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Sharks establish 3rd period presence
Marleau scores a pair in home opening win
10/10/15 - By Mike Lee -

One of the least flattering traits of the Sharks last season, was their inability to hold a lead in the 3rd period. It became almost automatic that a lead would dissolve and result in a crushing loss, typically at the hands of a team that they would have mauled a year earlier. So addressing that shortcoming is something the Sharks have clearly identified as a point of development. They had their first real chance to put their new mindset to test on Saturday night in their home opener against the Anaheim Ducks.

The Ducks have been picked by many pundits to win the Pacific Division, so when the Sharks entered the 3rd period holding a 1-0 lead, they had about as relevant a test as they could hope for. San Jose not only passed with flying colors, they may have validated a belief system.

If they buy into Peter DeBoers system and it works, then there's probably something to it. The Sharks would add to that 1-0 lead, when Patrick Marleau scored his 2nd goal of the evening and just like that, the Sharks took a major step toward cleaning up their 3rd period ills.

"It was a great hockey game, said DeBoer who made his debut in front of the SAP Center faithful. "It was a great game to coach, to be a part of and great for the fans. There were two big teams going at it and great goaltending."

Both teams poked and prodded through the first 39 minutes of the game, looking for a crack in their opponents defense. It would be the Sharks who figured it all out first.

Marleau cashed in with 39 seconds left in the 2nd period after the Sharks pushed the puck up ice and peppered Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen with a flurry of shots. Logan Couture found Marleau cutting toward the net on the right side, but the Sharks forward was denied by Andersen. Couture gathered the puck and threw it Andersen's direction, only to have that rejected. Marleau was in the perfect spot to grab the rebound and lift the puck over Andersen's right shoulder for his 1st goal of the season.

Andersen dueled with Sharks goaltender Martin Jones all night, but it was Jones who finished the evening with a clean slate. Jones stopped all 27 shots he faced throughout the evening, including a series that were destined for the back of the net had he not been on top of his game.

Carl Hagelin missed on a pair of chances in the opening period. The Ducks stepped up their intensity in the 2nd frame, generating more scoring chances, but Jones was up to the task.

The Sharks gave Jones the night off in the 3rd period by taking it to Anaheim with more sustained pressure. It was the dagger that San Jose never seemed to unsheathe last season. On this night however, they looked like the perennial playoff team that became an afterthought a year ago.

San Jose out-shot the Ducks 17-3 over the final 20 minutes, but they couldn't generate the scoring that would have provided the breathing room they needed. That was until Marleau went to work and doubled up the Ducks.

The Sharks had pinned the Ducks in their own end for a good two minutes before Anaheim cleared things out allowing both teams to change. San Jose worked the puck back into the Ducks zone when Marleau whipped around the end boards from left to right before tucking the puck inside the right post with a wrap-around chance.

"I thought we had a two-on-one and I felt the guy," said Marleau. "Then I saw the pass and I was suddenly on my own. I was able to take it around the net and got the wrap around on it."

Mike Santorelli was whistled for hooking at 16:53 of the period to kill any chance of an uprising for the Ducks. It was the only infraction the Ducks would commit all evening. Referees Wes McCauley and Justin St. Pierre let both teams decide the game even strength for the majority of the contest.

New forward Joel Ward came within a fraction of an inch from recording his first goal as a Shark when his empty net chance clanked off the post.

The only question that remained was if Jones would secure his shutout. The Ducks simplified things for Jones by failing to record a shot on goal for the final 6 minutes of the contest. Anaheim's last shot ironically came form Jakob Silfverberg, the Ducks player that Raffi Torres leveled in the game that would eventually lead to Torres' 41-game suspension.

Jones would finish with his shutout, the 8th of his career. That number is pretty impressive, given that Jones has only stated 35 games in his short NHL career.

"I thought we did a really good job," said Jones. "That's a big team up front and typically they do a really good job getting to the front of the net with bodies and sticks. We showed a lot of character by how well we played and spending most of the third period in their end."

Game Notes:

The late George Gund III, the first Sharks owner, was honored before the game with a video recapping his history with the Sharks, and a banner that now hangs from the SAP Center rafters.

The opening faceoff featured a bevy of people that were instrumental in the Sharks coming to San Jose after the Gunds were awarded their new hockey franchise from the NHL. That group included Gund's son George and former San Jose Mayor Tom McEnery.

The Sharks had some traffic issues before the game, as the street fair held outside the arena backed up fans trying to get through metal detectors that backed fans up across Autumn street. It took fans upwards of 30 minutes to get into the building.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
ANA 0 0 0 0
SJ 0 1 1 2
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Marleau 1 (Couture, Ward), 19:21.
3rd period - 2, SJ, Marleau 2 (Ward), 15:10.
Penalties
1st period - Pavelski, SJ (boarding), 5:27.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - Santorelli, ANA (hooking), 16:53.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
ANA - Andersen 44 42
SJ - Jones 27 27
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
ANA 9 15 3 27
SJ 13 14 17 44
Power Play Conversion
ANA 0 of 1
SJ 0 of 1
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Marleau
Martin Jones
Frederik Andersen
Attendance
17,562
Officials
Referees: McCauley, St Pierre. Linesmen: Sharrers, Rody.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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