Aaron Dell stole the latest San Jose Sharks victory Thursday, Jan. 19. This time, the Tampa Bay Lightning were the victims…
Dell made just his seventh NHL start Thursday—all this season. He stopped more than nine of 10 shots faced during the first five but was coming off his worst start. He allowed three goals on 28 shots including the sharp-angle winner in his first Pacific Division start Jan. 11.
Thus he had the first chance to bounce back of his young NHL career. He only answered by earning the game’s first star.
He turned aside 24 of 25 for a .960 save percentage in one second less than a full game. There were multiple times Tampa Bay looked primed for a goal only to be turned away by Dell.
San Jose’s defenders had a lot to do with that, too. Allowing just one goal put the team in position to go win a third period that began tied. That push and defensive prowess are evident in the event summary comparison: 23-25 faceoffs, 15-18 giveaways, 14-4 takeaways, 17-25 hits, 24-25 shots, 50-56 attempts and 17-13 blocks.
The Sharks allowed just five shots in the last 21:47. Dell is now a remarkable 5-2-0 with a .933 save percentage and 1.84 goals-against average.
Scoring Plays and Beyond
There was no scoring in the first period, but San Jose got on the board 5:01 into the second. Ryan Carpenter played for a second consecutive night and scored from the glove-side circle on Andrei Vasilevskiy. Brent Burns and Paul Martin both earned assists on the play.
However, Jonathan Drouin scored on a Lightning power play just 1:50 later. He beat two defenders—first Mikkel Boedker then ace Marc-Edouard Vlasic—before stuffing the far-side shot in.
The Sharks survived the rest of the second period before catching a lucky break 22 seconds into the third. Logan Couture—back from illness—fought to put the puck on net, and it trickled through Vasilevskiy.
San Jose’s defensive closing ability took over from there. It kept pace with the Pacific Division-leading Anaheim Ducks by winning. The team they beat—the horrendous Colorado Avalanche—are in town next on Saturday.