Thomas Greiss couldnt have asked for a better start from his teammates in his first ever NHL home opener.
The goaltender, who was thrust into duty for the Sharks first game of the season after injuries to Antero Niittymaki and Antti Niemi, could have been forgiven if he fell asleep early into Saturday nights 6-3 win over Phoenix. The Sharks dominated play for the majority of the first period, keeping the puck in their offensive end, and didnt allow a shot on net until there was 12:40 left in the frame.
The team played very well right off the get-go and took a little pressure off me, said Greiss, who was certain to be feeling some butterflies before taking the ice.
The first save he did have to make, however, wasnt an easy one. With the Sharks ahead 1-0, Griess stopped a tip-in try by Phoenixs Kyle Chipchura on a two-on-one shorthanded rush that very easily could have tied the score and halted San Joses momentum. It was his biggest save of the game, and Todd McLellan specifically mentioned it in the post-game presser.
"Were rolling along and they get a two-on-one on the power play, he needs to make a great save and he did," said the head coach.
Goalies will tell you that when you dont get many shots, it's harder to stay sharp. Griess said as much after the game: Its tough when you dont get a lot of work right from the get-go, especially the first game of the season."
The Sharks have to be encouraged by Greiss' performance, in which the German native made 26 saves and allowed three power play goals, but none at even-strength. It's something to build on, as he's sure to get more work in the coming weeks with Niittymaki still on the shelf for awhile with a hip injury.