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Sharks sustain success, beat the Avalanche in a shootout

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Building off their win on Sunday, the Sharks dominate the Avalanche on the shot clock and manage to squeak past them in the shootout to win 3-2.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Fifty-one shots for the Sharks tonight. Coming into a game against the defensively deficient Colorado Avalanche, it was a a very real possibility that the Sharks would put up over 50 shots. And with horrible human being but really good goaltender Seymon Varlamov in net, there was also a very real possibility that the Sharks would lose.

Fortunately, they prevailed in the shootout, establishing a two game win streak.

Brent Burns, who has maintained his scoring touch while switching back to defense, started the game off with a goal midway through the first. Mirco Mueller shot the puck from the left point, where it deflected off Burns and past Varlamov. Originally thought to be Mueller's first NHL goal, upon review it belonged to Burns (and his butt).

The entire first period saw the Sharks somehow skate and react faster than the Avalanche, who are considered to be one of the fastest teams in the league, Brad Stuart not withstanding. The Sharks recorded 23 shots in the first alone, more than twice what the Buffalo Sabres achieved in a full game tonight. It was an obvious continuation of the game against Anaheim, which was a good sign after a loss to the aforementioned absolutely terrible Sabres team.

That lead would not last, and in the second period the Avalanche tied it up. While the Sharks were on the power play, Erik Johnson shot a beauty of a moon pass directly to a cherry-picking Alex Tanguay, who proceeded to deke the pants off of both Logan Couture and Antti Niemi before scoring.

After Gabriel Landeskog scored a goal that Niemi absolutely should have had to take the lead, the Sharks answered right back with a goal by Logan Couture after the initial shot by Justin Braun rang off the post. Both teams played the third with urgency, with back-and-forth hockey that culminated with noted pugilist Mirco Mueller (along with Brent Burns) getting into a roughing match with Max Talbot and Jerome Iginla.

Due to the Sharks protesting against scoring overtime goals after the Wingles Controversy of '13, the game went to the shootout. Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski scored for the Sharks, while Niemi made saves on Tanguay and Matt Duchene to clinch the two points. It was not the prettiest of wins, but it was a win nonetheless.

  • Warning: the highlights feature the Avalanche announcers.
  • Since the 2012 lockout, there have been 29 games in which a team recorded at least 50 shots. The Sharks have 7 of them, and no other team has more than 3. The Sharks are 3-2-2 in those games.
  • For the second game in a row, a Sharks player recorded 10 shots. Tommy Wingels did so against Anaheim, and now Joe Pavelski, intent on lowering his shooting percentage to a sustainable rate, did it tonight.
  • The power play was abysmal. Okay, the first power play was decent enough, with lots of shots and oh-so-close chances. The second power play yeilded a shorthanded goal to tie the game, and the third and fourth weren't much better (Jamie Baker actually said the fourth power play was the worst of the night, which is saying something considering the shorthanded goal).
  • Matt Duchene, one of the fastest players in the NHL, almost had a breakaway in the late second period. Mirco Mueller caught up with him and swiped the puck away. Further proof that Mueller is fast. I can't see, say, Brad Stuart doing that.
  • Prior to the third period, Sharks coach Jim Johnson said they need to get back a "shooting mentality." At that point, they had 41 shots through two. What will it take to please him?
  • The tying goal in the third period is a perfect example of following up shots. Braun hits the post, Wingels crashes the net, and Couture follows up afterwords to bury it as Varlamov was distracted by Wingels.
  • A rare Patrick Marleau turnover in his own zone led to an Avalanche flurry of attack on the San Jose net. Antti Niemi froze the puck in the famous Statue of Liberty pose, in honor of the Avalanche head coach.
  • As has become a concerning trend this season, the Sharks started the game off incredibly strong, only to tail off and let the other team into the game at the end. Unlike other games, Niemi stood tall and held off the onslaught as the skaters took their foot of the gas.
FTF Three Stars

1st Star: Antti Niemi
2nd Star: Brent Burns
3rd Star: Logan Couture