The San Jose Sharks feel they’ve made some strides as a team since their general manager gave them a bit of a talking-to earlier this month. Notably, they’ve cut down on their goals against and have been competitive in just about every game they’ve played.
Still, with such a small margin for error, the rebuilding Sharks will go into their game with the Seattle Kraken on Wednesday still looking for their first win away from home.
The Sharks on Monday had a goal overturned due to goaltender interference and later gave up a shorthanded goal just before the second intermission. Those events, along with some other missed chances, proved to be too much to overcome as San Jose lost 3-1 to the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.
Tomas Hertl scored a power-play goal and goalie Mackenzie Blackwood made 34 saves but the Sharks (3-14-1) lost for the fourth time in five games and fell to 0-8-0 away from SAP Center.
“We came in here ready to play and did a lot of good things early. Just turnovers hurt us a lot,” Sharks coach David Quinn said. “We had complete control and just turned pucks over too much tonight against that team. … Just didn’t do enough to win.”
In the second period, William Eklund had a goal disallowed after replay officials determined, after a coach’s challenge by the Canucks, that Fabian Zetterlund interfered with Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko.
Less than two minutes later, defenseman Quinn Hughes scored from a sharp angle across Blackwood’s body for a 1-0 Canucks lead.
Then, with San Jose on the power play and down by a goal, an egregious turnover led to a shorthanded goal by Sam Lafferty with less than a second before intermission.
Lafferty won the puck in the Sharks’ corner from Hertl, and after Teddy Blueger’s shot was denied, Lafferty scored on the rebound for a 2-0 Canucks lead.
“It could be a different game if we score two or three goals in the first (period) because I thought we had great looks, great chances,” Hertl said. “We scored a goal that was disallowed, which is kind of tough for our team. Of course, after, they score one and the power play has to be better.
“Especially on me. I have to make a stronger play and we just can’t give up a goal with a second left.”
Hertl’s goal came 48 seconds into the third period. as he converted on a pass from Calen Addison.
Canucks center J.T. Miller then tipped in a rebound of Brock Boeser’s shot at 7:10 of the third to make it 3-1.
The Sharks on Nov. 2 were pasted 10-1 by the Canucks, marking their most lopsided home loss in team history. Two days later, the Sharks lost 10-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins, prompting GM Mike Grier to have a one-way conversation with his players behind closed doors.
The Sharks are now 3-4-0 since that Nov. 6 meeting, having allowed 21 goals in that time. Not great, but better than the 5.5 goals per game they had been allowing up until that point.
The Sharks now face a Kraken team that is 4-3-3 in its 10 games and sat in the second wild card spot in the Western Conference with a 7-8-5 record.
“We’re getting better. We’ve come a long way in two and a half weeks,” Quinn said. “We’re getting there, we’re going to keep chipping away at it. I like a lot about our game.”
NOTE: Prince Harry performed the ceremonial puck drop to mark the countdown to the 2025 Invictus Games. He was the second royal to attend a Canucks game, with Queen Elizabeth II having taken part in a ceremonial puck drop in a preseason game between the Sharks and Canucks in 2002.
Prince Harry was there with his wife, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex.
Hertl and Hughes took the ceremonial faceoff Monday, More than two decades ago, Mike Ricci took the ceremonial opening faceoff for the Sharks against Canucks captain Markus Naslund.
“I remember being very nervous,” Ricci, a Sharks development coach, told the Vancouver Sun in 2012. “The guys were all kidding around that I was going to cause some kind of a scandal, like trip into her and take the whole group out.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
— Jonathan Becher (@jbecher) November 21, 2023