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Caps drop 12th straight at HP Pavilion
Sharks extend home dominance over Washington
1/7/12 - By Mike Lee -

Sometimes, a team just has your number. That's the only way to explain how the Sharks have beaten the Washington Capitals 12 straight times at HP Pavilion. San Jose scored three 3rd period goals to file a 5-2 win over the visiting Capitals, including three goals by defensemen. It was only the 5th time in franchise history that the blueline has contributed that many goals in a game. The win also kept the Sharks perfect in 2012, as the team wrapped up a brief home stand and prepares to embark on a 4-game road trip.

Washington entered the game riding a 4-game winning streak, but HP Pavilion has been a house of horrors for the Capitals. The Capitals haven't won in San Jose since 1993. Washington's all-world forward Alex Ovechkin was held scoreless and recorded a team-worst minus three plus-minus.

The guys paid to stop Ovechkin spent more time depositing the puck into the Washington goal than focusing on the Capitals captain. The goals came in every variety, from fluke to jaw-dropping.

Jason Demers opened the scoring with a pin-balling chance that started with a shot off the end boards. The puck then hit Capitals goaltender Tomas Vokoun in the leg and redirected into the goal. Michal Handzus was knocked into the goal as the puck from crossing the goal line. Replays confirmed that Handzus didn't touch the puck, allowing the goal to stand.

Denis Wideman, clearly the best Capital on the ice Saturday night, deposited a Troy Brouwer feed on a Washington power play 82 seconds later after Brad Winchester was called for interfering with Vokoun. Wideman snapped a one-time chance after Brouwer slipped a pass to the slot form the left corner.

Brent Burns put the Sharks back on top with 8.2 seconds left in the 2nf period on a power play goal after Wideman was sent off for high sticking. Burns cranked a shot from the left point that slipped past Vokoun, after Dan Boyle setup the shot with a feed along the blueline.

Joel Ward re-tied the game just 44 seconds into the 3rd period after Sharks goaltender overcommitted to a pass on the right side. Ward slipped past the Sharks defense in the slot and crossed up Niemi with a shot against the grain.

The tie lasted all of 16 seconds after Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau teamed up to score a highlight reel goal. Thornton carried a Boyle feed through the slot, then sent a blind backhand pass back toward the slot to Marleau, who swept the feed past Vokoun.

"Dan Boyle made a great play to see me," said Thornton. "Then Patty (Marleau) gave me a scream so I knew where he was. Pat was just talking and made all that happen."

The goal extended Marleau's 5-game point scoring streak. The speedy forward has points in 10 of his last 11 games.

The most peculiar moment of the game came when forward Brad Winchester laid a hit on Alexander Semin that sent the winger sprawling. Winchester was called for charging on the seemingly clean hit, but Ovechkin helped the Sharks by going after Winchester and drawing a roughing penalty.

"I thought it was a good hit but I think he makes a couple more extra steps," Ovechkin said after the game.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic topped Marleau's tally with a world-class play that pushed the Sharks lead to two goals. Vlasic had to knock down a pass from Ryane Clowe with his skate in the slot, before corralling the puck and driving on net for a shot on Vokoun. The Capitals netminder stopped the first shot, but Vlasic once again gained control of the puck with his skate as he cut across the slot before lifting a second shot past the Washington netminder.

"The pass was a little high and I knocked it down with my skate," said the Sharks defenseman. " Then I got my own rebound and put it in."

When asked if it was the most skilled goal of his career, Vlasic responded with a definitive "yes."

Trailing by two goals, the Capitals were forced to pull Vokoun with 2 minutes left in regulation in order to try and draw even with the Sharks.

Torrey Mitchell capped the game' scoring with an empty net goal. Mitchell was on the ice after earning some extra ice time with a solid performance. He added an assist on Demer's goal for his first multi-point game of the season.


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1 2 3 T
WAS 0 1 1 2
SJ 0 2 3 5
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Demers 2 (McGinn, Mitchell), 5:15. 2, WAS, Wideman 8 (Brower Semin), 6:37, (pp). 3, SJ, Burns, 7 (Bole, Marleau), 19:51, (pp).
3rd period - 4, WAS, Ward 5 (Wideman, Chimera), 0:44. 5, SJ, Marleau 15 (Thornton, Boyle), 1:00. 6, SJ, Vlasic 3 (Clowe, Marleau), 8:51. 7, SJ, Mitchell 4 (Boyle, Handzus), 18:43, (en).
1st period - None.
2nd period - Winchester, SJ (goaltender interference), 6:11; Wideman, WAS (high sticking)m 19:11.
3rd period - Carlson, WAS (delay of game - puck over glass), 4:23; Ovechkin, WAS (roughing), 7:27; Winchester, SJ (charging), 7:27; Hendricks, WAS (slashing), 19:24.
Shots Saves
WAS - Vokoun 38 34
WAS - empty net 1 0
SJ - Niemi 30 28
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
WAS 12 8 10 30
SJ 9 14 16 39
Power Play Conversion
WAS 1 of 1
SJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Marleau
Dan Boyle
Torrey Mitchell
Referees: L'Ecuyer, Walkom. Linesmen: Lazarowich, Heyer.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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