SAN JOSE, Calif. (The Hockey Writers) All you need to know about Wednesday’s game: 10 Sharks were on the score sheet in the first 13:13.
This one was over before it started, almost.
With three goals in the first 6:21 of the contest, the San Jose Sharks scored early and often, and even skated off a two-minute penalty before fans had even settled into their seats at HP Pavilion. San Jose, which has struggled recently with its power play, killed all five penalties Wednesday (actually four minors, but the final was a four-minute double).
“The initial penalty kill was one that was important for us to get under our belt,” said Sharks coach Todd McLellan. “35 seconds into the night.”
Mathieu Garon’s night ended after the third goal, which he allowed on just eight shots.
“You want to jump on teams early,” said Sharks captain Joe Thornton. “We were fortunate to chase the goalie early on. When it’s 5-0 early, it’s pretty much over.”
Benn Ferriero scored first, just 3:26 into the game, drilling home a slap shot from just outside the paint. Joe Thornton and Dan Boyle had the helpers.
A minute-and-a-half later, Joe Pavelski poked a rebound five-hole for a 2-0 lead. Brent Burns had the primary assist, and Thornton notched his second point of the night on the power play goal with Marc-Andre Bergeron in the box for tripping.
90 seconds later, Andrew Desjardins scored after Andrew Murray picked off a very sloppy exit pass and fed Desjardins behind the Tampa goal. His first shot rebounded into the paint, and Desjardins stayed with it for a backhand goal, ushering Dwayne Roloson into net for the Lightning.
The barrage was not over. After a polite interlude of almost seven minutes Logan Couture scored back-to-back goals within 94 seconds, giving San Jose a 5-0 bulge with 45 minutes of hockey left. The goals were Couture’s 13th and 14th of the season, and tied him with Pavelski for the team lead.
“I think,” said Couture, “when you get two quick ones, you assume you’re going to get more chances. It was one of those nights the puck was following me around. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get it (the hat trick) tonight.”
It was the fastest five goals in Sharks’ franchise history, and the big lead took Tampa out of their neutral-zone trap defense.
“They could have gotten on the board real quick (with the early power play),” McLellan said, “and then we would have been chasing a team that checks pretty well. Their system is effective when they have the lead, they can really shut teams down.”
“We jumped on them,” Couture said. “They didn’t have much energy in the first, and we took advantage of that. It’s something we hadn’t done yet this year.”
The Lightning got on the scoreboard less than a minute after the second Couture score when Dominic Moore’s shot from above the right circle caught the edge of Burns’ stick and was redirected past Antti Niemi. San Jose finished the first period with five goals; Tampa Bay finished it with five shots.
Neither team scored in the second period.
Burns scored his sixth of the season with a long shot from above the right point, and St. Louis celebrated his return to the ice with a goal midway through the third period. Marleau slid a shot from just outside the crease between Roloson’s pads in the late stages of the third period for San Jose’s seventh goal, their season’s high. On that goal, Couture registered his third point of the night, and Ryane Clowe his third assist of the night in just 13 minutes of ice time. The three assists were one off his career high, set January 17, 2009 against Detroit.
Notes: Martin St. Louis, whose 499 consecutive game streak was snapped when he took a puck in the nose at the Rangers December 8, returned to the active roster from that injury.
The game featured the two most prolific goal scorers in the NHL since the start of the 2009-2010 season, Steven Stamkos and Patrick Marleau. Marleau tallied a goal and an assist, while Stamkos was kept off the sheet.
The Sharks put 43 shots on goal, while Niemi stopped 22 of the 24 he faced.