Sharks Suffer Another Embarrassing Loss, Fall 7-1 to Kraken

The San Jose Sharks visited Climate Pledge Arena to face off against the Seattle Kraken in a Pacific Division matchup. The Sharks entered the night looking for their first win on the road this season, as their first three wins have all come at the SAP Center. As a result of Kevin Labanc’s injury on Monday (Nov. 20), the Sharks had to run with 11 forwards and seven defensemen for this game, which was certainly less than ideal. 

The Sharks nearly gave up a goal on the first shift of the game as Jordan Eberle got a breakaway, however, Kaapo Kahkonen was able to make the save. A minute or so later, Brandon Tanev had another breakaway and this time the puck ended up in the back of the net. Jared McCann seemingly made it 2-0 only 5:04 into the game and David Quinn quickly called his timeout to try to turn things around. However, after the timeout, the McCann goal was overturned due to the play being offside and the Sharks were given a lucky break. They weren’t able to capitalize on it though, and things only went downhill from there.

Kaapo Kahkonen San Jose Sharks
Kaapo Kahkonen, San Jose Sharks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Kraken restored their 2-0 lead just over halfway through the first period following a shot off the boards that left Oliver Bjorkstrand with a wide-open net. Moments later, Jan Rutta hit the boards at an awkward angle and stayed down in obvious discomfort. He skated off under his own power but was absent from the Sharks’ bench for a short period of time before returning to the game. However, he didn’t come out for the second period. The Kraken then made it 3-0 about a minute later on an Adam Larsson slap shot. With just over a minute left in the first, Yanni Gourde made it a 4-0 hockey game. 

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Following a Filip Zadina hooking penalty, the Kraken made it 5-0 with a Jared McCann power-play goal that actually counted this time. Neither team scored for the rest of the period, but the Kraken sustained pressure for the majority of the 20 minutes. Kyle Burroughs tried to spark the team near the end of the period with a fight, however, it was quickly broken up. Eeli Tolvanen made it 6-0 early in the third, then Mike Hoffman got the Sharks on the board to make it 6-1. Less than a minute later, Tolvanen answered back and made it 7-1. That ended up being the final score, making it another embarrassing loss for the Sharks.

Eklund Demoted Early, Okhotiuk Benched

William Eklund started the game with Tomas Hertl and Fabian Zetterlund but quickly found himself sitting on the bench for a while before taking some shifts on the fourth line with Ryan Carpenter and Givani Smith. While it’s not great to play a top prospect in a role like that, Quinn was clearly angered by his coverage on McCann’s goal that had been called off. Even though the goal didn’t count, it was still unacceptable defensive play and Quinn had to hold him accountable. It was just a temporary reassignment though, as he was once again taking shifts on the first line before the end of the first period.

William Eklund San Jose Sharks
William Eklund, San Jose Sharks (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Following Bjorkstrand’s goal, Nikita Okhotiuk also found himself sitting on the bench for the remainder of the first period. Quinn was on a mission to show the Sharks that unforced errors won’t be tolerated, and given their level of play for most of this season, it’s a necessary step to take.  

Leaving Kahkonen Out to Dry

While the game got out of hand quickly, it was difficult to blame the goaltending. Odd-man rushes, a lack of clearing the crease, and an inability to break up passing lanes made it impossible for Kahkonen to do his job properly. The Kraken had 17 shots on goal in the first period alone. Tanev’s goal was the second high-danger opportunity that the Sharks had given up in less than two minutes to start the game. 

Bjorkstrand’s goal was the result of a broken 2-on-1 that forced the goaltender to defend the right side of the net, while the shot off of the boards set up a perfect opportunity to score on Kahkonen’s glove side. Meanwhile, on the final goal of the first period, Mario Ferraro was essentially screening his own goaltender while Jamie Oleksiak was set up in front of the net which took away his vision until it was too late to recover. However, of all the goals that were given up in the first period, this was the only one that some blame could be placed on Kahkonen. The Finnish goaltender’s night came to an end early as Mackenzie Blackwood came out to start the second period. 

An Overall Lack of Effort

The second period was a perfect example of the Sharks’ effort level as a whole in this game. They didn’t have a single shot on goal for roughly 18 minutes, and at one point were pinned in their own zone for two minutes straight. It legitimately seemed like an All-Star team playing against them. The Sharks didn’t bring any energy or effort into the game, and it became very clear, very quickly.

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The Sharks have had some very bad games this season, highlighted by conceding ten goals in back-to-back games on Nov. 2 and Nov. 4 against the Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins respectively. In terms of effort, this game is right up there with those. It was another embarrassing loss for a team that can’t even reach the lowest of expectations at the moment. Losing in the middle of a rebuild is fine, it’s going to happen more often than not. Losing without even putting up the smallest fight on the other hand is very much unacceptable.