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Sharks stomp the Stars 5-2, set franchise shutout record

The Sharks set a trio of records tonight– the first was their 77% faceoff percentage, the best percentage by any team since the lockout. The second was the franchise shutout streak, which now stands at 190:51. The third was that they probably became the first team in history to end their franchise streak with an own goal, which, while slightly humorous, isn’t that big of a deal considering the whomping they gave Dallas tonight.

San Jose put up 37 shots, gave up a mere 21 (with half of those coming in the third period when the game was all but decided) and scored five goals in what was easily one of their better performances of the season. Stars goaltender Richard Bachman was torched for five goals, with Michal Handzus, Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Ryane Clowe all getting in on the pummeling of Stars backup goaltender Richard Bachman.

Bachman would have probably liked to have that game bach, man.

The Sharks continued where they left off against Columbus on Tuesday night, scoring two goals in the first period and outshooting the Stars 15-7. San Jose got on the board first after Brent Burns made an excellent individual play to set up the score. After Jamie McGinn fed one up high to the point, Burns displayed some saucy and suave lateral skating ability to jump into a shooting lane where he wristed the puck towards the net and found (on purpose of course) the skate of Michal Handzus to beat Bachman up high.

Joe Pavelski would tally the Sharks second goal of the period on the power play after his shot from the point careened off Vernon Fiddler to skip past Bachman into the back of the net.

“I think our power play is starting to look more like it should. There is some emotion,” Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan said. “They are starting to shoot it a little bit more. You sense a more confident group when they go on the ice.”

That goal helped spring the Sharks to a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission. It wasn’t the prettiest period Dallas has played this season (although credit definitely should go to San Jose for their effort as well), but considering the long history between these two teams, it was reasonable to expect the Stars to come out with a stronger push in the second period.

They didn’t get that push, even if they got a bounce.

San Jose caught an unlucky break that made things interesting after Dan Boyle ended the team’s shutout streak with an own-goal. With Steve Ott on a quasi-breakaway in front of Niemi, Boyle reached out to swat the puck off his stick and ended up getting too much of it to send it past Greiss short side– It was a play Boyle successfully makes 9 times out of 10, but tonight it ended up going the other way and ending up in the back of the net.

“It was huge [to bounce back from that goal]. Weird one by Dan, we’ve seen him do that before,” Sharks Captain Joe Thornton said with a smile following the game. “It was big to get those goals back, even after their second one to make it 4-2, that fifth goal was huge. Just a real good effort tonight from the boys.”

It didn’t matter much however, as the Sharks outshot the Stars 13-4 and continued to pour on the pain in the offensive zone. Patrick Marleau would get on the board after chipping a hard and tight Burns pass past a beleaguered Stars team from the low slot, while Joe Pavelski would find Joe Thornton for an easy slam dunk into the back of the net after Nicklas Grossman threw the puck into the middle of the ice from behind the net.

Grossman’s turnover was gross, man.

The third period was more of the same, with San Jose dominating possession time and controlling the flow of play from start to finish. Dallas had a push here or there, and managed to pull within two after Jamie Benn took advantage of a poor rebound that Thomas Greiss left in the crease, but Ryane Clowe would seal the deal five minutes later when he scored in his first game back since returning from a facial injury that kept him out of game action.

All in all tonight was exactly what the doctor ordered for San Jose– another dominating performance following the All-Star Break, and another game where the goals and chances came in abundance. Things are definitely trending in the right direction for San Jose at this point in the season, and with their power play rounding into form without the services of Martin Havlat, this team is looking more and more dangerous as the games go by.

Even though the Sharks have finally received the scoring outburst that was anticipated after a less than stellar run up to the break, the team’s leaders have highlighted their defensive approach as one that has allowed them to win games.

“I think good defense leads to good offense,” Thornton said. “We’ve been doing that for the last few games and it’s been working out for us.”

Dan Boyle agreed.

“We’re in a little bit of a groove right now. We’re playing good defensively,” Boyle said. “The breaks seem to be going our way. Guys are working hard to get to the net.”

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