The Ottawa Senators could not complete their California sweep as they fell 4-1 to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night at the SAP Center. This game concluded a three game road trip for the Sens through the Golden State, in which they went 2-1-0.

Sharks goaltender Martin Jones had a strong performance, stymying Ottawa opportunities all game. Offensively, it was Brent Burns leading the way for San Jose, as he notched two points (1G, 1A), including the game winning goal. Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, and Melker Karlsson also scored for the Sharks.

Ryan Dzingel scored the lone goal for the visiting Senators, who battled hard, putting up a respectable effort against a NHL powerhouse. The Senators are riddled with injuries to key players. As a result, they are missing their best centreman, defenseman, and goalie. Matt Duchene, Thomas Chabot, Craig Anderson, Colin White, and Ben Harpur were all names missing from the visiting team’s roster in this game.

With the loss, Ottawa drops to 17-24-5 and remain at 39 points, which ranks them 29th in the NHL. The Sharks on the other fin, improve to 27-13-7 and 61 points. This ranks them second in their division, one point behind the Calgary Flames, and third overall in the NHL. They are a perfect 6-0-0 since the calendars flipped to 2019.

Game recap

After a fast paced but scoreless first period, the Sharks opened the second swarming Ottawa’s zone. However, an early tripping penalty against Barclay Goodrow would cool off some of this pressure.

Afterwards both teams enjoyed offensive opportunities throughout the period. Ex-Senator captain Erik Karlsson rung a shot off the post, while Senators rookie forward Brady Tkachuk made a great drive to the net, only to be stopped by Jones. On the night, the 19-year-old would amass an impressive seven shots but would get zero goals for his effort.

Jones continued his excellent goaltending during the second Senators power play when he would deny and spoil the returns of ex-Sharks Chris Tierney and Rudolfs Balcers. Then, shortly after San Jose killed off Tim Heed‘s penalty, Pavelski opened the scoring with a laser shot high over the glove of Senators goalie Anders Nilsson. After 40 minutes, the Sharks held a 1-0 lead and had a 2 shot edge over the Senators, leading 18-16.

Burns scored San Jose’s second goal of the night, deflecting a shot off the skate of Senators defenseman Christian Jaros. This gave the home team a 2-0 lead, and this goal would stand to be the game winner.

It was fitting that the All-Star defenseman scored on the same night that he was honored for achieving 1,000 games in his career. Burns reached this milestone back on Dec. 27, 2018 against the Anaheim Ducks. Coincidentally, he also scored the game-winner in that game as well, which gave the Sharks a 4-2 victory over their Californian rivals.

The Senators responded almost immediately after the Burns goal when Dzingel sent a high wrist shot past Jones. The goal temporarily gave the visitors hope of getting back into this game to tie it up at two.

However, that hope was dashed when San Jose scored again at 15:43 into the final frame, courtesy of Thornton. M. Karlsson would cap off the win with an empty-net tally. In addition to the victory, his 21st of the season, Jones finished the night with a 1.00 goals against average and a .964 save percentage.

EK65 held pointless, again

E. Karlsson was held pointless for the second time this season against his former hockey club. Despite this, his offensive play was much more noticeable and dangerous in this game. At least two of the Shark goals- Pavelski’s and Thornton’s- were fuelled by his efforts to drive rushes and move the puck around.

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The Senators were fortunate to keep Karlsson pointless. Lately, he has hit top form and has been white hot. In his last 18 games, the Swede has tallied an astonishing 26 points (1G, 25A).

Although the Senators defense were successful in shutting down Karlsson, they could not contain Burns this game. This exemplifies the offensive dangers of the Sharks defensive pairings perfectly. Even if teams can neutralize one elite All-Star, there is always the other to be mindful of.

Ex-Sharks also held pointless

Four ex-Sharks were in Ottawa’s line-up for this match, all of whom were returning to San Jose for the first time as members of the Senators. These players were Tierney, Mikkel Boedker, Dylan DeMelo, and Balcers.

Despite the hype around their returns, none could convert this excitement into points. Unlike Karlsson, however, two of the former Sharks have recorded points against their former team. When San Jose visited Ottawa on Dec. 1, 2018, Boedker recorded a four-point night, while Tierney earned an assist in a dominant 6-2 Senators win.

Snap shots

  • Darren Archibald made his debut with the Senators, registering one shot and one hit in 5:34 of ice time. The 28-year-old was acquired with Nilsson on Jan. 2 from the Vancouver Canucks.
  • Senators forward Bobby Ryan is on a seven-game point streak, which includes three goals and five assists.

Official 3 stars of the game

  1. Brent Burns, San Jose
  2. Joe Pavelski, San Jose
  3. Martin Jones, San Jose

Up next

The Senators return to Ottawa to welcome the Colorado Avalanche to Canadian Tire Centre on Wednesday. The last time these two teams met, the Avs top line wreaked havoc against the Sens in Duchene’s return to Denver. Ottawa will be looking to redeem themselves on home ice.

Scoring summary

2San Jose

Joe Pavelski (26)Tomas Hertl (22)
Brenden Dillon (12)
3San Jose
Brent Burns (9)Kevin Labanc (22)
Justin Braun (9)
Ryan Dzingel (18)Bobby Ryan (19)
Zack Smith (11)
3San Jose

Joe Thornton (9)Timo Meier (23)
Brent Burns (43)
3San Jose

Melker Karlsson (8)Unassisted

Cover Photo Credit: Scot Tucker / The Associated Press

Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter, @BillyMorrison01.

Billy Morrison

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