SAN JOSE—In their second preseason match on Thursday, September 21, the San Jose Sharks took on the NHL expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights, beating them 5-2.
It goes without saying that there was a lot of back and forth in this game. San Jose had three penalties in the first period, issuing Vegas three power play opportunities. Goaltender Martin Jones stopped all of the Golden Knights’ shots during all three and kept the score at 0-0 at the end of the first period. Jones stopped a total of 15 shots and helped lead the team to their second preseason win.
During the second period, the Sharks scored three goals on the power play (they had a total of four); this is an unusual feat for the Sharks, let alone posting all in a single period consecutively.
Forward Kevin Labanc scored the first goal of the game on the Sharks’ first power play at 4 minutes and 13 seconds in; this was also his second goal of the preseason. Labanc is one of the frontrunners for a spot on the Sharks this season.
“Everyone’s competing for a spot here,” Labanc, who has been a prominent player on the Barracuda, told reporters after the match. “There’s not going to be an easy way of getting it. You just have to work to the best of your ability, whether it be scoring goals or blocking shots, making plays, doing the little things right. That’s what management notices and you just have to be really consistent with [the plays].”
“I feel like we definitely took advantage of every power play [tonight]. Even if we didn’t score, we created momentum off of them. We have to really carry that into the season,” Labanc continued.
“He creates offense in a league that is hard to do so,” said Head Coach Peter DeBoer of Labanc. “If he’s doing that, he’s going to be in the conversation to play here.”
Forward Chris Tierney had two assists, one of which allowed Labanc to score. Tierney spent a significant portion of the summer trying to improve his game.
“For me, I’m just trying to get bigger and stronger, a little quicker, coming around the corners and making plays. I think face-offs is another thing to work on, so just kind of [trying to] improve overall,” said Tierney.
If there is one thing that everyone can agree on when it comes to stepping up your game, it is to be confident. Even Tierney knows that.
“You need to believe in yourself,” he told reporters.
“[Chris] seems to be moving good,” said Sharks captain Joe Pavelski. “He seems to have confidence with the puck. That usually comes from putting some work in and being well-conditioned, feeling like you’re a little stronger. It’s a good start for him. He’s a smart player, he’s good with the puck. If he adds that confidence and wants to make those plays, it will go a long way.”