HP PAVILION — A sold-out crowd of 17,562 was on the edge of their seats Tuesday night as the San Jose Sharks battled to keep their record pristine against a very competitive Anaheim Ducks team.
Team Teal would indeed emerge victorious, coming from behind in the third period and winning 3-2 in the shootout.
However, the win itself wasn’t pretty but they’ll take the two points.
Head Coach Todd McLellan talked about the tired demeanor of the team post-game:
Post-Game Audio: Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan
“Well it’s a win, We’ve got to be excited that we put points in the bank and that we were able to come back. But we have to tell it like it was, they were the better team. I didn’t feel real good tonight with the flow of the game, with the management of players. A lot of ‘pieced’ things together, for lack of a better term. I thought, a couple of fresh guys, a couple tired guys….opportunities to execute and we didn’t do it. So it was a frustrating night, but at least we found a way to win.”
Center Joe Pavelski would get the Sharks offense rolling in the first period with his third goal of the season at 9:46. Joe Thornton would pick up his 11th assist, and Patrick Marleau would pick up his fifth. Antti Niemi would block, smother, and otherwise bat away 13 shots that the Ducks put his way but they wouldn’t score in the first period. The teams would retreat to their respective dressing rooms with San Jose up 1-0.
But the home team would run into trouble early in the second period. Right after the Sharks killed a penalty by Patrick Marleau, as he was leaving the box, Anaheim’s Francois Beauchemin shot the puck from an impossible angle near the goal line off Niemi’s skate to tie the game 1-1 at 8:40.
Just 1:39 later, Matt Beleskey would get his first goal of the season with a high shot over Niemi’s left shoulder to give the Ducks the 2-1 advantage.
The Sharks would waste a power play late in the period, and Marleau would rack up yet another penalty before the period was over. Anaheim would outshoot San Jose 21-10.
The score would remain 2-1 for the majority of the third period, with Niemi continuing to fight off Anaheim’s goal attempts. With 2:45 left in regulation, center Logan Couture would find the opportunity to slip the puck in between goaltender Jonas Hiller’s legs to tie the game 2-2.
Couture talked post-game about the dire need for San Jose to put the puck in the net:
Post-Game Audio: Sharks Center Logan Couture
“I just wanted to shoot the puck. I mean, I know guys were driving the net, and if I can get the puck there, there’s either going to be a rebound or a chance to score.”
The Sharks’ defense would keep the Ducks at bay for the remainder of regulation, causing The Tank to erupt as the game headed into overtime.
Scott Gomez, who picked up his first point with an assist on Couture’s game-tying goal, talked about the attitude adjustment the team had to catch up to Anaheim and tie up the game in the third period:
Post-Game Audio: Sharks Center Scott Gomez
“Give them credit, they had some big bodies that really were taking the shots away. And also, we were probably trying to get a little cute. . . And then we were talking and made the adjustment, and I think you could tell we were a little different in the third period.”
Both teams had opportunities during 4-on-4 overtime play, taking an already dramatic game into a shootout. Credit Niemi for a point blank save against Corey Perry late in the overtime period to keep the game nodded 2-2.
San Jose’s Michal Handzus would get the first and lone shot past Hiller, sealing the Sharks 3-2 victory and bringing their shortened season record to 5-0.
Team captain Joe Thornton summed up the stagnant game leading into the dramatic finish:
Post-Game Audio: Sharks Center Joe Thornton
“It seemed like a battle right from the start. For whatever reason, we really didn’t play well to start the game. But just to stay with it, and for Logan to bury at the end and give us a chance to win, we’ll take the two points.”
On the other side of the rink, Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau’s quote summed up their frustrating night.
Post-Game Audio: Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau
“You know, that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. The hockey gods weren’t with us tonight.”
The Sharks’ six-game home stand continues Thursday, January 31, against the Edmonton Oilers. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.
The line of Pavelski, Thornton, and Marleau has scored at least one goal in six straight games. … San Jose’s 6-0-0 start to the season is the best in franchise history. Before this season, the Sharks best start came in 2008-09 when they began the year 4-0-0. … This was the Sharks first appearance in overtime this season. It was also their first appearance in the shootout. … Defenseman Nick Petrecki played in his first career NHL game tonight filling in for Dan Boyle who was sick with the flu. … Ducks forward Emerson Etem, a Long Beach native, also made his NHL debut. … San Jose ended a three-game home losing streak against the Ducks