Just as they did on Saturday, the San Jose Sharks were facing adversity due to COVID-19 heading into their matchup with the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
While the Sharks got captain Logan Couture (illness), Jonathan Dahlen (COVID-19 Protocol) and Andrew Cogliano (COVID-19 Protocol) back, they lost Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc due to positive test results.
With Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc being added to the COVID-19 Protocol list, along with Head Trainer Ray Tufts, the Sharks now have seven players and two coaches on the list.
Sharks players currently on the NHL COVID-19 Protocol list:
- Timo Meier
- Kevin Labanc
- Matt Nieto
- Erik Karlsson
- Marc-Edouard Vlasic
- Jacob Middleton
- Radim Simek
Sharks coaches currently on the NHL COVID-19 Protocol list:
- Bob Boughner
- Ray Tufts
With the plethora of players sidelined for Tuesday night’s game, just like on Saturday, the Sharks had to play with a lineup that was full of rookies and San Jose Barracuda call-ups.
The game started out slow with only a couple of shots recorded in the first several minutes of the game and both teams icing the puck a couple of times. The Sharks and the Sabres both came out with active sticks, as a majority of the early chances by either team were broken up before they could form into anything dangerous.
With 12:35 remaining in the first period, Jonathan Dahlen scored his fourth goal of the season to give the Sharks an opening 1-0 lead. Brent Burns sent in a wrist shot from the blue line that deflected off Craig Anderson’s pads while William Eklund battled hard for the rebound in front, even being tackled by Jacob Bryson, and eventually the puck found Dahlen who smacked the rebound into the back of the net.
Only 1:23 after Dahlen gave the Sharks the lead, Jeff Skinner tied the game right back up with a goal on a delayed penalty. While on the long delayed penalty, Vinnie Hinostroza dished out a pass to Skinner in the slot, where he ripped a shot past a screened James Reimer to tie the game at 1.
With 7:11 left in the opening frame, Ryan Merkley scored his first career NHL goal to give the Sharks the lead back. Merkley, who’s mom and sisters were in attendance after they flew down to San Jose to attend his second career NHL game, threw a soft shot into traffic that deflected off Anders Bjork’s skate and found it’s way past Anderson.
The Sharks’ face-off win percentage was exceptional throughout the first period, as San Jose won their first seven duals of the game. James Reimer saved six of the seven shots that he faced in the first, as the Sharks went into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead.
Tomas Hertl extended the Sharks lead with his fourth goal of the season with 13:47 to go in the second period. Rudolfs Blacers dished out a pass to a skating Hertl, who went backhand to forehand right past Robert Hagg, ultimately chipping the puck past Craig Anderson to give San Jose the lead back.
With 6:27 remaining in the middle frame, Drake Caggiula netted his second goal of the season, sending a rocket to the back of the net. Caggiula slapped a shot from the top left circle that beat Reimer’s glove to cut the Sharks’ lead in half.
The Sharks continued to dominate the face-off circle throughout the second period, taking a 24 to 11 advantage into the second intermission. Reimer continued his solid performance, saving 9 of the 10 shots he saw in the middle frame.
With 13:58 left in the game, Mario Ferraro scored his first goal of the season, blasting a rocket past Anderson to extend the Sharks lead to 4-2. Nick Merkley, recording his first career NHL point, slid a pass over to Ferraro who one-timed it into the back of the net.
After Ferraro’s goal, the Sabres pushed back hard and peppered James Reimer with a flurry of shots. Reimer stood tall in net and made some magnificent saves, including a spectacular poke check on a Rasmus Asplund breakaway.
Shortly after Reimer’s heroics in net, Tomas Hertl scored a dazzling goal of the year candidate to further extend the Sharks’ lead to 5-2. Hertl skated into the offensive zone and completely dangled past Rasmus Dahlen before sliding the puck off Anderson’s right pad and into the net for his second goal of the night.
Jeff Skinner scored a late goal from behind the net, that banked off the back of Reimer’s helmet, to cut the lead to 5-3 for the Sabres.
Despite giving up the late goal, James Reimer was fantastic in net. Reimer finished the game fending off 25 of the 28 shots that he faced, including some spectacular saves in the third period.
Tomas Hertl ended his huge game with two goals and an assist. Mario Ferraro recorded a goal and an assist and Rudolfs Balcers had two assists in tonight’s game.
For the second straight game, the Sharks came away with a massive win, playing with a depleted roster due to COVID-19.
The Sharks will look to push their win streak to three on Thursday night, as they take on the Blues at SAP Center.