By Mary Walsh
In a 5-3 victory over the Dallas Stars, the San Jose Sharks turned some early season habits upside down. So far this season, the Sharks played many strong first periods, only to struggle in third periods. Saturday, despite a hat trick from Tyler Seguin in the first two periods, the Sharks came back with four goals in the third period.
Brent Burns scored twice, James Sheppard scored to extend his goal scoring streak to three games. Patrick Marleau scored, after being without a goal for nine games. Logan Couture earned three assists in the game. Al Stalock made 37 saves on 40 shots for the win, after sitting as backup for five games.
After the game, Sharks head coach Todd McLellan talked about the third period recovery:
We talked between periods about checking well, not giving them anything else, power play being ready in case we got one, it was. We just stuck with it, we didn’t go away. The way the League is this year, we’ve seen it with our group, there is no lead that’s safe, and you’re never out of it when you’re coming from behind.
Not unlike the Sharks, the Stars have been having trouble with third periods. Also like the Sharks, Dallas has a bad record at home this season. They have only one win in eight home games.
In response to the suggestion that the Sharks knew the Stars are vulnerable in the third period, Logan Couture said:
I didn’t know that, no. In this dressing room we’re worried about our own game. We’ve got to start playing better and we know that so we’re not looking at the other team. We believe that if we play our game we’re able to beat any team any night so we’re worried about ourselves in here.
The first Dallas goal started as a shot from Sergei Gonchar at the blue line. The puck bounced off the skate of Adam Burish, then off the chest of Tyler Seguin and past Stalock. About two minutes later, Seguin shot the puck around Matt Irwin and past more traffic in front of the crease.
James Sheppard salvaged the Sharks’ spirits with a hard-working goal after he corralled a rebound at 17:14 of the first period. After the game, Sheppard said:
It really does happen fast, just trying to get pucks on net. Fortunately there was an open net so I didn’t have to beat a goalie, just get it in there. So it was just a good job by our line.
The second period featured two penalties to Tyler Kennedy and a power play goal for the Stars. Kennedy went to the box for goalie interference 12 minutes into the period, then again for tripping at 15:18. On their second power play of the period, Tyler Seguin finished his hat trick, taking advantage of a big rebound and plenty of space.
The third period turnaround started with a power play goal from Patrick Marleau. Marleau came up from behind the goal line to grab a rebound off a shot from Joe Pavelski.
A couple of minutes later, while the teams were playing four on four, Logan Couture and Brent Burns went in two on one to tie the game. Couture chose to pass and Burns shot before Lindback could get across.
With almost ten minutes left, while the Sharks’ third line of Sheppard, Hertl and Kennedy wreaked some havoc in front of the Dallas net, a rebound popped out for Burns, who put it away to give the Sharks the lead.
The last couple of minutes were hectic. The Stars were pressing and Stalock had to make some very impressive saves. Discipline broke down, and in the last 90 seconds overlapping penalties came after Stalock shot the puck out of play and then got hit in the face by Antoine Roussell. A number of scuffles followed, including a cheap shot on Justin Braun. Of the last, McLellan said:
What disappoints me is when a guy is vulnerable and being held and he gets punched. That’s the disappointing thing. I don’t think anybody in our league, the 750 players and coaches want to see that. So, just not a classy moment.
McLellan did not have any more information about Braun’s status.
Regarding the hit on Stalock, Logan Couture said:
I’ll have to see the video, I didn’t really see it. I saw it quickly, Roussell’s kind of known for that, so watch it on the video and see what really happened.
After the referees sorted that out, the teams finished the game four on four. The Stars pulled their goalie for a man advantage but Couture and Thornton escaped through the neutral zone and Thornton scored into the empty net.
The Sharks scored on one of two power plays, and killed four of five penalties. The Stars led on the shot clock through the game and in every period, for a total shot count of 40-29.
Brent Burns and Patrick Marleau led the Sharks in shots with four each, Tommy Wingels led the team with four hits, and Burns led the team in time on ice with 22:21.
Anders Lindback made 24 saves for the Stars. Shawn Horcoff and Tyler Seguin led Dallas in shots with five each, Ryan Garbutt led the team with five hits, and Alex Goligoski led the Stars in ice time with 24:43.
The three stars of the game were Brent Burns, Tyler Seguin and James Sheppard.
The Sharks continue their road trip Sunday at 4:00 PT, against the Blackhawks in Chicago.