Coming into the game, there were two changes to the Sharks lineup: Matt Irwin took over for Mirco Mueller, and John Scott checked in for Mike Brown. Surprisingly, both of these moves proved to be pivotal.
On his first shift of the season, 1:23 in, Matt Irwin scored with a big blast after Thornton's faceoff win. Great to see him use that slap shot. He's got a great one, and it seemed like he got away from using it last year.
On his second shift of the season, Irwin got hit up high by the elbow of Michael Latta to put the Sharks on the powerplay. And yes, it happened even despite John Scott being on the ice as a deterrent.
After going 0-8 on the powerplay last game, the Sharks converted this time thanks to the second unit. Matt Nieto took a shot with traffic in front. It bounced off Wingels, and right to Irwin who put it in on the backhand to make it 2-0. That's right, on his third shift of the game. It was quite the start for Matt Irwin.
Midway through the first period, Burns intercepted a neutral zone pass and tapped it ahead. The puck was redirected by Adam Burish's skate to John Scott. Scott took it from the blueline to the hashmarks - SKATING AROUND BROOKS ORPIK - and snapped one in from the hashmarks to make it a 3-0 Sharks lead. If this doesn't show you that Brooks Orpik is terrible, nothing will.
Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby was pulled after the goal. It was not a good night for him. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets dinged in kangaroo court too for giving up a goal to Scott.
Seriously though, it was damn good play by John Scott. Good recognition in the neutral zone, good burst of speed, and a good shot to finish it off. If John Scott can play like that, he'd legitimately deserve a starting spot. His career stats may say that he can't, but it was nice to see him get rewarded for a good play.
The Sharks took the 3-0 lead into the first intermission, but Alex Ovechkin seemed determined to make this a game. He got a great chance right out of the gate to start the second period, but was robbed by Niemi - and it wouldn't be the only time, either. Moments later, he drew an interference call on Tomas Hertl while chasing down a dump-in.
It didn't take long for the Caps powerplay to convert this time with some great puck movement. Every player touched the puck and a backdoor pass from Ovechkin to Johansen finished it off. 3-1. The Sharks' shutout streak ends at 142:51.
Off a rush, Pavelski & Hertl skated in a two on one 5:27 into the period. Pavelski pulled up for a wrist shot that bounced off Justin Peters, and off a leg of the Caps' defenseman racing back into the play. The epic goal scoring race between John Scott & Joe Pavelski is now tied again.
Less than a minute later, the Caps tied it back up. Mike Green took a shot up high, with
Chief Liam O'Brien providing a perfect screen on Niemi. Then, 33 seconds after that, Ovechkin grabbed the puck off a give-and-go, skated into the slot and sniped one past Niemi to make it a one-goal game again.
Sharks responded well on the shift after the goal, as Hertl got a good shot and drew a hooking penalty as well. The second unit continued to look solid, and was given more ice-time on this powerplay in response. They did not convert, however, and the Sharks took their uneasy 4-3 lead into the second intermission.
Just 1:37 into the third, Tommy Wingels followed up on his own shot for a rebound goal to make it 5-3. Chris Tierney & Tye McGinn had the assists, and boy did they earn them. McGinn got the play started with a good poke check in the neutral zone to break up a Washington zone exit, and then Tierney led Wingels perrfectly on the pass, placing it in the slot where only he could get it.
But it wasn't over yet. Brent Burns tripped Brooks Laich with 6:14 left to give the Caps a chance. In classic Caps' PP fashion, they set up on their 1-3-1 and found Ovechkin alone at the top of the circle. He ripped it past Niemi to make it 5-4.
Moments later, on an entry into the zone by the Caps, Matt Irwin's skates got tied up with Troy Brouwer, and Irwin fell to the ice. Brouwer walked in to the net untouched. After the somewhat fluky tie-up, it was a legitimately bad defenseive breakdwon by Nieto & Burns that let him skate into the slot. He tied the game at 5-5 with 4:35 remaining in the third.
With 1:14 left, Thornton took a high stick (something that happens to him more than any other player I've ever seen), giving the Sharks a PP for the rest of regulation. The Sharks couldn't convert on the 5-on-4, but had :46 of 4-on-3 to start overtime.
In that overtime period, the powerplay got at least one good chance, but Pavelski missed wide on a one-timer. The top unit still needs work. Five minutes wasn't enough to break the deadlock, so they went to a shootout. Pavelski was the only scorer. He scored in classic Pavelski-fashion, off a top-shelf wrister, and the Sharks survived to take this one.
Sharks win 6-5 in the shootout!
- John Scott scored a goal. And it was in the game where the entire pre-game show was all about him. He's going to be a "fan-favorite" among the KNBR/Working The Corners commenters crowd, isn't he?
- Scott had a good tip on a second period shot too. Could you imagine if he scored twice in one game?
- Every line scored tonight for the Sharks. A rarity any night, but especially considering how over-matched the fourth line looked in the first two games.
- With the way Irwin played, you'd have to think we'll see a Hannan-less lineup in the near future. Who knows if that will actually happen though.
- Niemi had 5 goals against him, but he wasn't that bad. There were defensive breakdowns that would have sunk Stalock too. He also stole a few from Ovechkin.
- Ovechkin was not one of the 3 shooters for Washington in the shootout. Thank you, Barry Trotz!
FTF 3 Stars
1st Star: Matt Irwin
2nd Star: Alex Ovechkin
3rd Star: Joe Pavelski