If you were watching tonight’s broadcast on NBCSN you more than likely began the evening a little frustrated by the Bruins and Red Wings’ game that meandered it’s way into the Sharks’ (27-16-2) 3-2 win over the Kings (22-19-4) air time thanks to a very late Red Wings goal that tied the game at 5-5. The delay caused viewers to miss Brent Burns’ early unassisted goal and the subsequent goal scored by the increasingly annoying Tanner Pearson which tied the game. After the Red Wings shootout win, the broadcast finally caught up with the real Wednesday night rivalry game at the 13:53 mark of the first period. However, I will say as a hockey fan that the Red Wings v Bruins game was absolutely brilliant.
Tommy Wingels provided some action for all the viewers who were late to the Wednesday night rivalry party after a perfectly executed two-on-one pass from Michael Haley found its way passed Peter Budaj and put the Sharks up 2-1 in the final five minutes of the opening period. Michael Haley continues to give us reasons that he belongs on the big club’s roster and slowly but surely has refined himself into more of a grinder who does a lot of the game’s little things right, in an effort to shed his reputation as just a brawler. He also showed patience on a late shot opportunity, and actually beat Budaj’s glove but the shot caromed off of the post.
After the wide open first period came to a close, the first half of the second period saw both teams tighten up defensively as the shots came fewer and farther between and the hits started flying. It wasn’t until a high sticking call on Jeff Carter that occurred away from the play that the game reopened its offensive flow. Almost immediately after the following face off, Joe Pavelski somehow managed to sneak a Joel Ward deflection passed Budaj from what looks to be behind the red end line to out the Sharks up 3-1. I’m not sure how the geometry of the shot sllowed the puck to end up in the back of the net, but when it comes to goals by Joe Pavelski, nothing really surprises this writer anymore.
The ever-pesky Kings wouldn’t go away though and pulled back within one after they killed off a penalty and capitalized on a slow moving seeing-eye-puck that managed to float ever so gently between two Sharks defenders legs and straight to Marian Gaborik who lofted a gimme goal into a wide open net. Martin Jones sprawled out to make two great saves on the play but couldn’t make the third.
The Kings began the third by completely dominating play. The Sharks relied heavily on Martin Jones for much of the period to keep San Jose’s narrow one goal lead intact. Jones answered the call and played more like an all-universe goalie on this masterful kick save that you’ll assuredly see on any 2016-17 saves of the year video.
In the end the Sharks and Jones were able to shut down the Kings aggressive push for the remainder of the third and the leave Los Angeles winners of the game as well as winners of the season series 3-2 and pull within five points of the Pacific division leading Ducks.
The Sharks return to action tomorrow evening at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 PM.
- Logan Couture was scratched from tonight’s lineup due to illness and didn’t travel with the team to LA. Ryan Carpenter was recalled from the Barracuda to replace him.
- Joe Thornton is just 11 assists shy of 1,000 on his career.
Fear the Fin’s 3 Stars of the Game
- Martin Jones
- Brent Burns
- Michael Haley