– Two successful games on a brief homestand helped the San Jose
Sharks solidify a hold on third place in the Pacific Division with
nine games played in the 2010-1 season.
SAN JOSE – Two successful games on a brief homestand helped the San Jose Sharks solidify a hold on third place in the Pacific Division with nine games played in the 2010-1 season.
San Jose powered past division nemesis Anaheim 5-2 Saturday night at HP Pavilion to improve to 11 points. Both Phoenix and Anaheim are in fourth place with nine points apiece despite having played more games than San Jose. Only Los Angeles and Dallas are ahead of San Jose in the division standings.
Joe Thornton was involved in the first three San Jose goals, extending his franchise-tying record to eight goals in which he netted either a goal or an assist. Kelly Kisio performed that feat in 1992 for the Sharks in the second year of the franchise’s existence.
After exploding for three goals and two assists in a San Jose 5-2 win over New Jersey Wednesday, Thornton went right to work in the game’s first 36 seconds to help the hosts to a 1-0 lead.
Dan Boyle’s shot front the right point kicked off the pads of Anaheim goalie Curtis McElhinney. Thornton took the rebound and found Dany Heatley in the slot for the quick shot into an open net.
Logan Couture scored on a San Jose power play with 4:45 gone in the first period. Thornton’s attempted shot from the right flank was sticked away by Duck Corey Perry but Couture was prepared in the high slot to control the puck and whip a shot inside the left post for a 2-0 lead.
Thornton capped his consecutive goal run of eight with either a goal or assist when he kept the puck alive inside the Anaheim zone in the second period and dished it to Joe Pavelski in the right corner. As Pavelski moved toward the net, Heatley skated away from his position at the left edge of the crease, then took Pavelski’s soft pass and tapped the puck behind McElhinney for his second goal of the night, fifth on the year.
San Jose completed its scoring with two even-strength goals in the second period that did not involve the team captain.
Defenseman Niclas Wallin went to the net and redirected Scott Nichol’s pass into Wallin’s first goal of the season and first of his career with the Sharks at the 12:32 mark.
Patrick Marleau sped around defenseman Andreas Lilja and stroked a low shot that went between McElhinney’s pads at 15:17 for the 5-0 advantage.
Anaheim ended thoughts of an eighth career by San Jose goaltender Antero Niittymaki by converting two power plays in the third period.
Captain Ryan Getzlaf converted a short rebound into a goal 12 seconds into a power play at 4:20 of the third. Getzlaf assisted on Perry’s power play at 11:18.
The first game for the Sharks with a member of the Pacific Division this season also produced six fights.
“There’s lots of passion,” said Thornton of the first meeting between the Sharks and Ducks this campaign. The Ducks will return to HP Pavilion Tuesday Nov. 9 during a five-game homestand San Jose begins next Saturday against Tampa Bay. “There’s a real rivalry and it’s always an exciting game.”
Thornton acknowledged that the Ducks had played the prior night in Anaheim against New Jersey, a 2-1 loss.
“We wanted to jump on them early. We did and the game was over.”
The Sharks begin a two-game roadtrip Tuesday in Minnesota against the Wild, then take on the St. Louis Blues Thursday.