Instant Replay: Labanc, Sharks best Senators in shootout

Instant Replay: Labanc, Sharks best Senators in shootout


OTTAWA – Chris Tierney scored a late equalizer, and Kevin Labanc gave the Sharks their second straight win in a shootout, 4-3 over Ottawa on Wednesday night at Canadian Tire Centre.

In a 2-2 game, the Senators took a late third period lead on a Dion Phaneuf power play goal. The defenseman took a pass from fellow blueliner Erik Karlsson and fired a wrist shot through Martin Jones with 3:46 to go in regulation.

Just one minute and 18 seconds later, though, Chris Tierney found a deflected puck in the slot and knotted the score at 3-3.

Labanc was the only shooter to score in what was the Sharks’ second straight skills competition, beating Mike Condon in the fourth round.

The Sharks ended a five-game losing streak to the Senators.

The Sharks lost center Logan Couture in the third period, when the center was cross-checked in the back of the head by Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman.

San Jose failed to convert on the ensuing five-minute power play, though, and finished 0-for-7, including about a one-minute advantage in overtime after a too-many-men penalty on Ottawa.

The teams traded goals through two periods.

Joe Pavelski was the recipient of a Couture backhand from the slot, smacking the puck into a wide open net at 5:57 of the first period just after a Sharks power play had expired.

The Senators answered just about a minute later, when Bobby Ryan got free between the circles, took a pass from behind the net by Ryan Dzingel, and whizzed it through Jones’ pads at 7:01.

San Jose reclaimed the lead, 2-1, at 11:30 of the second period on a great individual effort by Brent Burns. The defenseman skated around young blueliner Ben Harpur and made a move on Condon for his team-leading 13th of the season.

Again, though, Ottawa responded. The Sharks were caught scrambling around in their own end, and Mark Stone’s seam pass to Kyle Turris generated the tying score at 17:27.

There were some controversial hits in the game.

Late in the second, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Erik Karlsson were tied up in the corner, when Vlasic appeared to jam his stick into Karlsson’s midsection. That left the Norris Trophy winner doubled over in the corner, and at the next stoppage of play, Vlasic was jumped by Turris. The Ottawa forward received a fighting major, instigator and 10-minute misconduct at 19:20.

In the third, Hoffman earned a five-minute major for cross-checking Couture in the head. The Sharks appeared to take the lead on a Patrick Marleau power play goal with 8:11 to go, but replays showed that Pavelski didn’t keep the puck in the offensive zone at the blue line just prior to the score.

Vlasic returned to the blue line after missing Tuesday’s game in Toronto with a lower body injury.

Special teams

The Sharks are just 1-for-15 on the power play over the last four games. Ottawa was just 7-for-14 on the PK in its last three games before Wednesday.

San Jose killed off the first five Ottawa power plays before Phaneuf’s score.

In goal

Jones was starting both ends of a back-to-back for the second time this season. He made 29 saves on 32 shots, improving to 15-10-1.

Condon, who made 35 saves in Ottawa’s 4-2 win in San Jose on Dec. 7, allowed three goals on 29 shots.


Joonas Donskoi was scratched for the first time this season, while Micheal Haley returned to the fourth line.

Ottawa forward Chris Neil was honored in a pregame ceremony for recently playing in his 1000th NHL game, all with the Senators.

Harpur was in the lineup for Mark Borowiecki, who was serving the second of a two-game suspension.

Up next

The Sharks will play the Canadiens for the second time this season on Friday, this time in Montreal. On Dec. 2 at SAP Center, San Jose claimed a 2-1 win over the top team in the Eastern Conference.

The road trip concludes on Sunday in Chicago.

Sharks not satisfied with single point, believe skid will strengthen them

Sharks not satisfied with single point, believe skid will strengthen them

Well, the Sharks certainly made it interesting. Every time the Ducks scored a goal on Friday evening, the Sharks came back and were able to tie things up. They even got the game-tying goal late in the third period that took their contest into overtime – at least, before they lost 4-3.

Perhaps at a different time of year, getting their first point in five games would feel better. Not on this night. 

