Tuesday night’s 2-1 victory against Edmonton had a few sub plots, but the most important result was the victory which gave San Jose three wins in a row, tying the club’s season best streak. San Jose had been focusing on stringing together multiple victories and they weren’t shy in discussing it.
“I think we’re turning a corner right now and that is our longest winning streak of the year,” Logan Couture
said. “We’ve got one more game to go before this Christmas break, so we’ve got to focus on Phoenix. I want to go in and I’m sure everyone else in this room wants to go in with four straight wins at the Christmas break.”
“We talked about putting a string of wins together here,” Dan Boyle
said. “We should have won three on the road, but now we’ve won three in a row. We really want to win this next one. It would be the first time we’ve won four in a row.”
Going head to head with two of the NHL’s top four scoring rookies, Couture showed why he is the leading candidate for the Calder Trophy at this time. He scored his 18th of the season and now leads all NHL rookies in goals and points (18-7=25). He has four goals in his last three games and has 10 in his last 11 contests.
The game was a scoreless draw when Couture drove himself behind his defender and tapped in a Ryane Clowe
“You can’t ask for a better pass,” Couture said. “I don’t know how he did it, full reach on his backhand and tape to tape. Not too many players in this world can make passes like that. I’m fortunate to have him on my line. All the credit goes to him on that goal. I just had my stick on the ice.”
For as much as Couture glowed about the assist, Clowe had no problem again talking about the play of his linemate.
“I must have answered that question about 800 times, but I’ll answer it again for sure,” Clowe laughed. “As you see tonight, he caused a turnover and drove and got a goal. I’ve said he’s one of my favorite guys I’ve ever played with and I’ve played with a lot of guys. We’re in sync in our own end.”
Couture started the offensive attack with a defensive play.
“I stripped it from him and Clowe was flying and got behind their D men,” Couture commented. “That’s a beautiful pass.”
Everyone is raving about the Sharks leading goal scorer and it doesn’t matter that he’s a rookie.
“He’s been playing so good and he’s so smart for his age,” Boyle said. “He’s a two-way player. He can do it at both ends and it was nice to see him score that goal. He’s really grown and matured. Seeing him play this year, hands down I think he’s been the best rookie this year.”
Antero Niittymaki came within two minutes of recording his first shutout as a Shark.
“He made the saves when he needed to. Obviously the one that got by him, I don’t think he saw,” Boyle said.
“I thought Niitty was great tonight. He was really sharp,” Clowe said. “I thought in the second there were a couple of point blank chances and he was really poised in there. You can tell he’s in rhythm.”
The Sharks may have been up two goals late, but it was their success down two men that allowed them to jump into the lead.
“The penalty killers and Niitty did a great job on that,” Couture said.
As the first penalty was terminated, Couture was sprung on a breakaway. He was hauled down and, while no penalty shot was awarded, the ensuing penalty eliminated the second Edmonton power play.
“Five-on-three you want to put a little pressure on them,” Couture said. “I thought it should have been a penalty shot, but they called the penalty and I’ll take that.”
BEST EVERDan Boyle
has played just over two seasons in San Jose, but in that time he has become the Sharks all-time leading power play scoring defenseman. With his second period power play tally, Boyle surpassed Brad Stuart’s 16 power play markers.
OILERS HEAD COACH TOM RENNEY
“We had four turnovers on our 5-on-3. And that tells you that we’re trying to do something that’s not there. In a 5-on-3 you set up for the payoff skill and that’s the shot. And we didn’t do that with any kind of authority at all. That sort of led to our demise, if you will, and subsequent to that we got into a bit of a track meet in the second period. And not managing the puck properly they were able to get the two-nothing lead.”
“To tell you the truth I thought our fourth line had a lot of stuff going on inside the blue paint. It doesn’t look like chances. It doesn’t look like it’s real pretty. I thought the Fraser line was real good at getting pucks deep, getting to the blue paint. Whacking it around. It certainly gave San Jose a little bit more to think about.”
San Jose will host Phoenix Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The game will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.