SAN JOSE – The Sharks allowed a breakaway goal to Andrei Kuzmenko at the 1:12 mark of overtime in a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.
J.T. Miller took advantage of a bad Sharks change as he sent a 100-foot pass up the middle to Kuzmenko, who beat goalie Kaapo Kahkonen low glove side for his 10th goal of the season.
Erik Karlsson assisted on third-period goals by Logan Couture and Luke Kunin, with Kunin’s goal, his second of the game, tying the game 3-3 with 5:15 left in regulation time.
With his two assists, Karlsson became the first defenseman in Sharks history to register a 20-point month. He came into Sunday with five goals and 14 assists in 12 November games.
Nevertheless, the Sharks’ overall record is now 7-13-4, and the eight points they’ve collected at home, with a mark of 2-8-4, represents their slowest start inside their own arena in over a quarter-century.
Besides the four overtime or shootout losses, the Sharks have also lost four games in regulation time at home by one goal.
“I don’t think we’ve played poorly at home, we just haven’t won games, as crazy as that sounds,” Sharks coach David Quinn said. “There’s been a lot of games we’ve lost where we’ve all stood here and thought we played pretty well, we just don’t do enough to win, and there’s a big difference.”
The last time the Sharks accumulated eight or fewer points at home after 14 games was during the 1995-96 season when they began the year with a 3-9-2 record at what was then still called San Jose Arena.
“This is a building that I know when I was a visiting player, I hated coming to,” Sharks center Nick Bonino said. “There have been stretches where we’ve been tough to play against here, but you need to play the whole game against teams in this league. And I think we’re building towards that.”
The Sharks now hit the road for a four-game trip that starts Tuesday in Montreal. San Jose also has games in Toronto, Ottawa, and Buffalo.
The Sharks will have to play those games without defenseman Mario Ferraro, who will not be on the road trip after was placed on injured reserve Saturday with a lower-body ailment, possibly the result of a blocked shot in Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings.
Quinn said the team was awaiting the results of X-rays on Ferraro, who was seen leaving the arena Sunday with a noticeable limp. For now, Nick Cicek has taken Ferraro’s spot in the lineup.
“It’s next man up,” Kahkonen said. “Cicek has been playing really well for us, and we have (Radim Simek) back. Whoever goes out there is going to do their best to help the team win.”
Kahkonen got the start Sunday as James Reimer was once again unavailable with what’s been described as a lower-body injury. The Sharks recalled Aaron Dell from the Barracuda of the AHL on Saturday, and he backed up Kahkonen against the Canucks.
Quinn said Sunday night he wasn’t sure if Reimer would be able to make the trip, and there appears to be a chance that Reimer could be placed on injured reserve. Nico Sturm could be nearing a return, and the Sharks might need to free up a spot on the 23-man roster to activate him from IR.
Sturm has spent over a week on injured reserve with an upper-body ailment.
Couture gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead on a power play goal at the 7:05 mark of the third period. Tomas Hertl won a faceoff and got the puck back to Karlsson, who fed Couture across the blue line for a one-timer that deflected off a Canucks’ player’s stick and past Demko.
The Canucks responded with goals from Ilya Mikheyev and Elias Pettersson 2:30 apart, with Pettersson’s goal at the 10:44 mark giving his team a 3-2 lead.
The Sharks caught a break late in the second period to tie the game 1-1.
Sharks defenseman Matt Benning sent a shot toward the Canucks net that Bonino redirected toward the net. The puck glanced off Kunin on its way up and landed behind Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko. The goal was Kunin’s fourth of the season and represented Bonino’s second point of the year.
“I knew it hit something. Selfishly right now, I was hoping maybe it hit their guy,” Bonino said with a half-smile. “But (Kunin) was in the right place going to the net and obviously, I’m just happy we scored.”
Kahkonen’s night began in a shaky fashion. A Kyle Burroughs shot, which did not appear to be screened, from just inside the blue line got past Kahkonen for a 1-0 Canucks lead just 7:26 into the first period.
Kahkonen settled down after the goal, though, as he stopped the next 12 shots faced until the end of the second period.
Kahkonen’s play had been up and down of late. He made 37 saves in a 5-1 Sharks win over the Ottawa Senators on Nov. 21, but in a wide-open game against the Seattle Kraken two nights later, allowed seven goals on 26 shots.
In November, Kahkonen came into Sunday with a 1-2-1 record and a .879 save percentage in four games.