Sharks offense in heating up; have they turned a corner?
After an agonizingly slow start, the San Jose Sharks have won five in a row and we can actually see a ray of light flickering at the end of the tunnel.
With another big win over a Pacific Division foe on Thursday night, the Sharks improved to 9-10-1 on the season and have climbed all the way back from the dead. They remain 7th in the division but they are moving to within striking distance of normalcy for this team.
Since hotting rock-bottom, in late October/early November the Sharks have bounced back with five consecutive solid wins and the offense has sprung to life with 21 goals in that span.
In Thursday nights win over Anaheim, San Jose fell behind twice before kicking into another gear and taking the game over.
Brent Burns gave the Sharks their first lead when he skated up the middle and snapped his fifth goal of the season past John Gibson. It was a power-play goal and it turned the tide of the game for good.
Special teams really were the story of the night. Each team scored on the power play, but Evander Kane came up with the games' biggest goal on a Sharks penalty kill.
On a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush, Kane tipped home a Logan Couture feed minutes after Burns' goal. The tally doubled the Sharks lead and essentially put the game to bed.
I was in the building and I was impressed with San Jose's poise. I thought they played a solid all-around game and looked fully engaged throughout. I do believe Anaheim had a chance to take the contest over, but Martin Jones did just enough to keep his team in it until they found their legs.
This looks like an entirely different team than the one that started the season like a raging dumpster fire. I have hope that the post-Pavelski hangover is officially over.
The Sharks aren't out of the water yet (pun intended). The rest of November's schedule is a tough one. Besides a couple of games versus Los Angeles and one with Detroit, San Jose has games against Edmonton, The Islanders, Vegas, Winnipeg, and Arizona.
And if they somehow come through that gauntlet unscathed, December opens with five consecutive buzzsaws in Washington, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Florida, and Nashville.
Here are a few Shark bites to chew on before the next game.
- San Jose is 11-0 in the last eleven games Radim Simek has appeared in, including 5-0 this season. There is no evidence that SJ is more dominant with him on the ice. It's just a weird anomaly.
- Brent Burns had one goal in 13 games before scoring goals in each of the last two games.
- Logan Couture has collected multi-points in three of the last four games. Prior to that, the captain had just one multi-point game this season and he's currently on pace for 12 goals. Last time he had less than 15 goals was his rookie season when he scored five goals in 25 games.
- Evander Kane has five goals and three assists in his last seven games. In 17 games this season (missed 3 games to suspension), the 28-year-old has 12 goals and 6 assists and is on pace for 56 goals and 83 points - each would be career highs....duh.
The Sharks' next game is Saturday against Detroit. Can they make it six in a row?
Thanks for reading,