Five different San Jose Sharks scored goals as team teal dominated the Dallas Stars in route to a 5-2 win at the Shark Tank Thursday Night. Michal Handus, Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Ryane Clowe all scored for the Sharks as they controlled much of the game on both sides of the ice. For Clowe, it was his first game back after missing the last six with a facial fracture. The Sharks with the win increase their lead over the L A Kings in the Pacific Division to 4 points (64-60) and have three game in hand against their division rival. The Sharks also remain in 3rd place in the overall Western Conference Standings.
Thomas Griess filled in for the injured Antti Niemi to make 19 saves. On the two goals Dallas scored, one was basically an accidental “own goal” by Dan Boyle who was trying to clear away the puck from Dallas’ Steve Ott during a Stars power play. Other than that, Griess took care of business and improved his own record to 7-4-1 for the season. With Niemi out, the Sharks had called up Tyler Sexsmith to be the back up goalie tonight. Meanwhile, Griess’ counterpart Richard Bachman faced 37 shots on the evening and many more that didn’t qualify as a shot on goal, including a post ringer by Burns in the second period. With the loss, the Stars fall to 26-22-2 and 10 points behind team teal and are in 9th place in the overall Western Conference Standings, and three points out of a playoff spot.
Here’s How The Evening with the Stars Went:
Dancing with the Sharks- The Dallas Stars have always in the past found ways to win games at the Shark Tank and frustrate team teal. However, this season and the latter part of last season the fortunes have seemed to change. From the opening faceoff the Sharks were full of energy and focus. The Sharks were putting several pucks on or towards Bachman and made sure he had a busy night ahead of him. The Sharks broke the seal on the scoreboard just 4:42 into the first period when on an offensive zone charge Brent Burns launched a shot from the point that Bachman never saw coming and hit the back of the net. Upon further review, the goal was actually credited to Michal Handzus who just barley got his stick on the shot for a slight deflection.
The Sharks meanwhile continued to keep the offensive pressure up all the while also keeping Dallas at bay with some good defense in flooding the Stars shooting lanes. Whatever shots got through Griess was there to make the save, and would make seven saves for the period. The Sharks later in the period had a power play opportunity thanks to a high stick penalty from Dallas’ Alex Goligoski who’s stick hit Torrey Mitchell below the chin. The Sharks would make the Stars pay for the chin music as Pavelski would make sure team teal converted this man advantage opportunity. Pavelski’s slap shot from the right point would find the back of the net as it slightly ricocheted off a Dallas defenders skate and through Bachman’s five hole area to give the Sharks a two goal lead.
Shock and Awe- The second period may have very well been team teal’s version of “Shock and Awe”. The Sharks carried the lions share of the play through the first 10 minutes of the period and had a number of chances which were stopped by Bachman, who was keeping Dallas in the game. With just under nine minutes left in the period, Clowe would find himself going to the penalty box for a tripping penalty which was at best highly questionable (the replay showed that Clowe did not trip Vernon Fiddler). The Sharks seemed to be doing a very good job of killing this penalty off when the unthinkable happened. The Stars’ Ott on a rush towards the net was shadowed by Boyle who was trying to get the angle to swat away the puck. Though Boyle was able to get the puck away from Ott, in trying to sweep it away the puck actually took off on him and went through Griess five hole into the net. The play was just purely accidental, but the Stars would take it and Ott got credit for the goal that brought Dallas to within 2-1 with 8:21 remaining in the period.
Despite the “own goal” mishap, the Sharks were not phased and went right back to work, and it would pay off handsomely. Fiddler this time would be on the receiving end of a penalty call for interference and team teal would capitalize. With just over five minutes remaining in the period Marleau would bring the puck up ice and feed over to Burns. From the point Burns shot would deflect off Marleau’s stick. The puck then hit Trevor Daley’s skate and found it’s way into the net. The goal was originally was credited to Logan Couture, but the scoring was changed later after the game had ended. Just a few moments later from behind the Stars net, Dallas’ Nicklas Grossman would make an pass that was intercepted in the slot by Pavelski. As Bachman came out to play Pavelski’s potential shot on goal, Thornton managed to get behind the Dallas netminder and got the feed pass from Pavelski. Thornton did the rest and just deposited the rubber biscuit into the vacated net. With a 4-1 lead after two periods the Sharks were in firm control, outshooting Dallas 13-4 for the period.
Coffee is for Closers- Just as in the first period, the Sharks and Stars traded turns up and down the ice with the puck. At the 6:22 mark of the period Dallas’ Jamie Benn would be the beneficiary of a slight rebound of a puck that for some reason Griess could not cover. As the shot from Philip Larson came in Griess was able to put his stick down to block the puck. However the puck was never covered up and Benn took advantage of the opportunity poking the rubber disc past Griess to cut the team teal lead to 4-2. The Stars then made a brief assault on the Sharks net creating another scoring opportunity, however the Sharks defense and Griess rose to the occasion and snuffed out further Dallas attacks.
Five minutes later the Sharks would put the game away as off a faceoff in their own zone, Couture was able to take the puck up ice and launched a shot on Bachman once he crossed the blue line. Bachman made the save but did not control the hard rebound which came right to Clowe. Despite being covered by two Stars defenders Clowe was still able to shoot the puck and beat Bachman to his right to restore the Sharks three goal lead and eventual margin of victory. The Sharks also set a team mark for holding the opponent scoreless. The new record is 190:51, which ironically ended by accident.
Game Assessment- Just as they did Tuesday Night against Columbus, the Sharks put away an opponent in the Stars through hard work and a solid 60 minute effort. Now, the Stars are clearly a better team than the Blue Jackets, however this did not seem to matter to team teal. The Sharks took the ice with a purpose tonight and with each game are starting to get more confident. Five different goal scorers and a team total of nine assist means that contributions are starting to come from throughout the roster. In edition, Griess had another steller performance pinch hitting for Niemi. The only thing that Griess is lacking is playing time, however Griess also knows his role well and treats it with great respect. The Sharks if they can keep this roll going can turn into that team that nobody wants to play come post season time.
Off to the Valley of the Sun- The Sharks will go from here to take on the Phoenix Coyotes in the desert for an early Saturday Night tilt. The Sharks are 1-1-0 versus the Coyotes this season. Phoenix, which surprised everyone last year with a remarkable 100 point season, has struggled thoughout much of this campaign. On paper, the Sharks now should be able to handle whatever Phoenix can throw at them. With Niemi day to day, unless it’s said otherwise, I would expect Griess to start his second straight game. This will be an interesting game as the Coyotes always tend to play the Sharks tough. If the Sharks bring the same “A” game to the desert that they’ve had the last two games, team teal will do fine.
GO SHARKS!!! BEAT THE COYOTES!!!
The King Shark
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