Luke Kunin scores go-ahead power play goal as Sharks beat Capitals 2-1

San Jose Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro (38) skates toward the puck in front of Washington Capitals defenseman Martin Fehervary during the first period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)(AP/Jeff Chiu)

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Luke Kunin scored a go-ahead power play-goal in the third period, Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 33 shots, and the San Jose Sharks beat the Washington Capitals 2-1 on Monday night.

Kunin’s goal, his fifth of the season, came at 12:48 of the third period off a pass by Justin Bailey, who worked the puck off the boards and found an open Kunin to fire it past Capitals goalie Darcy Kuemper. Bailey was playing his first game with the Sharks after being signed earlier in the day.

The Sharks won back-to-back games for just the second time all season and earned points in three consecutive games for the first time, as they head out on a six-game East Coast road swing. They were without their points leader in Tomás Hertl, who missed the game with a mid-body injury.

“It wasn’t our best game by any means,” Kunin said. “But we found a way to win and keep that good feeling going. So hopefully we can build off of some things and keep that good feeling going into the road trip.”

Fabian Zetterlund put the Sharks in front midway through the first period, picking up a loose puck and scoring from the side of the net after his initial shot on the rush was stopped. Zetterlund, with his sixth goal, tied Mike Hoffman for the team lead and has scored in consecutive games.

“I think every team is a work in progress, us in particular. … We’ve been scratching and clawing here over the past three weeks and I’m really proud of our guys,” Sharks coach David Quinn said. “They’re showing some characteristics that you need if you’re going to have a successful season.”

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored for the Capitals, who have lost two straight after a five-game win streak. Washington is embarking on a five-game West Coast road trip. Kuemper finished with 21 saves.

Kuznetsov tied the game at 1-1 late in the second period on a shot that deflected off Blackwood’s pad and Sharks defender Nikita Okhotiuk before trickling in.

Capitals coach Spencer Carbery said the game reminded him of the start of the season, when Washington got off to a 1-3-1 start.

“Just not able to make that last play or find that last goal to be able to break through and score maybe three or four in a game — and we’re searching for two (goals), right?” Carbery said. “So it makes it tough to win games scoring one goal.”

The Capitals continued to struggle on the power play. Washington, which has the NHL’s all-time leader in powe-play goals in Alex Ovechkin, went 0 for 3 on Monday and has failed to convert on its last 31 opportunities over the last 11 games.

Carbery and his players agreed that the power play generated better chances, but it still failed to snap the skid. Wilson had a couple of opportunities, including one from point-blank that was denied by Blackwood.

“Those pucks have to be in the back of the net,” Wilson said. “Those are two big moments. If those go in, it’s a different game. So I take responsibility for that. You’ve got to find a way to capitalize when you’re out there on the power play.”

With Martin Fehervary coming off injured reserve, the Capitals had their entire top six defense pairings available on Monday for the first time this season. Fehervary assisted on Kuznetsov’s goal.

In addition to Hertl’s absence, Sharks forward Filip Zadina was also placed on injured reserve.


Capitals: Visit Anaheim on Wednesday night.

Sharks: Visit Boston on Thursday night.



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