Last night marked Kevin Lablanc’s debut NHL game with San Jose and we were impressed with his first shot on goal of the night out of both teams. The rookie stepped up and played with great energy throughout the entire game and even served two minutes in the penalty box for tripping. Joel Ward moved up to the first line with Thornton and Pavelski and gave the Sharks a great save during the first period when Jones was on the other end of the net after he dove for a save.
When these two teams faced each other last season, Alex Ovechkin was out, however he proved he wouldn’t have changed the outcome of that game then, as he couldn’t put up any points in last nights game.
Both teams played hard to kill their opponents power play. San Jose has now killed 21 power plays of the season, three of which from last night game. The Sharks have held on strong this season, no-one has scored on them while they have been shorthanded. The Capitals almost scored a shorthanded goal during the Sharks first power play of the night, but Jones made the save.
Jones’ dive saves left the net open for the Capitals to rebound more than a few times. Luckily the Sharks had a strong team connection and were there to defend the net when Jones couldn’t. Though the Capitals shot hard, they just couldn’t find the back of the net.
Holtby won the Vezina Trophy for best goalie of 2015-2016 season but did not hold up against the Sharks. The two goals scored in the second period were done so by Sharks defensemen. Vlassic broke the scoreless game half way through with a bouncing puck deep in the lower pocket, while Burns followed up with a nice wrist shot that put that puck in the back of the net giving the Sharks their 2-0 lead.
Thornton is famous for passing as he tends to lead in assists for San Jose and in the league. While he missed an opportune shot in the beginning of the third period to put up a shot on goal -if not in goal- he ended up passing to no one allowing the Capitals to take control of the puck. Thornton came through at the end and gave the Sharks their third goal of the night with an empty netter.
San Jose tends to slip up their drop passes and end up dropping the puck right on to their opponents sticks. Last night they improved these passes and hit more Sharks sticks than Capitals, but ended up free on the ice as well allowing Washington to pick it up.
All in all a great game was played by both teams but San Jose came out on top ending Washington’s 5 win streak and improving the Sharks away record with 3-4-0. Hopefully they can continue this momentum over the next five games. Thursday they will travel to Florida and face the Panthers.