VANCOUVER – Tyler Kennedy’s minor penalty in the third period of the Sharks’ 3-2 overtime win in Calgary came at an inopportune moment.
The Flames had just gotten on the board thanks to a phantom penalty call on Justin Braun, and less than a minute later, Kennedy headed to the box for tripping Kris Russell in the neutral zone.
San Jose killed the penalty off, but with momentum on their side, the Flames tied it courtesy of a Mike Cammalleri marker. Kennedy took a couple of shifts off later in the third period, as James Sheppard and John McCarthy each took a turn in his place on the right wing of Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau.
Kennedy had been playing an effective game up to that point, and registered an assist on Couture’s early first period goal. He finished with 15 minutes and nine seconds of ice time.
But, Kennedy is also tied for the team lead with Tommy Wingels with six minor penalties. That is something he has to work on.
“The way I skate, I’ve got to keep my stick down,” Kennedy said. “I’ve had a couple of those this year, and I’ve got to make sure I get better at that. That’s one of my focuses, just keep my stick down, because it didn’t help the momentum, that’s for sure. It happens when you try to battle your hardest, you get a couple penalties here and there, but I’ve got to make sure I’m sharper and make sure I use my feet instead of my arms.”
Kennedy was right back in his place on the Couture-Marleau line at Sharks practice at Rogers Arena on Wednesday, so the punishment was apparently short-term. Coach Todd McLellan still appears very pleased with what the 27-year-old has brought to the team, as Kennedy has two goals and five assists in 18 games.
“TK is so fast, and he hounds pucks and he’s around it, that he never has to have his stick off the ice. He can poke pucks away from people, so there’s no need to reach in,” McLellan said.
“He’s such an important guy on our team and he plays so many good, strong minutes for us, that we don’t need him in the penalty box. He’ll be fine. He’ll move on, and he’ll be an important guy [Thursday].”