McLellan: 'Hertl was better than I thought he would be'
The Sharks, locked into the second seed in the Pacific Division, recorded their 50th win of the season (50-22-9, 109 points). (USATSI)
SAN JOSE – Yanked from the lineup on Wednesday in Anaheim in the biggest game of the season, Marty Havlat returned to tally three goals and one assist in the Sharks’ 5-1 win over Colorado on Friday night at SAP Center.
The Sharks, locked into the second seed in the Pacific Division regardless of the outcome, recorded their 50th win of the season (50-22-9, 109 points).
Havlat’s goals came in succession in the third period, turning a 2-1 lead into a 5-1 blowout. He got his stick on Logan Couture’s attempt at 5:26 of the final frame, knocked in his own rebound on a breakaway at 13:40, and flipped a puck into an empty net with just under five minutes to go in regulation.
Rookie Tomas Hertl returned to the lineup from right knee surgery, playing for the first time since Dec. 19.
[RELATED: Hannan hurt in Sharks game vs. Colorado]
The Sharks scored two quick goals on the Avs’ third string goalie, Reto Berra, who was acquired from Calgary on March 5. It was a lead they would not relinquish.
First, it was Dan Boyle netting his fourth goal in the last seven games. Boyle was given time to creep towards the net, and his bad angle attempt somehow snuck through Berra at 3:01.
Patrick Marleau made it 2-0 at 10:11. Havlat set up Marleau at the blue line, and the Sharks’ all-time leading scorer unleashed a rocket by Berra’s glove side from the top of the circle, ending the goaltender’s night.
Colorado, still trying to win the Central Division, tallied the only marker of the second period. Ryan O’Reilly managed to keep the puck in at the blue line and found Max Talbot down low. Talbot delivered a pass through the slot – and a diving Matt Irwin – to Patrick Bordeleau, who easily whacked in his sixth goal at 15:18.
Hertl made a good account of himself in his return, finishing with two shots in exactly 15 minutes of play. Notable moments for the 20-year-old rookie included a blast from the circle just a minute and a half into the game that was gloved by Berra on what was the Sharks’ first shot of the game, and in the third period when he hit the post after an aggressive move to the slot with 17:19 left in regulation.
The game had a decidedly physical edge to it. In the first period, Jason Demers flattened defenseman Tyson Barrie, who was caught admiring his pass before having to peel himself off of the ice. Barrie did not return.
Bordeleau was on the giving and receiving end of some blows, too. He ended Scott Hannan’s night with a high hit late in the first period, and a woozy Hannan never came back. A few minutes before his goal, Bordeleau was nailed to the wall at the blue line from a hard charging Andrew Desjardins.
Stalock, bidding to become the Sharks’ playoff starter, was excellent. He allowed just Bordeleau’s marker, and made his best stops in the middle frame. He gloved Talbot’s shot from the slot, freezing play with 18:10 to go; smothered a wrist shot from an open Erik Johnson with 6:47 left, and denied P.A. Parenteau on a breakaway late in the period after Parenteau stepped out of the penalty box. His denial of Johnson from point-blank range with 7:28 to go in the third was also a highlight.
The Sharks finished with a 29-7-5 mark at home. They conclude the regular season on Saturday night in Phoenix, which was eliminated from playoff competition on Friday thanks to Dallas’ win over St. Louis.
The Sharks finished 0-for-2 with a man advantage. Hertl saw time on the second power play unit with Couture, Irwin and Demers. Havlat and Tommy Wingels also took shifts with that group.
Colorado was also 0-for-2.
Stalock recorded his 12th win, allowing only Bordeleau’s goal on 33 shots.
Berra surrendered two goals on just five Sharks shots, while Giguere allowed two goals on 24 shots.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Matt Nieto and Mike Brown were the Sharks’ healthy scratches.
Although the Sharks end their season on Saturday, the NHL season does not conclude until Sunday. Dates and times for San Jose’s first round matchup against the Kings will be announced on Sunday night or Monday.