For the second time this season the San Jose Sharks (22-8-6, 50 points) and the Dallas Stars (17-12-6, 40 points) went to a shootout, but this time it was San Jose who came away with the 3-2 victory.
For the Sharks it was an ugly one, but one they will take nonetheless to keep pace in the Pacific Division. Specifically, San Jose had a rough start to the game but got better and better throughout and in the end, Alex Stalock capped off the victory by stopping all five shots he faced in the shootout.
The rookie goaltender was strong all night and it was great to see him get his first win at home in a game he started. Earlier this season he won in relief of Antti Niemi at home, but this game was his start to finish.
There was also quite a bit of line mixing that went on today for a couple of reasons. First, because of the unfortunate injury to Tomas Hertl who is out for a month after being the recipient of a Dustin Brown knee-on-knee hit. Second, the offense has not been great lately and it looked like the coaching staff wanted to shake things up a bit. You could definitely tell the guys were not quite acclimated to their new line mates, but slowly were gaining chemistry through the duration of the game and it showed.
As I stated the San Jose Sharks got off to a slow start and succeeded a goal in the first period to former Sharks Ray Whitney on a backhander that went through the legs of Brad Stuart. The shot, which seemed routine, ended up deflecting off of Stuart and ended up getting by Stalock.
After that though nothing happened as the pace was slow and very lumbering. Even with two power plays apiece there was not too much action as neither team looked great with the man-advantage.
In the second period the Stars scored once again on a delayed penalty. Antoine Roussel was the benefactor of a hard pass by teammate Alex Goligoski that ended up going off his skate an into the net. At that point it was 2-0 and Dallas was definitely in control of the game.
The Sharks struck back though at the 11:47 mark of the second period when Jason Demers scored his first goal of the season on an odd-man rush. Demers was the trailer and fourth man into the rush. He got a short pass from Tyler Kennedy and proceeded to blast the shot home to make it 2-1.
Moving onto the third period, which was by far San Jose’s best, where Joe Pavelski tied the game at two on a great individual effort. He received a pass on the sideboards from Joe Thornton, made a move to beat a defender and get to the slot, then drove to the net and fired a backhander past Kari Lehtonen.
After that the Sharks finally had momentum and started getting better chances. They also finally outshot the Stars in the final stanza after being outshot by a combined margin of 31-22 in the first two.
In the shootout it was all about the goaltending as there was just one goal, scored by Thornton, in the fifth round of the shootout. Both Stalock and Lehtonen were great, but in the end Stalock won that battle.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Alex Stalock (44 saves)
2. Joe Pavelski (1 goal)
3. Ray Whitney (1 goal)