There was clearly a sense of relief following Saturday’s 4-2 win against St. Louis, a victory that ended a six-game home losing streak, the longest in more than a decade. It was like watching the Sharks of the past two seasons as they just kept charging at St. Louis and found a way to win.
“I want them to remember how hard it is to win, it can’t be just a one night thing when we stop a losing streak,” Head Coach Todd McLellan said. “If we can bottle it up and keep playing that way, it doesn’t guarantee a win, but it gives us a chance.”
McLellan noted there was a different aura about his club.
“I sensed a more focused team, a team that was prepared to play together rather than as individuals,” McLellan said. “You could see on line changes, we didn’t extend our shifts, we actually shortened them up a little bit.”
Captain Joe Thornton
was glad the club found its way before the homestand was completed.
“We go on the road for a couple, so it’s important to get this win here at home,” Thornton said. “I thought we had a really good third period and hopefully it’s a sign of things to come. It’s been a while since we won, now everybody can exhale a little bit, but we still have to work hard. This doesn’t stop here. Hopefully some guys got some confidence from this win.”
San Jose had lost six in a row, but it had been seven games since they reached the four goal plateau and the offense seemed to flow with chances on the evening.
“Scoring four probably,” Thornton said of the biggest difference in the win. “We’re starting to feel like we can score again and that’s a good sign. I thought defensively we’ve been playing really well, but tonight we put four pucks in the net.”
Part of the resurgence was Dany Heatley busting out for a couple.
“I had some jump tonight,” Heatley said. “Yesterday was a good day. We took a deep breath, we had a little team dinner last night and kind of got back to the basics. It felt good to get that win.”
“It’s good to break that streak and hopefully we’ll put a winning streak together,” Jamie McGinn said.
Most of the players’ fathers were on hand to watch the game in advance of the dads trip to Phoenix and it may not have been a coincidence the Sharks found their best effort.
“They probably should,” Pavelski said of who should get credit for the win. “They are going to be in Phoenix with us and they may need to stay a few more days.”
McGinn was a major point producer in junior hockey and pumped in 10 tallies in 59 games last year, but he hadn’t score all year until Saturday. He was happy to end the streak against St. Louis.
“It frustrates you, but I’m a guy who has to stay positive and keep playing hard,” McGinn said of the time without a goal. “You’ve got to keep the same game every night and just go hard. It will eventually go in.”
McGinn was glad his father was on hand to watch the tally and the elder McGinn could be seen celebrating on television.
“He’s been on me to stay positive and keep going,” McGinn stated. “It was pretty special to get the ball rolling with him in the crowd.”
When McGinn returned to the bench he was greeted with an orchestrated silent treatment, a nice trick on a popular teammate.
“We were just joking with him, we (planned) that a while ago,” Thornton said. “If he comes down the bench, everybody just sit down.”
“That (goal) got us going more than anything,” Pavelski said. “It’s good to see him get that first one.”
The players were as happy as McGinn about the tally.
“He’s such a likable guy,” Thornton said. “He’s a great teammate and he hasn’t whined all year about not scoring a goal. His dad is here and it’s a huge relief off his shoulders and hopefully he can put some more pucks in the net.”Logan Couture
goes back to the Ottawa 67’s with McGinn and was happy for his junior linemate.
“I told him it’s about time,” Couture quipped. “We were all on the bench and Jumbo was yelling sit down. He’s been getting it from all of us. It’s great he scored tonight with his dad in town and he’s going to sleep a lot better tonight. I’m happy for Ginner.”
POWER PLAY SUCCESS
San Jose lit the lamp twice while working on the man advantage and it was a difference in the game.
“In the games we’ve won, it’s been a factor,” Pavelski said. “Tonight it created momentum and got us back in the game. We got a lot of pucks on net and had a lot of second chances. We were in the zone, both groups. When you play two minutes in their end, it wears them down and they take more penalties. The crowd gets into it and it’s more exciting.”
“I thought on the power play we moved the puck very well,” Couture said. “We could have a couple more. I thought we moved the puck around pretty good.”
Couture skated the entire game on a line with Thornton and Heatley and that made for a nice return after a one game injury absence. He stayed with the group on the five man power play unit.
“I’m not going to ever complain about playing with Joe Thornton
and Dany Heatley,” Couture said. “I don’t think any player in the world would complain about playing with those two guys.”
Thornton’s assist on Heatley’s power play tally extended his team lead in power play points (24). Thornton also added a goal giving him three multi-point games in a row (2+4=6). Thornton also passed Marleau for the Sharks all-time franchise lead in assists. Thornton has 390 to Marleau’s 389.
FERRIERO FIVE FOR FIGHTINGBenn Ferriero
notched his first career NHL fighting major, scrapping with Ian Cole in the second period.
ST. LOUIS HEAD COACH DAVIS PAYNE
“Our overall game was so-so. There were times that we didn’t get the pucks in or the pucks out. This caused us some havoc. I didn’t think they played their best defense.”
“Our special teams need to help this team. From game to game, they were average. We had a couple looks, but that’s it.”
San Jose will visit Phoenix on Monday in a 1 p.m. affair that will be available on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.