Jason Robertson and the Dallas Stars dominate the San Jose Sharks
SAN JOSE — Goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen had the opportunity to start his first career game at home on Saturday as a member of the Sharks, a chance to pick up the win in teal after a pretty solid outing two days earlier.
Kahkonen’s night lasted 20 minutes as he fell victim to shoddy defensive play in front of him and perhaps his own momentary lapse in focus during a four-goal first period for the Dallas Stars.
James Reimer came on as a relief from Kahkonen to start the second period, but the damage was done as the Sharks couldn’t overturn a three-goal deficit in what became a 5-4 loss to the Stars at SAP Center.
Nick Bonino, Brent Burns, John Leonard and Sasha Chmelevski all scored and Reimer finished with 14 saves as the Sharks lost their third straight game. Leonard and Chmelevski scored 3:14 apart late in the third period to bring the Sharks within a goal, but they couldn’t get closer.
“I liked our start,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. “We went out and scored the first goal. I can tell when we have legs and when we don’t, and I thought we had good legs tonight.
“Even when we were down 4-1, I thought we had good legs. Too bad we got the whole game back.
Kahkonen allowed four goals on 14 shots in the first period, including a shock for Jason Robertson with just 0.3 seconds left.
The Sharks were called for the punt with 2.7 seconds left in the first period as Jonathan Dahlen failed to put his stick on a center ice puck that had been circled by defenseman Mario Ferraro. .
“Mario is just trying to rhyme it to (Couture), who let him go just to get him out of the zone with two seconds left,” Boughner said. “There are guys coming on the bench, they should have touched him. But I still think the Dallas player was successful as well.
“It could easily have been a no-icing call and the period would be over.”
With the faceoff deep in the Sharks’ zone, Tyler Seguin won a faceoff with Couture against Denis Gurianov, whose shot on goal came out of Ferraro and boards behind Kahkonen’s right shoulder.
Robertson won the race for the loose puck and tossed it towards the Sharks’ net, where it came off Kahkonen’s skate and crossed the goal line with a split second to spare.
“It’s not a good goal,” Boughner said. “We lost the first period, we won the second, we went out, we won the third. But you can’t start allowing four goals and the goal (from Robertson) was the backbreaker right there. The difference is two seconds. Just a bad goal.
Vladislav Namestnikov, Jani Hakanpaa and Roope Hintz also scored in 8:03 for the Stars in the first period.
Hanakpaa’s goal at 8:11 of the first period actually came after Seguin fanned a shot attempt. But the puck went to Hakanpaa, whose shot over the circles passed Kahkonen.
“So that has to be a stop too,” Boughner said. “It’s like that.”
“I need to do a better job on the toss, but we need to know there are 5-10 seconds left,” Couture said. “Guys were going to change and you just knew the situation in the game. Stay on the ice, touch the puck.
Former Sharks captain Joe Pavelski scored at 7:44 of the third period – the game-winner – for Dallas, who claimed the win for the sixth time in seven games and passed the Vegas Golden Knights for the second wild card in the Western Conference. square.
Ferraro was expected to miss six to eight weeks after undergoing surgery on February 27 to repair a fractured left fibula. But he started skating on Monday and has stepped up his ice activities in recent days before receiving medical clearance on Sunday.
“He’s a hard worker and that speaks for itself,” Leonard said of Ferraro. “Whatever the doctors tell him, he’s going to do it and he’ll do whatever he can to get back on the ice right away.
The Sharks homestand continues next week with games against Edmonton and Calgary on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.
Kahkonen was making his third start for the Sharks on Saturday and his second in a row after stopping 42 of 46 shots in San Jose’s 4-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.
Boughner said he wanted to give Kahkonen, who made his first two appearances for the team on the road, the chance to start a game at SAP Center. Kahkonen started Saturday with a 0-2-0 record, .907 save percentage and 4.01 goals-against average.
Pavelski was playing his third game in San Jose in three years since signing a three-year contract with the Stars in 2019. Dallas gave Pavelski, 37, a one-year, $5.5 million extension .
Burns and Pavelski now share an interesting stat in common, as both have now scored more goals past their 30s than before. Burns has now scored as many goals at age 30 or older (113 in 538 games) as before he was 30 (113 in 699 games).