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Stunner in DC
The votes are in, Sharks still have a pulse
11/8/16 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks spent election night in our nation's capital on Tuesday night, canvassing the Verizon Center ice with defensive strategy that helped them bounce back from a week of putrid hockey. The Sharks clamped down on a high powered Capitals offense and rode a pair of 2nd period goals to a 3-0 shutout. Martin Jones turned aside 24 shots to earn his 14th career shutout.

Jones was aided early by his teammates who limited Washington to a pair of shots on goal through the first 15 minutes of the contest. The Capitals would finish the period with 4 shots in total, playing a lackadaisical game that played right into the Sharks hands.

San Jose didn't need to play a flashy game. They needed to play a game that got them back to their strengths. That starts with defense. And defense they played.

Alex Ovechkin led the Capitals with 4 shots, but none of those chances challenged Jones. The Capitals captain seemed frustrated with the absence of opportunity, and when he tried to setup his teammates, the bounces seemed to go the Sharks way.

Washington started the 2nd period with a handful of chances that seemed to turn the tide, but the Sharks waited out the Capitals and grabbed a lead 12:23 into the frame. Marc-Edouard Vlasic backskated the puck along the blueline from left to right before whipping the puck down the slot. The puck clipped defenseman Karl Alzner between the circles changing the shot trajectory to the left side of the goal which was vacated by Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby. The goal was Vlasic's 2nd of the season.

Brent Burns pushed the Sharks lead to 2-0 a little over 5 minutes later with a shot from the right dot that found a seam between Holtby and the right post. Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik chose an inopportune time to break in front of his goaltender, screening Holtby from Burns shot which had little room to navigate past the big bodies impeding it.

Vlasic's goal would end up to be all the Sharks needed to win, but the way the 3rd period started, even Burns tally was essential. The Capitals came out firing, but that's when Jones earned his paycheck.

Ovechkin snuck past the Sharks defense a minute into the final stanza, with nobody between him and Jones, but the Capitals captain knuckled the shot wide of the right post from 4 feet out.

Niklas Backstrom missed on a chance from the doorstep minutes later with the ice clearly tilted toward Jones. The Sharks netminder pulled out all the stops, with a slew of solid saves.

Brenden Dillon didn't help matters when he held Evgeny Kuznetsov 6 minutes into the period. San Jose killed the penalty by keying on passing lanes and a healthy dose of clears.

Rookie centerman Kevin Lebanc made his NHL debut for San Jose, and became a focal point when he was called for tripping Tom Wilson penalty with 6:12 to play. Washington generated 4 shots on the two combined power play chances, but couldn't solve Jones.

Justin Williams missed a one time chance on a wide open net late in the contest, which seemed to seal the Capitals fate. It was a scoring chance that went by the wayside and ultimately went in the Sharks favor. It was perfect example of the adage that sometimes its better to be lucky than good.

Washington pulled Holtby with 2:30 to play, but that simply setup a scoring opportunity for Joe Thornton, who buried his 2nd goal of the season with 92 seconds left.

Game Notes:

* Statistical foreshadowing was evident in the blocked shot count, which favored the Sharks 21-10. San Jose is typically the team pumping rubber at the opposing goaltender, but Washington was clearly the team with the majority of shots.

* 12 Shark skaters recorded shots on goal, but Patrick Marleau wasn't one of them. Marleau was limited to a palty 13:53 of ice time on 19 shifts, which barely exceeded Kevin Lebanc's 13:23.

* San Jose continues to struggle in the faceoff circle, winning only 23 of 51 draws (45%). Chris Tierney was the only Shark with a positive win percentage, having won 6 of 9 draws.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 2 1 3
WAS 0 0 0 0
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Vlasic 2 (Pavelski, Thornton), 12:23. 2, SJ, Burns 5 (Couture, Martin), 17:26.
3rd period - 3, SJ, Thornton 2 (Ward), 18:28, (en).
1st period - Vlasic, SJ (holding), 5:37; Eller, WAS (interference), 15:25.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - Lebanc, SJ (tripping), 13:48; Wilson, WAS (cross checking), 18:33.
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 24 24
WAS - Holtby 22 20
WAS - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 9 9 5 23
WAS 4 10 10 24
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 2
WAS 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Martin Jones
Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Jason Williams
Verizon Center - 18,506
Referees: Hebert, Luxmore. Linesmen: Galloway, Gibbs.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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