On Thursday night, the Sharks hosted the Washington Capitals and turned them away to grab a 4-2 win and sweep the season series.
Ovechkin and Friends have the best record in the league, so this was an opportunity for the Sharks to see how they stack up against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
Early on, shootout specialist T.J. Oshie got behind the defense for a great chance that Martin Jones turned aside.
You don't see Oshie miss on breakaways often pic.twitter.com/bI0XtmGOen— Ian Oland (@ianoland) March 10, 2017
Washington got on the board at 14:34 in the first on a goal by former Shark Daniel Winnik. The Sharks had just killed off a penalty to Joe Pavelski, when Winnik buried a nice pass from Jay Beagle. Pavelski was out of the box, but just barely in the zone when Winnik scored.
The Sharks leveled the scored a little over three minutes later. The Pavelski-Thornton-Hansen line entered the offensive zone and had a couple decent chances, but Ovechkin retrieved a loose puck and started to skate it out. Paul Martin took the puck from the Russian sniper and threw it behind the net, where it was recovered by Hansen. Hansen passed to Thornton who buried the puck behind Braden Holtby.
Guess Jumbo's allowed to shoot now that #1000 is out of the way. pic.twitter.com/rkkV0TKMMg— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) March 10, 2017
The teams traded good shifts and chances for the rest of the period, until Brooks Orpik was called for high sticking Karlsson with a little over two minutes left. Blood was drawn, and the Sharks were given a four minute power play. The best chances were generated by the second unit in the dying seconds of the period, but the Sharks were unable to convert. The period ended with the teams tied 1-1.
More than two minutes of power play time remained at the start of the second. The Sharks didn’t look too dangerous for most of their time with the man advantage, but the first unit did get set up as time wound down. Pavelski tipped a Burns shot through Holtby’s legs, and the Sharks were up 2-1. The goal came exactly four minutes after the penalty, so this was technically not a power play goal, but it really felt like one, as Orpik was still seated in the penalty box when the puck went in.
Thornton pass, Burns shot, Pavelski deflection. Yeah, that sounds about right. pic.twitter.com/gyK43CO4Z0— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) March 10, 2017
The Sharks killed a penalty, thanks to a great save by Martin Jones, and we were treated to some exciting, back-and-forth hockey for the next ten minutes. Then Brett Connolly tipped a pass from Kevin Shattenkirk behind Jones, and with 5:20 left in the period, the game was tied 2-2.
Shortly thereafter, Jay Beagle tripped Chris Tierney, and the Sharks went back on the powerplay. This time, Logan Couture scored off a rebound.
Blocked shot? No problem. pic.twitter.com/OUhluDu97b— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) March 10, 2017
Early in the third, Washington had a couple very good chances, but one hit the post and the other deflected just high enough to hit the top of the net. The Sharks got another power play opportunity about eight minutes into the period. After lots of puck movement, Couture redirected a Burns shot for his second of the night.
No big deal, just another power play goal for Logan Couture. pic.twitter.com/zAl16btXDF— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) March 10, 2017
That goal deflated Washington, as the Sharks carried play for the next several minutes. Hertl was called for interference with 6:29 left, but the Sharks killed it off and Washington took a penalty as their power play ended. They were unable to add to their lead, but San Jose did get some decent chances and kept pressure on after the penalty expired. Holtby was unable to leave for an extra attacker until about 90 seconds were left in the game. Hansen came close to scoring into the empty net, but he hit the post. The clock ran out, and the Sharks had a convincing win over one of the league’s top teams.
Fear the Fin’s Three Stars:
- Brent Burns
- Logan Couture
- Marc Edouard Vlasic
- Beyond the addition of Hansen to the lineup, the Sharks made a couple other changes. Joel Ward skated on the fourth line with Tierney and Haley, while Melker Karlsson lined up alongside Hertl and Donskoi; Dylan DeMelo played in place of David Schlemko, who was injured.
- Before the game, the Sharks honored Joe Thornton for recording his 1000th assist.
- Michael Haley tried to goad Kevin Shattenkirk into a fight. He was not successful in doing so.
- A couple of the penalties called against the Sharks were fairly soft, which happens. But it is really frustrating against a power play as dangerous as Washington’s.
- Hansen looked good in his first game in teal. Seeing him on the penalty kill was a bit surprising, given his lack of practice time with the Sharks. A shame he couldn’t bury his empty net chance; that would have been a nice cap to his first game with the Sharks.
- With three assists tonight, Brent Burns now has 70 points.
- Unsurprisingly, Vlasic and Braun were tasked with shutting down Ovechkin and Backstrom. They kept Washington’s top line off the scoresheet.
- Two power play goals! (A split second away from three power play goals!)
- This was a fun game to watch!