SAN JOSE- Losers in four of their previous five, the San Jose Sharks came blazing out of the gates Thursday night against their rival Dallas Stars. Two goals in the first minute and half of the game, the first by Logan Couture and then another from Jamie McGinn got the slumping Sharks out to a white hot start.
And while Dallas would eventually tie the score 2-2 in the second period, the second tally by McGinn in the eventual 5-2 victory wasn’t lost on the Sharks players. On Tuesday against Minnesota the Sharks pumped 16 shots on net before the Wild got even a single shot at the other end but San Jose only found the back of the net just once. The Wild went on to knock off the Sharks 2-1.
“We’re not going to be up two-nothing every time we play like that [early]” chimed Sharks forward Torrey Mitchell. “Obviously we saw it against Minnesota.”
Mitchell would pop home his third goal of the year late in the second period to cap off a three goal barrage that saw the Sharks take control.
Ryane Clowe and fourth line grinder turned first line left winger Brad Winchester scored the other two goals for San Jose as the Sharks were able to turn on the juices mid way through the second after Dallas had tied the score on goals from Mike Ribeiro and Brenden Morrow.
“Not too much of an adjustment” commented Winchester on playing with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski on San Jose’s top line. “Certainly they are very good with the puck. Jumbo behind the net is really good with it. I just try to be around the net as much as possible and create some room.”
With McGinn, Mitchell, Winchester, Clowe and Couture scoring, the Sharks got at least one goal from each of their four lines, certainly a welcome sight offensively but there was plenty to nitpick at for Sharks head coach Todd McLellan.
Not only did his team fail to create a single shot on net during nearly a full two-minute 5-on-3 power-play early in the second period, but Morrow’s tally came on the man advantage for the Stars as the Sharks penalty kill remains a work in progress.
Furthermore, two big time saves from Antti Niemi on two odd man rushes in the first period saved the Sharks from giving up the lead.
“Not Niemi’s play, but the fact we gave up those out-numbered rushes was a concern of ours and a little disappointing” the coach said, choosing to focus on the negative rather than praising his netminder. “We had a lot of momentum and we allowed them to get back in. We’re obviously still learning and we have some things to work on.”
The Sharks now go back out on the road for their first trip of more than two games since October as they take on St. Louis, Chicago and Colorado, three games in four nights.
“We’re going into some tough buildings” confirmed McLellan about the upcoming trip. “St. Louis has always been a tough team to play in their building, they play a hard game. We all know how quick and talented that Chicago team is and then coming back in that third game in four nights is always tough when you’re playing it in Denver.”