San Jose broke open a 2-2 tie with a pair of goals in the first three minutes of the third period to down Washington.
The San Jose Sharks faced a measuring stick game on Saturday night as the Washington Capitals, the NHL’s best team, waltzed into SAP Center for a primetime matchup on Saturday night. After a back-and-forth 40 minutes of play, the Sharks broke open this one with two goals in a 2:02 span early in the third period to take home a 5-2 victory over the Capitals.
This was an outstanding hockey game from team teal who finally gave the fans at SAP Center the type of hockey they’ve been yearning to see.
San Jose came out with a strong first period after a frustrating game against the New Jersey Devils last time out. The Sharks outshot the Caps by an 11-9 margin in the first and scored the lone goal when Joe Thornton was able to find a rebound off a Brenden Dillon shot from the point for his 16th of the season to give San Jose the 1-0 advantage after one period of play.
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However, Washington bounced back with a strong middle frame, outshooting the Sharks by a 12-7 margin. The Capitals and their lethal power play would strike at the 1:21 mark when Nicklas Backstrom hit T.J. Oshie with a perfect cross-seam pass, and Oshie one-timed it past Martin Jones for his 21st of the season as Washington capitalized on a 5-on-3 advantage.
With Thornton in the box a couple minutes later, the Sharks penalty kill would get one back as Patrick Marleau made a great play at his blue line, burst past the Washington defense, and buried a pass from Joel Ward past Philipp Grubauer to re-establish a one-goal lead for San Jose.
But the Capitals wouldn’t go away yet again as Evgeny Kuznetsov made a beautfiul pass right on the tape of Justin Williams for an easy tap-in to tie things back up at two.
Then, a big momentum swing came in the waning seconds of the period as Brent Burns took down Jay Beagle on a shorthanded break which garnered a penalty shot. As Beagle beared in on goal, Jones made a perfect poke check to keep things knotted up at two heading into the third.
When the puck dropped for the final 20 minutes of play, San Jose seized control of this game within the first three minutes of the period. First, the captain Joe Pavelski snuck a backhander past Grubauer to give the Sharks their third one-goal lead of the game with his 32nd of the year.
This time San Jose would be able to extend their lead as Dillon placed a perfect wrist shot from the point which found its way past Grubauer who didn’t move thanks to a perfect screen in front from Dainius Zubrus.
From then on, the Sharks suffocated the high-flying Capitals, limiting them to just four shots on target in the third. Burns would find the empty-net for his 25th of the season as team teal took home an awfully impressive victory.
This was a big game for San Jose as they rose to the occasion and produced with the game on the line. Also, with the Kings losing in overtime, the Sharks were able to narrow the gap to just one point on the Ducks for second place and only three points behind L.A.
San Jose will enjoy a couple of days off before looking to build off this victory when the Boston Bruins come to town, knowing that they can compete with any team in this league.