San Jose

Sharks Open Season With Loss to Golden Knights

The San Jose Sharks opened the season without star defenseman Erik Karlsson on the ice Wednesday night and lost to the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1.

Karlsson was scratched from the Sharks' lineup shortly before faceoff to attend to a personal matter, according to the team.

It wouldn't be a Sharks game against the Vegas Golden Knights without a little bit of drama. And boy, these two teams don't disappoint Wednesday night.

There were big hits, questionable calls, and even some side-eye between the coaches. Heck, and that was after Sharks All-Star defenseman Erik Karlsson's last-minute absence due to a personal matter.

There was just about everything you've come to expect from a game between San Jose and Vegas.

Here are three takeaways from the defeat in Sin City.

Jones kept the Sharks in the game: There were probably plenty of eye rolls when Vegas went up 2-0 less than six minutes into the first period. But Sharks goaltender Martin Jones pulled a 180 and really got settled in after that.

Jones easily was San Jose's first star on the evening, especially when he made three big second-period saves following the Sharks' unsuccessful power play. He froze Max Pacioretty on a breakaway attempt that would have completely taken San Jose out of the game.

But Jones didn't have the offense to back him up on the other side of the ice. The Sharks were grossly outshot 16-5 in the second stanza and mostly hemmed were in their own zone, and they'll be disappointed that came after cutting the Golden Knights' lead to just a goal at the end of the first period.

After picking up steam at the end of the first 20 minutes, the Sharks did Jones -- and themselves -- no favors by backing off.

That's not the start you're looking for: We mentioned earlier Wednesday that a strong start would be crucial for the Sharks. San Jose fell back on its bad habits from last season, and once again fell into an early hole against Vegas on Wednesday.

The Sharks trailed 2-0 before the halfway point of the first frame, and they only came as close as one goal on the scoreboard. That wasn't the only area San Jose struggled.

In all, the Sharks won just 47 percent of their faceoffs, failed to score on five power-play opportunities and largely looked overall overpowered by the Golden Knights for much of the night.

But here's some good news ... Wednesday was only the first of an 82-game season. The Sharks knew they'd be in for an adjustment period after so much roster turnover this offseason.

With the tough first game of the season under their belts, they now need to attack those areas where they are lacking.

The Sharks also didn't have their full lineup out on the ice Wednesday night. Karlsson's absence, on top of Evander Kane serving the first game of his suspension, surely didn't help San Jose.

As long as the Sharks show they can learn and rebound when they take the ice Friday for their own home opener at SAP Center, they should be in good shape.

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