The focus remains on the work to be done with just seven games left in the regular season. For Team Teal, they need to clean their game up and get back into the win column.

“It’s better than nothing, but overall, we’re just not finding ways to win games now,” Timo Meier told the media in Anaheim regarding the single point. “We’ve got to find a way to win games. It’s an important time of the year. Playoffs are really close.”

San Jose put a better effort on the ice on Friday than they did the previous evening in LA against the Kings, but the opportunistic Ducks were able to bury more of their chances,

"I don’t think we gave them very much," Peter DeBoer said. "Every chance they got, they stuck in the net, though."

DeBoer was more critical of the team a second night in a row, and rightfully so. Despite outshooting the opposition, the Sharks weren’t able to find the back of the net enough times. They allowed two goals while playing on the penalty kill and tallied 14 giveaways. Plus, outside of Meier’s power-play marker, San Jose still went one-for-five on the man advantage. Despite tying the score up three times, the Sharks couldn’t keep the Ducks from responding.

Clearly, all areas of the game need to be tweaked.

“We’ve got to find a way to get an extra save, and on (the other) end we’ve got to find a way to get another goal,” DeBoer said. “We could’ve used a power-play goal tonight -- another one.”

Perhaps the only silver lining, as Meier put it, is that the Sharks are going through this stretch now instead of once they get into the playoffs. San Jose is still trying to get some of its key players healthy and into the lineup so they can make a deep playoff run with the lines and pairs they want. The goal, at least at the moment, is to make sure this five-game skid is a lesson to learn from and not a prelude to the future.

"Get stronger as a team, get tighter as a group, and learn," Meier said. "It’s going to make us stronger going into the playoffs because there are going to be lots of ups and downs coming up. It’s going to make us stronger and we’ve got to react the right way.”

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from overtime loss to Ducks

Sharks takeaways: What we learned from overtime loss to Ducks


All the Sharks needed was a win. Just one win on Friday evening against the Ducks. Two points to salvage the road trip, stop the losing streak, and get back to hunting for first place in the division.

Not surprisingly, Team Teal made things interesting with a game that stayed tied up heading down the stretch. Unfortunately for San Jose, the Ducks were the victors in overtime 4-3.

Here are three takeaways from Friday’s game:

How did the power play look?

In a few words: nonexistent until the third. San Jose had three opportunities on the man advantage through the first 40 minutes of play and couldn’t make anything happen. They even gave up a couple breaks the other way that Dell had to stop. Had the power play converted, the Sharks might’ve been up by two or three goals after two period of play.

Timo Meier came up big with the power-play goal in the third period to tie the score up 2-2. While they couldn’t capitalize on the power-play opportunity immediately followed, Meier’s marker will hopefully open up the flood gates for the power play.

Who else stepped up?

Sharks’ bench boss Peter DeBoer didn’t mince words after Thursday’s loss to the Kings, saying that the team needed someone to step up during this stretch with injured superstars and be a hero.

“You’ve got to get a great performance from somebody in a game like this and I don’t think we got that,” DeBoer said on Thursday.

In all honesty, the whole team looked better even with the loss. The fourth line had a couple very memorable shifts, cycling low and establishing pressure. Joe Thornton’s line was clicking, which was clear from Kevin Labanc’s goal.

Gustav Nyquist was a solo standout – despite not finding the back of the net, he played a heck of a game and had some incredible looks. Of course, you can’t talk about this game without talking about Justin Braun scoring the big game-tying goal in the third frame, which was his first marker since December 2.

How did Aaron Dell do?

In all fairness, Dell gave the Sharks a chance to win for the majority of the game. No. 30 has looked good in his last couple of outings – save his relief effort against the Golden Knights earlier in the week when he had little defense to help him out – and he made a couple great saves in Anaheim as well, especially when the Ducks had a couple short-handed breakaways.

Unfortunately for Dell, he gave up the two power-play goals in the third frame. While Braun was the hero and scored the tying goal late in the third to help take the game into overtime, Dell still couldn’t hold down the fort in overtime. It doesn’t matter if he’s the backup or not – at this time of the season, playing too loose late in games isn’t good.