They had four goals at full strength but could not score on eight power plays. They did give up a goal to the Vancouver Canucks on six penalty kills that included one in the final 25 seconds of the game, but did not give up any goals at even strength.
It is important not to read too much into the one victory. Not only do the Sharks have 81 games to go, but there are two other teams in the Pacific Division that won their first game and only one rival not legitimately vying for first place.
Moreover, there might not have been a better opponent to start with than the Western Conference rival Vancouver Canucks. They had lost nine straight games to San Jose in 2013, including 5-0 and 3-2 regulation defeats this preseason. They had also lost 10 of 11 games that count, including being swept out in the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs by their now Pacific Division rival.
Things did not get off to such a good start for the Sharks. One of two early penalties to Brent Burns led to a well-executed power play for the Canucks, capped with Jason Garrison pinching from the point for a one-timer goal. Daniel Sedin had the primary assist after brother Henrik fed him in the slot to break down the penalty kill.
They made that lead hold for almost 17 minutes until captain Joe Thornton tipped a Vancouver pass to start a rush the other way. He got the puck to rookie Tomas Hertl, who attacked the middle of the ice but had two defenders forcing him to feed Brent Burns on the right wing. Roberto Luongo made his first mistake of the night by not being positioned close enough to his post, and the shot found its way through to tie the game 1-1 about six minutes into the second period.
As the second intermission neared, Tommy Wingels was able to get a takeaway that allowed San Jose to get a complete line change. The Logan Couture line kept the pressure on the tired Vancouver skaters, and his screen was key to the resulting goal. His pass to Marc-Edouard Vlasic on the point was slid across for Justin Braun, who gathered the puck and sent it through traffic for his first goal in 70 games.
The Sharks closed out the game defensively, holding the Canucks to just five shots over the final 23:06. With over 90 percent of the contest behind him, Luongo finally broke.
It started again with Couture, who was skating back to defend and stripped the puck high of the circle in the attacking zone. He had already seen line-mate Patrick Marleau streaking down from the point, and his no-look pass from the half-boards was sent into the net for the insurance goal.
For good measure, the Joe Pavelski line got involved a little over a minute later. After he missed on two glorious shorthanded chances, he got the plus on the strength of his line-mates. Wingels blocked a shot and advanced it to Andrew Desjardins, who he followed for a two-man rush behind any defenders.
Desjardins fumbled the puck near the crease, but got it back to Wingels who had stopped in front of the net. Luongo could not get back to cover the redirect, and the Vancouver hit came too late. From there, both teams only attempted three shots; San Jose showed they were still playing hard by blocking two and getting two through.
Couture and head coach Todd McLellan found things troubling in the power play. Even in that negative, the coach and captain pointed out that there were a lot of chances (11 shots). As a team, the Sharks lost the faceoff battle 35-32 and got only two of those back via turnovers (14-7 in giveaways but 9-0 in takeaways). The Canucks also had one more hit (18-17) and blocked four more shots (22-18), but had 12 more attempts thrown their way and allowed 13 more shots on goal (35-22).
This was an all-around effort, but the photo list includes reasons for each of Examiner's three stars of the game.