As the Sharks hit the NHL’s Christmas break, they among the hottest teams in the League, with the evidence being their four-game winning streak. San Jose has seven wins in their last 10 contests and only one other NHL club has won more in their last 10.
“We’ve been playing really well,” Joe Thornton
said. “We probably could have had that streak a little bit longer if we played a little more consistent. We’ve been playing really good hockey and finding our stride.”
“This is probably the most confident we’ve felt all year,” Dan Boyle
said. “With the Nashville game, the one we lost unfortunately, it’s really been five good games in a row. Everybody is playing well and we’re just being rewarded for hard work.”
MARLEAU ENDS STREAKPatrick Marleau
ended a 10-game goalless draught with two tallies.
“When he uses his speed, he’s deadly,” Thornton said. “He used it tonight and he has such a good shot. He picked a couple of good corners. He played fantastic and has played really well as of late.”
Marleau definitely felt the mojo on the evening.
“I think I started playing better and the chances were there,” Marleau said. “You always want it to come sooner rather than later. It’s nice to come tonight right before the break. You feel good after you get one and you want to build off that.”
McLellan said Marleau has been working hard to get his game back to his All-Star level.
“There’s been a little bit of a change in his game,” McLellan said. “He let it get away from him a little bit. We sat with him and asked him to do what he does well. Do those things and don’t worry about the scoring. You could almost see tonight from the first shift of the game he was on his toes. When he plays like that he is a tough player to stop.”
POWER PLAY POWER
San Jose scored three times while up a man and that was clearly the difference in the 4-1 victory.
“The power play started off slow tonight, but it probably won us the game,” Thornton said. “We just wore them down with all our chances.”
The eight power plays tied a season-high for San Jose (Oct. 9 vs. CBJ). The three power play goals also tied a season-high (Oct. 23 at EDM).
Sometimes it might actually be better to receive. Dany Heatley delivered a perfect pass to Thornton for the game-winning goal.
“I told Dany I’ll take 20 of those open nets a year,” Thornton said. “I think they thought he was going to shoot and he just slid it over.”
ENJOY THE BREAK
No question a win before the holiday helps the mood at home.
“It’s a big win before the break,” Joe Thornton
said. “Any time you have a couple of days off, you want to win that last game. It makes you feel a lot better with the holidays here. A good two points.”
“I don’t even want them to think about hockey (for the next two days),” McLellan said. “Family is more important than anything and I want them to spend time with (their families). They need to spend time with there wives who give a lot up for them. I want them to enjoy it. I want them to relax. When the 26th rolls around, we will try to start up the machine again and try to keep going where we left off.”
Due to a series of injuries, tonight marked the first time in 19 games that the Sharks had their core of opening night defensemen (Boyle, Demers, Huskins, Murray, Vlasic, Wallin) in the lineup together. The six blueliners last all played together on Nov. 13.
Ray Whitney’s goal was the 11th of his career against the Sharks. He has 21 points (11-10=21) in 22 career games versus San Jose. Whitney is the last remaining member of the inaugural 1991-92 San Jose Sharks team still playing in the NHL. He recorded 121 points (48-73=121) in 200 career games as a Shark.
THREE OF A KIND
Phoenix was charged with three “Delaying Game-Puck Over Glass” penalties. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the 10th time since the delay penalty was instituted in 2005-06 that one team has taken three such minors. The most recent infraction was Nov. 24, 2010 when Tampa Bay picked up three in a 5-3 win against the New York Rangers.
PHOENIX HEAD COACH DAVE TIPPETT
“We took some unfortunate penalties. Some that were bad breaks. We took three that were shot over the glass against a team that is waiting for us to commit those. They played a very strong game there. A heavy game. And when you take those penalties you limit your opportunities.”
“We hung around. We found a way to get a lead but we couldn’t maintain it.”
San Jose will host Los Angeles Monday at 7:30 p.m. HP Pavilion 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.