Through the first fourteen games of their season, the Sharks were one of the NHL's worst third period teams. So entering the final frame of a game in Dallas trailing by two goals against a Stars side looking to reestablish themselves in the aftermath of six straight losses appeared to be an insurmountable deficit for San Jose.
Brent Burns had other plans. After Patrick Marleau drew the team within a goal of Dallas on the power play, the Sharks' forward-turned-defenseman capable of coupling mind-numbing defensive gaffes with mind-blowing offensive brilliance on a nightly basis cashed in on a 2-on-1 with Logan Couture. Then, after a net-front scramble that somewhat impeded goaltender Anders Lindback's ability to move across his crease, Burns scored on a perfectly placed shot from distance to complete an improbable Sharks comeback.
Burns' heroics combined with a terrific performance by Alex Stalock, particularly late in the third period as the Sharks protected their only lead of the night, were enough to overshadow a Tyler Seguin hat trick and overall impressive performance by a speedy, talented Stars team mired in an incomprehensible losing streak. For the Sharks, it's a win that should provide some confidence that the type of game they've been playing in recent weeks isn't just more exciting, it's more effective. It's also about as great a start as you can imagine to a lengthy road trip.
- Despite the three goals against, Alex Stalock was incredible tonight and easily one of the biggest reasons the Sharks were able to execute the comeback. He robbed Ales Hemsky and Jamie Benn on grade-A backhanders from the slot early in the game to keep things close then made an incredible toe save on Colton Sceviour and gloved Patrick Eaves' attempt on a partial breakaway late. He was great and has probably wedged his way back into a goaltending conversation thought to be settled.
- As a reward for his effort, Stalock was punched in the face by Raffi Torres 2.0 Antoine Roussel, sparking a near line brawl in the corner:
- Though a bit tongue-in-cheek the Torres comparison honestly applies on multiple levels: Roussel is a cheap, dirty pest but also an incredibly effective offensive weapon in limited minutes. He's also the only remaining reason I have any chance of rekindling a hatred for the Stars so you keep doing you, Antoine Roussel.
- Stars GM Jim Nill did a lot of things right this offseason but entrusting Anders Lindback with the backup job, particularly when starting goalie Kari Lehtonen is notoriously injury-prone, was a pretty massive oversight.
- Can't figure out why the Sharks would scratch 21-year-old Barclay Goodrow days after declaring they sent Chris Tierney down to Worcester because they don't want a 20-year-old watching games from the press box. Also can't figure out why Adam Burish has played every single game this season despite being the biggest reason why the fourth line is a perpetual dumpster fire. These thoughts are related.
- They didn't connect on a goal but the Sharks appear to really have something here with the Nieto-Thornton-Pavelski line. If you're going to play Thornton and Hertl or Thornton and Pavelski together the opposite wing should probably be a speed threat and Nieto has obviously provided that in spades.
FTF Three Stars
1st Star: Tyler Seguin
2nd Star: Brent Burns
3rd Star: Alex Stalock