Melker Karlsson Is Optimistic About Rejoining Sharks On Upcoming Road Trip
SAN JOSE — Melker Karlsson followed up his strong performance on Saturday with another stellar outing on Sunday, the only positive takeaway in an otherwise dismal afternoon for the Barracuda.
After scoring a goal on the opening shift, the Barracuda (3-5-1) committed several sloppy turnovers in the defensive zone, which allowed the Bakersfield Condors (4-5-1) to cruise to an easy 6-2 victory at the SAP Center.
But Karlsson continued to look like the tenacious puck hunter who was named the Sharks 2014-15 rookie of the year, picking up an assist on the game’s opening goal and continuing to win battles all over the ice.
“I thought he was probably our best player,” head coach Roy Sommer said. “As far as playing a north-south game, getting pucks in behind. He was around the puck, it kind of followed him around.”
In his first two outings with the Barracuda on Oct. 21 and Oct. 23, Karlsson said he didn’t have the energy to play with his trademark tenacity as the games wore on. He also said the injury that has plagued him since the beginning of training camp felt “torn up” after his first two games of the year.
But after back-to-back outings over the weekend, Karlsson said he felt energized.
“It always takes a couple of games before you get there and I think I’m getting there now,” he said. “My injury feels better, too.”
Karlsson said he hopes to rejoin the Sharks at some point during their upcoming six-game road trip.
“I want to go if they want me,” Karlsson said. “I feel ready, I think. My injury is going better and better, and my conditioning is going better and better, so I think I’m going to get there.”
Sommer said he doesn’t expect Karlsson to be with the Barracuda for too much longer if his health continues to progress.
“Not if he plays like that,” Sommer said. “I’m sure they (the Sharks) were here watching tonight. I know they’re short a guy or two, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets the call.”
With the reassignment of Lerg, Nikolay Goldobin and Mark Cundari from the Sharks, the Barracuda sent out its most stacked lineup of the entire season on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Condors were missing several key players, like Darnell Nurse, Andrew Miller and Leon Draisaitl, who are currently playing in Edmonton.
On paper, the game looked like a mismatch in the Barracuda’s favor.
But after Jeremy Langlois scored the opening tally just 35 seconds into the contest, the Condors took advantage of several Barracuda miscues, taking a 3-2 lead into the first intermission.
Ryan Hamilton tied the game at the 6:57 mark of the first period during a Barracuda power play, picking up a loose puck that goalie Aaron Dell left behind his own net for the defense, and stuffing it in on a wraparound attempt.
Jujhar Khaira gave the Condors a 2-1 lead less than three minutes later after Cundari gave the puck away behind his own net, giving the opposition an easy look from the doorstep.
“The first one, it was kind of the defenseman’s fault, too, because he should have gone to the corner. We should have punched the puck up the wall on that one,” Sommer said. “The giveaway behind [the net], veteran guy. We can’t have that.”
After Lerg tied it up with 5:24 remaining in the opening frame on a delayed penalty, the Condors retook the lead less than two minutes later when Matthew Ford slipped a softie between Dell’s left skate and the goal post.
As a result, Sommer pulled Dell after the first period. But Troy Grosenick wasn’t too much better in the final 40 minutes. He got beat on his glove side by David Musil from the left circle roughly five minutes into the second, surrendered a power play goal less than three minutes later and coughed up another one in the third with the game out of reach.
In total, the Barracuda gave up six goals on 32 shots.
“We just weren’t clicking on all eight cylinders from both goaltenders on out. I’m not letting those guys off the hook either,” Sommer said, referring to Dell and Grosenick. “I don’t think we were ready to play.”
Sommer also benched Goldobin, who was coming off a pair of games with the Sharks, for a large portion of the third period. Goldobin was invisible for most of the game, appearing disengaged after his recent recall to the NHL.
But Goldobin wasn’t the only Barracuda player who disappeared on Sunday.
“It’s tough to win a game when you’ve only got about half the guys on board,” Lerg said. “So it’s something we’ve got to address and work on in practice and move forward.”
This article is sponsored by Tilden Park Golf Course. Join the Players’ Club for $39.99 a month. Daily range access. Free green fees. Free golf clinics!