Photo credit: San Jose Sharks
by M. Walsh
SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks handed the Ottawa Senators a resounding defeat to the tune of 5-0 at SAP Center on Saturday night. The win followed up a surprising 5-4 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night, when the Sharks led a furious comeback after trailing by three goals. Saturday’s goals came from Logan Couture, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Melker Karlsson, Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl. Couture, Pavelski, Brent Burns and Kevin Labanc all had multi-point games and back-up goaltender Aaron Dell made 25 saves for the Sharks’ shutout win. At the other end of the ice, Craig Anderson made 45 saves on 50 shots in a losing effort for the Senators.
Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer said that San Jose’s goal was to start fast against Ottawa, avoiding the slow start that marked their previous game: “I liked our game. Compared to the game against Carolina, I thought we were really sharp and really carried over the way we played in the third period against them into tonight.”
The Sharks checked a lot of boxes in Saturday’s game, killing four of four penalties and scoring on two of seven power plays. Tim Heed returned after dealing with an upper body injury, and Paul Martin is scheduled to start a conditioning stint with the Barracuda. So much rosy news begs the question of whether the Sharks have reached a turning point in the season.
DeBoer would not say that it is a turning point, but he did say that the goals are important for more than the score: “It was nice to score some goals, nice to get some power play goals. Guys have been working awful hard, we generate a lot of chances and we haven’t finished enough this year. So it was nice to have a night like that. Whether we can do that again tomorrow night I don’t know. But confidence is a big part of scoring and there was a lot of guys feeling good about themselves tonight.”
Logan Couture opened the scoring near the midpoint of the first period. The Sharks had outshot the Sens 10-0 at the 12-minute mark. Dell had just fought off the Senators’ first couple of shots in a flurry of activity on the edge of his crease. After Hertl won a defensive zone faceoff, the Sharks went the other way fast, with Labanc making a lovely pass so Couture could beat Anderson as he moved across. Assists went to Labanc and Justin Braun.
At the end of the first period, the shot count was 16-6 San Jose.
Early in the second period, the Sharks had just come off of a power play when Vlasic blasted a shot past Anderson. Tim Heed caught a pass from Kevin Labanc from behind the net, and sent the puck across the ice to the waiting Vlasic.
The Senators were keeping pace at least in shots past the midpoint of the period, but the Sharks did not let up. Joe Thornton passed the puck backward behind the net to a trailing Pavelski, who quickly sent it back up above the goal line for Melker Karlsson to pop into the net.
The Sharks’ power play came to life in the third period with two goals, one early and one late. The first third period power play resulted from a fight between Marcus Sorensen and Ryan Dzingel, when Dzingel was given an extra minor for roughing. Pavelski tipped a quick Couture shot from high in the slot. A second assist went to Brent Burns.
The Senators appeared to have scored at 5:12, in a power play that followed soon after the Sharks’ fourth goal. Braun was in the box for slashing. Matt Duchene took a shot from the face off dot and Bobby Ryan pushed it in. The official waved it off and did not even stop play. On later review, the NHL concluded that the puck had not crossed the line before Vlasic swept the puck back out.
The final power play of the game came when Alex Burrows used the butt end of his stick to bloody Dylan DeMelo’s face. Burrows was ejected with a fighting major and a roughing minor. DeMelo received roughing minor as he went to the dressing room to be patched up. Tomas Hertl scored after catching a bouncing puck off of Erik Karlsson’s hand. Assists went to Brent Burns and Logan Couture.
The Sharks next play on Sunday at 6:00 pm PT against the Minnesota Wild.