Finally! Sharks win first game, end historic season-opening skid

NBC Sports Bay Area

The 2023-24 San Jose Sharks finally have made a dent in the win column.

Behind goals from Anthony Duclair and William Eklund, and a masterful performance by goalie Mackenzie Blackwood, the Sharks beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 on Tuesday night at SAP Center for their first win of the season.

Blackwood and the Sharks fended off a furious Flyers effort in the final few minutes of the game and held on for the emotional win.

The win snaps the Sharks’ 11-game winless streak to begin the season, which tied the NHL record held by the 1943-44 New York Rangers and the 2017-18 and 2021-22 Arizona Coyotes.

San Jose now is 1-10-1 this season, as Blackwood was credited with 38 saves in the win.

“I think it was a team effort today,” center William Eklund told NBC Sports California’s Bret Hedican after the win. “We talked about going out there to win games and how we want to play, so it was fantastic.”

Tuesday’s performance was leaps and bounds better than San Jose’s last two, in which they allowed 10 goals to both the Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Those back-to-back performances prompted general manager Mike Grier to hold a “one-way” conversation with Sharks players Monday to address what he deemed “unacceptable” play.

Coach David Quinn also spoke to Sharks players after practice on Monday, and at least for one night, it’s clear the message got through.

San Jose’s aggression and toughness was noticeable against Philadelphia as the Sharks constantly were tussling with the Flyers, racking up 17 penalty minutes in the contest.

Quinn and the Sharks now have something positive to build on, with their next game coming against the Edmonton Oilers at home on Thursday night.

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