Thornton: 'We looked real sharp at start of game'
SAN JOSE – To say the Sharks have been dominant in the first period this season doesn’t do it justice.
San Jose is now outscoring the opposition 36-13 in the first 20 minutes of games this year. That +23 differential is more than double any other team in the NHL, as the Los Angeles Kings are second with a +11.
[RELATED: Burns dominates Blues in Sharks win]
On Friday against St. Louis, the Sharks scored four times, including goals from Brent Burns (2), Joe Thornton (power play) and Tommy Wingels.
"Hell of a period. Really happy with it,” Todd McLellan said.
Thornton said: “To go up 4-0 in the first 10 minutes of the game, it’s kind of unheard of, but we were ready to go. We knew it was going to be a good test for us, and I think we passed the test.”
The Sharks did take advantage of two bad misplays by St. Louis on two of the four goals. Barret Jackman turned it over to Logan Couture leading to Burns’ goal just 35 seconds into the game, while Jay Bouwmeester fumbled away a puck at the offensive blue line to give Wingels an eventual open look at the other end.
“We realized there was still 40 minutes to go, and that wasn’t St. Louis in the first period,” said Logan Couture, who had three assists. “That was a different team -- they showed that in the second and third that they’re a very good team.”
The Sharks have now scored in the first minute of a game six times, a new franchise record. Four of those six have come at home, where the Sharks are now 9-1-2.
“I think we always concentrate on coming out fast at home,” Burns said. “You can hear the crowd when we get going. It's a tough building to play in. I know what it's like from experience. Coming in here, it's a tough building to play in."
Lapierre not a factor
Maxim Lapierre’s first appearance on the SAP Center ice since he hit Dan Boyle from behind had little effect on the game. Lapierre skated just seven minutes and 21 seconds, didn’t register any shots or hits, and was 0-for-7 (!) in the faceoff circle.
“We were focused on winning a hockey game. There’s no time in this conference right now to go out and worry about certain players and retribution and stuff like that,” Couture said. “We’re smart enough people in this room. We realize we need points. We went out there and played the game of hockey. We played it better than they did today, and we got two points.”
Thornton said: “We’re in the business of winning games, and ultimately everything else will kind of deal with itself. We were just focused on winning the game. Nothing really was said too much about that. We wanted to get the two points, we did, and it was a good accomplishment.”
Hitchcock takes responsibility for loss
Here’s what Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock had to say about his team’s loss, and more specifically the 4-0 hole it found itself in early:
"They just took it to us. They weren't ready to go. It was my responsibility. They weren't ready to go,” Hitchcock said.
“The fifth goal was a backbreaker. It came too quick. … Before we could settle down after we made it 4-3 .We had them on their heels. Catch up hockey is losing hockey. You can't play that way. You can't be that ill prepared to start a hockey game, like we were. We didn't compete at the start, and they did, and they took it to us."
Blues players weren’t any happier.
Jackman said: “We’ve got to be better prepared. We knew what they did in St. Louis (a 6-2 Sharks win on Oct. 15), and they came out and had the same game plan. They executed and we didn't."
"To spot them four goals is ridiculous,” Ian Cole said. “Especially a team like that, that is so good, that we knew we needed to play well against them. We just didn't deliver."