For the San Jose Sharks, the blueline was the story of the night in their home preseason opener. Three of their five tallies, including three in a row to start the third, came from the backend, backing up rookie Head Coach Todd McLellan’s mantra of more shots and goals from the point.
“We were much better than in Anaheim the other night,” said McLellan. “The battles in the corners were won and that led to the shots. The forwards were going to the net and the D did a good job of getting it to the net.”
The first tally came courtesy of newcomer Dan Boyle
, donning the Sharks jersey for the first time against another club. It may have been one of his easiest goals of his career as Anaheim had knocked Joe Pavelski
into their netminder Jonas Hiller. With Hiller completely out of the play, Boyle flung the shot into the empty net.
For their second goal, rookie hopeful Mike Moore
uncorked a blast. The shot was screened by fellow hopeful Logan Couture
and it twinkled the back of the twine.
“I was tripped up and thought the ref was going to wave the goal off,” said Joe Pavelski
, who scored the game’s opening goal. “He must have seen that someone got me.”
“I’m just glad I didn’t hit Pavs in the face,” said Boyle.
The blueline hat trick came off the stick of Alexei Semenov.
“The most important thing is not the goals, but getting the shots through,” said Boyle. “The D stepped up and we’re going to need it.”
“Since the first day of camp, even with the prospects, we’ve learned the new system and one of the keys is to keep (putting puck on the net),” said Mike Moore
Sometimes in the preseason a younger player will attempt to make his name against an older player, especially when the enforcers are involved. On Friday night Sharks fans got a taste of the big time when two of the NHL’s best squared off.
Jody Shelley and George Parros locked in a massive confrontation and they launched haymakers. Shelley appeared to be slightly cut, but he landed the biggest blow and bloodied his division rival.
“Shelley did that for us last year,” said Pavelski. “He’s added toughness and did it for us again. Those things are going to happen in hockey and he stepped up to the plate.”
Chants of Shelley rang throughout HP Pavilion.
Evgeni Nabokov made the save of the night when after an initial stop, Corey Perry was left alone on the doorstep with the rebound. Somehow the Vezina candidate reached out and made the stop.
“It’s good to know that if a mistake is made on the ice, he is there to cover the mistake,” said Christian Ehrhoff.
San Jose held the Ducks to just three first period shots and only six in the second for a total of nine shots against in 40 minutes of action.
GOOD 1ST IMPRESSION
It was just a preseason game, but Boyle made a nice initial impression on the home folks. In addition to the goal, a plus one plus/minus rating and a shot each period, Boyle finished second in ice time with 22:37 of action.
“No doubt he’s a great player,” said Pavelski. “When he makes that first pass, you don’t spend much time in your zone. He’s a great passer.”
Boyle was impressed with what he saw at HP Pavilion.
“It was a great crowd for an exhibition game,” said Boyle. Mike Moore
, a blueline hopeful out of Princeton, also stepped up with a fight and a goal, just missing out on a preseason Gordie Howe hat trick. When asked about which was better between the goal and the fight . . .
“They were both pretty exciting,” said Moore. “One’s a little harder on the body. It’s my first opportunity to play pro and I’m doing what I can.”
The fights and intensity of the game showed many first timers just how big the Sharks and Ducks games are.
“Even in the prospects games there were a lot of battles,” said Moore. “It really introduces you to the animosity.”
McLELLAN’S 1ST GAME IN SJ
McLellan enjoyed his first game behind the bench in San Jose, but was more worried about his team.
“It’s not about me,” said McLellan. “I’m happy for the players, especially the young kids in there tonight. A couple scored goals (Moore and Jamie McGinn). I thought the veterans provided great leadership.”
An excellent preseason crowd of 17,271 made its way to HP Pavilion on Friday night.
Mike Morris – Jeremy Roenick – Devin Setoguchi
Milan Michalek – Joe Pavelski
– Jonathan Cheechoo
Lukas Kaspar – Logan Couture
– Jamie McGinn
Jody Shelley – Tomas Plihal – Riley Armstrong
Christian Ehrhoff – Dan BoyleMike Moore
– Derek Joslin
Alexei Semenov – Demers
Evgeni Nabokov – Thomas Greiss
TEAL AND WHITE GAME
Fans who participated in the post event shootout from the Teal and White game can go to Rockywidner.com to find their photo with their selected player.
The Sharks will host Vancouver Saturday night at HP Pavilion and tickets are still available at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. Fans looking to watch the affair online can check out the Canucks website.