Sharks lose to Winnipeg Jets, now eagerly await return of players in COVID protocol

The Sharks have generally been pleased with the performances the players who were called up late last month on an emergency basis have given them over the last several games.

Perhaps, though, it’s time to get back to normal.

The Sharks allowed two goals in the second period, including one by Jansen Harkins with 44 seconds left, in a 4-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday at Canada Life Centre.

Andrew Cogliano scored his second goal of the season for a 1-0 Sharks lead in the first period. But the Jets responded with goals by Kyle Connor in the first period and Nate Schmidt and Harkins in the second as the Sharks lost in regulation time for the second time in their last six games.

Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois added an empty-net goal with 33 seconds left in regulation time to round out the scoring.

Sharks goalie James Reimer made 30 saves as his record fell to 3-2-1 for the season.

Reimer entered Thursday with a .946 save percentage, second-best among 43 NHL goalies who had played in at least five games. His 1.60 goals-against average was tops among all goalies in that category.

The Sharks recalled five players from the Barracuda – forwards John Leonard and Nick Merkley, and defensemen Jaycob Megna, Nicolas Meloche, and Ryan Merkley — on Oct. 30 after seven Sharks players and coach Bob Boughner landed in the league’s COVID protocol.

Megna and Meloche both had a plus/minus rating of -2 against the Jets. Nick Merkley had a goal and two assists in six games, Ryan Merkley had a goal in six games and Leonard went without a point in five games.

Defensemen Erik Karlsson, Jake Middleton, Radim Simek, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, plus forwards Matt Nieto, Jonathan Dahlen, and Cogliano were on the initial list. Dahlen and Cogliano were able to come back to play Nov. 2 vs. Buffalo, but the other five missed the last six games.

Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier, who were added to the protocol on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, respectively, have missed the last five games.

The Sharks went 3-2-1 since the outbreak began. Their next game is Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche.

Brent Burns extended his point streak to six games as he assisted on Cogliano’s goal at the 6:28 mark of the first period. Burns now has one goal. Burns is the third Sharks defensemen to have a six-game point streak at age 36 or older, joining Rob Blake and Dan Boyle.

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