The San Jose Sharks (17-3-5, 39 points) defeated the St. Louis Blues (18-4-3, 39 points) 6-3 at the SAP Center in San Jose. This is their fourth straight win on this five-game homestand and the Sharks continue to build on wins against strong opponents.
As we have seen quite a bit this season the Sharks got off to a great start in the first period when they exploded for four goals. They ended up chasing starting goaltender Brian Elliot as well, but the guy who stepped in for him, normal starter Jaroslav Halak, played well.
The headliner for the game was San Jose winger Brent Burns, who netted his first career hat trick in a game where the Sharks needed all three. His three goals came in a variety of ways, starting with his first which opened the scoring just 35 seconds into the game. He would also net a second goal in the period on a one-timer from the NHL assist leader Joe Thornton, but not before Thornton would score one of his own on a power play after a great no-look behind-the-back pass from Joe Pavelski.
After Burns’ second goal of the period, which made the score 3-0, Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock had to do something to slow the San Jose attack, so he called a timeout to regroup the troops. Unfortunately for Hitchcock and his team, however, Tommy Wingels had something to say about that and scored soon after. His goal came after he made a great play at his own blue-line to steal the puck and take it the length of the ice on what became a two-on-one. Wingels then elected to shoot the puck which was initally stopped by Elliot but squaked by him and into the net to make it 4-0.
By the end of the period, the Sharks had outshot the Blues 12-2 and seemed to be firing on all cylinders.
However, in the second period the Blues started to come back when defenseman Ian Cole scored his first goal of the season on a St. Louis three-on-two rush. Cole would fire a shot on net that ended up deflecting off of San Jose defenseman Matt Irwin and eventually found its way by Antti Niemi. Prior to that Niemi had been great and was again San Jose’s best penalty killer all day. Although the Blues only scored one in the period, you could feel the momentum shift in their direction as the game headed into the third period.
In the third period the Blues would score two more goals early on by David Backes on the power play and Jaden Schwartz to make the game very interesting at 4-3. They had all the momentum at this point and were relentlessly pressuring the Sharks and Niemi.
At that point the Sharks were able to earn a power play with just about seven and a half minutes in the game. That is where Brent Burns earned his first career hat trick after he made something out of nothing after the Sharks had a few straight stagnant power plays. He received the puck at the faceoff dot to Halak’s left, made a move to beat a defender, then fired a wrist shot on net with Pavelski in front providing a screen.
That pushed the game to 5-3, and eventually the Blues would pull Halak. With the empty net Tomas Hertl would cash in by scoring his 13th goal of the season and put the game out of hand for good at 6-3.
Tomorrow night the Sharks play their final game of the homestand against the Anaheim Ducks who will also be playing the second half of a back-to-back. They are coming off of a convincing 5-2 victory over the Calgary Flames earlier today. The winner of the game will also take sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division, so look forward to another great game at the Shark Tank.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Brent Burns (3 goals, 1 assist)
2. Logan Couture (3 assists)
3. Joe Thornton (1 goal, 1 assist)