The San Jose Sharks did not deserve to win Sunday evening's game against the Carolina Hurricanes, but Troy Grosenick certainly did. The rookie made 45 saves in his NHL debut and just about took down the Hurricanes all by himself in the Sharks 2-0 win over Carolina.
San Jose was badly outshot in all three periods, but the bend-but-don't-break defense was good enough for the Sharks who got back in the win column despite a horrifically bad effort. The Sharks have lost plenty of games that, by the shot count, should have dominated, so maybe this is a bit of well-deserved payback for all those 50-save shutouts pitched against them over the years.
Tomas Hertl and Joe Thornton had the goals, with Thornton's coming in an empty-net situation to seal the deal. Hertl's came in the first period as he charged the net and shuffled home the puck well against the run of play. It's his fourth goal of the year and allowed Barclay Goodrow to pick up his first ever NHL point.
But the story is all about Grosenick, who sprawled, dove and flashed the leather to keep the Sharks in the hockey game. He made some absolutely spectacular saves against the Hurricanes and when things got frantic in the final five minutes he was able to do just enough to keep Carolina off the board. There's no telling where Grosenick's career will go from here, but tonight the rookie saved the Sharks' bacon while becoming the first Shark to ever record a shutout in his NHL debut. That's pretty neat.
- James Sheppard took a stick to the face in the second period, but he returned later in the game and appeared to be okay. He was one of the least-bad Sharks on the ice tonight according to the reputable fancy stats that are linked above.
- Speaking of those pesky fancy stats: The Sharks were absolutely horrible at achieving them tonight! Not a single Shark had a positive corsi percentage, which makes sense in a game you're outshot in 45-19.
- That's right! The San Jose Sharks (10-8-2) were outshot by the Carolina Hurricanes (5-9-3)! Both teams were on the second of a back-to-back, but that can hardly be used as an excuse for the way the Sharks played against one of the worst teams in the league. If not for Grosenick's stellar play, this game would have gone much, much differently.
- Tomas Hertl made some great aggressive plays in the offensive zone, something that could be lost in the shuffle given how little San Jose played in the offensive zone tonight.
- The road-heavy portion of the Sharks' schedule has been absolutely brutal, so perhaps getting an extended period at home will cure what ails them. Certainly the Sharks have plenty of problems beyond their long trips, but playing this many games on the road this early must be taking a toll on the team.
- Before the Sharks can head home they have to face their biggest bogeyman. That's right, up next for San Jose is a trip to Buffalo to take on the
FTF Three Stars
1st Star: Troy Grosenick
2nd Star: Anton Khudobin
3rd Star: Tomas Hertl