“Merry Christmas everybody, and that one was for you,” Sharks’ Captain, Joe Thornton said to the SAP Center’s sellout crowd Monday night, after the Sharks won a consecutive shootout game at home.
The San Jose Shark’s beat the Colorado Avalanche in an action-packed game; with a fight in the first two minutes, and a game tying goal in the last twenty seconds. Both teams played hard and fast, neither side holding back.
“We just want to play aggressive,” Thornton said after getting three assists in the 5-4 game.
Their aggression paid off when the Sharks tied the game and regained the lead after trailing in the second period. Then, they were able to tie the game — again — after trailing in the third, 4-3 .
Joe Pavelski got the game tying goal at the end of third period, driving the game into overtime, and eventually into a shootout.
“Pavs been a real clutch player over the past two weeks for us. He’s kind of the go-to-guy right now, seems to be getting it done and he did it again tonight for us, so we’re happy for him and for us,” Sharks’ Head Coach, Todd McLellan said of Pavelski’s performance.
With 20 seconds left in regulation, Brent Burns and Thornton were able to get the puck to Pavelski. The Avalanche were sure that they had already won the game– judging by the shocked looks on all of their faces.
“Joe made a great play to Joe, and you know what those guys do,” teammate Matthew Irwin said of the game tying play.
Irwin also got on the scoreboard for the Sharks, after goals from Jason Demers and Burns. Demers was the first Shark to score, tying the game just under 14 minutes in the first on the power play. His second goal of the season also marked the first time in is career that he has scored in consecutive games.
The Avalanche were also able to capitalize on a power play opportunity in the first period. Nathan MacKinnon was able to get one by Antti Niemi while Tommy Wingels served two minutes in the penalty box for tripping MacKinnon. They later got the lead with an even strength goal by Gabriel Landeskog, ending the first period at 2-1.
The Sharks tied the game early in the second with Burn’s 10th goal of the season. His goal was followed by Irwin’s second goal of the season, which came during a power play.
“I think thats just part of our game; we got to help out the forwards, get open for them and get pucks through to the net, and tonight we were able to do that,” Irwin said after the game.
The Avalanche responded with two goals, only 12 second apart from one another, 18 minutes into the third period. Erik Johnson tied the game at 18:09, and former Shark, Jamie McGinn, tied the game at 18:21. With so little time left in regulation, Colorado thought they had it. Patrick Roy, head coach for the Avalanche, was all smiles until Pavelski got a puck into the net with only 20 seconds left to go.
“He’s playing well. You know Pavs just finds himself in front of the net, wide open, and he just has such a nice shot, and tonight he’s complimented me and Burns well. He’s just such a smart player,” Thornton commented on Pavelski.
The Sharks were unable to take advantage of a power play in overtime, when Johnson took two minutes for holding against Patrick Marleau.
The Sharks won the three-round shootout, getting goals by Logan Couture and Marleau. Pavelski’s shootout goal was blocked by Avalanche goaltender, Semyon Varlamov. Antti Niemi blocked both attempts from Colorado in the shootout.
Marleau’s shootout goal turned out to be the game winner in the 5-4 battle against the Colorado Avalanche.
The team has three days off to spend Christmas with family and friends, before returning on the 27th of December. The Sharks will travel to Pheonix, before playing Anaheim in the last two games of this month.
Meanwhile, rookie stand-out Tomas Herlt will undergo surgery for his right knee in the coming week. He suffered an injury after a knee-on-knee collision with Los Angeles Kings captain, Dustin Brown. The original estimate for Hertl’s return was only a month, but now they are unable to predict when he will be back in the lineup.
The injury has already eliminated Hertl’s chances of playing in the upcoming Winter Olympics for the Czech Republic. Now, he could possibly miss the remainder of the season with the Sharks.
The rookie was at the top of his pack, leading with 15 goals and 25 points.