After slogging through nearly two full periods of miserable hockey, Joe Thornton lit the scoreboard up with a beautiful breakaway goal. See how well he can do the goal scoring thing when there is no one around to pass it to? Maybe they should leave him alone more often.
San Jose outshot the Panthers 21-8 in the first period but had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. Naturally, they started the second period slowly, presumably to lull Florida into a false sense of security. After Thornton lit the lamp the game, well, it kind of kept on going the way it had been going in the second period; but halfway through the third Matt Nieto buried Tyler Kennedy's rebound to make it 2-0.
Both of the first two goals were generated by great saves from Alex Stalock who filled in for Antti Niemi tonight. While the second scoring chance was caused by Nieto, he more than made up for it by racing all the way down the ice after Kennedy to slip home his third of the season.
Brent Burns had no goals in the game, but created several chances (I'm curious to see what his final tally will be in the scoring chances tomorrow morning) and looked very dangerous all night long. It was his chance on goal that led to the dagger as Joe Pavelski was close behind to put the Sharks up 3-0 and put the game to bed.
- The Sharks have played some lackluster games against lesser opponents this season, but not tonight. They thoroughly outplayed a team that they have every reason to wipe the floor with.
- Alex Stalock has been great in relief for the Sharks this year. Antti Niemi has seemed to find his groove again, but I still would like to see a little more Stalock sprinkled into the mix to give Nemo a break.
- The third period from the Sharks was very encouraging. They could have turtled after the second goal, but they kept generating shots and putting pressure on the Panthers.
- Joe Thornton is a very special hockey player. We don't deserve him. But it is our duty as Sharks fans to complain every time Thornton passes up the opportunity to shoot the puck. Seriously, he's so good at it. SHOOT. PLEASE. PLEASE SHOOT. Steve Nash of hockey, for sure.
- Patrick Marleau, Brent Burns and Matt Nieto all had five shots on goal. All had at least one point in the game. Good night for those guys.
- Tim Thomas looked pretty solid in goal for most of the night. It looks like that signing has paid dividends for the Panthers; now they just need to figure out... well pretty much everything else.
- San Jose's powerplay was lackluster in its three attempts, including 1:29 of 5-on-3 time where the Sharks stood around for far too long and didn't generate near enough chances.
- It was the Sharks first win in Sunrise, Florida in over seven years. How?
- Alex Stalock earned his first NHL
hat trickshutout tonight. Good for him.
- Saturday's game is a matinee in Tampa Bay. Set your alarms: It's at 11 a.m. PST.
FTF Three Stars