Buring Hot- Brent Burns scored his first career NHL hat trick as the Sharks jumped to a 4-0 first period lead on the way to a 6-3 win over the St Louis Blues Friday afternoon at The Shark Tank. The Sharks won their second straight game from St Louis for the first time since 2010 as Team Teal has seeming broken the Blues hex which lasted over the two seasons previous. The Sharks have also won four straight and seven of their last eight games. Team Teal has also won the first two games of a tough three game stretch that concludes tonight with the Sharks hosting the arch rival Anaheim Ducks. Joe Thornton, Tommy Wingles also scored for the Sharks in the first period barrage while Tomas Hertl would add an empty netter late in the 3rd period. Antti Niemi made 21 saves on the day making key saves where they had to be made. The Sharks chased Brian Elliot who allow four goals within the first 10 shots on goal he faced in the opening period (within the first twelve minutes of the game). The Blues looked like anything but a team that entered the game with a 7-2-1 road mark as well as a team that just two nights earlier dominated the Colorado Avs in a blow out win in Denver. Logan Couture would also have a big afternoon with three assist while Joe Pavelski would have two of his own for the afternoon. The Sharks also took the high road concerning Maxim Lapierre who became the Sharks “Public Enemy Number One” back on October 15h, focusing more on getting the best payback of all in just taking care of the business of winning the game itself. Lapierre was booed heavy by the sell out crowd at the Shark Tank while only having over seven minutes of time on ice. In short Lapierre was his usual irrelevant self doing absolutely nothing other then skating aimlessly in circles and keeping his head on the swivel while hoping his shifts would end quickly.
Drawing A Line Quickly- The Sharks in the first period probably played one of their best periods in franchise history as they dominated the Blues from the opening face off until the sound of the horn ending the period. Brent Burns scored the first goal of his hat trick performance just 35 seconds into the game taking a feed pass from Patrick Marleau before drilling in a wrister from about 15 feet away. The Sharks added to the lead just over two and a half minutes later when team captain Thornton also drilled a slap shot past Elliot during a Team Teal power play. Just over six minutes later Thornton would find Burns for a feed pass as Burns again was able to get in between two Blues defenders. Burns got the puck directly on the tape of his stick and drilled another wrister past the besieged Elliot for a 3-0 Sharks lead. Wingles would make it a four goal game just over two minutes later when he was able to steal the puck from the Blues Jay Bouwmeester giving the Sharks a two on one breakaway. Being flanked my Marleau to his left Wingles took a twenty foot wrist shot that hit Elliot’s glove but rolled over the top of it into the net. Elliot dove to try and keep the puck from crossing the goal line but to no avail. Elliot would finish the period in the net but was replaced by Jaroslav Halak afterward.
Blues Fight Back- The Sharks as it turned out would need all four of their first period goals as the Blues in the second and third periods fought back. Halak in relief of Elliot made a number of saves to keep the Blues in the game, including a point blank save on Marleau as he was not able to elevate a puck despite having an open side of the net midway in the middle frame. Ian Cole would get St Louis on the board with the only goal of the second period. In the third period Blues Captain David Backes, who spent much of the second period by showing great leadership by getting a 10 minute misconduct penalty, scored a power play goal just two minutes into the period to cut the Sharks lead to two. Things would get even tighter later in the period when the Blues would get their second four on four goal of the game. Jaden Schwartz was able to drill the puck past Niemi with just under nine minutes remaining after the Sharks lost a face off on their own end of the ice which ended up being a two on one Blues breakaway.
Slamming the Door- The only good thing that came of the goal scored by Schwartz is that the Sharks would have a 1:41 power play afterward as Derek Roy’s misconduct penalty (which practically negated a high sticking penalty to Martin Havlat) would go into effect. The Sharks would finally crack the code with Halak as Burns helped largely by a great screen from Pavelski would drill in a wrist shot that the Blues goalie never saw coming. The play developed near center ice as Dan Boyle dropped off the puck for Pavelski who would take it up the ice before passing over to Burns. From there Burns would use Roman Palak and Backes as human pylons as he was able to skate around the two before launching his wrister. This took what wind was left out of the Blues sails. Hertl would add an empty netter with 46 seconds remaining to erase any remaining doubt about the outcome. As the clock ran down to 0:00, the Sharks had another win over a bitter midwest rival. For the Blues it was just time get out of Dodge as they had a plane out of town to catch.
No Rest for the Weary- The Sharks really had very little time to savor this one as the attention and focus immediately turned from the Blues to their arch rivals in the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks will be at the Shark Tank Saturday Night in the third game of this difficult Thanksgiving holiday stretch for the Sharks. The Ducks did not catch any break in the schedule either as they simultaneously played the Calgary Flames at the Honda Center at the same time the Sharks were playing St Louis. The Sharks hopefully got a good nights sleep as the Ducks are a team that commands your full and undivided attention. The Ducks once again are a bona fide powerhouse and are right a top Pacific Division and Western Conference Standings and are seen by some as a Stanley Cup favorite. Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Dustin Penner and of course Teemu Selanne lead a line up that is the murder’s row of the NHL. The Ducks attack in waves and there is not a player on the roster who cannot put the puck in the net (outside of goalies Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth). Speaking of Hiller and Fasth, they are amongst the best starting and backup goalie tandem in the NHL. The Sharks will have their hands full here as in many ways (with all due respect to the LA Kings and St Louis Blues) this will be the toughest of the three test this weekend at the Shark Tank. The Sharks and Ducks face off at 7;30pm PT. The game will be on Comcast Sportsnet in Northern California, Fox Sports Prime Ticket in Southern California.
It’s the Sharks vs the Ducks… the rivalry resumes…
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