SAP CENTER — It was no blowout for the Sharks on Saturday night, but they’ll take a hard-earned win.
The visiting Ottawa Senators put up a mean fight at the Tank, but it wasn’t enough to tarnish the Sharks’ perfect record as San Jose advanced to 5-0 on the season with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory.
It was the first time this season the Sharks had to come from behind late in the game after trailing 2-1 into the second period. Head Coach Todd McLellan said of the team’s performance:
“I thought we played three different games tonight. We played the first six or seven minutes well. And then we got a little sloppy, a little cute. Got away from what we needed to do. We talked about it at the break and regrouped in the third.”
It was also an aggressive matchup between the two teams with plenty of scuffles and penalties.
One hard hit from Ottawa’s Clarke MacArthur took rookie Tomas Hertl out of the game in the second period. But McLellan assured the media after the game that the decision to keep Hertl out of the rest of the game was a “precautionary” measure:
“He’s a little bit sore, but I think he’ll be fine tomorrow …We’ll see how he’s feeling in the morning. If he’s sore he’s sore. We don’t play for two nights, so if he doesn’t skate tomorrow, it will give him that day to get healthy and go from there.”
Hertl did contribute to the Sharks score before leaving the ice, however. He got a hold of a Dan Boyle rebound and lined the puck past Robin Lehner with a flick of the wrist 55 seconds into the opening period. Brent Burns also picked up an assist on Hertl’s seventh goal of the young season.
San Jose held the upper hand in the opening stanza, but the ice tilted when Ottawa tied things up at 15:21 with a wrist shot by Zach Smith.
The visitors then went on the power play and, at 17:52, with pressure building around Antti Niemi, Bobby Ryan’s snap shot eluded the goaltender and flew into the back of the net for the 2-1 lead.
Both teams skated tenaciously through the bulk of the second period. The Sharks’ top lines put pressure on Lehner but were unable to get any shots past the quick goaltender.
Team Teal finally went on its first power play with 4:50 left in the second period when former Shark Milan Michalek went to the box for tripping Logan Couture.
With momentum on the man-advantage, Patrick Marleau backhanded the puck past Lehner’s left to tie the game 2-2.
Marleau said of the challenge of having to come from behind late in the game against a fast team such as Ottawa:
“We found ourselves down after one period tonight. It was a good challenge for us.”
Burns came up with the game winning goal at 7:08 in the third period with a slap shot to put San Jose ahead 3-2. Joe Thornton and Matt Nieto — who replaced the injured Hertl on the top line — registered assists.
The Sharks return to SAP Center on Saturday to host the Calgary Flames. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
San Jose registered 50 or more shots for the second time this season and the tenth time in franchise history. Nine out of 10 of those performances have come under Todd McLellan. … The Sharks out shot the Senators 24-5 in the third period, setting a new season-high for shots in a period. … Tomas Hertl scored his seventh goal of the season. He currently ranks first in the NHL in goals and is tied for second in points. He also became the first player to tally seven goals in his first five games since Edmonton Oilers’ Blair McDonald did in 1979-1980.