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Stalock has 38 saves, Sharks stop Senators

The SportsXchange

OTTAWA -- San Jose Sharks backup goalie Alex Stalock had to wait until his fifth year of pro hockey to make his first NHL start. When the chance finally came Sunday at Ottawa's Canadian Tire Centre, he was naturally more than ready.

Stalock stopped 38 shots to lead the San Jose to a 5-2 victory over the Senators, giving the Sharks their third win in the last of a four-game road trip.

"Everybody kind of asked me that. ...I had a fan in Montreal who asked me when I was going to play," said Stalock, a 26-year-old from Minnesota who the Sharks took in the fourth round of the 2005 NHL entry draft. "I mean, you look at the guy (Antti Niemi) here we have in front of me. He's arguably one of the best goalies in the world right now.

"It was good (to get the win). It was at the end of a road trip and it was going to be a good road trip if we didn't win, but it was a great finish to get the win tonight.

"We won the special teams game tonight," added Stalock. "That was a big part of it as well."

Neither team scored on their three power plays, but San Jose had a shorthanded effort by Tommy Wingels that proved to be the winner in the first period. Tomas Hertl, Andrew Desjardins, James Sheppard and Joe Pavelski also scored for the Sharks, who held a 2-0 lead 6:35 into the game.

Erik Karlssson and Marc Methot had the Ottawa goals.

"We had the puck in their zone for a little bit and they came down, their first chance, we had the breakdown and it's in our net," said Senators goalie Craig Anderson, who was tested 29 times by the Sharks marking the first time San Jose has been outshot this season. "That's just kind of the way things are going right now for us. We make a mistake and it ends up in our net. I'm not sure how you changed that. Obviously, you need a little luck. But at the same time you've got to limit the amount of mistakes you make."

Having to back-to-back games didn't bother the San Jose Sharks, who completed a perfect weekend by winning their second game in less than 24 hours Sunday.

San Jose blanked the Montreal Canadiens 2-0 Saturday night and now has an NHL-leading 21 points with a 10-1-1 record. The loss was the second in a row for the Senators, who are now 4-5-2.

"It was nice to get those first two goals to get us off to a good start," said Sharks captain Joe Thornton. "Back-to-back nights, it's tough to get going, but getting a lead early was huge."

The Sharks took a 3-2 lead into the third before Sheppard gave them a cushion with his first of the season on a shot off the post 1:29 after the second intermission. Pavelski increased the count when the puck went into a wide open side off his skate at the 7:59 mark of the third.

Methot had the only goal of the second period when he blasted a slap shot to the top corner over Stalock's catching mitt from the point. It was Methot's first of the season and it came with the Sharks about to get a penalty on a delayed call.

"At the time it felt pretty good," Methot said of his goal. "It shortened their lead. Obviously, when the game ends the way it does, people tend to forget about it and just pay attention to that bad loss."

Hertl opened the scoring with his eighth of the season, on San Jose's second shot of the game. Three Senators were to blame. After captain Jason Spezza failed to clear the puck out of the zone, defenseman Joe Corvo had to bounce over his stick before Hertl's shot was deflected by blue liner Jared Cowen.

Desjardins made it 2-0 for the visitors with his first of the season at the 6:35 mark, and again the Senators were guilty of shoddy defensive play.

Karlsson cut into the lead almost five minutes later when he rifled a slap shot from the point that Stalock could not see, as Senators winger Cory Conacher provided the screen.

"We're giving up too many goals," said Senators captain Jason Spezza. "We have to start giving up less goals, whether by tightening things up or holding on to the puck more, Whatever it is, we just have to figure out a way to give up less goals."

NOTES: Senators LW Clarke MacArthur missed the game with an undisclosed "minor" injury. MacArthur, the only top-six forward on the team without a goal this season, has five assists in 10 games and, entering the day, had Ottawa's best plus-minus at plus-6. "He's been a very consistent player," said coach Paul MacLean. "I think after we play 82 games we're going to find out he's going to have plenty of goals, points and statistics we're going to like." ... Senators C Jean-Gabriel Pageau took MacArthur's spot in the lineup. Pageau had been a healthy scratch the previous three games. ... Senators D Patrick Wiercioch was in the lineup after missing two games as a healthy scratch. He replaced D Eric Gryba. ... The Sharks have not lost in Ottawa since Dec. 19, 2002. This was only San Jose's fourth visit over that span. ... Sharks D Dan Boyle missed his sixth consecutive game with a concussion. Coach Todd McLellan said the veteran could return Wednesday in Boston. ... Sharks rookie LW Tomas Hertl entered the day in a six-game goal-less slump. Hertl began the season with seven goals in his first five games. "It's virtually impossible to keep the pace that he started with and the energy he's had," McLellan said before the game. "Has he hit the wall or is it just reality? People know who he is now so the matchups are a little bit different. He's playing through that."
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