St Pavelski’s Fire- Joe Pavelski had his fifth four-point game of his career Saturday night and as things turned out the Sharks would certainly need it. In scoring two goals and adding two assist, Pavelski’s contributions would ultimately make the difference and help Team Teal hold off a late third period rally by Calgary. The Sharks 6-3 win over the Flames gives them an impressive 7-0-1 mark to start the 2013-14 campaign. With the Sharks heading out on a five-game road trip which starts on Monday this was an important game for the Sharks to have. Brent Burns, Scott Hannan, Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture added goals as the Sharks won the first of five games this season from one of their newest Pacific Division rivals. Antti Niemi admittedly did not have his best night as he was lit up for three goals for the second straight game. Niemi however still managed to make 16 saves and earned his 100th victory in goal for the Sharks. Pavelski’s night started with his first assist just 59 seconds into the game as he won a race for the puck deep in the Calgary zone. Pavelski was able to get a pass out to Burns from the far corner along the goal line. Burns received Pavelski’s pass and hammered the puck past Flames goalie Karri Ramo to give the Sharks another early 1-0 lead. Pavelski would later add power play goals in the second and third period which would go a long way towards securing the Sharks victory.
Building The Lead- Burns would feed off the energy of his first goal and was all over the ice early on as was the Sharks strong forecheck. Just a few moments after Burns put the Sharks in front he was awarded a penalty shot when the Flames TJ Brodie was called for slashing while the bearded one was on the breakaway. On the penalty shot however it was Ramo would would get the best of Burns as he slammed the door on the scoring chance. Later in period Justin Braun almost had a goal as his slap shot squeezed through Ramo’s leg pads but was cleared away by the Flames Chris Butler before it could cross the goal line. The Sharks would continue to swarm in the Calgary zone for most of the opening period. With just under a minute remaining in the period Hannan from the right point would launch the puck towards the Flames net trying to hook up with Burns once again. Burns missed the puck, however so did Ramo as it harmlessly landed in the back of the net giving Team Team a 2-0 lead before the first intermission.
Penalty Parade- Both the Sharks and Flames had trouble staying out of the box. The Sharks on the evening made seven trips the the penalty box while Calgary made 10. Early in the second period Tommy Wingles was called for a questionable hooking penalty and the Flames would make the most of the opportunity. Sean Monahan would bring the Flames to within a goal as he was able to hammer the puck past Niemi after taking a perfect behind the net feed pass from Sven Baertschi. The Sharks shortly thereafter dusted themselves off and got back to work. Pavelski would moments later have a break away on a Calgary turn over however Ramo was able to slam the door on him too. However Pavelski would not stand denied for very long as soon the Flames found themselves getting in all sorts of penalty trouble. Towards the end of another Calgary power play opportunity the Flames Lee Stempniak would draw a holding penalty at the 8:30 mark of the period allowing the Sharks to continue play and try to get a scoring chance going. When Calgary finally touched the puck to stop play and get Stempniak to the box the Sharks had built up some considerable momentum. Just 25 second into their latest man advantage Pavelski won the faceoff in getting the puck over to Matt Irwin while he headed towards he net. Irwin would take the puck to the center of the ice before the blue line before passing it over to Marleau. From there Marleau would drill a shot that would deflect off of Pavelski’s stick and past Ramo for a 3-1 Sharks lead. Late in the period Pavelski again would pick up an assist on yet another power play goal as Marleau scored his 411th career goal on the very anniversary of his first goal 16 years earlier. With just two minutes remaining in the middle period Team Teal had opened up a three goal lead that it would carry over into the final period.
Putting Out Fire With Gasoline- The Sharks appeared to be well in control of things entering the final period however would soon see one of hockey’s oldest adages come to pass, and that being “The worst lead in hockey is a three goal lead”. The Sharks appeared to get an early break when the Flames’ Lance Bouma was called for tripping giving the Sharks yet another power play opportunity. This time however the power play would backfire on the Sharks when the Flames’ Stepniak would pounce on a Team Teal turnover and take it down ice. His shot on goal was saved by Niemi, however the puck bounced straight to Mikael Backlund. From there Backlund hammered the puck past the Sharks net minder. Calgary’s short handed goal cut the Sharks lead to two. Two and a half minutes later Calgary’s Jiri Hudler scored to help the Flames get to within one goal of the Sharks, making the proceeding Calgary short handed goal an absolute game changer. Add insult to injury, just a couple of moments later the Sharks would draw their seventh penalty of the evening when Hannan was called for hooking. Here Team Teal would have to prove their metal and get a much needed penalty kill. This is where the Sharks took a stand and said enough was enough. The Sharks would hold the Flames without a single shot on goal for the power play and would slowly turn control of the game back in their favor. Just a moment after the Sharks penalty kill Calgary would find themselves heading back to the penalty box after trying to stall another Team Teal forecheck. Calgary’s team captain Mark Giordano would hook Tomas Hertl giving the Sharks yet another power play opportunity. This time the Sharks would not miss out on the chance. 42 seconds into the power play chance Logan Couture would take a feed pass from Jason Demers at the point and drill a slap shot that got a piece of Pavelski’s stick and tipped into the net restoring the Sharks two goal lead with just over 1o minutes remaining. The Sharks defense would take over from here and hold the Flames to just two shots on goal over the final 10 minutes. Late in the game Couture would add an empty net goal to close out the evening’s festivities.
Game Notes- The three stars of the game were 3) Brent Burns with a goal and a strong game played; 2) Patrick Marleau who added a goal and an assist, and 1) Joe Pavelski with the four point game. During some power plays the Sharks played maybe a little too loose with the puck. Such was the case when Calgary scored their short handed goal early in the third period. Short handed goals can change games and the Sharks just need to be better stewards with the puck whether leading by three goals or just one. Seven penalties are way too many and Team Teal just needs to make some better on ice decisions there too. Other than that the night on the whole for the Sharks was a success. Late in the third period former Shark TJ Galiardi and Matt Irwin got into a minor skirmish which resulting in two minute roughing penalties for each player. The Sharks on their upcoming road trip will see their only regular season visit to Detroit take place Monday thanks to re-alignment. The Sharks and Red Wings are very familiar with each other having faced each other many times over the years. The Sharks will also visit Boston (Thursday, October 24th), Montreal (Saturday, October 26th) and Ottawa (Sunday, October 27th) before returning west to take on old rival Los Angeles (Wednesday, October 30th). The Sharks next home game is Saturday Novemeber 2nd versus Phoenix.
Twitter Quote- From @SanJoseSharks by Joe Pavelski after the game, “We came out fast and got going. We got the lead and the power play answered.”
Next Sharks Game- Sharks versus the Detroit Red Wings this Monday 4:30pm Pacific Time (7:30pm in Detroit). The game will be carried by CSN Sports Network and the Sharks Radio Network in Northern California.
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