For the better part of the 2005-06 season, the San Jose Sharks relied heavily on its top two lines to provide all the scoring power. As evident in the scoring numbers for Jonathan Cheechoo, Patrick Marleau
and Joe Thornton
, the trio, along with Nils Ekman, carried the team out of a 10-game losing streak all the way into the midst of the playoff race.
But in the Sharks recent four game win streak, it has been a collective effort, as teammates from the third and fourth line have been chipping in regularly. Sunday night’s 4-1 victory over the visiting Dallas Stars was no different as Sharks rookie Patrick Rissmiller notched the game-winning goal.
With their victory, coupled with tonight’s Edmonton loss, the Sharks moved up into the seven spot in the Western Conference. If the Sharks plan on doing damage in the postseason, they will surely depend on having all 20 guys pitch in each night.
“Everyone’s been chipping in and that’s how we’re going to win in the playoffs,” said Joe Thornton
, who notched another two assists in the game. “The last three games on the road everyone was helping out and that’s what we need. It’s a 20 man effort out there for us.”
Rissmiller’s goal came on a tricky deflection off his stick after he tipped a Christian Ehrhoff slapshot past Marty Turco.
“We’re a confident group out there,” said Rissmiller. “That last road trip was a big week for us and we’ve kept the ball rolling.”
The Sharks came out Sunday looking to gain an early advantage on a Dallas team that played the previous night in Phoenix.
“We wanted to come out and jump on them right away,” said Scott Hannan. “We knew they’ve played a lot of games and that they might come out a little tired. We did a good job in the first period of coming right at them.”
“We thought they may come out a little weary, especially this time of year,” said Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson. “Psychologically they can’t go up or down. You want to jump on a team like that as quick as you can. We had a lot of energy, we drew penalties and we kept the puck deep. The third and fourth line, when they got out there, did an outstanding job of zapping the other team’s energy. I rewarded Smitty’s line with some action on the power play and they came through with a huge goal.”
In net, Vesa Toskala earned his fourth consecutive victory after stopping 21 of 22 shots in the game.
“Right from the start we played all 60 minutes hard,” said Thornton. “We really didn’t give them anything tonight, and when we did, Vesa was there to stop everything.”
With five games left in seven days the Sharks are set to put the pedal to the medal in hopes of climbing even higher in the Western Conference standings.
“We’ve been hunting down teams for the last 40 games,” added Thornton. “Every game has been a playoff type game for so long now and we’re playing real well lately.”
Next up for the Sharks is the Phoenix Coyotes with whom the Sharks have had trouble with throughout the 2005-06 campaign.
“We’ve got to come out with a plan on how to beat Phoenix,” said Wilson. “We’ve figured out how to beat some of the better teams in the League, but Phoenix has given us a hard time. We’ve got to come out with the same effort and we’ll be OK.”
- With his power play goal in the second period, Patrick Marleau
recorded his 84th point, tying Owen Nolan for the franchise record for points in a single season. With that goal, Marleau also set a Sharks single-season record with his 20th power play goal of the season.
- Joe Thornton
recorded two more assists in the game, bringing his NHL-leading total to 85. With 113 total points, Thornton set a new NHL record for most points by a player who played with two different teams in one season. The previous record was held by Bernie Nicholls, who recorded 112 with the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers in the 1989-90 season. This was Thornton’s 24th multi-point game of the season.
- Jonathan Cheechoo added to his single-season franchise record by scoring his 49th goal of the season.
- The Sharks received contributions from its fourth line as Patrick Rissmiller scored his third goal of the season. The Sharks are now 5-0-1 when Rissmiller collects a point.
- Christian Ehrhoff suited up for his 100th career NHL game. Ehrhoff was credited with an assist on Rissmiller’s goal.
- Scott Thornton recorded an assist on the Sharks first goal, extending his point streak to two games, giving him his fourth multi-game point streak this season.
- The Sharks improved to 19-0-0 when scoring the first two goals of the game.
- The Sharks out-shot Dallas 12-4 and led the Stars 1-0 after the first period. The Sharks improved to 17-4-0 when leading after the first period and 27-8-2 when they score the first goal of the game.