McLellan: Nice to leave San Jose on winning streak
Patrick Marleau, right, celebrates with Joe Thornton after scoring a goal against the Ducks in the second period on Saturday. (AP)
SAN JOSE – At another time or in another place, the Sharks might have been a little more upset at coughing up a two-goal third period lead and allowing one of their biggest rivals to capture a valuable point in the standings.
But San Jose prevailed in a shootout over the Ducks on Saturday night, 4-3, capping a perfect homestand in which it won all five games. The victory also put the 18-3-5 Sharks in sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division.
Now isn’t the time to be overly critical.
“We obviously let it slip there in the third, sat back, and that’s what happens,” said Patrick Marleau, who had a shorthanded goal and an assist. “Lesson for us, but we’ll take that homestand, for sure.”
Todd McLellan lumped the win over Anaheim in with a 6-3 conquest of St. Louis on Friday, and a 4-3 decision against Los Angeles in a shootout on Wednesday.
"I'm glad we got the win,” he said. “Of course, we didn't want to give up the lead, but considering it's [three games in four days] against that type of competition, a heavy group. … We won't let our guys off the hook, but to get those three wins is pretty satisfying."
Logan Couture, Marleau, and Marty Havlat scored the Sharks’ goals in regulation in the second period, giving San Jose a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes. Alex Grant and Ben Lovejoy scored in the third to send it to overtime, though, including Lovejoy’s wrist shot through a screen with about three minutes to go. Neither team was able to convert on a power play in the extra session.
In the shootout, Joe Pavelski was the sole player to find the net. It was a controversial play, in that Pavelski nearly came to a complete stop before whipping the puck past Jonas Hiller, something that’s not allowed in the skills competition.
Pavelski said: “I don’t know that it’s even that close. You stop, and you’re moving, you’re just moving slow. It is what it is. I’m glad I scored.”
Sharks captain Joe Thornton was struck with a puck early in the first period, when a deflection left a gash near his right eye. He went to the dressing room, got stitched up, and returned to play the remainder of the game with one eye about half open.
“It’s what hockey players do. They get bumps and bruises and they come back out,” said Thornton, who assisted on Marleau’s shorthanded goal that gave San Jose a 2-1 lead, midway through the second.
Marleau said: “We saw on the bench right away where the cut was, so we knew he was going to be coming back. I think he only had one eye for most of the game, but you knew he was going to come back. He’s a battler, and a professional.”
Thornton admitted his vision wasn’t 100 percent.
“There’s a lot of blood in there, and it’s a little cloudy, but hopefully it goes away a little bit tonight. We’ll put some ice on it, and get ready for practice [Sunday].”
The Sharks will now hit the road for 15 of their next 23 games, and thanks to their 10-1-2 home record, they are in a good position to remain either near or at the top of the Western Conference. A four-game road trip begins Tuesday in Toronto.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us, but it's nice to go and leave San Jose with that type of winning streak,” McLellan said.
Pavelski said: “Obviously, the last one at home, it’s important to win. After giving up that lead and giving up one [goal] late, it was important we got that extra point.”