Hot Pavelski- Joe Pavelski continued his pre-olympic assault on NHL goalies as he scored two more goals against Calgary’s goalie Karri Ramo in the San Jose Sharks 3-2 victory over the division rival Flames. Pavelski’s two goals Monday night before another sold out house at the Shark Tank gives him six over the last three games. Pavelski’s pair of goals included what turned out to be the game winning goal in the second period on the Sharks only power play of the game. After a shaky first period, Antti Niemi rallied to make 15 saves throughout the second and third periods. Niemi would make 21 saves for the game. The Sharks with the win gained two points in the Pacific Division standings on the LA Kings who lost earlier Monday in Boston. The Sharks also picked up ground on the idle Pacific Division leading Anaheim Ducks. The game itself meanwhile tested both teams ability to skate through adversity as the ice surface at the Tank Monday was not the best after a couple of events held at the Tank while the Sharks were on their most recent road trip.
Follow The Bouncing Puck- The first period saw the Sharks dominate the first two shifts of the game as Team Teal was attacking the Calgary net in waves, yet could not come away with any goals. Just over four minutes into the game the Flames would draw first blood when Juri Hudler was able to take a puck away from Brad Stuart and Justin Braun along the boards low in the Sharks defensive zone. Hudler than moved towards the net and wristed the puck past Niemi’s right to put Calgary in front. The Sharks meanwhile for the better part of the period seemed to have trouble getting their land legs to settle down. When they finally did, the were able to find the right spark to get into the game. With 7:40 remaining in the opening period from behind the Flames net Brent Burns was able to get a feed pass along the boards to Braun. Once in receipt of the puck Braun immediately launched the puck towards the Flames net where Pavelski happened to be nearby. Pavelski got just enough of his stick on the puck to knock it past Ramo and tie the game at a goal apiece. The game would not stay tied too long as the Sharks would take the lead on their very next shift. Tommy Wingles was shortly after the faceoff was able to take the puck back into the Calgary defensive zone and from the right point drilled a slap shot that beat Ramo for a 2-1 Team Teal lead. However the Sharks did not get very long to enjoy the lead as the Flames’ Kevin Westgarth tied the game 51 seconds later when he was able to redirect a bouncing shot attempt from Brian McGrattan. Both goalies were shaky enough to where one would began to wonder if either goalie would get pulled after the first period.
Settling Things Down- The middle period saw both teams go back and forth with the Sharks carrying the lions share of the play. The Sharks for the period would outshoot the Flames 11-4 and had a couple of scoring chances that they just were not able to capitalize on. The Sharks would get the game’s biggest break with just over five and a half minutes left on the middle period when the Flames Matt Stajan received a two-minute minor for interference. The Sharks did not waste the power play opportunity as it only took the Sharks 26 seconds to reclaim the lead on Pavelski’s second goal of the game. Pavelski skating near the Calgary goal took a perfect feed pass from Sharks Captain Joe Thornton and was able to get the puck past Ramo to his left. The Flames would make a late surge in the closing moments of the third period but the Sharks defense and Niemi being solid in net allowed the Sharks to exit the middle period with the lead.
Surviving the Firestorm- The third period as things would turn out would be the polar opposite of the second period. In the final period it was the Flames who carried much of the play and for stretches of time were dominant in the Sharks defensive zone. At one point of the third period the Flames for the period had a 7-1 shot advantage as it looked at times as if the Sharks were killing off a power play. Niemi after a rough first period turned in a solid final period turning away all 11 shots on goal he faced in securing the Sharks win. The Sharks did have a few scoring chances late themselves but nothing would materialize from their limited opportunities.
Sharks Next Game- The Sharks will be hosting the Winnipeg Jets Thursday Night at the Shark Tank. The puck drops at 7:30pm PT.
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