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Rookie Blueliner Opens the Scoring

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
Rookie defenseman Jason Demers got a sampling of the postseason when he played in last year’s Calder Cup Playoffs for San Jose’s American Hockey League affiliate in Worcester.

He made his National Hockey League debut this season and was voted the PlayStation “Sharks Rookie of the Year” by the Bay Area media. During the postseason, Demers has been averaging slightly more than 13 minutes a game and is often paired with veteran Kent Huskins.

In Sunday’s Game One, Demers scored the first goal of the contest at 11:19 of the opening period on the power play.

“He (Patrick Marleau) found a spot and put it right on my stick,” Demers said of Marleau’s pass, which got him the primary assist. “I just tried to place it and fortunately it went in.”

It was also Demers' first career playoff goal.

One glaring number that stands out on the real time scoring stats is giveaways. San Jose had 20, compared to just nine for Chicago. That’s a stat that didn’t make too many players happy in the Sharks locker room.

“We just had too many turnovers,” Demers said.

“The second period wasn’t kind to us,” Head Coach Todd McLellan said. “We made some passes that went awry and we fed their transition. If we do that against a team like this, you’re going to end up spending much more time in your zone than you’d like. It just goes to show that they’ll find a way to put it in.”

Almost halfway through the third period, the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks had the ultimate match-up on the ice. Both teams top lines. Both teams best defenses. Tie score at 1-1.

But Chicago’s Jonathan Toews won the faceoff to the left of Evgeni Nabokov in the San Jose end. Patrick Kane got the puck along the right boards and passed it to an open Dustin Byfuglien in the slot and he beat Nabokov at 13:15 of the third period for the game-winning goal. The shot was perfectly placed.

“He just beat me clean on that,” Nabokov said. “It was over the pad. He got it in a good spot. Kane made a great play out there and he one-timed it. It was a quick play and I tried to get there, but wasn’t on time.”

The 45 shots were the most Chicago has faced from an opponent in their 13 postseason games. The previous high was 35 in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against Nashville.

“We came out the way we wanted to,” Ryane Clowe said. “We had some good chances. Give him (Antti Niemi) credit. He’s got quick legs and he’s an agile goalie. He made a lot of good saves.”

“We got a lot of pucks to the net and we got a lot of traffic (in front of Niemi),” Demers said.

“We had a number of great chances,” Joe Thornton said. “We just couldn’t get it past him.”
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