Home Sweet Home- After having one lousy New Years Eve in Anaheim two days earlier, the San Jose Sharks showed no signs of a hang over Thursday Night. Five different Shark players scored goals at Team Teal routed the Edmonton Oilers 5-1 before another sold out house at the Shark Tank. The win is a big one for the Sharks who are about to embark on a tough three game road trip starting this weekend with stops in Colorado and Chicago. Brent Burns, Patrick Marleau, Bracken Kearns, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski all scored goals as they lit up the scoreboard against besieged Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk who had a fairly tough night in the net. His counterpart Antti Niemi had an easier night making 23 saves as he also rebounded from a game where he was pulled in the third period just two nights earlier. Sharks Captain Joe Thornton added two more assist as the Sharks took care of their business against one of the newest Pacific Division rivals. The Sharks with the win pick up two points on idle Anaheim, trailing the Ducks by five points in the standings. The Sharks also stretched their lead in the standings over the LA Kings who lost in St Louis earlier in the evening, leaving Team Teal alone in second place in the Pacific Division. The Sharks with this game being their 41st of the 2013-14 season also officially hit the halfway mark of the schedule.
A Slow Start Before A Quick Strike- The Sharks in the first half of the first period looked a little sloppy as it took them awhile to get their ice legs going. The Sharks had two early power plays that though had some scoring chances did not produce anything. On their second power play in fact the Oilers had two scoring chances from Sam Gagner that Niemi had to make some saves on to prevent a short-handed goal. Soon after the second power play fell by the wayside the Sharks were finally able to solve Dubnyk on their 15th shot on goal as Burns took a feed pass from Pavelski after a stuff in attempt by Thornton bounced of Dubnyk’s blocker pad. Burns goal came with 5:23 left in the opening period. Just 49 seconds later Marleau would add to the Team Teal lead as he was able to drill a laser wrist shot past Dubnyk. Marleau was able to take advantage of the Oilers being trapped deep in their defensive zone and was able to steal the puck off of the stick of Nail Yakupov. Marleau with the goal now has 18 for the season to lead the Sharks, and tied former Shark Owen Nolan with his 422nd career NHL goal as well.
Bracken Up & Another Run for Logan- The Sharks would increase their lead with two more goals in the second period by two players who both now have three game scoring streaks. Bracken Kearns scored his third goal in as many nights as he was able to drill a slap shot past Dubnyk after taking a short feed pass from Andrew Desjardins. Not to be outdone, Couture would add to the Sharks increasing lead 87 seconds later as he would score his third goal (and 13th overall this season) in as many games on a breakaway opportunity. Couture got the puck just ahead of the blue line taking a clearing pass from John McCarthy. Couture quickly sized up his angle and drilled his own laser top shelf past Dubnyk left and to the delight of the sell out crowd. The goal was Couture’s 200th NHL career point, getting that just four days after scoring his 100th career NHL goal. The Oilers took the opportunity to call their team timeout, but it was clear by now the Sharks had taken command of the game. Late in the period the Oilers got on the scoreboard with a goal from Yakupov and had a brief momentum swing before the second period ended.
Coffee For Closers- The Sharks never let the Oilers regain the momentum they had picked up towards the end of the second period as they were able to control the play for the majority of the final period. Niemi would see 11 shots on goal from Edmonton here but there were none in which he could not handle. Pavelski would add his 17th goal of the season with 14:16 remaining as he got a good slap shot the hit the post but got into the net as Dubnyk simply could not react to it. The crowd responded by chanting “USA USA USA” after Pavelski scored referring to his selection to the Team USA Hockey squad that will participate in next month’s Sochi Olympic Games. The Sharks continued to put more rubber on the Oilers net throughout the rest of the contest, but to Dubnyk’s credit he hung in and made saves to keep the evening for getting any worse. The Sharks effectively closed out the Oilers in what was after a bit of a rough start a solid game and a just as solid finish.
Twitter Quote- “We were ready go from puck drop and I thought for a full 60 we kept the pressure on.” – Joe Thornton (courtesy @SanJoseSharks)
Next Sharks Game- The Sharks hit the road for three games in four days starting Saturday afternoon (January 4th) in Colorado before moving on to Chicago and Nashville. The Sharks and the Avalanche will square off on a Saturday afternoon matinee which begins at 12 Noon PT (1pm MT in Denver). The game can be seen on CSN in Northern California and heard on the Sharks Radio Network.
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