Quick Bite: Burns carries Sharks to victory

Brent Burns scored two goals, one shorthanded, as the Sharks salvaged the weekend road trip in Denver.

The Sharks got back into the win column this afternoon with a 4–3 win over the Avs in Colorado. After dropping the first game of the back-to-back in Dallas for their second loss in a row and fifth in six games, the win allows the Sharks and their fans to breathe a sigh of relief before the team starts a four game homestand on Tuesday.

The Sharks have made a habit of giving up early goals of late, including tallies by Patrick Sharp at 2:33 in Dallas yesterday and Eric Nystrom at 3:22 against Nashville on Wednesday. It was more of the same a little over five minutes after puck drop this afternoon, with Jarome Iginla scoring his 593rd career goal on the power play after Tomas Hertl tripped Nathan McKinnon in the neutral zone. The Avs’ lead didn’t last for long, however, as Patrick Marleau forced a turnover at the blue line and Joel Ward punched in his own rebound to tie the game at 1. It was Ward’s seventh goal of the season and sixth in his last five games.

The rest of the first period was a parade to the penalty box—Mike Brown and Cody McLeod each got five for fighting, then Paul Martin (high sticking), Carl Soderberg (interference), and Chris Tierney (slashing) all sat in turn in a sequence that saw the Sharks on the penalty kill, skating 4-on-4, killing a 4-on-3 for thirty seconds, skating 4-on-4 again, and finally killing the remaining 5-on-4 time. When the teams played at even strength, the Sharks did what they should have done in the first, outshooting the Avs 10–5 (12–10 overall) and attempting 13 shots to the Avs’ 9 (15–15 overall).

In the second, Brent Burns gave the Sharks their first lead since their win over Carolina on October 24 with their second shorthanded goal in as many days. Burns’ shot was a blast off a nice pass from Barclay Goodrow, but the lead was short-lived as Francois Beauchemin got the goal back just 21 seconds later with Matt Nieto still in the penalty box.

The Sharks got their first power play of the game when Varlamov tripped Nieto at 17:15 in the second. They didn’t manage a goal with the man advantage, but they did have some good looks and that momentum seemed to carry over to the third period, when the Sharks carried play for the first five minutes.

Things got a little hairy after that as the Avs hemmed the Sharks in their own end for long stretches at a time. San Jose didn’t have a shot attempt for nearly ten minutes in the middle of the period as Colorado racked up eight in three minutes, but Martin Jones was up to the task and Burns continued his strong game by blocking a few shots to help keep the game tied at 2.

Burns wasn’t done yet, breaking the tie with a pretty goal past Varlamov at 18:21. Joe Pavelski added an empty netter 19 seconds later that seemed to put the game on ice, giving him goals in four straight games.

Pavelski’s goal turned out to be the eventual game winner when the Avs cut the lead to 4–3 just 15 seconds later on a shot that ricocheted off Dennis Everberg’s skate. Fortunately for San Jose, that was as close as the score would get, and it skates away with just its second victory since October 16 in a game it needed to win.

Sharks goals: Joel Ward (Patrick Marleau), Brent Burns (Barclay Goodrow, Marc-Edouard Vlasic), Brent Burns (Patrick Marleau, Tomas Hertl), Joe Pavelski (unassisted)

Sharks saves: Martin Jones—23

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Fear the Fin’s Three Stars

1) Brent Burns

2) Joe Pavelski

3) Joel Ward