The Sharks have always been criticized for their lack of playoff success, but at least they consistently get there. They will be going to the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season this year after demolishing the Stars.
The Sharks beat the Stars 6-0 to clinch a spot in the playoffs and put a huge dent into the Stars’ chances of playing in the postseason. Dan Boyle scored the first goal of the game, banging home a rebound from a Joe Pavelski shot. Pavelski took a long lead pass from Kyle Wellwood, but his weak spinorama shot was stopped by Kari Lehtonen. Boyle was trailing on the play, and he banged home the loose puck. Logan Couture scored a power play goal to make it 2-0 when he grabbed the puck out of mid-air, dropped it to the ice, and backhanded it past Lehtonen. Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored on a slap shot late in the second period to give the Sharks a 3-0 lead. It looked like it was deflected by Devin Setoguchi, but apparently not. Patrick Marleau scored two straight goals in the third period to make it 5-0. Ben Eager put the nail in the coffin with a beautiful goal to make it 6-0. Antti Niemi made 29 saves to record his sixth shutout of the season.
Joe Thornton had two assists in the game to give him 997 points for his career. Dany Heatley and Jamal Mayers each had two assists as well. Marleau had 12 shots on goal in the game, which is a franchise record. The Sharks had 52 shots on goal as a team. Boyle’s goal ended a 16 game goalless streak. Couture’s goal was his 31st of the season, which ties him with Michael Grabner for the most goals by a rookie this season. Pavelski’s assist extended his point streak to eight games. Vlasic’s goal was his first since December 18th. Vlasic also had an assist in the game. Ian White, Ryane Clowe, Setoguchi and Wellwood all had an assist. 13 different Sharks players had at least a point. Lehtonen was pulled after Marleau’s first goal. The penalty kill did not allow a goal in three opportunities, which is very encouraging.
Niemi started his 32nd straight game in goal. Justin Braun was a healthy scratch again.
Along with clinching a playoff spot, the Sharks moved up to second place in the western conference. They control their own destiny for the second seed, as they have more points than the Red Wings and have one more point. The Sharks face the Ducks at home tomorrow night.