On the tail end of their first back-to-back this season, the San Jose Sharks (10-1-1, 21 points) defeated the Ottawa Senators (4-5-2, 10 points) by the final score of 5-2.
This evening rookie goaltender Alex Stalock got his first start of the season in place of workhorse Antti Niemi and he looked decent, although he had trouble controlling his rebounds all night. He was forced to make plenty of saves against the Senators who at times dominated possession. No doubt the fact the Sharks were on the back end of a back-to-back at least had somewhat of an effect on a team that usually dominates in that category. This was also the first time this season the Sharks were out shot, with the Senators putting 40 on Stalock compared San Jose’s 29.
Also, as far as injuries go, Matt Nieto was a late scratch. He was supposed to be in the lineup this afternoon and even appeared at the pre-game skate which happens about 30 minutes prior to the game, however for some reason he did not get into the lineup and was instead replaced by Freddie Hamilton. The original plan was to scratch Hamilton in favor of the recently acquired Mike Smith who played on the fourth line.
James Sheppard, who played incredibly well last night, was promoted to the Joe Thornton line while Brent Burns continues to sit. He looked good once again tonight and might have played himself into the lineup more consistently after these past two games.
As far as the scoring summary goes, San Jose got out to a quick 2-0 lead just six minutes into the game on goals by Tomas Hertl and Andrew Desjardins.
Hertl’s goal broke his three-game pointless streak and six-game goalless streak. All he did was head to the front of the net and a loose puck found his stick. From here he threw a puck on net and while Craig Anderson got a piece of it he was not able to stop it.
Desjardins’ goal came thanks in part to a great effort by Brad Stuart who started a rush and fired a hard shot on net creating a rebound. Desjardins, who was crashing the net, picked up the rebound, put it onto his backhand, and fired a hard backhander off the post and in.
The Senators then scored a goal of their own on a blast from the blue-line by Erik Karlsson. His shot got through a lot of bodies in front of Stalock and that cut the San Jose lead in half.
But, before the period would end the Sharks scored their third of the game, this time short-handed, on a goal by Tommy Wingels. Wingels originally fed Logan Couture a pass who was off on a partial breakaway which was stopped by Ottawa goaltender Andreson. However the rebound sat in the crease and Wingels hustled to follow up the play and was able to tap the puck into a partially open net. By the end of the period it was 3-1 Sharks.
From that point on the Sharks would be in control on the scoreboard as they added goals by James Sheppard who scored his first of the season and Joe Pavelski who capped off some nice passing by Wingels and Justin Braun with a tip in goal. Ottawa still held a majority of the possession and zone time, especially in the second period, but Stalock and the defense were strong in combination with the offense that scored plenty of goals.
Perhaps the weakest part of San Jose’s game against the Senators was their struggle on the power play. They could not do anything with three opportunities and had plenty of trouble just getting set in the offensive zone. However, with four even-strength goals and a short-handed one as well, the power play did not have to be effective this evening.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Alex Stalock (38 saves)
2. James Sheppard (1 goal, 1 assist, 5 shots, +1)
3. Tommy Wingels (1 goal, 1 assist, 4 shots, 1 hit, +2)