A poor performance in goal by Martin Jones and a lack of consistency in the offensive pairings led to the San Jose Sharks 5-2 defeat against the Anaheim Ducks in the first home game of the 2018-2019 season.
The San Jose Sharks first puck drop of the season, Erik Karlsson’s highly-anticipated debut in teal, and the appearance of a couple beardless Joes – all of which lived up to the hype as the San Jose Sharks squared off against the Anaheim Ducks in the season opener in an endless sea of teal at the Tank.
The tide rode high and low all night, and it was the Ducks that rained on the parade of Erik Karlsson and the San Jose Sharks as the Anaheim Ducks snatched a season-opening win by a 5-2 margin.
While many Sharks were amped to get the season underway, San Jose’s starting goaltender Martin Jones did not look prepared for the first game. The Sharks veteran leader in goal gave up four goals on just 14 shots.
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The night didn’t start on a high note for the Sharks. 49 seconds into the game, a Brent Burns turnover led to a breakaway goal by Ducks rookie Max Comtois. For a brief moment early into the action, the crowd at SAP Center remained silent as the Sharks continued to brush off their early jitters.
The San Jose Sharks persevered through a tough, back-and-forth stretch in opening period of play. After squandering two brief power play opportunities, it was Evander Kane to light the lamp for the first Sharks goal of the season.
The 26-year-old winger knifed through the Ducks defense and whipped a wrist shot through John Gibson’s five hole. Kane, the recipient of a lucrative seven year contract extension, gave the Sharks a big boost of confidence knotting up the score at 1-1.
Kane was the best player for the Sharks, putting up a team-high five shots on John Gibson, including a critical breakaway chance in the third period which Gibson stoned.
The San Jose Sharks carried the majority of the momentum through the second period with several odd-man rushes. While Tomas Hertl dazzled with a nifty short-handed goal on the first penalty kill of the night, Anaheim retaliated quickly and Rickard Rakell buried a feed from Jakob Silfverberg to even it up before the end of two periods.
Jones was clearly not at his best all night, and his slow start reached its peak just at the midway point of the third period in a tied contest.
A soft backhand by Brandon Montour that flipped over Jones’ shoulder and just under the crossbar gave the Ducks a 3-2 advantage. Shortly after, Adam Henrique finished off another tic-tac-toe powerplay goal to stun a sold-out crowd for the season opener at SAP Center.
The Ducks added an empty-netter in the final minute of play, putting out the finishing touch to the opening night of hockey.
Despite outshooting their opponent 31 to 15, the Sharks bombarded Gibson from all over the ice, but the young netminder held down the fort, stopping 29 of 31 shots.
Throughout the game, head coach Peter DeBoer mixed up his lines on offense. The San Jose Sharks struggled on the power play, going 0-for-3. At one point on the man-advantage, Burns and Karlsson split up to disperse the damage from the point, but the Sharks could not capitalize.
In addition, the Sharks jumbled up their top forward line with Kane persisting as a solid threat. The Sharks looked for chemistry to find the back of the net, but they fell just short in what was really a close contest up until the later portion of the third period.
Despite the disappointment, the season has just begun. There’s still a long, long way to go with 81 games still on the dock. The Sharks look to bounce back as they take on another California rival, the Los Angeles Kings, Friday at 7:30 pm.