After a sloppy first, second and third period, the San Jose Sharks pulled together to beat the Dallas Stars in a shootout, Saturday night in San Jose. Captain Joe Thornton was the lone scorer in the five round shootout, giving the Sharks the winning goal in the 3-2 game.
Alex Stalock had his first career start on home ice, and made his first career shootout appearance. While Stalock had not played in a game within the last 15 days, he played as if he had been starting for the Sharks all season. Stalock made 44 saves and blocked all five shootout attempts from the Stars. His saves during the shootout elevated the Sharks to their victory.
“He works hard. He works harder than any goalie you’ll see in the league. He deserves something like that. We all have full confidence in both of our goalies. For him to come in like that and play a game like that was great to see. I think guys really fed off of it,” Jason Demers said of Stalock.
Stalock’s career was threatened back in February 2011, while playing for Worcester of the American Hockey League. A tendon and a nerve behind his left knee were split by an opponent’s skate. He has worked hard to recover and has more than earned his spot as a backup goaltender for the Sharks.
The Sharks faced a two goal deficit just under five minutes in the second period. Stars’ goals came from former Shark, Ray Whitney, in the first and Antoine Roussei in the second. Demers closed the gap at 11:47 in the second with his first goal of the season.
Joe Pavelski tied the game for the Sharks at the start of the third period. Pavelski’s 14th goal of the season was assisted by Thornton and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Pavelski also led the team with 23:29 of ice time.
After a scoreless over time, the teams prepared for a shootout round. Thornton was the only player on either team to score in the five rounds.
Sharks have now had six out their last 11 home games head into a shootout.
Sharks rookie star, Tomas Hertl, was out of the lineup for the first time this season and is expected to be out at least a month, and possibly longer, because of a knee related injury. He was hurt in the first period in the 4-1 loss against Los Angeles on Thursday when there was a knee-on-knee collision with Kings captain, Dustin Brown, and Hertl. Coach Todd McLellan will continue to shuffle the lines around to compensate for Hertl not being in the lineup, who had been skating with Thornton and Brent Burns.
Forwards Adam Burish and Raffi Torres are still out of the Sharks lineup due to injuries. Burish had back surgery in October of this year, and does not have expected return date. Torres had surgery to repair a torn an ACL, and could return after the Olympic break.
Sharks will face the Colorado Avalanche December 23, at the Shark Tank.