In a game that began with an unusual 4 p.m. puck drop, the Sharks took a while to get going and ultimately lost their second straight game, falling 2-1 in overtime to the Ottawa Senators at SAP Center on Saturday. After both sides scored in the first period, neither found the back of the net again until former Shark Chris Tierney scored the game-winner for Ottawa in the extra period.
Aaron Dell was saddled with the loss in net for San Jose, but the result likely would have been worse without a strong performance from the Sharks' backup goaltender, which included a stop of Tierney on a penalty shot late in the second period. Ultimately, though, Tierney got the last laugh, and San Jose is left to wonder where the momentum that was built up over the first three games of the current homestand has gone.
With the loss, the Sharks (29-24-5) were swept in the season series by the Senators (25-32-12) after losing 5-2 in Ottawa back on Oct. 27.
Here are three takeaways from San Jose's second consecutive one-goal defeat:
Evander Kane kept his recent hot streak going on Saturday, and so did the Sharks' power play.
It all happened simultaneously late in the first period when Kane batted a puck out of the air into Ottawa's net for San Jose's only goal of the contest. It came 19 seconds after Senators forward Bobby Ryan went to the penalty box for goaltender interference and eight seconds before the end of the opening frame.
Assisted by Timo Meier and Brent Burns, Kane's goal marked his fourth in the last four games, and brought his season total to 25. Additionally, it was his 13th power-play goal of the season, pulling him into a tie with Washington's Alex Ovechkin for the fourth-most in the league.
With Kane's first-period tally, the Sharks have now scored a power-play goal in each of their last three games, dating back to Tuesday's win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. In the game before that, Meier found the back of the net seven seconds after a Pittsburgh Penguins' penalty had expired.
After struggling for most of the season, San Jose appears to be finding a groove with the man advantage. Better late than never, right?
Dell got the start in net against the Senators, his first on the Sharks' current homestand after Martin Jones started the first four games. Having not played since a 4-2 loss in Philadelphia on Feb. 25, it marked Dell's longest stretch between starts since early December.
Even with the relatively long layoff, though, Dell didn't appear to show any rust. He was a steady presence in net throughout Saturday's game, stopping multiple breakaways, including a crucial penalty shot just before the second intermission. In total, he stopped 36 of the 38 shots he faced, and he didn't have much of a chance on the two that got by him.
Jones earned his four consecutive starts through arguably his strongest stretch of play this season. It wasn't necessarily the result of anything Dell did wrong or poorly, and with Saturday's staunch performance, one would imagine he won't have to wait as long between starts next time around.
Mixing and matching
With rookie standout Mario Ferraro ruled out for both of San Jose's games over the weekend, interim coach Bob Boughner had to get creative with the Sharks' defensive pairs against the Senators. 21-year-old rookie Nikola Knyzhov made his NHL debut in Ferraro's place after being called up from the Barracuda earlier in the day.
Knyzhov was paired with trade deadline acquisition Brandon Davidson on San Jose's third pair, and the rookie definitely had a couple of "Welcome to the NHL" moments. With some new faces on the blue line, interim coach Bob Boughner relied on Brent Burns even more than usual.
It was evident from the start, as Burns played more than half of the first period -- 12:50 to be exact -- which is the most ice time any NHL skater has had in the opening period in the last three seasons, according to Sportradar. Radim Simek was the only other Sharks defenseman to skate even half that long in the first period, and he barely qualified with 6:26 of ice time.
Burns' heavy load eased up as the game went on, but he still finished the contest with a game-high 31:35 of ice time, the most he has played in any game this season. One day before his 35th birthday, Burns showed again that few players in the NHL can measure up to his incredible stamina.