Flame Out Avoided- Brad Stuart’s goal at 1:13 of the overtime period has been the most welcome sight for the San Jose Sharks in the month of November. Stuart’s tip in beat Calgary goalie Reto Berra five-hole giving team teal a 3-2 win breaking a five game winless stretch. The Sharks with the win move their record to 11-2-5, and gain ground on Los Angeles and Anaheim in the Pacific Division as well as on Colorado and St Louis in the Western Conference as those teams all lost their games Tuesday evening. Stuart’s goal was his first as a San Jose Shark since October 2005 during his first stint with Team Teal. The assist on Stuart’s goal went to Dan Boyle and Joe Thornton. It was Thornton’s pass towards the Flames goal that Stuart was able to get his stick on and tip the puck past Berra. The Sharks now having finally won a game can breath a little easier as they head on to Vancouver to take on the Canucks Thursday night in the third game of this five game road trip. Alex Stalock in goal for the Sharks picked up the win as regular starter Antti Niemi took the night off. Stalock only saw 13 shots on goal making 11 saves.
Fire In the Hole- The Sharks came out on the ice and wasted very little time to establish a level of dominance that would carry them for most of the first two periods. Just 92 seconds into the game Logan Couture would break his own personal scoring drought when he was able to take the rebound of a blocked shot off the stick of Patrick Marleau and drill a hard wrist shot past Berra giving Team Teal the early lead. The Sharks would continue to pound pucks Berra’s way and dominate most of the period by keeping much of the play in the Calgary zone. Towards the end of the first period the Sharks were able to take full advantage of a power play after Calgary’s Matt Stajan would draw an interference penalty that would send him to the penalty box. His stay in the box would not be a long one thanks to Marleau’s ninth goal of the season just six seconds after the face off. Thornton would win the face off and get the puck over to Joe Pavelski at the point. Pavelski carried the puck towards the middle of the ice above the blue line before passing it back to Marleau at the left point. From there Marleau drilled a slap shot that beat Berra over his left shoulder hitting the net top shelf. The Sharks closed the first period with a 2-0 lead outshooting the Flames 17-3. In the second period the Sharks continued to dominate as again Calgary could only manage three shots on goal again while the Sharks added 11 more. However this time Berra rose to the occasion with key saves throughout the period which kept the Flames in the game. The Sharks really did not take their foot off the pedal as they kept the pressure on the Flames goalie. Berra had just adapted to what they Sharks were doing and was often in good position to make the saves that he did. By the end of the second period the majority of the Sharks had at least two shots on goal per player.
Hanging Around Just Long Enough- By the time the third period rolled around the Flames by virtue of just hanging around just long enough started to turn the tables on the Sharks. Stalock would make early key saves on the Flames’ Kris Russell and Mike Cammelleri. Meanwhile the Sharks were having some trouble in continuing to mount the same pressure on Calgary goalie Berra that they had going in the first two periods. The Flames would finally get on the scoreboard just seconds after going on the power play when Justin Braun was sent to the box on an interference penalty that seemed questionable at best. Off the draw the Flames Sean Monahan got the puck over to Russell who immediately drilled a slap shot from the point that cleanly beat Stalock putting Calgary back to within a goal. Just three and a half minutes later Cammelleri would tie the game drilling in a rebound of a Chris Butler shot on goal past Stalock. The game was now tied and all of those missed chances in the second period started to loom large for Team Teal. Later in the period Stalock would make his best save of the game as he turned away Stajan’s point-blank scoring chance with a diving save. Both teams would end the third period with six goals apiece. The majority of those six shots on goal by the Sharks came in the final four minutes of the period as they made a furious attempt to get the game winner before the end of regulation time.
Overtime Relief- The Sharks did not want any part of a shootout this time around. The Sharks managed just one shot on goal in the overtime period and as it turned out Stuart’s tip in was the only shot they would need. The goal was reviewed after it was scored but was ruled good just a moment later. By the time this had happened all the Sharks had already retreated to the visitors locker room at the Saddledome. To a man the Sharks were happy for the win but probably more relieved that they did not have to endure another shootout. Despite the loss Calgary goalie Berra actually earned the game’s first star with his 32 save performance. The Sharks will concede that to Berra who was outstanding in the net for the Flames. The win was more important to the Sharks than anything right now.
Analysis- The Sharks tonight finally got a break after some recent tough luck. The Sharks certainly needed both goals they got in the first period as Berra was doing his best Miikka Kiprusoff imitation for most of the evening. As the evening wore on the Sharks had their chances to put this game away in the middle period but just could not find the back of the net despite the number of good looks they got. A lot of that had to do with good goal tending by Berra. As the third period wore on the Sharks just looked a little more spent while the Flames played as if they had little to lose. The Sharks once Calgary got on the board halfway through the third period were clearly on their heels. A huge penalty kill after a Tyler Kennedy tripping penalty is what may have saved the game for the Sharks. The bottom line is that it is a win for the Sharks and after a recent slide the Sharks will gladly take this win. They should feel better about themselves after this game going into Vancouver Thursday night. They also know they will need to be better than they were tonight.
Twitter Quote- “The Sharks are now (unofficially) 1-2 in games in which they’ve scored a goal during overtime this season.” from @SanJoseSharks
Next Sharks Game- Thursday Night (Nov 14th) 7pm PT at Vancouver vs the Canucks. The Sharks lead the season series 2-1 and are looking for a little payback after the Canucks took Team Teal 4-2 at the Shark Tank last Thursday. This will be oddly enough the final meeting of the regular season between the two teams.
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