San Jose Sharks 2010: Home Opener Spoiled By Familiar Foe

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San Jose Sharks 2010: Home Opener Spoiled By Familiar Foe
Thearon W, Henderson/Getty Images

It doesn't matter the team on the jersey, Dustin Byfuglien knows how to ruin a game for the Sharks.

The big 6'3", 250-pounder netted the winning goal with just over six minutes left in Saturday's home opener for the Sharks. It was a painful reminder for Sharks fans who saw Byfuglien net four goals in the Western Conference Finals, three of which were game-winners.

The game started well for the Sharks, though. Dany Heatley got his first goal of the year midway through the first period after a Patrick Marleau shot was deflected to Heatley in the crease. That goal was also Heatley's 300th of his career.

The Sharks would continue the scoring only 20 seconds later, when a blue-line shot from Torrey Mitchell was redirected by Ryane Clowe into the goal.

The Thrashers would get on the board early in the second period. On a Sharks power play, Atlanta's Andrew Ladd cleaned up a blocked shot in the crease and scored a short-handed goal. Atlanta would tie the game midway through the second when Anthony Stewart scored. 

The Sharks had multiple opportunities throughout the third. Logan Courture had a blocked shot and then raced down the ice for a breakaway opportunity, but was shut down by Thrasher goalie Chris Mason, who stopped 37 shots. Mason also made a spectacular save on a shot from Marleau that could have tied the game.

Later in the third, Atlanta would take the lead with Byfuglien's goal. They would add an insurance goal with Evander Kane's score.

The silver lining for the Sharks was the continued hot play of Ryane Clowe. He was the Sharks' leading scorer in Sweden and continued adding to his points total.

Another good sign was the play of Torrey Mitchell. Mitchell was never 100 percent last year after coming off a serious leg injury. Mitchell looked sharp—he had the speed and quickness we remember before he went down with the injury. 

What the Sharks need is to put some more goals in the back of the net. San Jose outshot Atlanta 38-27 and was all over the net. They also outplayed Atlanta from the face-off circle. If they make more of their opportunities, the Sharks offense will be in fine shape.

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