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Senators impose one goal limit
Sharks drop 4-1 decision at home
1/19/12 - By Mike Lee -

One of the things San Jose hoped for in acquiring Brent Burns, was to step up their offensive production by the blueline. They got a lesson in how to involve the defense in the scoring on Thursday night as the visiting Ottawa Senators rolled to a 4-1 win over San Jose at HP Pavilion. The Senators defensive corps leads the league in scoring from that position, something the Sharks may want to focus on as the stretch run to the playoffs approaches.

Four Ottawa blueliners contributed to the Senators scoring on Thursday, including Erik Karlsson, who bagged his 7th goal of the season in the white washing.

"I was disappointed with critical moments in the game," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. "I didn't think we had a lot of polish on our passes. Then the ones that were on the tape, nothing happened after that. The turning point had to be the turnover in the second that led to the odd man rush. The second turning point was our power play not producing."

San Jose looked primed to continue their dominance over Ottawa, who hadn't won in San Jose in eight years, throwing everything they had at Senators goaltender Craig Anderson. San Jose's history with Anderson also suggested that they may have an easy go of things, but that turned out to be one big missed opportunity.

Anderson turned the tables on the Sharks, winning for the 7th time in his last 9 road games. Anderson's lone blemish was a Brad Winchester goal 3:10 into the game. Winchester one-timed a feed from Andrew Desjardins from the high slot that found the back of the net after San Jose pushed the pressure deep into the Senators zone.

"It's just me giving the team a chance to win. It doesn't matter whether they get one or two right off the bat," said Anderson. "It's just a matter of making sure they don't get the next one and giving our guys an opportunity to get back in the game. Our power play has been outstanding all year. [Jason] Spezza and Alfie (Daniel Alfredsson), these guys are just top-notch scorers. For us to score three or four goals a game, obviously you're not going to get it every night, but it's nice to get it almost every night."

That would be it for any San Jose scoring. They outshot the Senators 16-7 in the opening period, but Anderson denied his adversaries with a number of solid stops. The Sharks helped him out by abandoning the attack in favor of a perimeter game that did little to challenge the Senators.

"We had some chances to score early on and we felt we probably could have had a couple that could have changed the look of the game," added Sharks captain Joe Thornton. "But it seemed like they only had six or seven chances and they made good on a lot of them. For whatever reason, it just wasn't bouncing our way tonight."

Ottawa used their speed to chip away at the Sharks defense, tying the game midway through the opening period. Kyle Turris roofed a shot through traffic after the Sharks started to chase the puck. Sergei Gonchar took a cross-ice pass from Daniel Alfredsson on the right side, before sending a pass through the slot to Turris near the bottom of the left circle. Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi didn't stand a chance after screens by two of his own teammates made it impossible to see Turris' shot.

Karlsson made it 2-1 Senators 4:30 into the 2nd period after the Sharks narrowly missed putting a puck past Anderson. Ottawa countered with a 3-on-2 break that ended with Karlsson one-timing a Turris feed past Niemi from the slot.

Colin Greening made it a two-goal game with 5 minutes remaining in the period. The Senators forward sent a quick wrist shot through defenseman Justin Braun's skates from the top of the right circle past Niemi, after Jamie McGinn was sent off for kneeing Jason Spezza. Niemi was screened by Braun and was late to get his glove over to the near post.

Greening put the Sharks out of their misery with another goal midway through the 3rd period. The unscreened shot from the high slot seemed to fool Niemi, even though the line of site was wide open. Greening simply whipped a 35-foot wrister that caught the upper right corner and that was that.

"We're very confident right now," said Greening. "It just shows that we're a very good road team. You gotta be able to get points on the road, especially when you're coming on the West Coast. We have three-hour time change that['s] not normal. Obviously, this is really a tough place to play. I've never experienced it before, but talking to veteran guys, they always say this is a very tough place to play."

Back to back penalties by Joe Pavelski in the letter half of the period killed any opportunity for a miracle.

"We're trying to grow and be a good team, and we're growing at a good rate - a better than expected rate," said Senators head coach Paul MacLean. "We just have to keep doing it. The biggest test for us is consistency and to this point since the Christmas break, we've been really consistent. We have to work at that."


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1 2 3 T
OTT 1 2 1 4
SJ 1 0 0 1
1st period - 1, SJ, Winchester 6 (Desjardins, Boyle), 3:10. 2, OTT, Turris 4 (Gonchar, Alfredsson), 10:09.
2nd period - 3, OTT, Karlsson 7 (Turris, Foligno), 4:30. 4, OTT, Greening 10 (Kuba, Spezza), 14:50, (pp).
3rd period - 5, OTT, Greening 11 (Spezza, Cowen), 9:34.
1st period - Desjardins, SJ (tripping), 12:22; Cowen, OTT (illegal check to head), 13:08; Gochar, OTT (slashing), 14:47; Marleau, SJ (goaltender interfernce), 14:47.
2nd period - Cowen, OTT (tripping), 5:14; Neil, OTT (charging), 11:57; McGinn, SJ (kneeing), 14:28.
3rd period - Pavelski, SJ (tripping), 12:16; Pavelski, SJ (tripping), 14:41.
Shots Saves
OTT - Anderson 37 36
SJ - Niemi 21 17
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
OTT 7 8 6 21
SJ 16 12 9 37
Power Play Conversion
OTT 1 of 4
SJ 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Colin Greening
Craig Anderson
Kyle Turris
Referees: Kimmerly, Kozari. Linesmen: Rody, Wheler.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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