OTTAWA – The Sharks broke out of a mini scoring slump and goalie Alex Stalock won his first career start as the Sharks beat Ottawa on Sunday at Canadian Tire Centre, 5-2.
James Sheppard and Tommy Wingels each had a goal and an assist to lead the Sharks’ attack.
San Jose held a 3-2 advantage at the start of the third, and put the game away with two more markers. Sheppard got in front of the net and deposited a pass from Joe Thornton for his first goal at 1:29, and Joe Pavelski’s score off of his skate at 7:59 on a nice feed from Justin Braun gave the Sharks a comfortable three-goal cushion.
Tomas Hertl and Andrew Desjardins registered first period goals for the Sharks, who improved their league-best record to 10-1-1.
Stalock was busy, especially early, in his fourth career appearance.
Headed into the game, the Sharks had allowed just 23.1 shots per game, good for second in the league. Ottawa already had 24 at the midway point of regulation, including 17 in the first period. The Senators finished with 40 shots, the most the Sharks have allowed this season.
Stalock allowed goals to Erik Karlsson in the first period and Marc Methot in the second on shots from the point. Karlsson’s appeared to deflect in, while Methot’s attempt through traffic had eyes.
Hertl ended a six-game goalless drought just one minute and 15 seconds into the game. The rookie managed to sneak a soft shot through Craig Anderson for his eighth goal to give San Jose the early lead.
Desjardins’ first marker increased that to 2-0, when Anderson allowed a Brad Stuart rebound to the slot where Desjardins gathered it and lifted in a backhander at 6:35.
Karlsson cut it to 2-1 with his goal, but the Sharks got it back with a shorthanded score seven minutes later. Anderson denied Logan Couture’s partial breakaway, but the goalie couldn’t recover in time to prevent Wingels slamming it home at 18:15.
The Sharks rearranged three of their four lines for the game. Thornton skated with Hertl and Sheppard; Pavelski centered Wingels and John McCarthy; and Desjardins was with Freddie Hamilton and Mike Brown.
The Sharks busted out of an offensive funk, after scoring just three total goals in the last three games. They still managed to win two of those, with a 1-0 shootout win in Detroit and a 2-0 blanking of Montreal on Saturday, and are 3-1-0 on a five-game road swing.
San Jose has won seven of its last eight games against Ottawa, including both this season.
The Sharks and Senators each finished 0-for-3 on the power play. Wingels’ shorthanded goal was San Jose’s second of the season.
Stalock notched his second career win and first since Feb. 1, 2011 with 38 saves. His best stop came on Milan Michalek on a two-on-one shorthanded rush in the second period.
Starter Antti Niemi had played every minute of every game prior to Sunday.
A shaky Anderson fell to 4-3-2, allowing five goals on 29 shots.
Matt Nieto was a late scratch with a hand injury suffered from blocking a shot. He took warmups, but missed his first game of the season. The 20-year-old rookie could return by Wednesday's game in Los Angeles.
Brent Burns and Dan Boyle remained out, although Boyle could also return against the Kings. Burns’ status is less clear, although he’s not expected to be out long-term despite missing his fourth straight.
Brown played his second game with the Sharks after sitting out Saturday in Montreal.
The Sharks returned to the Bay Area immediately after the game, and conclude their five-game road swing in Los Angeles on Wednesday. San Jose hosts the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday to open a three-game homestand.