Edit: A scoring change forced me to change this article.
The Sharks scored three goals in the first 7:41 to chase Jaroslav Halak from the game and take a lead they would not give back.
All three goals were scored in less than four minutes. Torrey Mitchell, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski all scored, which forced Davis Payne to make a change in goal. The goals by Marleau and Pavelski were on the power play. Marleau’s goal was originally credited to him, but it was changed during the game to Pavelski’s goal. Pavelski scored what everyone thought was his third goal of the game, and hats rained down at HP Pavilion. The goal was changed back to Marleau after the game, so Pavelski still does not have a hat trick in the NHL. He didn’t even get an assist on that goal since he got credit for the goal by tipping the puck in. He had to settle for “only” three points, and he now has 11 points in his last four games. His third goal would have been his 100th career goal, but he’s still stuck on 99. Mitchell also had an assist to go with his goal, as his offensive “surge” continued. He has seven points in his last eight games. Devin Setoguchi scored the other goal, which was his 20th of the season. Five different Sharks players have 20 goals now (Marleau, Couture, Heatley, Clowe and Setoguchi), and Joe Thornton has 19. Marleau and Thornton each had two assists in the game. Six different Sharks players had a multi-point game. Antti Niemi made his 28th straight start and made 42 saves. T.J. Hensick, David Backes and Andy McDonald scored for the Blues.
Logan Couture left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. He lost an edge and went into the boards. It did not look good at all. The Sharks were saying that he was questionable to return, but they say that about everyone that gets hurt during a game. If he misses any significant time, and it looks like he might, it will be a huge loss. Niclas Wallin missed his second straight game after getting injured last week. Justin Braun was in the lineup in his place. Brandon Mashinter was called up from Worcester and took the spot of Dany Heatley, who was serving the final game of his two game suspension. Head coach Todd McLellan and color commentator Drew Remenda missed the game because of a funeral. Assistant coach Trent Yawney was the acting head coach, and radio color commentator Jamie Baker was the analyst on the tv broadcast.
The Sharks do not have another game until Wednesday, a home game against Calgary. There will be a lot of scoreboard watching over those few days without a game, as the Sharks have a three point lead over Phoenix in the Pacific Division, and only trail the Red Wings by two points for the second seed in the west. The Sharks have played one more game than Detroit though. The Calgary game is the last regular season game against a non-divisional opponent. It’s possible that Antero Niittymaki gets the start since it’s the last non-divisional game, but Niemi will have three full days of rest before the next game.
Sharks fans will collectively be holding their breath as they wait for an update on Couture’s injury.