. Was a little surprised here, maybe a little more than we’ve seen for a lot of this year from him.

6 left: What a block by Sturm. 2-minute long shift for him, going from PK to 5-on-5.

4 left: Was that Kunin getting inside with his feet on Chisholm? Sets up Labanc chance. Maybe there is something to Kunin finding his skating after last year’s surgery? I dunno. But an extra half step or so for a player like him, not a great skater to begin with, makes a world of difference, I think.

Period 3

Duclair goal: Good defensive play by Duclair, Granlund gives Duke a push with his stick, uncredited assist? Then Duclair’s speed does the rest.

Kaprizov goal: Thrun had a chance to move it up, not a lot of pressure, but Wild turn him over. Moving camera makes it unclear, however, if he just misses the pass or something else happens.

5 in: Good and bad from Kunin there. I love how he bodies Rossi after Zadina turnover, establishes position and takes the puck, but then he almost turns it over in NZ with an ill-advised pass back.

1 left: Addison and Hoffman both with good keeps.

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