The San Jose Sharks score twice around both of the first two Carolina Hurricanes goals then hold on Saturday, Dec. 10…
It is rare to see the San Jose Sharks score twice in the first period. Their quickest score of the 2016-17 NHL season preceded another early on Saturday, Dec. 10.
The Sharks had an odd-man rush 12 seconds in. Patrick Marleau redirected a Joe Thornton saucer pass behind Cam Ward.
Thornton went off for holding 25 seconds later. Teuvo Teravainen sent a cross-ice feed that Lee Stepniak buried from the wing behind San Jose rookie Aaron Dell.
However, the Sharks caught a break 75 seconds later. A Paul Martin shot caromed in off blue-liner Brett Pesce. Thus they scored as many goals in the first 3:14 as in any entire December game.
There were plenty of chances on both sides leading up to the end of the first period, but neither team scored. However, the Hurricanes took over in the beginning of the second.
San Jose had a chance to get momentum back and extend the lead on a power play midway through. Instead, Joakim Nordstrom scored on a breakaway that Brent Burns defended poorly.
Then the Sharks scored just after a power play expired for the second straight game. Six seconds after Derek Ryan left the box, Logan Couture tipped a Burns shot in for the eventual game-winning goal.
Kevin Labanc stayed hot 1:52 later, burying the rebound of a Dylan DeMelo shot. The young defenseman played for the ailing David Schlemko and San Jose also lost Marc-Edouard Vlasic before the third period.
Ryan scored on another Carolina power play 3:44 into the third. All three goals came the only three times either team killed a penalty.
The Sharks have been struggling on the penalty kill of late. They had killed 26 straight penalties at one point. Now they have given up five goals on 14 chances over the last five games.
The Hurricanes controlled the tempo and attack just as the event summary suggests. They won four faceoffs for every three lost and still had five fewer giveaways and almost as many takeaways. They attempted 24 more shots and got 13 more on net.
San Jose did defend well, achieving substantial edges in blocks (24-10) and hits (23-12). Still, it was the second game in a row in which the opposition was better.
The win returns the Sharks back to the best point percentage (.589) in a tight Pacific Division. Their 16-11-1 record this 2016-17 NHL season is one point short of the Calgary Flames, but with three games in hand. The Anaheim Ducks are tied with 33 points in 28 games, but three fewer regulation/overtime wins. The Edmonton Oilers are a game back with 33 points in 30 games, as are the Los Angeles Kings with 30 in 27.
San Jose earned the 1000th win in franchise history and a split with Carolina for the 2016-17 NHL season series. Both teams won by a single goal in regulation at home.
The Sharks embark on a four-game road trip that starts with a visit to the Toronto Maple Leafs Tuesday. The Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens follow before the finale at the Chicago Blackhawks Dec. 18.