The San Jose Sharks Thanksgiving home stand has started with three wins. They can sweep the week by beating the rival Anaheim Ducks Saturday, Nov. 26…
Being home around holidays is always a good thing. A San Jose Sharks Thanksgiving home stand is even sweeter with a third victory in the week Friday, Nov. 25.
San Jose goes for a sweep of the week against the four-time defending Pacific Division champion Anaheim Ducks Saturday. Wins over the New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks and New York Islanders opened the home stand. The Arizona Coyotes are the final visitor Tuesday.
New Jersey came in playing well enough so far this 2016-17 NHL season to be postseason eligible. It left having experienced wire-to-wire domination in all three zones.
Chicago came in with the best record in the Western Conference—not to mention three Stanley Cups. It failed in its comeback bid, yielding the game-winning goal just over five minutes into the game.
Joel Ward scored shorthanded a couple minutes after Logan Couture. The Sharks sacrificed bodies to hold on against the Blackhawks for the final 44:42 thanks to a 17-6 edge in blocks and 34-13 in hits.
The San Jose Sharks Thanksgiving home stand saw former goalie Thomas Greiss in net for the New York Islanders Friday. Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE
The event summary quantifies a very different game Friday. San Jose was sloppy with possessions (23-25 faceoffs, 26-14 giveaways but 11-8 takeaways). Nevertheless, it spent more time on attack (28-28 shots but 63-55 attempts and 15-24 hits) and still had almost as many blocks (12-15).
This one featured more back-and-forth scoring. Anders Lee deflected home a Josh Bailey shot on a New York power play to grab the lead in the first four minutes.
The Sharks bounced back with two goals 34 seconds apart in the second period. Chris Tierney hit Joe Pavelski on a two-on-one before Brent Burns gave them the lead from rookie Kevin Labanc.
The teams played defensive hockey for the next 33-plus minutes. However, Nick Leddy tied it up for the Islanders with Greiss pulled in the final minute.
It looked like this game was headed to overtime. However, Patrick Marleau tipped home a Burns shot in the final 30 seconds to win it. Play-by-play master Randy Hahn had not even finished calling the goal before it was deflected home from the slot.
Meanwhile, forward injuries are piling up for San Jose. Tomas Hertl and Melker Karlsson are already down and Tommy Wingels was injured during the game. Barclay Goodrow and Ryan Carpenter have been called up.
The Sharks now have the best record in the Pacific Division (point percentage being the most logical measure). It was just the seventh time they scored three goals on a manned net in 21 games this 2016-17 NHL season.
Anaheim fell to Chicago Friday and will be playing on the same amount of rest as San Jose. The Pacific Division champions dropped out of a postseason position with the loss.
A win could put the Ducks back in third place. Meanwhile, the Sharks officially take over first place by earning a single point.