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Kahkonen Bounces Back, Sharks Shank Sens 5-1

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

The San Jose Sharks welcome the Ottawa Senators to SAP Center. Noah Gregor got the Sharks off to a quick start, Kaapo Kahkonen kept the Sharks in it with a strong first period, and Timo Meier and Matt Nieto and Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture scored to give the Sharks a decisive 5-1 victory.

Period 1

1 in: Meaningful spot for Gregor. Sturm out, he’s at wing opposite Kunin. Bonino centers. That actually was Quinn’s third line to start camp.

Gregor goal: Good effort by the five guys, including Vlasic with a couple keep-ins and Bonino on the forecheck. Great move to start by Gregor off the crossbar. Maybe Gregor’s luck changing? That could’ve, should’ve been whistled down on high touch before the goal.

9 in: San Jose Sharks, despite lead, have been a tad sloppy though. Ferraro chases puck after Zub loses stick, Zub kicks it forward though, Sens have a down-low 2-on-1. Can’t kill Ferraro for that, I think, Zub in vulnerable position, but Sharks are getting outshot 8-1. Kahkonen coming up with some big saves though.

9 left: Hertl passes up a good-looking chance in the slot for, it turns out, nothing. The lead is there, but not much else from the Sharks so far.

9 left: Vlasic misses an open Barabanov on the stretch pass, that kind of start. Execution not there.

Stutzle goal: That’s ugly. Hertl turnover, Stutzle finds a soft spot in zone D, looks like Labanc needs to mark him maybe.

6 left: Kahkonen makes a save on a rush chance. In general, Quinn has not looked happy tonight, and he shouldn’t. But Kaapo has been sharp.

Then Barabanov tries an NZ move, turnover, that probably just needed to go deep. Vlasic recovers for him though at other end with a break-up. Then Nieto comes down after that defensive stop, pounds a shot, gets it in deep. Below the dots, Karlsson makes a move, draws a call. Some basic hockey can lead to the skill hockey, that’s what Quinn wants. There’s an example.

Sturm out, Nieto replaces him on power play. PP1 too careless with puck, PP2 too cautious though. That power play does nothing for San Jose.

Labanc penalty: Not a good one by Labanc. Intentions are good, but…

Benning doesn’t like it as his stick slashed out of hands by Giroux at end of PK. Giroux could’ve been called for that IMO, but since he’s not, crafty play by the vet. But Bonino comes up with big dive stick check on Brannstrom. Smart risk at the time, love that play. Big picture, I still like Bonino on the fourth line and on the PK. Sharks PK looks like they redeem Labanc, but there are eight seconds left on PK.

Period 2

Meier goal: San Jose Sharks are playing the Senators, and it shows there. Don’t know what DeBrincat thinking there, awful exit pass that Hertl easily picks off. Karlsson with some nice plays under duress on this shift.

Kastelic 10-9 over Cicek. “That Kastelic’s kid is tough” is what I heard among scouts. So good on Cicek for hanging in there. Hedican says Quinn is not happy with the headshot that Kastelic gets away with it.

3 in: San Jose Sharks getting away with some sloppy play. Megna pinches, misses, then Stutzle (of course) blows by Karlsson. Kahkonen save. Then Barabanov turns it over crossing zone, 2-on-1 the other way. Kahkonen save.

Nieto goal: Credit to Barabanov here, Holden just slides off him on entry. Finds Benning up top, who fires it, Nieto tip. But Sharks are playing bad.

Sharks have turned shot counter around though, a lot of it Karlsson. Great shift by EK65 with about 10 left, controlling time and space.

Hamonic penalty: Undisciplined by the Senators alternate captain. Clean hit, chasing down Megna who doesn’t accept. Sharks PP.

Couture goal: Or Kunin? Or Hertl? Anyway, for now…

Karlsson probably deserves an assist just for his incredible keep-in at the point, Motte closing in, 30 seconds before score.

Sens are in disarray after a solid start to the game. Sharks 21-8 shots in the middle frame, credit to them for punching back.

Period 3

2 in: Lorentz on entry, has a chance to hit Lindblom streaking down, but defended. Will say if I haven’t, I like him at wing, even though he plays a capable center.

5 in: Karlsson at his best. Beats first forechecker, Tkachuk, Sharks have a 4-on-2 coming out of the zone.

8 left: Big block by Kunin on Stutzle scorcher. Another big Sharks kill.

 

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