SAP CENTER — It may have been the preseason, but the Sharks looked more or less in midseason form Friday night in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes.
Coyotes goaltender prospect Louis Domingue stopped Joe Thornton to end the shootout after turning away all 23 Sharks shots he faced in the third period and overtime.
The Sharks outshot the Coyotes 45-18 — 7-2 in overtime — but were stymied by Arizona goaltenders Devan Dubnyk and Domingue for much of the night. They failed to capitalize on a power play in the fast-paced extra session.
A large shot disparity but a loss on the scoreboard seemed to be a recurring theme for the Sharks last season, one they can’t afford to repeat.
Said forward Mike Brown:
“The score didn’t show much of the momentum of the game, but for us, it was more about playing our systems and figuring things out in the preseason. We’ve got a few more games to put the puzzles together.”
San Jose had the benefit of two power plays in the first period, but could not convert despite generating a plethora of opportunities.
On the other hand, they gave Arizona some chances, with 13 giveaways to the Coyotes’ four. The Coyotes capitalized only once, scoring first on a power play goal by Justin Hodgman in the first period after a high-sticking call on Tye McGinn. The Sharks were 5-for-6 on penalty kills and 1-for-5 on the power play.
When the topic of the Sharks’ power play struggles last year came up, Joe Pavelski said:
“I thought we did some good things. The power play was good, moved around pretty good. It (the power play) felt dangerous. We probably could have got more to the net but it felt pretty good overall.”
It was Pavelski who scored the Sharks’ lone goal of the game on the power play, evening the score at the 7:16 mark of the second period when he tipped in a Brent Burns shot from the point.
The Sharks then promptly took two consecutive penalties – Nikolay Goldobin for holding and a too many men on the ice penalty – but killed off both, including a 41-second five-on-three man advantage for the Coyotes.
Left winger McGinn is among the Sharks prospects vying for a roster spot. He showed his physical play with four hits on the night, tied for the team lead with Tommy Wingels.
Nikolay Goldobin, who scored last game against the Canucks, played on the top line with Thornton and Pavelski and performed well with three shots on goal, including a strong move to the net toward the end of the second period that drew a penalty. He was, however, denied in his shootout attempt on a poke check by Domingue.
Head coach Todd McLellan was upbeat about the younger players, particularly defensemen Mirco Mueller and Taylor Fedun. McLellan also mused about the youngsters pushing some of the veterans out:
“The message isn’t about filling one or two holes, it’s about some being pushed and it’s going to be a fight to keep your job now. That will be a good message to some of those players who have been here a while.”
The Sharks come right back with more preseason action Saturday at SAP Center when they take on the Ducks at with an early faceoff at 5 p.m.
Attendance at SAP Center was 15,452 – not quite a sellout. … Antti Niemi played the entire game, stopping 17 of 18 shots. … Thomas Hertl led the Sharks with five shots. … Notable DNPs included Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau.