From Devin Setoguchi’s first career hat trick, to Antti Niemi
’s fifth shutout this year, to Ian White’s first game in teal, it was a blast to be a Sharks fan at HP Pavilion for the 4-0 victory against Colorado.
A goal scorer from the moment he started playing hockey, “Seto” enjoyed his first NHL hat trick immensely.
“I think I’ve had 12, maybe 13 two goal games. It always sits in the back of your mind,” Setoguchi stated. “It feels good to get the first one.”
His initially tally came courtesy of a pin-point pass from Jason Demers
“It was on a controlled breakout and I swung away and started going through the middle,” Setoguchi recalled. “I just took a quick look at him and yelled for it and he put it right on my tape at top speed. I split the D and got a goal.”
The second was simply a matter of fast reflexes as a puck came from behind the net and he hammered hit home before the netminder could slide over.
“Just a shot at the right spot at the right time,” Setoguchi said. “The puck was following me around a bit the first period and when the puck is following you around, you want to make sure and capitalize on it.”
Everyone was hoping for the third tally as the game wound down, and Setoguchi was on the ice late for that opportunity.
“I was pretty tired as I was going up the ice and tried to take a quick shot and I snuck one through,” Setoguchi said.
Setoguchi now has eight goals in his last 12 outings, as well as 12 points in that time span, and has broken out of what was a tough drought to start the year.
“It feels good to contribute,” Setoguchi said. “At the same time, I’ve got to keep going. One game doesn’t make you a good hockey player or a good goal scorer. You’ve got to keep doing it and focusing on playing good hockey. The confidence is a little bit higher, but the confidence of the team is better and when things are going like this it helps you play better as an individual.”
Niemi held Colorado scoreless for the entire 60 minutes and posted his third shutout in his last eight starts. It was his fifth of the season and he is now fifth in the NHL in the category.
“Nemo has been playing really well for us and he made a lot of key saves in the game,” Setoguchi stated. “Our defense played well. They moved pucks up to us and they’ve shut teams down. When we are playing a good defensive game, it gives us offensive chances and makes us hard to play against.”
Niemi deflected credit to the entire team.
“I think we’ve been playing really well lately, especially with our battle level and how we played in front of the net,” Niemi pointed out.
Niemi’s best save came in a one-on-one situation where he had to use his entire body, with his leg pads shutting down the final move.
“When he came closer, I think I took the five-hole away and luckily he shot it in the pad,” Niemi stated.
FIRST GAME, FIRST HELPER
Ian White skated in his first game as a Shark and the players liked what they saw of their new teammate. He registered a point in his debut and it was the 100th of his NHL career.
“He’s a puck moving defenseman who is going to help out,” Setoguchi pointed out. “He’s got a lot of offensive upside. He competes and has a great shot that I benefited from tonight. It makes our second power play unit a little more lethal on the back end.’’
On the flip side, White liked what he saw of his new club.
“We’ve got an unbelievable group of guys here,” White said. “Lots of speed and lots of skill. It makes it a lot easier on my part. The guys were in the right places and everyone is making good passes. It makes it a lot easier.”
White was not reserved about doing what he thought would help.
“That’s the way I’ve got to play,” White said. “When you sit back, that is when you make mistakes. When you see a hole, you have to make the decision and jump into the play. I think you’re allowed to play your game.”
Jumping in allowed White to get that point in his first Sharks game.
“It’s nice. I’m still waiting on a goal, I think I’ve been goal less for a while,” White said. “If I keep shooting it, it will come.”
Niemi's shutout marks the first time a Sharks goaltender has blanked an opponent in the same game that a Sharks skater has recorded a hat trick.
The Sharks have moved into sole possession of fourth place in the conference and are just one point behind Phoenix for first in the Pacific Division.
AVALANCHE HEAD COACH JOE SACCO
(On the play of Erik Johnson)
“He traveled last night after a game. He flew in from St. Louis this morning. I thought he was really good and showed a lot of poise with the puck. I know our power play didn’t score any goals, but I think it looked a lot better and he was a main reason for that. He’s going to be a really good addition for our team.”
“We are pressing a bit. You see some of the guys have chances and most of the time they are good around the net. Right now they are not cashing in on their breaks.”
“There is no secret remedy or easy answer. It’s hard work and sticking with each other. It’s difficult but we will get out of it.”
San Jose will visit Detroit Tuesday at 4:30 and the contest will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.