The San Jose Sharks overcame the Ottawa Senators with a third period goal by Brett Burns to break a 2-2 tie and send the home team on to their fifth straight victory of the season and maintain their perfect record.
In addition to Burns game-winner, the Sharks also got goals from Patrick Marleau, his fourth goal of the season, and Tomas Hertl, his league-leading seventh goal of the season. Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture, Dan Boyle, Matt Nieto and Burns also recorded assists in the contest. Antti Niemi recorded 21 saves in the contest as the Sharks peppered Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner with 50 shots on goal.
That was the good news.
The bad news, sudden-sensation, 19-year old Hertl left the game in the second period and had to be helped to the dressing room after a hard hit by Ottawa’s Clarke MacArthur. The initial assessment by head coach Todd McLellan was that Hertl was “a little sore,” but that he should be ready to go by the Sharks next game on Tuesday in St. Louis.
It was the 19-year old rookie sensation that had kicked off the scoring just 55 seconds into the game with a wrist shot that beat Lehner.
Ottawa tied the game at 15:21 into the contest on a goal by Zack Smith. Bobby Ryan beat Niemi with a snap-shot at 18:31 to give the Senators a 2-1 lead headed into the first intermission.
Marleau got San Jose back on the scoreboard with a backhand shot at 16:12 on the power play to tie the game in the second period, where the score stood until Burns game-winning slap shot at 7:08 in the third period.
“It was different coming from behind. We have been behind in a game, but it was early in the game,” McLellan said. “I thought we played three different games tonight – we played the first six or seven minutes and played well. And then we got a little sloppy, a little cute, got away from what we needed to do. We talked about it at the break and regrouped in the third. Fortunately, we got some power play time which also helped us hem them in a little bit.”
Patrick Marleau added: “We found ourselves down after one period tonight. It was a good challenge for us. We made a couple of mistakes, and they capitalized on it. They are good enough of a team to make us pay for it.”
The hit that kept Hertl off the ice the remainder of the game was a clean hockey play. He skated through two Ottawa defenders and wound up colliding with MacArthur, hitting his head and jarring his shoulder.
Heading into the game, the Sharks had found themselves promoted to the top spot in the NHL Power Rankings thanks to their perfect 4-0 record. The victory, moving the team to 5-0, should help keep them atop the rankings for another week.
Though it is still too early to put much stock in such placing, they are currently atop the Pacific Division standings with 10 points, two ahead of Anaheim, and tied with Colorado for the top spot in the Western Conference.
San Jose will now fly to St. Louis to take on the Blues on Tuesday evening at 5:00PM PT.
All quotes courtesy of San Jose Sharks Media Relations.