Can Sharks build off best offensive game in five seasons?
Everything that wasn't clicking through three games for the San Jose Sharks finally clicked in that big 8-2 win in Philadelphia. Was it enough to get the Sharks' offense rolling for good?
I believe the best thing that could have happened to San Jose to start the 2018-19 season was a long road trip. The Sharks began the season at home before hitting the road for five games in nine days. For a team searching for some cohesion, the timing was spot on.
Time away from the comforts of home can bring a team closer together and the Sharks overall play on the ice seems to support that theory.
The eight goals in Philly was the most by a Sharks team since a 9-2 win over the NY Rangers in March of 2013. It was a night when the puck luck was more lucky than usual. Sometimes that all a team needs to get going and that certainly was the case a couple nights ago.
I was especially encouraged by the goal scorers. Joe Pavelski potted a pair. Logan Couture opened the scoring with his first goal of the season. Evander Kane scored another goal, his team-leading fourth. Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier and Barclay Goodrow each scored a goal. The power play scored twice and the penalty kill chipped in with one of its own. All good stuff.
Aaron Dell was solid (as I expected) and moved one step closer to taking that starting job from Martin Jones. I'm serious about this. If Jones continues to stink he won't be able to hold Dell off.
The only negative was that none of the offense came from those vaunted blue line weapons.
Does that change tonight? San Jose skates into the Big Apple to take on the Rangers. New York has been anything but good this season and are coming off an 8-5 loss in Carolina. The Rangers have allowed 14 goals through its first three games, including three power play goals in nine chances.
If I'm a Shark, I'm chomping at the bit.
What to watch for tonight:
- I fully expect another big night for the Sharks AND dare I say - Erik Karlsson's first goal of the season? In his career, Karlsson has two goals in 25 career games versus the Blue Shirts, but I like his chances to get another one tonight.
- I'd also like to see something from the enigma that is Joonas Donskoi. The 26-year-old has two assists in four games and I feel like I've been waiting for him to have a breakout season since he cracked the San Jose lineup. If he doesn't get it going soon I don't think we'll ever see him break out.
- Can the power play keep it going? As I mentioned above, The Rangers PK is at 66.7% and have looked worse than that. The Sharks can exploit this weakness, but will they?
- Dell is getting the start again tonight. Pete Deboer reiterated that Jones is his number one goalie, but I have to believe the leash is getting shorter. Higher expectations can only mean less patience with a leaky Jonesy.
Enjoy the game and thanks for reading,