SAN JOSE – There has been many a game where the Sharks and Anaheim Ducks battled right down to the wire. Thursday night’s faceoff was no exception.
San Jose was neck-and-neck with the Anaheim into the third period, and it was looking like the rivals were headed for overtime for the third time in a row. Then, defenseman Brent Burns played the hero in his 1,000th career NHL game with a slap shot to the back of the net, and helped lead the Sharks to a 4-2 victory.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
How did the line shuffle go?
Of all the newly-juggled forward lines, the combination of Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski, and Marcus Sorensen was the most noticeable. Pavelski fit in seamlessly with the successful Thornton-Sorensen duo, generating some of the Sharks’ best chances on the evening.
Sorensen on his own had a little extra growl in his game, to the point where you got the feeling early in the contest he was going to score. Then, with the score knotted up 1-1 in the second stanza, he posted up right in relieving netminder Chad Johnson’s grill -- Ducks starter John Gibson left the game with an injury -- to clean up Pavelski's shot, and give San Jose a 2-1 lead.
Radim Simek is a brick wall
There’s no mistaking it – defenseman Radim Simek brings a whole new level of physicality to the Sharks’ lineup. That extra dose of toughness was on full display on Thursday as No. 51 made himself a full fledged part of the Sharks-Ducks rivalry.
The Czech rookie had a couple of memorable hits in the game, but his best was a hit on Anaheim defenseman Brandon Montour, which led to a light scrum. Just a few shifts later, forward Daniel Sprong checked Simek and Simek upended him onto the ice.
What’s up with the power play?
The Sharks had a couple opportunities to really create some space for themselves on the scoreboard while on the man advantage. But San Jose couldn’t pull the trigger, going 0-for-3 on the evening.
One could argue the Sharks' power play didn’t have its usual firepower because they were missing defenseman Erik Karlsson for the second game in a row, as he served the last of a two-game suspension. Whatever the reason, the Sharks could have benefited from a power-play goal to give them some much-needed cushion and avoid the late battle that ultimately ensued.