SAN JOSE After weeks of failing to make a much of an impact on the game, the Sharks fourth line continued its strong play during the month of November in Saturdays 3-2 loss to Vancouver.
All three players on the line found a way to have an impact on the game. Brad Winchesters heavyweight fight with Vancouvers Aaron Volpatti just two minutes into the first period helped set the tone early, as San Jose had been struggling with its starts.
Andrew Murray scored his first goal later in the period, on a backhanded pass through the slot by Andrew Desjardins, tying the game at 1-1.
Winnie did a nice job in his tussle setting the tone, and getting that goal was good, too, said Murray. I think we can look at the positives.
Murrays goal came after a very good shift by the 30-year-old winger. It began when he drove hard to the net around defenseman Kevin Bieksa, and although he lost control before he could get a shot off, Murray chased down the puck in the corner. He then tossed it behind the net to Desjardins, took a hit along the boards, and got open in the faceoff circle. Desjardins wheeled around the slid a nice pass to Murrays tape for a beautiful goal.
It was his first NHL marker since Feb. 11, 2011 when he was still with Minnesota a 29-game drought.
Todd McLellan was complimentary of his fourth line following the loss, although the group barely saw the ice in the third period when the Sharks were trying to erase a two-goal deficit. Murray played just 14 seconds in the final frame, while Winchester (21 seconds) and Desjardins (34 seconds) also barely moved from the bench.
They were a good two period line, and that was no fault of their own that they didnt play in the third, said McLellan. We were behind, and we chose to cut it down to three lines. But, they were very good for two periods, once again.
Obviously, Andy Murray getting his first goal was rewarding for him because hes done a lot of good work for us. I liked them, again.