Early returns are strong on Havlat

Early returns are strong on Havlat
October 22, 2011, 5:53 pm
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Fresh off of their second win of the young season, the Sharks will look to build off of a 4-3 shootout victory over the Devils last night when they meet the defending Stanley Cup champs in Boston tonight.

Antti Niemi is scheduled to make his third straight start in net, and is expected to be opposed by Bostons Tim Thomas.
Havlat debut a success: Martin Havlat made his long awaited Sharks debut on Friday night and registered an assist on Ryane Clowes second period goal. Havlat didnt show any visible ill effects from his left shoulder injury that was surgically repaired in May, and looked comfortable on his line with Clowe and Logan Couture.

That line scored its first even strength goal of the season when Clowe went hard to the net and the puck bounced in off of his left skate.

Havlat said afterwards that the pace of the game was somewhat difficult, but he felt strong nonetheless.

It was a tough game for me, especially just jumping into the season like that. But, its going to get better. Everything was a little bit off, but the more we play the better its going to get, he said.

He talked about feeling good on the ice, and being confident with his injury, said Todd McLellan. He said the tempo was pretty darn quick, which we expected. I felt good about playing him.

Havlat played more than 19 minutes, and that number could increase when he gets a few more games under his belt, according to McLellan.

Shots, shots, shot-shot-shot shots: If youve seen the first five games of the season, you already know that the Sharks are piling up shots on goal. They lead the league with 40.6 per game.

After surrendering just 19 to the Devils last night, they also lead the league in fewest shots allowed per game with 22.6.

Boston is a team that prides itself on its defense in front of Thomas, so it could be a little harder to generate so many shots tonight. San Jose will have to continue to crash the net and look for loose pucks, as Thomas is coming off of one the best seasons in NHL history for a goaltender.

San Jose scored twice on Friday just that way by creating chaos around the net including Clowes goal, which tied the game at 2-2.

We werent turning away. We werent going to easy areas. We scored an ugly goal and it probably made the difference for us, said McLellan.

What can Braun do for you: The Sharks third defense pair of Jason Demers and Colin White has struggled. That was evident on New Jerseys go-ahead goal late in the third period last night, when Demers misplayed a puck at the offensive blue line and White fell down on his backcheck, leaving the Devils David Clarkson alone in front of the net.

McLellan mentioned his displeasure with that goal after last nights win, and the Sharks have since recalled defensemanJustin Braun from Worcester. Braun could be making his season debut tonight, so look for either Demers or White to come out of the lineup.

Tommy Wingels was reassigned to Worcester to make room for Braun.
Points at a premium: Even with their win last night, the Sharks still woke up this morning already trailing Dallas by eight points in the standings. The Stars are 6-1 and have played two more games than the Sharks.

It makes claiming that extra point by prevailing in the shootout last night that much more important.

Its huge, especially coming back the way we did, said Thornton. Its just a big confidence booster and a little shot in the arm for all the guys. Hopefully this can spur something and we can get on a little winning streak.

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