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Scorching Sharks of December
By Victor Cabrera
The San Jose Sharks had a great month of December to end 2016. San Jose went 9-4-0 in their 13 games this past month for 18 points. They currently sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 48 points and fourth in the Western Conference. They are a high seed playoff team right now but their division has been tough over the years. Now for an in-depth look at how the team did in the last month.
At the SAP Center, the Sharks would host the Habs. Brent Burns would open the scoring with a power play goal followed by a Joe Pavelski goal later in the first period. An eventless second period had the score 2-0 with the final period to play. The Canadiens would spoil the party by scoring late in the third period removing Martin Jones‘ shutout. Jones had a 31 save performance in the 2-1 win over Montreal. The Senators would come into town next. The Sharks would trail 2-0 after the first period. Logan Couture would score on the power play in the second period to make it 2-1. Brent Burns would tie it 2-2 in the third. Late in the third, the Senators would take the lead and forced the Sharks to pull the goalie resulting in another Ottawa goal for a final score of 4-2 in favor of the Sens. The Sharks would head to Southern California to face the division rivals, the Anaheim Ducks. The Sharks would again trail 2-0 in the first but a late Brent Burns goal made it 2-1 at the intermission. Kevin Labanc would tie it in the second period. An intense two-way game would end with a Hampus Lindholm goal for the Ducks to win the divisional bout. The loss wouldn’t last long as the Sharks would have to head back north to host the Carolina Hurricanes at home. The game would start fast as Patrick Marleau would score just 12 seconds into the game. The Canes would score soon after to tie, and the Sharks would take back the lead with a goal from Paul Martin for a 2-1 lead at the first intermission. Carolina would tie it midway into the second period at two a piece. Couture and Labanc would score later in the second period for a 4-2 lead that would hold until the Canes scored on the power play in the third period. San Jose would hold the lead and win 4-3 over Carolina.
The Sharks would have a four-game road trip with the first three being in Eastern Canada. The first was a visit to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs. The Leafs would take a 2-0 through the first 40 minutes. Justin Braun would fuel the comeback scoring his first of the season followed by a power play goal from the captain Joe Pavelski to tie the game 2-2 forcing over time. Neither team scored in overtime and a shootout was required. Both the Leafs and Sharks would not score in the first round. The Leafs shooter would be saved, and Logan Couture would score for the Sharks giving them the lead. The Leafs faced the loss if they did not score and their third shot was saved by Jones for a 3-2 San Jose comeback win. The comeback win had to be put aside as they visited the Canadian capital to face the Senators the very next night. Joe Pavelski would score for the Sharks but the Sens would tie it in the first period. Brent Burns would put the Sharks up 2-1 in the second but again the Senators would tie it. The Senators would take the lead in the third off a power play goal and then Chris Tierney would tie it late for the Sharks to force the extra session. Neither team could get the deciding goal in overtime. So a shootout it was but neither team could score in the opening three rounds. Jones would make a save in the fourth round and then finally a goal as Kevin Labanc would score in the fourth round to win the game 4-3. The Sharks were now on three-game winning streak. San Jose would visit Montreal to play the Habs. A perfect first period for the California team scoring 3 in the first against
San Jose would visit Montreal to play the Habs. A perfect first period for the California team scoring 3 in the first against Carey Price. David Schlemko scored first followed by, Patrick Marleau, and then the rookie Timo Meier scoring his first NHL goal and point to make 3-0 after the first period. Melker Karlsson would add to the lead in the second period, making it 4-0 and the Canadiens would remove Carey Price from the game. Montreal would get two goals in the third but lost the game to the Sharks 4-2. Chicago would be the next stop before heading back to California. Both the Sharks and Blackhawks had a four game winning streak. The game would have a scoreless first period. The captain Joe Pavelski would open the scoring but Chicago would tie it later in the period. 1-1 with 20 minutes to play a tough game indeed to win. Chicago would make the game there’s scoring 3 in the third period and denying the Sharks from making a comeback. 4-1 the final score, a loss that ended the streak for the Sharks.
San Jose would host two Canadian Pacific Divisional rivals in their home stand. First, the Calgary Flames would come to SAP Center. A scoreless first period for both the teams. The Sharks would let out a flurry of goals scoring four in the second period. Patrick Marleau, Paul Martin, two from Jonas Donskoi for a 4-0 lead with just one period to play. The Flames would get the solo goal in the third ending the game 4-1 in favor of San Jose. The Edmonton Oilers were the next team to be hosted by the Sharks. An early power play goal in the second period from Joe Pavelski would give them the lead with one period to play. The Oilers would tie it but Kevin Labanc would give San Jose back the lead. The Oilers would tie it again and forced overtime with the 2-2 score. Overtime didn’t last long as the rookie Kevin Labanc would score his second goal of the night for the 3-2 win.
The holiday break gave the Sharks some rest before heading to Southern California for a game against the Ducks. Paul Martin would have the only Sharks’ goal to give them the lead through the first 20 minutes. The Ducks would tie it at one apiece in the second until Melker Karlsson scored to bring the Sharks back into the lead. The Ducks would tie it in the third and force overtime. The overtime session was dominated by the Sharks and lead to a beautiful play in which Pavelski gave a marvelous pass for Brent Burns to deke out John Gibson for the game-winning goal. The Sharks would head back to SAP Center to host the Flyers. Patrick Marleau scored the lone goal off a power play in the first period. A scoreless second followed by another lone goal in the third by the Sharks from Justin Braun for the 2-0 win. Aaron Dell the Sharks’ rookie goaltender made his first career NHL shutout with 21 saves against Philadelphia. On New Year’s Eve the Sharks would visit the Kings at Staples Center for the last game of 2016. The Kings would score once each in the first and second period while the Sharks did not. Trailing 2-0 in the third then Brent Burns scored a power play goal to bring them closer to tying the game. The Kings would score making it 3-1. Kevin Labanc would bring the score closer but it was still a 3-2 loss for the Sharks. A tough divisional loss for San Jose to close out 2016.
Brent Burns is the current Goal (15) leader and point leader (37) while Joe Thornton leads in assists with (23). Joe Pavelski is second in points with 35 points, broken down into 13 goals and 22 assists. Martin Jones leads the team in wins as he has played in 34 games for a 19-13-2 record with two shutouts. Rookie goalie Aaron Dell has played 6 games for a 4-1-0 record with one shutout. Rookie Kevin Labanc has broken out having played in 26 games for 7 goals and 5 assists for a total of 12 points.
This month was very good for San Jose. They’ve lost games against the Ducks and Kings which could be a problem down the road for the playoffs as they are not ahead by much in the standings. The power play is very good they’ve found a good chemistry to produce scoring chances and score goals. The overtime session has also been good for them and DeBoer has made great selections for his shooters in the shootout. They have to play by their tempo and make the team chase them to continue to win. The division games to be played with more emotion and play harder to secure two points. As of right now they should make the playoffs and be a threat to any team they match up with but only time will tell.
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January 7, 2017