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Great Breaks Go Sharks Way

Mayers Ends Goal Drought With Opening Tally

Friday, 03.18.2011 / 3:05 AM / News
By San Jose Sharks Staff
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Great Breaks Go Sharks Way
The way the Sharks have played in one goal games this year, it is almost routine the way they find a way to pull them out. The proof was in the pudding again Thursday in a 3-2 W against Minnesota. The Sharks tied their season high with 50 shots and willed their way past Niklas Backstrom, who was impenetrable at times.

San Jose’s last two goals were courtesy of nice breaks off Wild defenders, but they counted nonetheless and with 50 attempts, there was no question the Sharks were due for a tally or two.

“It was a good time for the power play to step up,” Patrick Marleau said. “Backstrom was really good on their side and we finally got through. We stuck with it and it paid off. You can’t stop shooting.”

“Sometimes you need those bounces,” Dan Boyle said. “Their shorthanded goal ricocheted. It was a bounce on their side and we got one on the winning goal.”

The victory kept San Jose three points ahead of Phoenix for third place in the Pacific Division.

“We’re both playing for our playoff lives and they are on the cusp,” Boyle said. “We came up with a huge win tonight.”

Jamal Mayers had gone 31 contests without a goal, but he scored the pivotal first tally Thursday when Joe Pavelski sent him ahead of the defense and Mayers deftly put his backhander across the line.

“I just tried to keep my feet moving and got lucky on the backhand,” Mayers said. “The backhand is tough for the goalie to read, but I don’t think I had time to bring it to my forehand.”

Boyle was down on the ice at one point and visibly in pain, pounding on the frozen surface. He was able to skate off on his own power and return to the game. He had an interesting answer when asked how he felt postgame.

“Ask me tomorrow. The body is not supposed to bend that way,” Boyle laughed. “I’m happy with the way things are right now. It was one of those things, I thought I was down. A couple of punches in the ice and I took a deep breath. From where the pain was to where it was 30 seconds later, so far so good.”

Marleau now has eight game-winning goals and is tied for first on the club with Logan Couture.

“It’s a good thing we have him,” McLellan said. “He seems to be the go-to guy right now. Nice to see him get it on the power play. I’d like to see him do it for a long time yet.”

Netminder Antti Niemi has now started 27 consecutive games, second all-time in the Sharks record book.

“We check with him every day and he just smiles and tells us he’s ready to play,” McLellan said. “He doesn’t show anything and we try to kick him off the ice at practice. If he’s tired, he’s not showing it.”

A reporter drew a laugh, asking if Niemi not coming off as tired was due to a language barrier.

“Smiles are universal,” McLellan said.

“We started the night with a game plan and we didn’t want to get away from it. We felt they needed to be patient. We thought by the end of the night, our defense would make the difference in the game. Not necessarily the offense.”

“We had a few opportunities to safely advance the puck and clear the zone. And for whatever reason it didn’t happen. We were not strong enough along the boards, maybe a little too fine with clearing attempts. And you know with the goalie pulled they are just going to throw it to the net. They crashed it hard but one of the strengths of Niemi is his ability to push back against the crowd and then smothering a couple of loose pucks.”

“You can create a lot of your bounces and a lot of your breaks. San Jose did that tonight and they were rewarded with a couple nice bounces. The second period was the second time this year that we have given up 20 plus shots in a period.”

“You’re always disappointed after a loss and obviously disappointed when you lose four in a row. We had some guys that really put it on the line tonight, but we needed more guys.”

“I think we have the players. I think we have proved it through the course of the season. We put ourselves in a position for playoff contention.”

The Sharks will host St. Louis Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at The contest will be on CSN California, 98.5/102.1 KFOX and




1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67


J. Pavelski 82 41 38 23 79
J. Thornton 82 11 65 20 76
P. Marleau 82 33 37 0 70
L. Couture 65 23 31 21 54
B. Burns 69 22 26 26 48
T. Wingels 77 16 22 11 38
D. Boyle 75 12 24 -8 36
J. Demers 75 5 29 14 34
T. Hertl 37 15 10 11 25
M. Nieto 66 10 14 -4 24
A. Stalock 12 5 2 .932 1.87
A. Niemi 39 17 7 .913 2.39
Image Map