SAP CENTER — A few seconds into his first shift since December, Tomas Hertl took a shot on net that looked like it might just miss Colorado goaltender Reto Berra’s glove.
Photos by Aris Bernales/SFBay
The rookie didn’t score on his few opportunities over the course of the evening. But his encouraging return certainly contributed to Team Teal’s regular season home finale Friday night.
Fellow Czech Marty Havlat’s third period natural hat trick led the Sharks’ offensive rush while linemates Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau notched multi-point games.
Alex Stalock (31 saves) was a brick wall in the blue paint in the Sharks’ raucous 5-1 victory over the Avalanche.
Not bad for a game that didn’t have an impact on the Sharks’ position in the standings, given that they’re already slotted to face the LA Kings in the playoffs. Dan Boyle, who had a goal on the evening, said bluntly:
“I thought we did pretty good for a game that didn’t mean anything as far as points-wise. I thought we showed up and worked hard and did what we needed to do.”
Boyle tallied the first goal of the evening for the Sharks on a shot that Berra watched whiz by him stick side. Joe Thornton and Brent Burns notched assists as the Sharks took an early 1-0 lead.
Marleau’s slap shot from the slot beat Berra easy to increase the home team’s lead 2-0 with a little over half of the first period left. Couture and Havlat pitched in as helpers.
That abruptly ended the night for Berra (3 saves), who was quickly replaced in net by Jean-Sebastien Giguere (22 saves) before the first intermission.
Stalock was steadfast throughout the evening. But Colorado’s Patrick Bordeleau took time out of laying down hard hits to beat San Jose’s netminder with a wrister in the second period that cut the Sharks lead in half 2-1.
It was the only goal the young goaltender would let by him all night. Being that his last outing against Colorado didn’t go as smoothly, Stalock was happy to get another opportunity to face the hungry Avs squad:
“Last time against them it wasn’t the greatest outing… and it was good to see them again. They were fresh in my mind and it was good team to come back and get a chance to play against.”
The Sharks had plenty of good looks weaving through the remainder of the second stanza and into the third. They finally capitalized and added cushion to their lead when Havlat tipped in a long shot by Logan Couture to put San Jose up 3-1. Marleau also tallied an assist.
Havlat notched his second goal of the game after getting the feed from Bracken Kearns and lining the puck past Giguere’s view, bringing the score to 4-1.
But it was his empty-netter at 15:04 in the final frame that really brought the crowd to its feet — as well as hats onto the ice.
So, how’d it feel to get those three goals after being benched the previous game down in Anaheim? Havlat answered modestly:
“It’s been awhile. It was definitely pretty good, but I think the most important was the way we played and that we finish on a winning note.”
San Jose has a quick turnaround, facing the Coyotes in Phoenix Saturday evening before starting the postseason hosting the heavily disliked Kings. Head coach Todd McLellan admitted that the team needs to stay focused headed into Saturday’s game:
“I still have concerns going into tomorrow’s game. It’s at the end of the year when your minds are almost moving on to play against LA, then you still have to play in these games…”
The Sharks kick off Round 1 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs next week at home against the LA Kings. Dates and times for those games are to be announced.
The Sharks have scored 5+ goals 15 times this season…Dan Boyle scored his 12th goal of the season. He now has 68 goals and 267 points as a member of the San Jose Sharks… Patrick Marleau scored his 33rd goal of the season, tying him with Pavel Bure for 65th place on the all-time NHL goals list. He also added an assist, bringing his total to 36 on the season. He took sole possession of 22nd place on the all-time game-winning goals list. He surpassed Mike Bossy with 82 game-winning goals… Marty Havlat tallied his first hat trick as a San Jose Shark, picking up his 10th, 11th, and 12th goals of the season. It was his 6th multi-point game of the season… Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s streak of 217 consecutive games played ended tonight. It was the 2nd longest of his career (253 games).