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Notes #33: Sharks Almost Come Back from 5-Goal Deficit, Lose 8-5

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Credit: NBC Sports California

The San Jose Sharks head into PPG Paints Arena to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. And after one period, the Sharks were down 6-1 — Alexander Barabanov scored the lone San Jose goal. An embarrassing defensive performance, on the heels of Tuesday’s letdown against Arizona. The Sharks were able to calm the rough waters after giving up a touchdown in the opening frame — Zachary Sawchenko made his NHL debut and Brent Burns scored on the power play and cut the deficit to 6-5 — but the Pens walked away with an overall too-easy victory.

Period One

Rodrigues goal: I don’t like how Simek plays that, ceding middle to Rodrigues. Spotlight will be on Burns for pinching, but that’s the right move there where the puck is; he needs to be supported. Gregor also gets back OK on his man.

Next Rodrigues goal: Forecheck fails — I think Nieto, third man high, goes low when he shouldn’t. That’s a three-on-two from one end of the ice to the other. Don’t love how Karlsson plays the three-on-two — he lets Rodrigues completely go, but he’s in a tough place, trying to take the passer.

Rust goal: Rains, it pours. Letang point shot deflects off someone, right into Rust’s wheelhouse up high.

Nine left: I mean, everything is going wrong, but that’s a bad Simek pinch at his blueline, leaving Burns to fend with a two-on-one.

Bjorkqvist goal: Meloche visibly frustrated after this one. Watching replay, you can see why. Bonino wins the draw, Meloche picks it up, but Zohorna is relentless on Meloche, forces a turnover initially, pins Meloche in corner later, then passes through Meloche to Bjorkqvist. Meloche cross-checks Zohorna afterwards. For Meloche, however, he’s a fringe player still playing for his NHL life — he’s gotta get it together.

Rust goal: Barabanov has a chance to get it out — San Jose Sharks have been slow to move the quick, Penguins have been quick to jump on them. Then multiple passes get under Barabanov’s stick. It’s not just Barabanov, by the way, but not a resounding effort in any sense.

Period Two

I do wonder, however, if everybody is buying in on the San Jose Sharks? This is on the heels of another defensive flameout on Tuesday against the Coyotes — this is what happens when you D up a good NHL team like this. Maybe I’m making too much of that, it may not be a buy in question, it may be more a talent question.

Burns goal: Burns hasn’t scored in back-to-back games since 2019-20 season. If he’s heating up a little, that’ll help a goal-starved San Jose Sharks team.

Period Three

Couture goal: Wow. This means something, even if the Sharks don’t win. They just keep going. Meier just bursts through Simon to get the puck to Couture, who’s unmarked. A Pittsburgh defensive breakdown. Also, credit to Burns, who closes gap in neutral zone then wins puck in DZ to get puck up.

The San Jose Sharks have loaded up with Hertl-Couture-Meier.

Nieto penalty: Not a good penalty there — not trusting your guys to support there. Nieto got beat out of corner, but he had his defensemen with his back. And Rodrigues gets the hat trick.

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