When a team wins a big game, the postgame mood is always much lighter. Such was the case Thursday following a big 3-2 victory against the Washington Capitals. The banter was primarily focused on a unique power play goal, where Dan Boyle
did a great deal of work, but was not officially part of the goal’s tally.
On the scenario, Boyle made a stellar move at the blueline to keep the attack going and then put the puck on net. What happened next could only be described as the “magic bullet”. The puck went off Joe Pavelski
’s stick, the stick of a Washington defender, and then was touched by Joe Thornton
and Dany Heatley. Heatley got the goal with assists from Thornton and Pavelski. Boyle ended up with nothing.
“Unbelievable those three guys,” Boyle joked. “A bunch of greasy forwards we’ve got. Apparently they all touched it, so good for them.”
The forwards were amazed by the play as nobody could recall a similar scenario.
“It just kept rising, I think Dany got the last little bit,” Pavelski said.
When the “greasy forward” comment was pointed out to Pavelski, a smile broke over his face.
“He’s always saying that,” Pavelski quipped.
San Jose’ power play had been struggling so that it came up with a critical tally was a morale booster.
“They’ll all be fighting over the points,” McLellan laughed. “It doesn’t matter who touched it last. Just a simple shot. It’s amazing what happens when you force the goalie to work.”
The victory has San Jose in a tie with Nashville in the wild Western Conference and Team Teal sits just one point back of Phoenix for first in the Pacific Division.
“Points, it’s as simple as that,” McLellan said. “That’s what it is all about right now. We’ve got to find a way to qualify for that tournament at the end of the year. Every inch of ice, every play around the net is very important to us. Defensively we’re keeping teams to two and under a lot of nights and that is allowing us an opportunity to win.”
It’s great how San Jose is proving their metal in tight affairs, but even for the players a game a little easier on the heart wouldn’t hurt once in a while.
“It’d be nice to get one of those games where we can get a bigger lead, but it is what it is,” Boyle said.
San Jose’s first goal of the game came when Patrick Marleau
jumped on a turnover and created a two-on-one where Pavelski provided the early lead with his first shorthanded goal of the campaign. However, the lead was short lived as Washington responded less than 15 seconds later.
“It was good while it lasted, five seconds it felt like,” Pavelski said. “The crowd wasn’t even done cheering.”
Nonetheless, the tally was necessary in a one-goal game and made a difference.
“It’s good to score those and get on the plus side right away,” Pavelski said.
Sometimes the first game back after a long trip like San Jose had can be difficult, especially since there wasn’t time to practice. The Sharks found a way to make it work in their return to HP Pavilion.
“Not as good as we’d like it to be and we talked about it before the game,” Clowe said of their play at home this year. “We have the most home games left of anyone in the league. It’s going to be a big part of our game (down the stretch).”
As it has been the last few contests against Washington, Alex Ovechkin went at Douglas Murray
and found out there are easier routes to take. Murray banged Ovechkin every chance he could and made life difficult for the all-star forward all night.
“They engaged physically (early) and it set it up for a battle,” McLellan said. “They’ve had that running the last two or three years. Both of them had tremendous games and it’s fun to watch. A credit to both of them.”
DOWN A MANMarc-Edouard Vlasic
was forced to leave the game early with an upper body injury and San Jose played most of the night with five defenders. Vlasic registered just 1:03 of ice time
“It happened very early in the game,” McLellan said. “I think we were still trying to find our legs and we were down to five (defensemen). The five that did play, and the forwards game back and worked hard, it was rewarding to see them play as hard as they did. They blocked a lot of shots and did what they had to do.”
Boyle eats up a ton of minutes on a regular game, but with Vlasic out, he skated 29:54, almost half the contest. Jason Demers
played in more than 28 minutes.
“I seemed to play with everyone tonight,” Boyle said. “I kept my shifts pretty short and the four other guys did a great job.”
Vlasic will be reevaluated on Friday.
Dany Heatley’s team-leading ninth power-play goal gave him 20 goals for the season – his eighth season of 20 or more tallies.
The Sharks pushed their record to 11-2-1 in their last 14 games. Antti Niemi
’s record is 10-2-1 in that span.
WASHINGTON HEAD COACH BRUCE BOUDREAU
“We played I thought as good of a first period as we could play coming into this building knowing that they hadn’t been in here in two plus weeks.”
“I thought if we could have gotten the lead somehow early in the 3rd period, we might have been able to hold on. But it was going to be tough coming from behind.”
“We played hard, but we played against a good team and lost by one.”
San Jose will host Colorado Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The contest will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.