James Reimer leads Sharks into first meeting with Kraken

Sports

For some reason, James Reimer is at his best when playing for the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks hope for more of the same when they host the expansion Seattle Kraken on Tuesday night, the first meeting between the teams.

The veteran goaltender made 34 saves in his return to the lineup Saturday in a 2-1 victory against visiting Dallas, improving to 9-4-1 and lowering his goals-against average to a career-low 1.98.

Reimer is in his second stint with the Sharks. He played eight games for them in 2015-16, going 6-2-0 with a 1.62 GAA after a trade from Toronto. He signed as a free agent with Florida that offseason and also played for Carolina for two seasons before returning this summer.

“I felt like I was maybe a little rusty in the first, but I think that’s to be expected,” Reimer said. “I thought as the game went on, I settled in more and more.”

Tomas Hertl scored for the fourth straight game and Erik Karlsson also tallied for the Sharks, who had lost three of their previous four.

“We found a way to win it,” Karlsson said. “Reims played great for us again and everybody chipped in when we needed to. I think it was a win that will give us some peace of mind and some confidence moving forward.”

Reimer made his first start since a 5-2 victory Nov. 30 at New Jersey. Sharks coach Bob Boughner told the San Jose Mercury News that Reimer was “run down and not feeling 100 percent so we want to make sure we’re taking care of that.”

He was tested early, as the Sharks were outshot 14-6 in the first period.

“I thought (Reimer) was our best player in the first period,” Boughner said. “They came out hard. He just looked pretty poised in there all night. I think we fed off of that a little bit and felt comfortable being in a 1-0 game for a long time until we got the second one.”

The Kraken are coming off an 0-2-1 home stand in which they were outscored 14-5.

But they did show some positive signs Saturday, rallying from a three-goal deficit in the third period before falling to Columbus 5-4 in overtime.

“The thing that our players can take a lot of pride in is coming out in the third period and playing an outstanding period and earning one point,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “At the end of the day that makes losing the extra point not being able to finish it out in overtime a pretty hard pill for everybody to swallow.”

The Kraken lost top-line center Yanni Gourde and fellow forward Riley Sheahan, as well as assistant coach Jay Leach, to the league’s COVID-19 protocol the morning of the game.

With that and after allowing four second-period goals, the Kraken could have folded.

“I think we did a good job battling back,” said Morgan Geekie, who scored one of the third-period goals. “I think it speaks a lot of our group and how we’re growing as a team, how we rely on each other. … I think it’s a step in the right direction.”

–Field Level Media

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