(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)
The San Jose Sharks lost the third game in their current road trip, falling to the Ottawa Senators by a score of 4-2. As they had the night before in Toronto, the Sharks scored first and then gave up the lead. Unlike the Toronto game, they followed up on a weak second period with a worse third. The Sharks gave the swift Senators too many opportunities, odd-man rushes and power plays. That translated into four goals, three scored in the third period. Those goals were scored by Bobby Ryan, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Chris Wideman and Erik Karlsson. The Sharks’ goals came from Joe Thornton and Brent Burns.
The first period went by scoreless, with just two penalties called in the final five minutes. Both went against Ottawa, but their penalty kill kept the Sharks off the board. In their first power play, a hooking call against Kyle Turris, the Sharks recorded no shots. The closest they came was a Thornton shot that went off off Joel Ward in front of the net. The second power play carried over to the second period, the result of a tripping call against Mark Stone at 19:18. It is worth noting that the penalties were drawn by Joonas Donskoi and Melker Karlsson. After the first period, the Sharks had a slight lead in shots at 13-12.
Ottawa and San Jose both tend to win when they score first, so the first goal was eagerly anticipated, if misleading. It came 29 seconds into the middle frame, during the carry over penalty time. Though they lost the opening faceoff, the Sharks regained control quickly. The top power play unit established themselves in the offensive zone and a quick pass from Brent Burns near the right faceoff circle found Joe Thornton on the opposite side. Thornton’s shot was quick and went through the traffic cleanly into the net. Assists went to Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski.
Just over a minute later, Tomas Hertl was called from tripping, giving the Senators the first of three power plays in the second period, including a five on three. The Sharks killed the penalties but gave up an even strength goal at 4:46. Justin Braun caught a puck in the defensive zone and seemed to be trying to pass it off the boards to Marleau. Bobby Ryan was quicker to the puck than Marleau. He skated in and around Braun and then beat Stalock to tie the game.
It was a bad spot in Stalock’s game, which did have some bright spots. Near the end of the second period, Brent Burns had a puck jump by him on the Senators blue line, allowing Ottawa defenseman Dave Dziurzynski and forward Alex Chiasson to go the other way, with only Paul Martin in position to defend. Martin stayed with Dziurzynski but could not prevent his pass below the faceoff circle. Alex Stalock read the play perfectly and came to the top of his crease to reach out and block the pass with his stick. He caught the puck up and tapped it in the direction of Brent Burns, who by now had come back to help out. It was a good indication of alertness and confidence from a goaltender who has not played a lot of games this season.
The game remained tied through until 8:19 of the third period. After a shot by Diurzinsky went off of Stalock’s mask, Pageau picked up the rebound and put a shot through Stalock. Stalock sensed that it was behind him, and turned to try to catch it, but it got by. Assists went to Dziurzynski and Cody Ceci.
Stalock made a quick trip to the bench after, where heStalock got a new mask. Evidently the shot to the head did some damage to his armor.
The Sens stretched their lead with just over seven minutes left. Dennis Wideman took a shot from the blue line, while Chris Neil blocked Stalock’s view. Two Sharks and another Senator were also in the goaltender’s line of sight, so he probably did not see the shot at all as it flew by into the top corner. Assists went to Curtis Lazar and Shane Prince.
Ottawa added to the lead when some offensive zone action from the Sharks left the ice open for another two on one against, this time by Karlsson and Hoffman, with Brenden Dillon trying to defend. Hoffman drew Stalock to the right, then sent a pass around Dillon to Karlsson. 4-1 Senators. Assists went to Hoffman and Bobby Ryan.
With 2:24 left, Brent Burns got one back for the Sharks. Hertl, Goodrow and Wingels got the play started and Burns skated in to finish it up with a shot from in front of the net.
The Sharks had a 20 second power play when Mark Borowiecki was called for boarding Joel Ward. It was not long enough to make a difference.
Final score: 4-2 Senators.
Goalie Craig Anderson made 31 saves on 33 shots for the Senators. Alex Stalock made 31 saves on 35 shots for the Sharks.
Brent Burns led the team by a significant margin with seven shots on goal. Joel Ward had four hits and four shots. The Sharks were outshot by the Senators 35-33.
Some of the Sharks lines looked different Friday. Dainius Zubrus skated with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski again, while Tomas Hertl skated with Barclay Goodrow and Tommy Wingels. Measuring by ice time, that second group made up Friday’s fourth line. Matt Nieto was promoted to the line with Marleau and Ward. As previously mentioned, Chris Tierney centered Melker Karlsson and Joonas Donskoi. Despite their stats in Friday’s game, that line looked pretty good. They drew penalties and showed promise as a unit.
The Sharks next play on Sunday in Chicago against the Blackhawks at 4:00 PT.