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Sharks Jump out to Early Lead Over Blues

Burns Celebrates Goal

In an action packed game, topped off with Brent Burns’ first career hat trick, the Sharks were able to defeat the surging St. Louis Blues. The Sharks were able to jump out to an early lead with a goal just 35 seconds into the game by Brent Burns. Another goal by Burns, along with goals by Thornton and Wingels gave the Sharks a 4 goal lead at the end of the first period.

But, as has been a characteristic of the Sharks this season, the Sharks relaxed coming into the second and allowed the Blues to claw their way back into the game. After scoring 4 goals in the first period, the Sharks didn’t score again until late in the third period. In between their 4th and 5th goals the Sharks allowed St. Louis to score 3 goals, giving the Blues a chance. Fortunately, the Sharks were able to get goals from Burns and Hertl to grab a 6-3 victory.

Interestingly, the Sharks are 11-0-1 when Brent Burns is in the lineup, which may not surprise fans after Burns’ 4 point performance today. In contrast, the Sharks are 6-3-5 when Burns is not in the lineup.

What surprised me most about this game though was Braun’s selection for 3rd star of the game. I did not feel he deserved to be the third star of the game, and was actually at fault for St. Louis’ 3rd goal:

On this play, as the only defenseman back, it is Braun’s job to not allow a pass across the ice to the other forward breaking in, in this case Jaden Schwartz. This would allow Niemi to square up to┬áVladimir Sobotka and try to cut down his angle. Niemi does this, but Braun fails to do his job, allowing Schwartz score, threatening the Sharks lead. This isn’t a very complicated concept for defensemen, as this skill is taught to youth hockey players. Braun, as an NHL defensemen, should know that he is defending a 2-on-1 and know that his role is to block the pass and let Niemi take the shot. So why he is then given 3rd star of the game after giving St. Louis a goal is beyond me.

Despite this, the Sharks did many things well this game:

  1. Shots – The Sharks were able to get 32 shots on goal this game.
  2. Blocked Shots – The Sharks were able to block 27 shots this game.
  3. The Sharks were able to come out strong this game and put St. Louis in an early hole.

What the Sharks need to work on for next game:

  1. The Sharks need to be more disciplined. They were short-handed 7 times this game, but were able to survive killing 6 of 7 penalties.
  2. The Sharks had too many giveaways. They recorded 18 giveaways this game.
  3. The Sharks need to play all 3 periods. They came out strong in the first period, but slacked off in the second and the first half of the third, allowing the Blues to climb back into the game.

Next the Sharks will take on the Anaheim Ducks at 7:30 (PT) at the SAP Center in San Jose. This is a big game for the Sharks, as they are tied for 1st in the Pacific Division with Anaheim at 39 points.

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