SAN JOSE– Coach Todd McLellan was not behind the bench Tuesday night when the San Jose Sharks took the ice at HP Pavilion for the first time in 18 days.
After a 2-6-1 roadtrip, the Sharks rode the shut-out goaltending of Antti Niemi to a 1-0 triumph over the visiting Philadelphia Flyers as HP Pavilion hosted its 99th consecutive NHL sell-out.
McLellan’s absence left the direction of the club to assistant coaches Matt Shaw and Jay Woodcroft.San Joseofficials announced that McLellan would not be behind the bench until cleared by doctors to resume his coaching duties. McLellan was injured in the second period of Sunday’s game inMinnesotawhen a stick struck his head.
“It was a real gutsy effort,” assistant coach Jay Woodcroft said after the Sharks were able to stay two points off the pace set byPhoenixat the top of the Pacific Division.San Jose, with 73 points, also moved into sixth place in the Western Conference standings.
“The new players integrated really well,” said Woodcroft about first-game Sharks Daniel Winnik and TJ Gallardi. Both came toSan Josefrom the Colorado Avalanche in a Monday Trading Deadline deal that cost the Sharks Jamie McGinn and two young prospects.
“Dan Winnik is a big guy, is very adept, knows what to do and when. TJ has that slashing speed,” said Woodcroft.
“Both brought a lot of energy,” addedSan Josecaptain Joe Thornton. “The guys are going to be a big help. They both control the puck well and see the ice well.”
Winnik finished with 24 shifts covering 18:53 of ice time, including one shot on net and one two hits, as well as blocking one shot by a Flyer from the slot in the closing 35 seconds of the game. Galiardi had 17 shifts for 12:53, registering one hit and blocking two shots.
“We tried to bring some energy,” Galiardi said of the first game for the two ex-Avalanche. “It was a perfect defensive game against the best offensive team in the league.”
The Flyers came into the game sharing the top spot in goals with Vancouver, 203 each. Niemi recorded 26 saves for his fifth shut-out of the season and 18th in his career.
“He looked good,” Joe Thornton said of Niemi’s performance. “He should get some confidence with this.”
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, one of two Sharks with more than 24 minutes of ice time, added that “it was a playoff-type game. This was a big win. Hopefully we can build on it. At the end, there were a couple of huge blocks.”
San Joseenlisted seven defensemen after an injury sidelined forward Logan Couture.
The Sharks netted the game’s lone goal with 1:22 gone in the game. Thorntoncontrolled the puck through the neutral zone before dishing a pass to left winger Ryane Clowe on a 3-on-2 rush. Clowe snapped a shot from the left circle that flew past goaltender Ilya Bryzgaov and into the net for Clowe’s 11th goal of the season.
Brent Burns assisted on Clowe’s goal and has 14 point sin his past 14 games.
The Sharks continue a four-game homestand with a game Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres.San Josehas 11 home dates and nine road contests to complete the regular season.