Scott Hannan received the courage award last Saturday night when he took three blows to the mouth and actually had a root canal performed during the game. Against Phoenix, Wayne Primeau not only had to deal with a difficult shot to the face, but he made the most of it as well.
A puck along the boards jumped up and struck him on the top of the nose. Primeau’s response was to score a goal seconds later.
“Sanderson turned and it hit me square,” said Primeau. “I just felt like it was gushing.”
Before he headed to the bench to get worked on, Primeau decided he first put the puck on net.
“I took a couple of strides and shot the puck,” said Primeau.
The shot was from the point, and with Scott Thornton parked out front creating havoc, it found the back of the net.
“I was heading off the ice, but I saw it go in,” said Primeau.
The big center was appreciative of the work in front.
“That is why Scott has been around the league so long,” said Primeau. “He did a great job on the screen and helped get a huge point for out team.”
Since he never touched the puck, Thornton was not credited with a point for the club, although he was in the books for another reason. He won a battle with Dave Scatchard in the first period for his second fight in as many games.
“He is a great teammate,” said Primeau. “He’ll do whatever it takes, whether it is setting screens or sticking up for his teammates.”
NOT QUITE GOOD ENOUGH
San Jose had not played bad through forty minutes with Phoenix on Saturday night, but they were still trailing 3-1. Team Teal had outshot the Coyotes 23-18 and dramatically outchanced their opponents, yet they trailed by two goals which came on awkward rebounds in the first period.
Then the third period came and San Jose unleashed a fury on Phoenix, outshooting them 16-3 and posting two goals to force overtime. Team Teal may have faltered in the shootout, but they did rally for an important point.
“It doesn’t go as a loss in the standings,” said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson. “It goes in a different column. The bad thing is we let Phoenix get the extra point when we outshot them two to one.”
Still the two goals in the opening minutes left the Sharks wondering what could have been.
“We shouldn’t have been in that situation,” said Tom Preissing. “We can’t keep putting ourselves down a goal or two. The five minute lapse cost us and it’s getting old.”
“We battled hard for the points, but we shouldn’t have to be battling back,” said Captain Patrick Marleau
Fortunately the Sharks are still battling hard during the five-game losing streak and every contest has been a one-goal affair or a tied contest during the third period.
“If we do what we need to do for 60 minutes, we can be a very good team,” said Tom Preissing.
So what is the key to a quicker start?
“We have to play like we did in the third period the whole time,” said Dimitrakos. “We have to play with a sense of urgency.”
Sometimes the problem can become too large of an obstacle and the more it is dealt with, the worse it gets.
“We have a mental block right now,” said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson. “We’re nervous early and choking our sticks early. Maybe I’ll quit talking about fast starts.”
San Jose does not need to reinvent the wheel, but does need to tighten some corners.
“It’s the little things like dumping the puck in,” said Dimitrakos. “If we send the puck in hard, but the goalie gets it, it’s going the other way.”
“A few pucks just dribbled wide,” said Wilson. “I can feel it coming (on the road trip).”
BROTHER AGAINST BROTHER
Milan Michalek skated against his brother Zbynek for the first time in a regular season game. The elder Michalek (Zbynek), a defenseman for Phoenix, was on the ice for more than 23 minutes, the second highest total for Phoenix. Milan skated for 15+ minutes.
And they had their share of run-ins.
“We were out there a lot of times together,” said Milan. “He is a right defenseman and I’m a left wing, so we’re always matched up.”
The awkwardness has disappeared from their first matchup in the preseason.
“The first time it was a little weird, but now it feels better,” said Milan.
The younger brother was not excited about the night’s outcome, but he is excited his brother is playing well.
“I’m really happy for him,” said Milan. “I think the new rules help him a lot and he played good tonight. He was in the minors two years ago.”
Saturday was the first of eight contests between the Pacific Division rivals and the parents hope to see them play against each other.
“They will stay a week up here and a week down there,” said Michalek.
Phoenix flew out immediately following the game, but at least the two were able to have dinner together Friday night.
POWER PLAY BREAKS OUT
During the current losing streak, the power play had struggled, but Saturday night the two third period power play goals resulted in San Jose earning a valuable point. However, it was Tom Preissing’s even strength tally tied the game as he dipped down low to shoot and then came back up to the slot to gather the rebound.
“I was fortunate,” said Preissing. “Their guy went down and I was in the right spot at the right time. If we can rely on the power play for key goals, it can be a big difference.”
It was Marleau’s power play goal that first put the Sharks on the board.
“I had the shot bounce back to me and I knocked it in,” said Marleau.
The shootout cost San Jose a second point, but Niko Dimitrakos, who had two assists on the night, was San Jose’s first shooter and he buried his opportunity.
“I knew he would go down, so I had a chance to go upstairs,” said Dimitrakos.
San Jose almost didn’t need the shootout as they outshot Phoenix 4-0 in the extra five minutes and had a partial power play.
“It just didn’t go in during overtime,” said Ron Wilson. “We got great opportunities and did a great job creating those opportunities. You roll the dice when you get to the shootout.”
The Sharks are now 1-2 in shootouts.
17 IN 17 Patrick Marleau
has posted 17 points in his last 17 games.
USA Hockey selected two Sharks prospects to participate on the 2006 USA Hockey Junior Select 18 & Under Team. Goaltender Alex Stalock
and left wing Tony Lucia
are part of the 22-man squad that will compete at the 2006 Viking Cup in Camrose, Alberta, Dec. 26 - Jan. 2.
Stalock, a member of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, is currently tied for the USHL lead in victories (8), fourth in save percentage (.926), and sixth in goals against average (2.50). The 18-year-old goaltender was selected by the Sharks in the fourth round (112th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. This marks his second full season in the USHL.
Lucia, a member of the Omaha Lancers (USHL), is tied for second on his team and 20th in the league in points (14). He is also tied for second on his team in goals (5) and third in assists (9). The 18-year-old left wing was selected by the Sharks in the sixth round (193rd overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
San Jose will fly to Edmonton Sunday morning to begin a three-game Canadian trip. The battle with the Oilers will be Monday at 6:00 p.m. PST and can be heard on 98.5 KFOX and on sjshark.com.