NHL: Hertl’s four goals lead Sharks past New York 9-2

San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE – Stepping outside of the Pacific Division for the first time this season did little to deter the streaking San Jose Sharks Tuesday night.
Less than one minute after giving up a power play goal to the New York Rangers in the first period, San Jose responded with a short-handed goal on the way to a 2-1 lead after one period. San Jose (3-0-0) netted four goals in the second period and pulled away for a 9-2 win at SAP Center at San Jose.
By the time San Jose reached a 3-1 lead, rookie winger Matthew Nieto figured to be tabbed as the star of the game. After assisting on Dan Boyle’s even-strength goal at 7:56 of the first period, Nieto slapped a low shot from the slot for his first career NHL goal at 8:16 of the second period. He finished with three points.
“I couldn’t be happier” said Nieto of his first NHL goal. “I crashed the net hard. Luckily there was no one around and I hit the back of the net.”
Tomas Hertl’s heroics over the final 31 minutes resulted in four goals, leaving him with six for the campaign.
Before Hertl scored the hat trick and then a highlight reel goal at 12:05 of the third, San Jose had already solved Ranger goaltender Henrik Lundqvist for three goals. Once Hertl tapped in a long cross-ice pass from Andrew Desjardins at 9:19 of the second period to make it 4-1, Lundqvist was pulled in favor of Martin Biron.
San Jose needed 20 seconds to move to 5-1. Patrick Marleau’s hard shot from the blueline bounced off the endboards and over the Ranger net. Logan Couture was in place to swat the puck behind Biron at 9:39.
Joe Thornton set up linemate Hertl for his second goal at 12:32. Pouncing on a loose puck near the San Jose blueline, Thornton sped toward the redline before spotting Hertl near the opposite blueline. Hertl accepted the pass and went between two defenders to jam the puck between Biron’s pads.
The offensive display resulted in 17 Sharks making the scoresheet. Joe Pavelski recorded three assists, giving his a team-best five helpers in three games.
New York, one night after defeating the host Los Angeles Kings 3-1, took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play opportunity to open the scoring.
After Brad Stuart was called for elbowing at 2:32, a sloppy line change resulted in a too many men call against the Sharks at 3:03. The Rangers scored 24 seconds later, Brad Richards booming his third goal of the season from the high slot past a screened Antti Niemi.
San Jose pulled even with the short-hander at 4:23. Pavelski, in control in the right corner of the Ranger zone, found Marc-Edouard Vlasic with a pass and the defenseman rocketed a shot inside the left post.
New York competed its scoring on Derek Dorsett’s deke and goal past Niemi at 8:22 of the third. All that was left was for Hertl to turn his magic into a sprinkling of hats on the ice in the third period, then wow the crowd with his nifty fourth goal.
Hertl, posted at the Ranger crease on a power play, redirected a pass from Jason Demers past Biron at 9:02 for his hat trick goal. The topper came at 12:05 when Hertl, crossing the top of the crease from left to right, pulled the puck between his legs before flicking it back into the left corner past a beaten Biron.
“A dream,” said Hertl of his epic night. He reported that he had never scored more than two goals in play in the Czech league.
“That was very special,” said Thornton. “That’s something I don’t have in my bag,” the captain said of the move Hertl used for the fourth goal. “”Awfully pretty.”
The Sharks play the Canucks in Vancouver Thursday before hosting the Ottawa Senators Saturday at 7pm.T