“Hits and Misses” for Rangers at Sharks 3/12/11
Ryane Clowe – Clowe scored his 22nd goal of the season, tying his career high set in the 2008-09 season, at 12:30 of the first period on the Power Play to give the Sharks an early 1-0 lead. After Rangers Matt Gilroy was called for a hooking penalty, the Sharks won the ensuing face-off and after a couple of passes, Clowe blasted a shot from just in-between the blue-line and face-off circle that deflected off of Rangers Marc Staal and into the net. The goal was Clowe’s third in his last two games and his eighth goal in his last 11 games.
Ben Eager – Eager was just an assist short of completing the “Gordie Howe Hat-Trick” tonight as he dropped the gloves with Rangers Brandon Prust at 11:07 of the first period and scored the game-tying goal at 16:26 in the second period via a tip in front of the Rangers net off a slapshot from Sharks forward Torrey Mitchell. The goal was Eager’s fifth of the season.
Justin Braun – Braun gets a “hit” because his heads up play was the reason why the Sharks didn’t go down 3-1 in the second period. The puck was head for the open net and Braun reached out with his stick and pulled the puck off the goal line before it crossed over.
Dan Boyle – In his first game back after missing the last six games, Boyle assisted on both Sharks goals for a two-point night and was the only Shark to score in the shootout.
Antti Niemi – Making his 24th consecutive start in net for the Sharks, Niemi stopped 20-out-of-22 shots and tied Arturs Irbe and Chris Terreri for the second-longest starting streak by a goalie in Sharks history.
Sharks Team – Two games in a row now the Sharks have lost in a shootout and in the process, have cost themselves a couple of critical points. The Sharks finished the six-game home-stand earning eight out of a possible 12 points but they cannot feel too good about losing to a Rangers team that is fighting for their playoff lives for the eighth and final seed in the Eastern Conference. With the one point earned tonight, the Sharks remain in first place of the Pacific Division with 86 points, four ahead of the surging second place Dallas Stars, and now trail the Detroit Red Wings by four points for the second overall seed in the Western Conference.
Shootout – Why on God’s green earth were the Sharks shooters in the shootout so enticed by the Five-Hole from Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist? Weren’t the Sharks paying attention on the bench that Lundqvist was showing the Five-Hole on purpose and quickly taking it away when the Sharks shot there? Why didn’t any of the ensuing Sharks shooters adjust?
Mike Sauer Goal – This was a bad goal surrendered by the Sharks at 1:16 of the second period. The Rangers came out for the second period fired up while the Sharks were dragging and weren’t able to clear the puck out of their own zone. Even worse was the fact that Clowe broke his stick early in the shift and remained on the ice without a stick, which essentially put the Sharks in a 5-on-4 situation. Clowe stayed with Sauer as long as he could but there wasn’t much he could do when Sauer got the puck in the slot and fired the puck past Niemi. Had Clowe’s stick not shattered on the shift, there’s no way Sauer would have gotten the shot off in the slot.
Referees – The referees get a “miss” due to that horrible goalie interference penalty they assessed to Sharks forward Logan Couture at 12:47 of the first period. Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh drove Couture into Lundqvist and Couture did EVERYTHING possible to avoid Lundqvist, including jumping around Lundqvist. Then, after the whistle blew and while Couture was down on the ice, McDonagh took two shots at Couture, which brought in Clowe and the other Sharks to Couture’s defense, creating a 10 player scrum. Couture was the only player assessed a penalty.