After two strong performances to open up the season, the San Jose Sharks continued their six-game road trip, heading to Ottawa to take on the Senators this afternoon. This marked game two of the road trip after San Jose took down the Canadiens in Montreal on Tuesday.
James Reimer made his season debut in between the pipes for the Sharks, kicking off his second stint with the team after starting 8 games with San Jose during the 2015-16 season.
Starting off the game, both teams came out with speed and physicality. The Sharks had their forecheck going early, creating a couple of scoring chances, as San Jose recorded five of the first six shots of the game.
Just over the halfway mark of the first period, Drake Batherson scored his first goal of the season to give Ottawa a 1-0 lead. Matthew Tkachuk chipped the puck up to Batherson, creating a 2-on-1 breakaway, as former Sharks first-round pick Josh Norris was skating to his right. Batherson elected to shoot it himself, sending it short-sided above Reimer’s right shoulder.
After the Senators scored the game’s first goal, the Sharks started trying to force plays that weren’t there, giving the puck away a couple of times.
With San Jose continuing their sloppy play, Radim Simek was called for holding Tim Stützle, putting Ottawa on their first power play of the game. Luckily for the Sharks, 18 seconds into the Senators power play, Thomas Chabot was sent to the box for interfering with Logan Couture.
After Simek was out of the box and the Sharks on a quick man advantage, Kevin Labanc snapped a rocket of a shot past the glove of Matt Murray. The Senators challenged the goal for offsides and after taking a closer look at it, the goal was taken off the board.
With the score going back to 1-0 after the successful challenge, the Sharks continued to fall back into bad habits. With 23 seconds left in the opening frame, Nick Bonino was sent to the box after being called for tripping Josh Norris.
Only 13 seconds after Bonino’s penalty, Mario Ferraro was called for boarding Zach Sanford, causing a scrum to break out. Chris Tierney went right after Ferraro, bear hugging him, eventually getting sent to the box for roughing.
Coming out of the first intermission, the Sharks killed off the Senators’ 4-on-3 power play. San Jose’s elite penalty kill played a huge roll throughout the game.
Directly after the successful penalty kill, Logan Couture netted his first goal of the season to tie the game.
Couture fired a shot wide of the net, but then turned on the jets and beat all five of the standing Senators skaters, in their defensive zone, to the puck.
Couture’s fantastic hustle kept the play alive, as he sent the puck back around the boards to a red hot Timo Meier, who then sent it back to Brent Burns at the blue line. Burns then sent a beautiful slap-pass to Couture in front of the net, who had a wide open net to shoot at, tying the game at 1.
As the second period went on, the Sharks started to find their feet and started to play their game. Couture’s early period hustle-play goal set the tone for the rest of the game and the team followed suit.
Both teams had a couple of chances on either end, with both goalies turning away quality chances, as the score stayed tied at the midway mark of the middle frame. Reimer had a great period and had a couple of huge saves for San Jose.
After a Nick Paul high-sticking penalty sent the Sharks on their third power play of the night, Kevin Labanc cashed in his second goal of the season to give San Jose the lead.
Just as he did on Tuesday night in Montreal, Labanc scored on the man advantage with a sizzling one-timer. This time, after a quick back and forth with Erik Karlsson, Labanc slapped the final pass from Karlsson whistling past Matt Murray.
The Sharks would take the 2-1 lead into the dressing room, as shots between Ottawa and San Jose were tied at 20. Reimer fended off 19 of the 20 shots that he faced heading into the second intermission.
With the Sharks holding onto a one-goal lead, Ottawa pushed hard throughout the third period. The Senators finished the final frame outshooting San Jose 11 to 4.
All of the Senators’ chances were stopped by James Reimer, who had a terrific game in net. Reimer ended the night saving 30 of the 31 shots that he went up against.
The Sharks excellent penalty kill shined, going 3 for 3, giving up minimal chances all three times they were on the ice.
The Sharks improve to 3-0-0 on the season for the first time since 2015 and are back in action tomorrow afternoon in Toronto, as they go up against the Maple Leafs.