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Sharks win fifth straight to start season

The SportsXchange

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The San Jose Sharks won another game Saturday. Now they're crossing their fingers they haven't lost rookie sensation Tomas Hertl in the process.

Brent Burns scored a tiebreaking goal at 7:08 of the third period as the Sharks beat Ottawa Senators 3-2 to join the Colorado Avalanche as the only two teams to start the season with five straight wins.

They accomplished the narrow win in which they outshot the visitors 50-23 even after losing the services of Hertl late in the second period. Hertl appeared to get struck in the head and did not return.

"It's tough seeing a young guy like that go off," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said. "I'm not sure if it's a head shot. Hopefully Tomas will be OK."

While Hertl was not available afterward, San Jose coach Todd McLellan said he didn't think the injury was serious, that me might skate during practice Sunday and hopes Hertl will play when the Sharks next play on Tuesday. McLellan said he was held out Saturday mostly as a precaution.

It was a Thornton pass from behind the goal line that found Burns, who scored his third goal of the season at 7:08 of the third period just one second after a San Jose power play expired.

"It was a great pass from Jumbo," Burns said. "That was in my wheelhouse, I wasn't going to miss an empty net."

The Senators, who rallied from an early 1-0 deficit, found themselves spending too much time trying to kill penalties.

"They're a great hockey team, especially here in San Jose," Ottawa's Jason Spezza said. "As advertised, they came out with a big start. Then we ran into penalty problems. It was a close game. A bounce here or there and who knows what might have happened. It's hard enough to come into these buildings. You can't take so many penalties."

The Sharks tied the score late in the second period on their first power play of the game as Patrick Marleau extended a points streak to five straight games when he backhanded a long rebound past Senators goalie Robin Lehner at 16:12, 62 seconds after former Sharks player Milan Michalek tripped Logan Couture.

"It was rolling so I just took a whack at it and it went in," Marleau said.

Less than a minute later, Hertl was locked in a battle with two Senators for the puck when he got caught with his head down as Clarke MacArthur stepped into him. Hertl dropped his gloves and stick and headed straight off and into the Sharks' locker room after removing his helmet as he exited the playing surface.

"I'd have to see the replay exactly to see if it's anything serious, but he's just a little shooken up," Marleau said.

The Sharks dominated early, scoring an early goal and registering nine of the first 11 shots of the game, but the Senators tilted the ice in the second half of the first period and scored twice to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.

"We need to sustain our play," Senators coach Paul MacLean said. "When we controlled play in the middle of the game we didn't sustain it and that's a concern. The last seven minutes of the first through the midway point of the second we played very well. Then we started turning the puck over and taking penalties. Against a team as experienced as that one, they are going to go after it."

Hertl scored his league-leading seventh goal 55 seconds after the opening faceoff. He poked a rebound past Lehner, who was getting his first start of the season, to cap a five-shot San Jose outburst at the outset.

Ottawa tied the score at 15:21 when Zack Smith crashed the slot to score his first goal of the season after Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin tossed the puck from the crease into prime scoring territory.

Sharks forward Eric Desjardins was sent off at 17:58 for a high stick at the Ottawa blue line and the Senators struck 33 seconds later for the go-ahead goal. Jason Spezza returned from missing a game because of a groin injury to make a perfect cross-ice feed through San Jose's penalty-killing box to Bobby Ryan, who beat Sharks goalie Antti Niemi high from the right circle.

"Even though we scored the first goal they came hard," Thornton said. "That's a real good team over there. They're fast, physical and I think their goalie played great."

NOTES: Lehner made his season debut as Ottawa opted to start its backup and save G Craig Anderson for Sunday's game in Anaheim. Anderson is 3-6 against San Jose, but that was while playing with Colorado. ... Sharks D Brad Stuart served the second of a three-game suspension. He will be eligible to return on Thursday when San Jose visits Dallas. The Sharks begin a stretch in St. Louis on Tuesday of playing six of seven games on the road. ... The Senators' season-opening six-game trip ends Tuesday in Phoenix. ... Asked his reaction to comments from Capitals coach Adam Oates talking about Hertl's fourth goal against the New York Rangers, general manager Doug Wilson told CSNBayArea.com, "I think he should worry about coaching his team and not worry about being a caretaker of the game. I would not allow our coaches to make comments about other team's players." ... Ottawa was without D Joe Corvo, who was struck in the area of his left eye during the morning skate. LW Matt Kassian also did not dress for Ottawa. ... San Jose's three scratches -- RW Adam Burish, RW Martin Havlat and RW Raffi Torres -- are injured.
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