The San Jose Sharks (39-17-7, 85 points) fell to the Carolina Hurricanes (27-26-9, 63 points) by the final score of 3-2 in an overtime loss at home. This loss means the Sharks went 0-2 against Carolina much like they did against Buffalo which is not what you hope for against two of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference.
While it was a loss, at least it happened in overtime and the Sharks picked up the point. With that being said, it was not the ending they were hoping for. They started out sluggish as well which did not help, but did get stronger as the game went on. You could see that in the shot totals too where the Hurricanes outshot the Sharks 16-11 while in the third period San Jose turned the tides and won that battle 16-7.
Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly depending on who you talk to) Alex Stalock got his second consecutive start, leading many to believe the coaching staff is losing confidence in Antti Niemi. Whether it is that, or they are just rolling with the hot hand, Stalock looked great in net again even in the loss with 32 saves. The goals this evening came mostly due to defensive breakdowns as well so it is hard to fault Stalock. Still, he showed visible signs of frustration after the final goal and seemed to not be happy with his performance.
On the plus side of things, we saw Brent Burns finally get “off the schneid” by scoring for the first time in 20 games. He was the beneficiary of great forechecking by teammate James Sheppard who forced a turnover when Carolina goaltender Anton Khudobin was playing the puck behind the net. Sheppard found Raffi Torres in front of the net who then laid it off to Burns who buried the point-blank chance.
That goal made it 2-1 Sharks which came shortly after Martin Havlat scored his fifth goal of the season on a long rebound off an initial shot by Tyler Kennedy. Both guys had strong games this evening as well, and if this is a sign of things to come, well then I’d say the San Jose Sharks are in good shape. Of course, not many teams can afford to have a guy making $5 million play on the third and fourth line as is the case in San Jose.
Eventually the Carolina Hurricanes would tie the game back up at two in the second period on one of those defensive breakdowns. A pass came from Eric Staal who was behind the net and fed it to Elias Lindholm who was crashing from the blue-line and one-timed it passed Stalock. The game would stay that way until the overtime period, even after the San Jose Sharks dominated the third period.
In that overtime period, which started off strongly for San Jose with a couple prime scoring chances, the Hurricanes would capitalize. They ended the game with just 42 seconds left until the shootout on what will probably go down as the easiest goal in Jay Harrison‘s career. He received a no-look pass from Elias Lindholm (who racked up five points in two games this season versus San Jose) after he corralled a rebound. He then threw the puck to the open side of the ice where his teammate was to bury the goal-scoring chance.
Like I said, a tough loss for Sharks, but at least they earned a point. They now face the best team in the east in the Pittsburgh Penguins so they will have to regroup quickly from this loss before things get out of control.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Anton Khudobin (35 saves)
2. Alex Stalock (32 saves)
3. Elias Lindholm (1 goal, 1 assist)