Kanata, Ontario – It probably says something about the Sharks and where as a team they are now when they can certainly play less than perfect and still come out with a win.
That’s what happened on Thursday as they lost 24 shots in the final two periods and managed to score only one goal and still won a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Center.
Kevin LaBlanc’s second-period power-play goal proved the difference as the Sharks improved to 3–0–0, their fastest start in the season since 2015–16 when they won their first four games.
LaBlanc, set up near the top of the circle on the right side of the Senators’ net, took a pass from Erik Carlson and slapped goalkeeper Matt Murray on the 14:36 of the second period for the 2-1 Sharks. Chief.
Logan Couture also scored and goalkeeper James Reimer made 30 saves, including 11 in the third period.
“We didn’t have our best feet, we didn’t have our best stuff,” Couture said. “We did a lot of puck overs throughout that game. (Reimer) made some big saves, especially at the start of the third. But we just worked and blocked the shots in the end.
“(Reimer) did a great job and we stayed together as a team.”
The Sharks’ road trip against the Maple Leafs continues Friday in Toronto,
Some glimpses of Thursday’s match.
Penalty Kill: The Sharks and Senators were playing 4-on-4 during the third period when Brent Burns was whistled for interference. Burns and the others were out for more than 90 seconds, at which time the sharks were completely in the gas.
The Sharks then went out and hit a Burns penalty, with Couture facing a defensive zone to start. San Jose then restricted the Senators to a shot on goal.
The Sharks were 3-for-3 on penalty kills on Thursday and are now 8-for-8 on the season. Reimer made three saves on the kill and made seven more during 4-on-4 play.
more confident: The Sharks were 8-17-3 last season when they allowed the first goal and went 3-16-2 after the first period. Now, the Sharks are 2-0-0 on both fronts when Ottawa opened the scoring on the 10:06 mark of the first period with a wrist shot from the right circle that got through the reamer.
The Sharks also trailed the Winnipeg Jets 1–0 after a period in their first season on October 16.
“Instead of trying to do it on our own and break away from our structure, we stick together as a team,” Couture said. “Play the game the coach wants us to play. Make smart decisions with Puck. Find a way to win. ”
Reverse goal: LaBlanc scored in what was his second of the season, with only six minutes remaining in the first period as he shot Senators goalkeeper Matt Murray with a wrist shot. But after a coach challenge by Ottawa, it was determined that Nick Bonino was offside.
Pleasant return: Thursday’s game marked the third time Carlson had returned to Ottawa to play the Senators after they were acquired by the Sharks in a blockbuster September 2018 deal. The Senators impressed the Sharks with a combined score of 11-4 in the December 2018 and October 2019 visits, with Carlson scoring no points and saddled with a plus/minus rating of -6.
Carlsen now has five points this season and is one of five Sharks players to record a point in all three Sharks games to date.
Goalkeeper’s job: Reimer was a solid 1-0-1 record in the preseason, with a .915 save percentage and a 2.18 goal-average.
Edin Hill was solid with a .932 save percentage in the first two games, and entering Thursday, his 21-save performance on Tuesday in the Sharks’ 5-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens surpassed the record for any goalkeeper in the NHL so far. Marked the lone shutdown. this session.
Part of the credit for the Sharks’ success in their first two games was their shot suppression and overall defensive structure. He allowed only 44 shots in the first two games, and gave just nine high-threat chances against that time, according to Natural State Trick.
The Senators directed the play several times on Thursday as they had 13 shots in the second period and 11 more shots in the first 17 minutes of the third.
Reimer said the shark’s drive to compete is making the biggest difference right now.
“I think this is the second attempt,” Reimer said. “The desire to get into one lane, the desire to pressurize people and the willingness to not take a shift. Which has been really exciting to watch.
“More than anything, that really pays off on your own end.”
Coming up on Thursday, Reimer had a 9-6-1 record and .929 percent saves in 16 career games in Ottawa. He was particularly influential at the Canadian Tire Center in the earlier part of his career when he was with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“It dates back a long time, apparently, the fun rivalry between the Leafs and the Senses goes back in the day,” Reimer said. “So it’s always been a lot of fun coming here.”