Devan Dubnyk gave it his best attempt, but the goalie's valiant efforts just wouldn't be enough as the Sharks fell 2-1 to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday at Honda Center in their first shootout loss of the season.
Dubnyk, making his first start since Jan. 28, was stellar through regulation and overtime, posting 30 saves over three periods and two more saves in overtime. But he ran out of gas in the shootout, with the Ducks' Troy Terry and Max Comtois both scoring, and the Sharks (4-5-1) left Anaheim squandering an opportunity to pick up two more points, instead settling for a split of the two-game series.
At first, it looked as if Saturday's contest would be an offensive onslaught. It took just 11 seconds for the Sharks to get on the board, with Logan Couture securing a loose puck and shooting it into the back of the net for his third goal in four games and fifth on the year. Couture's speedy score registered as the second fastest NHL goal of the season so far, and the third fastest in franchise history.
Despite that, just a few minutes later defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov received a two-minute minor penalty for hooking, and the Ducks nearly tied the game up. However, thanks to some wizardry from Dubnyk, who registered seven saves in the power play, San Jose was able to kill the penalty and keep the score 1-0.
"That was funny," Dubnyk said. "We scored so quickly and I was like, 'Oh that's nice' and thirty seconds, a minute later we're on the PK.
"You don't really think. You just work. If there's rebounds or scrambles you just battle and work as hard as you can. It's not too often you're going to see seven shots that quick on a PK."
Dubnyk continued to battle through regulation, with his lone mistake coming at the 5:42 mark in the second period when Isac Lundestrom scored his first career NHL goal. San Jose and Anaheim would remain knotted up at one apiece until the end of regulation. The Ducks came close to sending the Sharks packing in the final seconds of overtime, but Dubnyk saved the day once more -- and he did so without a stick.
Dubnyk's remarkable effort was not lost on his teammates post-game, or head coach Bob Boughner.
"He's been really strong," Timo Meier said to reporters on a Zoom call after the game. "He made some huge saves, there at the end an unbelievable save. He's been great for us."
"It would have been nice to get him the two points," Boughner echoed. "But he was excellent tonight. He battled hard, he had desperation in his game, especially in that first power play."
Dubnyk likely will continue to platoon with Martin Jones in front of the net, who earned the win in San Jose's 5-4 shootout victory over the Ducks on Friday. Dubnyk, who was traded from the Minnesota Wild in October, is still searching for his first win in a Sharks uniform.
Hopefully for Dubnyk and the Sharks, that win happens sooner rather than later. San Jose will have the next two days off to rejuvenate before venturing to Staples Center to take on the Los Angeles Kings (3-5-2) for a two-game series.