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Offense opens up to snap losing streak
Labanc stays hot and pots game winner
12/10/16 - By Mike Lee -

With a four game road trip looming on the horizon, the Sharks didn't want to kick things off already on a 3-game losing streak. They prevented that by jump-starting the offense then holding off the Carolina Hurricanes for a 4-3 win at SAP Center on Saturday night. Kevin Labanc's 4th goal of the season with 6 minutes remaining in the 2nd period turned out to be the game-winner. The Sharks rookie scored in back to back games and is outperforming some of the big ticket forwards who were supposed to be carrying the load for San Jose.

Labanc was Johnny on the spot when a Dylan DeMelo shot from the blueline kicked off the left pad of Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward. The Puck deflected out to the right side where Labanc was swooping in toward the net. The rookie winger punched at the puck, firing it past Ward for a 4-2 Sharks lead.

That goal turned out to be a big on after the Hurricanes scored in the 3rd period to make it a one-goal game.

Things started off swimmingly for San Jose when Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton teamed for a 2-on-1 break that resulted in Marleau's 7th goal of the season just 12 seconds into the game. Justin Braun tried chipping a puck up the ice and Joe Pavelski saw Thornton breaking up ice as he back skated toward his own zone. Pavelski let the puck sail between his skates to Thornton who streaked up the right wing and feathered a lass to Marleau for the tap in on the left post. Defenseman Justin Faulk split the two Sharks forwards, but his out-stretched stick was a hair short as Thornton's pass landed right in the spot that Marleau needed for the shot that beat Ward.

Thornton would take a holding penalty on the next shift and the hurricanes made quick work of the Sharks penalty kill. Lee Stempniak buried a Teuvo Teravainen feed from the doorstep a tick shy of the 2 minute mark to tie the game at 1-1. Teravainen carried the puck to the top of the crease before sliding a pass to Stempniak on the right wing for a quick shot that beat Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell.

San Jose answered right back a little more than a minute later when Paul Martin threw a puck on net that kicked off defenseman Brett Pesce's skate and redirected past Ward. The Hurricanes goaltender had a line on Martin's shot and was sliding to cover the left side of the net before Pesce's footwork contributed to Martin's 1st goal of the season.

A Derek Ryan slashing penalty midway through the 2nd period was the Sharks lone chance on the man advantage, and they played as poorly as could be. A deflection in the Carlina zone landed on Victor Rask's stick as the Sharks got caught with a lone skater back. Rask slid the puck up the center of the ice as Joakim Nordstrom sprinted up ice. Nordstrom beat Brent Burns to the puck and when the Sharks defenseman dove and missed trying to clear the puck with his stick it was a breakaway chance for Carolina. Nordstrom charged in on Dell and slid the puck between his pads to make it a 2-2 game.

San Jose responded with a pair of goals. Logan Couture showed off some nifty hand-eye coordination by deflecting a waste-high shot by Burns from the right point. Couture parked himself in front of the Carolina net and knocked the puck off its trajectory to get a 3rd shot past Ward.

Labanc worked his magic less than 2 minutes later to push the Sharks lead to 4-2. Ryan converted the Hurricanes 2nd power play chance of the night 3:42 into the 3rd period after Brendan Dillon was called for a ticky-tack cross checking penalty as he and Sebastian Aho skated back to their respective benches.

Burns was sent off for hooking Jeff Skinner 3 minutes later, but the Hurricanes forward was called for embellishment.

The Hurricanes made it a game with a flurry of scoring chances late in the game in attempt to sweep the season series, but Dell withstood the rush. One chance went to review after a scrum in front of the Sharks net resulted in the puck being pushed into the Sharks netminder. An official review confirmed that Dell kept the puck out of his own net to preserve the lead.

Dell finished the game with 30 saves for the win.

Game Notes:

* The Sharks win was the 1000th victory in franchise history.

* Jeff Skinner recorded 11 shots on goal in the game. His biggest came in the final minute of the game from just outside the right post, but Dell snared the chance.

* All but four Shark skaters recorded a blocked shot. San Jose finished the game with 25 blocks.

* Logan Couture was not a rock in the faceoff circle. His 3 wins off draws came in 11 chances.


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1 2 3 T
CAR 1 1 1 3
SJ 2 2 0 4
1st period - 1,SJ, Marleau 7 (Thornton, Braun), 0:12. 2, CAR, Stempniak 5 (Teravainen, Slavin), 1:59, (pp). 3, SJ, Martin 1 (Boedker, Karlsson), 3:14.
2nd period - 4, CAR, Nordstrom 2 (Rask, Resce), 11:02, (sh). 5, SJ, Couture 11 (Burns, Ward), 12:18. 6, SJ, Labanc 4 (DeMelo, Thornton), 14:10.
3rd period - 7, CAR, Ryan 4 (Skinner, Rask), 3:42, (pp).
1st period - Thornton, SJ (holding), 0:37.
2nd period - Ryan, CAR (slashing), 10:12.
3rd period - Dillon, SJ (cross checking), 3:27; Skinner, CAR (embellishment), 6:37; Burns, SJ (hooking), 6:37.
Shots Saves
CAR - Ward 20 16
SJ - Dell 33 30
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
CAR 11 11 11 33
SJ 10 4 6 20
Power Play Conversion
CAR 2 of 2
SJ 0 of 1
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Thornton
Paul Martin
Teuvo Teravainen
SAP Center - 17,562
Referees: Hebert, Skilliter. Linesmen: Gawryletz, Cameron.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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