It Burns So Good
Brent Burns was at the right place at the right time twice in the third period when the San Jose Sharks needed it the most.
Burns’ game winning goal with 3:59 remaining in the game was the difference in the Sharks’ 3-2 win over the arch-rival Anaheim Ducks before another sold out house at the Shark Tank. Burns’ game-winning goal was a deflection of a Joe Thornton pass that hit the skate of the Ducks’ Ryan Allen. The puck ricocheted off Allen’s skate and got past Ducks goalie Frederick Anderson. Earlier in the period Burns also had an assist on the game tying goal with 11:48 remaining. Burns, leading a two-on-one break-away, drilled a shot on goal that bounced off Anderson, going directly to Thornton who put the hot biscuit into the open net.
The win for the Sharks gives them (for now) the lead in the Pacific Division over Anaheim by two points (99-97). The Sharks are also, for the time being, the second seed in the Western Conference behind St. Louis.
Tight Contest Throughout
For basically most of the first two periods, the Sharks and Ducks played it close to the vest. In the opening period, both teams seemed to take a somewhat conservative approach as each was seeing if the other would flinch. So conservative was the first period that there were only a combined 10 shots on goal by both teams, with Team Teal having six of the ten.
The Sharks had the only power play opportunity of the first period and made the most of it. After Anaheim’s Luca Sbisa was given two minutes in the penalty box for roughing Tommy Wingels, the Sharks slumping power play came to life. Team Teal managed to keep the puck in the Ducks zone long enough to come away with Patrick Marleau’s 29th goal of the season. Marleau was able to drill the puck into a tight corner that Anderson had seemed to have sealed off after taking a perfect behind the net feed pass from Thornton.
In the second period, the Sharks came out as the more aggressive team as they were able to get up to a 9-3 shot advantage at one point. However, nothing would come of the Sharks efforts here. The Ducks were held back by some good defense from the Sharks, who were constantly in passing and shooting lanes all evening. Towards the end of the period, Logan Couture drew a rare penalty when his stick got caught in the skate of the Ducks’ Teemu Selanne. Team Teal weathered the early part of the Ducks power play and seemingly were on their way to a successful penalty kill. With just six seconds remaining in Couture’s minor penalty, Marc-Edouard Vlasic was called for interference after trying to block Selanne along the boards in the Sharks zone. This would be the break the Ducks needed as Mathieu Perreault was able to drill in the game-tying goal just a split second after Couture’s penalty had expired. The Sharks would get a late power play that would carry over to the third period but could do nothing with this opportunity.
Ducks Ultimately Get Burnsed
The final period did not start too well for the Sharks as just seconds after their power play chance ran out, they fell behind for the first time in the game. Corey Perry was able to gain control of a loose puck in the Sharks zone along the boards and quickly fed it over to Selanne. From there, the career Sharks nemesis was able to get just enough of his stick on the rubber biscuit to knock it past Niemi giving the Ducks a 2-1 lead. The Sharks, however, in the period, came out from this as a team that was very eager to atone and get the game squared once again. At one point the Sharks had a 9-1 shot advantage in the third period.
Team Teal’s game-tying goal from Thornton came as Brent Burns was able to knock the puck away from the Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf in the Sharks zone. He then took off with the hot biscuit with Thonrton to his right in leading the charge towards the game-tying goal. After Thornton tied the game, the Sharks and Ducks traded chances in each other’s zones. The Sharks narrowly escaped falling behind with 5:41 remaining when a defensive zone turnover led to a great scoring chance that the Ducks almost cashed in.
A backhand wrist shot by Selanne bounced up and hit the top of the net over Niemi. Once the puck rested on top of the net, the officials blew the play dead. The falling puck just narrowly missed giving Anaheim the late lead. Just under two minutes later, Burns was able to tip in Thornton’s feed pass in front of the Anaheim goal crease for what would prove to be the game winner.
Next Sharks Game
Saturday night, the high-powered Washington Capitals with Alex Ovechkin come into the Shark Tank to challenge the Pacific Division leader. The Sharks cannot afford to let up here as the Capitals are more than just Ovechkin and can bring it on any given night. Game time is 7:30pm (PDT). The game can be seen in Northern California on CSN-CA and heard on the Sharks Radio Network.
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