The San Jose Sharks (30-12-6, 66 points) defeated the Florida Panthers (18-22-7, 43 points) by the final score of 3-0 in the second game of their three-game road trip along the Atlantic. Rookie goaltender Alex Stalock earned his first career shutout in the win.
It was another strong night in net by Alex Stalock who was in for starter Antti Niemi. By the end of the game Stalock had 24 saves and earned his first career shutout.
The San Jose Sharks opened up the game pretty strongly as they dominated the first period in shots 21-8. That doesn’t mean they didn’t have plenty of chances though, as the only thing preventing this game getting out of hand early was the great goaltending of Tim Thomas. It also helped that they were on the power play twice, although nothing came of it. On the night the Sharks went 0/4 with the man-advantage.
Also oddly enough, while San Jose was all over the Panthers in the first, they did not register their first shot of the second period until beyond the halfway mark. Still though the Sharks would get on the board first with just under a minute left in the second stanza.
That goal came on a Joe Thornton breakaway where he made a quick move from backhand to forehand and lifted the puck over the glove of Thomas. The play happened partially due to a great pass off he boards from Brent Burns to Thornton who was streaking down the ice.
In the third period the San Jose Sharks returned to their first period form and finished strong with two goals and outshot the Panthers 11-5. Overall they outshot their opponents 39-24.
The first of those two goals came from the second line, and specifically Matt Nieto who earned his third goal of the season as he put home a rebound with Thomas out of position in his net. The play started out in San Jose’s end after Stalock made a great save on a one-timer which then sent Marleau and Tyler Kennedy out on a two-on-two rush. Kennedy received the puck from Marleau, drove the net, then put the puck on the net creating a rebound.
With the score at 2-0 Joe Pavelski put the final nail in the coffin with just over eight minutes left in the game on what another rebound goal. Pavelski’s goal was his 22nd of the season and put him into the team lead in that department as he pushed ahead of Marleau.
After that the Sharks finished the game strong as they kept their foot on the gas and made the Panthers go the full sheet of the ice by playing disciplined hockey and not turning the puck over. It was a great game from start to finish (maybe aside from a short lull in the second period) and one that San Jose was expected to win.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Alex Stalock (24 saves, 1st career shutout)
2. Joe Pavelski (1 goal, 1 assist)
3. Brent Burns (2 assists, 5 shots, 1 hit)