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San Jose Sharks

Sharks Not Hurt Without Hertl, Top Caps 2-1

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Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

The San Jose Sharks welcome the Washington Capitals to SAP Center.

Fabian Zetterlund and Luke Kunin scored, and the Sharks beat the Caps 2-1.

Period 1

I expect San Jose Sharks to miss Hertl quite a bit. He is the only Shark, not counting the injured Couture, who absolutely would play a prominent role for any team in the league, Cup contender or not. I think you could say the same about Ferraro, Sturm, Benning, and maybe Kunin right now, but in secondary roles on a top team. Granlund and Duclair should also be in that conversation, but they need to find consistency to their games.

Fun stats to lead off night: Without Hertl (16), Sharks leading point-getters are Eklund, Zetterlund & Hoffman (8). Hoffman (6) has more goals than Ovechkin (5).

3 in: Ovechkin spot post on PP. Well, he can still rip it.

4 in: What a save by Blackwood on McMichael.

San Jose Sharks running, sans Addison, MacDonald-Granlund-Eklund-Hoffman-Zetterlund as top power play unit, followed by Emberson-Duclair-Labanc-Kunin-Bailey.

Zetterlund goal: Just direct again, by Zetterlund. Get it on net when he gets a chance. Chaos, Okhotiuk makes good read to jump up, Zetterlund hangs around to pick up garbage. Good job by Zetterlund to kick up the Okhotiuk NZ pass to his feet too.

7 left: Fantastic forecheck shift from Bailey, Smith, then Zetterlund jumps on.

5 left: Good hold by Kunin along wall, doesn’t just bat it out with a Cap in the vicinity but not really on top of him. Good calm vet play, fires it to Emberson on weak side, and the Sharks are out of the zone with ease.

Addison back out there, good to see. Tom Wilson is hockey’s version of “If you can dodge a car, you can dodge a ball.” Well, Addison didn’t dodge him, but if you can take a Tom Wilson hit and get up, that’s a good test.

NST has it as a pretty evenly played period at Even Strength, but SPORTLOGiQ doesn’t love where the Sharks are shooting from. Caps 6-1 Slot Shots and 3-0 High-Danger. I guess I could see that, to a degree though, San Jose’s power play is what I’m thinking about in terms of high-danger in this period. And Zetterlund’s goal was away from the slot. Blackwood is doing outstanding work, Caps have had good chances in the dirty areas.

Period 2

1 in: Granlund careless in NZ, soft pass. Good signs from him in general, but those risky passes are too frequently turned over from him, I think. Then Strome makes a move on him, and rings it off post.

Bailey pounces on loose puck next shift, in-tight breakaway, makes a move, beats Kuemper but just off side of net. Again, looking at his tools, no idea why he hasn’t carved a regular NHL role. Official NHL play-by-play sheet says it’s a post.

NHL Scout on Justin Bailey

Then on kill, Zetterlund gets a step on Carlson, another good chance on breakaway. He probably belongs in that group of players who can play for any other team, I think he’s getting there.

3 in: Love that hard, assertive Addison cross-slot pass to Hoffman. He seems to be getting more comfortable.

7 in: Good defensive sticks by Granlund and Zetterlund on that shift. Sharks are killing plays with regularity tonight. They’re still bleeding Grade-A’s more than you like, maybe a little careless with the puck, but that will happen. They’re playing hard and engaged.

9 in: Okhotiuk just took Milano for a ride. Big hit. It took 20 or so games, but Grier’s vision of the San Jose Sharks looks like it’s showing up with some regularity.

9 left: Good battle between Granlund and Wilson along the wall, standstill.

5 left: Nice drop pass by Burroughs to Labanc.

Kuznetsov goal: Fourth line and Okhotiuk-Burroughs just couldn’t get off the ice. Then Blackwood makes save, but then off Okhotiuk and in. Blackwood deserved better.

1 left: Good patience by Emberson and Burroughs, just play catch to kill 20 or so seconds of PK. Big kill by the San Jose Sharks.

Last Sharks shot was with 4:33 left in third period. Caps have had last eight shots. San Jose will need to turn that around and quick.

Washington up 12-1 Slot Shots, 5-0 High-Danger Shots at Even Strength per SPORTLOGiQ.

Period 3

Second shift, Duclair tries a soft pass through legs to Zetterlund…Zetterlund in same position on his goal just shot it.

1 in: Arguable interference by Burroughs on Wilson, but he gets away with it.

San Jose Sharks playing, defending hard to start the period. Intermission looks like a decent reset.

6 left: Labanc seems to pass up a decent shot opportunity for the perfect play. I wonder if his career would be transformed if he just took a shoot-first mentality. He’s got, short of Hoffman, maybe Sharks’ best shot?

8 left: Hoffman smart and subtle interference along blueline to allow Granlund easy entry on PP.

10 left: Wilson and Labanc seemed to be chirping at each other during the commercial break.

9 left: Sharks lucked out, Malenstyn overskated the puck in blue paint, would’ve been alone in front. Looks like Emberson and Bailey on one Cap in the corner.

Kunin goal: Dead-end power play, then Kunin and Bailey fight off van Riemsdyk in corner, nice soft pass to Kunin who’s now open, bam. I did not expect that, way that PP was going. But two good individual plays there.

Overall, impressed by Sharks approach in this period. End of second got a little ugly, but they stemmed the tide in this period, even if they weren’t fantastic by any means. Just kept playing hard and smart.

3 left: Sharks NZ forecheck won’t let Caps do anything. Whoa.

1 left: Granlund takes Strome instead of focusing on puck in corner. Like.

 

 

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