The San Jose Sharks split a pair of games at SAP Center this past weekend and saw some of their rookies come through with breakout moments. But the biggest loss was the injury to star defenseman Mario Ferraro, who could be out for eight weeks.
The Sharks lost on Feb. 26 to the Boston Bruins 3-1 but rebounded nicely the next day by beating Seattle 3-1 to claim their first victory over the Kraken. Ferraro was hurt in the Boston game, another piece of bad news in an injury-prone season for the Sharks. But it doesn’t overshadow the good things which happened against Seattle.
Young Players Stand Out in Seattle Win
Let’s start with some promising developments. The youngsters the Sharks have been bringing along came through, as did the newly-acquired Ryan Dzingel. For the first time this season, San Jose won a game without a point from Timo Meier or Tomas Hertl. That’s a fact with must have the coaching staff overjoyed.
Scott Reedy and Jonah Gadjovich scored their first NHL goals versus the Kraken. Reedy went first, scoring 7:15 into the second period to give his team a 2-1 lead. Jasper Weatherby won a faceoff in the Seattle zone, and Reedy collected the puck and fired it through traffic, and delivered a nice birthday present for his mother. “It’s an emotional moment for me, just thinking about everything that went into it and getting to this point,” Reedy said. “In this building, too, in front of all the fans. And my family is watching back home. It’s actually my mom’s birthday, so (it’s a) little birthday present for her. Special moment.”
Gadjovich pretty much sealed the victory with 5:23 left in the game on a power play. A shot from Brent Burns ricocheted off Gadjovich’s skate and past Seattle goaltender Philipp Grubauer. It’s the first time two Sharks have scored their first NHL goal in the same game since Ferraro and Joel Kellman accomplished the feat on Dec. 28, 2019, against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Dzingel picked up his first goal for the team in his fourth game with San Jose. He was claimed off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it was his fifth goal of the season overall.
All the new scorers gave the Sharks a much-needed win. “We found a way,” San Jose coach Bob Boughner said. “I don’t think it was our best performance by any means, but at this time of year, to get two points and find a way, that’s the biggest thing.”
Ferraro Injury Hurts Defense
This is terrible news. The Sharks announced before the Seattle game that Ferraro underwent surgery on the fibula in his left leg and that he’d miss up to two months. Ferraro was injured in the second period vs. the Bruins after being pushed awkwardly into the boards by Boston’s Taylor Hall. Hall received a penalty for interference.
It’s been a rough season for Ferraro. He lost three teeth on Jan. 29 against the Florida Panthers when a shot from forward Owen Tippett ramped up Ferraro’s stick and into his face. He had oral surgery and only missed one game.
The good news for the Sharks is that Erik Karlsson is recovering faster than expected from his elbow injury, and he could return as soon as March 5.
Gutsy Performance Provides Spark
The Sharks certainly didn’t look sharp early against the Kraken, who had won the only two previous meetings between the squads. But all things considered, this was one of their gutsiest wins. They were down another top-line defenseman, playing on back-t0-back days and still down to one goalie since it’s apparent current backup, Zach Sawchenko, is not an option. Veteran goalie James Reimer was playing in his 12th consecutive game, and the Sharks had to be tired.
But after a first period in which they weren’t very active, the Sharks picked it up. Reimer, who seems to get better the more he works, had 39 saves and improved to 15-12-5. Boughner pointed out that with the Sharks’ playoff hopes in jeopardy, they had to pull it together. “These games are too important at this time of year, and I understand fatigue,” Boughner said. “We didn’t make it easy on ourselves. We had terrible puck management (to start), and I don’t think we were playing hard enough. We were standing around watching in the first period. But we adjusted, and that’s a good thing.”
The youth movement coming through with a good offensive showing certainly helped. The Sharks hope it’s a sign that its star players will get some help the rest of the season.
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Scott Linesburgh has been a sports writer for 35 years, and has spent more than 15 years as a pro hockey beat writer. He has covered some of the biggest sporting events, including the Super Bowl and Indianapolis 500. A native of Long Island, N.Y. who grew up as an Islander fan, Scott cover the San Jose Sharks for THW, and is always looking for the stories beyond the box scores.