Niemi, Sharks edge Caps in SO, 2-1

WASHINGTON, DC – Patrick Marleau was the only player to score in the penalty shootout, giving the San Jose Sharks a 2-1 overtime victory over the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center in Washington.

“There’s no special ingredient,” Marleau said. “I think it’s just one of those things that it’s been going our way for a while. They are always tight games, so it could easily go both ways.”

Antii Niemi

Antti Niemi leads Sharks to SO win over Caps – image courtesy of NHL

It was a remarkably clean game between two top NHL teams that featured only two power plays and one fight.

Washington head coach Adam Oates said, “It was a good game. Good hockey game. I thought the whole team played very well. Hard-fought game; great pace to it. Obviously, didn’t come through in the shootout, but it was a good hockey game.”

Before Marleau’s conversion, Eric Fehr and Alex Ovechkin couldn’t get their shots on Antii Niemi on goal. Nicklas Backstrom missed to clinch the shootout for the Sharks.

Tyler Kennedy opened the scoring at 13:30 of the first period by putting in a rebound off an Andrew Desjardins shot.

Ovechkin tied the game at 12:44 of the second period when he took a pass across the ice from Karl Alzner and banged it home from the left circle. Ovechkin said, “I shoot the puck and it goes in. One of those shots. It was lucky and a good shot…Alzy [Karl Alzner] did a good assist and gave me the puck at the right time and the right spot.”

At the end of the second period, the officials had to go to video replay in Toronto to verify that Brad Stuart did not score from the edge of the crease before the clock hit 0.0.

At the end of regulation and the beginning of overtime, the Sharks killed off a Marleau penalty for bringing down Mikhail Grabowski charging towards the net.

“[Sharks goaltender Antii Niemi] was really good. The power play at the end, he had to make some big saves to give us a chance to get into overtime and he did that,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. “That’s where they’re the most dangerous [on the power play]. We almost got it to the point where we didn’t take a penalty. We talked a lot about that; using our legs to check rather than our sticks or our hands and it worked until that last minute but the penalty kill did a good job.”

The Sharks continued their trend of quick starts in the first period when Tyler Kennedy scored to give them a 1-0 lead at 13:30 of the first.

“It’s nice to start the trip off the right way,” McLellan said. “It was kind of a back-and-forth affair. They had some momentum [early], but we gained it back. It was a close game between two pretty good teams that played pretty well.”

Leave a Comment