The San Jose Sharks continued their seven-game homestand Saturday night with the Dallas Stars coming into town. The Stars came into SAP Center on a two-game losing streak after winning seven games in a row prior.
Coming into town with the Stars was previous Sharks captain, and still fan favorite, Joe Pavelski. The crowd at SAP Center gave “The Big Pavelski” multiple standing ovations throughout the game as he was shown on the jumbotron several times.
Saturday night’s game was a milestone night for two Sharks as Brent Burns set the franchise record for most consecutive games played, skating in his 625th consecutive game, while James Reimer took the crease for his 400th career NHL game.
For the first time since November 30th, James Reimer started in net after missing the last five games due to a lower body injury. Reimer, who was greatly missed while out, entered Saturday night with an outstanding .934 save percentage to go along with a 2.11 goals against average.
The game started out with Dallas swarming the Sharks, outshooting San Jose 14-to-6 in the opening frame. James Reimer in his return came up huge in the first period with multiple great saves, including four-straight stops on a buzzing Stars power play.
Despite being completely outplayed to open the game, Tomas Hertl scored the lone goal of the first period to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission. Timo Meier fired a shot towards the net that deflected off Hertl’s leg, beating Braden Holtby, to give Tomas his 14th goal of the season. The goal by Hertl also extended his point streak to four games after having been on a five-game scoreless streak prior.
Kevin LaBanc left the game early in the first period after a hard hit by Jani Hakanpaa sent him awkwardly into the cornerboards. LaBanc never returned to the game for San Jose.
The Sharks came out of the dressing room with a completely different look, flipping the script of the first period and putting all of the pressure on the Stars. With the help of an early power play, the Sharks recorded 6 of the first 7 shots of the period, creating a plethora of high-quality chances.
Erik Karlsson extended the Sharks lead with his 8th goal of the season at the 16:28 mark of the middle frame, slapping a rocket of a slap shot past Holtby’s glove. Timo Meier setup the one-timer with a beautiful pass to Karlsson at the point.
EK65 has started the season playing his best hockey since joining the Sharks, scoring 8 goals in 22 games, already tying his goal total from all of last season. Karlsson, who at the start of the season talked about how he wanted to be the best defenseman in the NHL again, has been playing with confidence and has been one of the best players on the Sharks this year.
James Reimer continued his spectacular night, fending off all 10 shots that he faced in the second period. The Sharks phenomenal penalty kill also shined, going a perfect 2-for-2 in the middle frame and 3-for-3 in the game.
The Stars entered the third determined to break the shutout and found a way to beat Reimer with their 30th shot of the game at the 8:26 mark of the third period. Michael Raffl netted his 3rd goal of the season, tipping a shot from Radek Faksa past Reimer.
Noah Gregor, while not making it onto the scoresheet, had a great game creating multiple chances and recording two shots on goal. Radim Simek also had a big night, laying down some big hits and halting a breakaway attempt from Tyler Seguin.
After Raffl’s goal, the Stars continued to relentlessly pressure the Sharks in a desperate attempt to tie the game. James Reimer, as he has done all season, came up huge to preserve the lead for San Jose.
Reimer stole the show, finishing the game with 34 saves on 35 shots to secure the win for the Sharks in his return to action. Dallas ended the game outshooting San Jose 35-to-25.
The Sharks are back on the ice Tuesday night as the Seattle Kraken come to SAP Center for the first time in franchise history.