The San Jose Sharks continued to build toward a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs by defeating the Washington Capitals 5-2 Saturday night at the SAP Center in San Jose. By defeating the team with the NHL’s best record, the Sharks hope they’ve found a cure for their home arena malaise.
The Saturday night tilt featured a Sharks team that had the best road record in the NHL at 25-9-3, but one of the worst at home at 12-15-3. To add intrigue, the Capitals entered the game not only with the league’s best overall record, but the second-best road record as well at 23-7-3, the fourth-best power play and penalty kill units, and three of the NHL’s top 12 scorers.
So, when the sold-out Saturday night crowd showed up with a playoff-like intensity, the Sharks responded with one of their best efforts of the season.
Captain Joe Pavelski broke a 2-2 tie on a power play goal just 49 seconds into the third period and goalie Martin Jones recorded 23 saves – including a poke-checking gem on a penalty shot by Jay Beagle late in the second period – to lead the Sharks to a season sweep of the Capitals.
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) March 13, 2016
Before Pavelski’s big goal, Jones perhaps saved the night with his save on Beagle’s penalty shot with only 12.1 seconds left in the second period. Brent Burns took a slashing penalty to give Beagle the opportunity for a big lift leading into the second intermission. Instead, after the save, the Sharks entered the dressing room with a deep sigh of relief, and then came out and took control in the third.
After Pavelski’s goal, the Sharks got an insurance goal by defenseman Brenden Dillon just 2:02 later, and the Sharks took that momentum to press the action even further, allowing the explosive Caps just two shots on goal for the first 14 minutes of the period.
The Sharks got additional goals by Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Burns. T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams tallied scores for the Caps. With the victory, the Sharks maintain third place in the Pacific Division, one point behind second-place Anaheim and three points behind leaders Los Angeles.
Next up for the Sharks is a Tuesday night home game against the Boston Bruins, a game that will be televised nationally on NBCSN.
Photo Credit: Don Smith/Getty Images
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