In an exciting game Thursday night at the SAP Center in San Jose, Pacific Division leaders went head-to-head for first place. The San Jose Sharks relied on top players to beat their rivals, Anaheim Ducks, 3-2 in regulation.
The Sharks sit atop the Pacific Division and are second in the Western Conference with 99 points. The only team with more points in the West than the Sharks is the St. Louis Blues. First in their division and second in their conference is a pretty comfortable place to be sitting during the final push into the playoffs.
Brent Burns got the game winner with only 3:59 left in the third period. Early in the game he had hit the crossbar– something fans are getting used to when Burns takes a shot– but for every crossbar he has hit this season, this goal was worth them all. He now has 20 goals this season, a career high for Burns.
Burns also showed the aggressive side to his style of play, with five hits throughout the game. He dealt a tough hit to Ducks’ forward Corey Perry minutes before he scored the game winner. Fans and commentators always enjoy when Burns delivers a “butt-check” that sends opponents to the ice.
Captain Joe Thornton got the game-tying goal at 8:11 of the third period, after the Sharks had let their one goal lead turn into a one goal deficit. Thornton, who had an assist on the other two Shark’s goals, is now in 46th place for all-time points. He has accumulated 1,187 points during his NHL career.
Patrick Marleau got the first Shark’s goal on the power play at 13:52 in the first. It is his 29th goal of the season, elevating him to 66th place for NHL’s all-time goals list and 6th place in goals scored since the 2009-2010 season with 113 goals.
The Sharks have proven that they are still a powerhouse in the West since the return from the olympic break. They have scored three or more goals in seven out of 10 games this month. They have only lost two games, and now with their win over Anaheim, they have won eight.
The Sharks will face the Washington Capitals on Saturday at the Shark Tank. The Caps lost to the LA Kings on Thursday night, and will be fighting for the win in San Jose.