Patrick Marleau scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period off a nifty, no-look pass from Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks extended their home hex over the Washington Capitals with a 5-2 victory Saturday night.
Defensemen Jason Demers, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic also scored for the Sharks, who have not lost at home to the Capitals since October 1993. Torrey Mitchell added an empty-netter to seal San Jose’s fourth straight win overall.
Dennis Wideman and Joel Ward scored for the Capitals, who had their four-game winning streak snapped with another loss at the Shark Tank. Since winning their first game ever here, the Capitals have lost 11 times and tied once, getting outscored 46-23.
Washington hoped new goalie Tomas Vokoun would change their fortunes here, based on his 10-0-1 career record against San Jose coming into the game. But he had no chance on Marleau’s goal that came just 16 seconds after Ward tied the game in the opening minute of the third period.
Thornton took a feed from Dan Boyle at the point and while skating away from the net, left a blind, backhanded pass for Marleau, who knocked the puck in for his 15th goal. Marleau also had two assists on the night.
Antti Niemi made sure the lead stood up, making a spectacular pad save to rob Ward, who was all alone in front of the net about 5 minutes into the third period. Niemi finished with 28 saves.
The Sharks then extended the lead after an advantageous trade off of minor penalties. Brad Winchester got called for charging Alexander Semin and Capitals star immediately responded by knocking the San Jose enforcer to the ice for a roughing call.
With players off, Vlasic took a pass from Ryane Clowe and put a backhand on net that was stopped by Vokoun. But Vlasic kept knocking at the puck and got one past Vokoun to make it 4-2.
After a first period with few scoring chances, play picked up almost from the start of the second. Vokoun had to make a sliding, pad save against Marleau early in the period.
San Jose then benefited from a fortuitous bounce off the new, livelier boards at the Shark Tank for the first goal of the game. Demers’ point shot hit the back boards, bounced into the crease, off Vokoun’s skate and into the net for his second goal of the season.
The teams then traded power-play goals later in the period with Wideman rushing on from the point to knock a one-timer off a feed from Troy Brouwer from behind the net to tie the game for Washington.
The Sharks answered with Wideman in the box late in the period for high-sticking Benn Ferriero. With just 8.2 seconds left in the period, Burns’ shot from the point went over Vokoun’s pad and just inside the post for his seventh goal of the season.
The highlights from the first period were two crushing blows delivered by San Jose defenseman Douglas Murray to Jeff Halpern and Jason Chimera.
Notes: Washington D Mike Green, who missed 29 games earlier this season with a sprained right ankle and then a groin injury, left midway through the second period with an undisclosed injury. … San Jose got goals from three defensemen for the first time since Nov. 1, 2009, at Carolina. … The Capitals were without their leading scorer, Nicklas Backstrom, who took an elbow to the head from Calgary’s Rene Bourque on Tuesday.