Reily the Hockey Dog has been very patient with the San Jose Sharks this season as they have struggled with consistency, especially at the Shark Tank where they have the worst home record of contending teams. On the road however, they are monsters! Winning their twentieth road game last night in a bit of a snoozer over the Panthers is none the less a great victory for a much maligned squad.
Joe Pavelski pots the winner in a shootout and Martin Jones continues his strong play, making several spectacular saves to preserve the tie to get to the shootout. Doug Wilson is looking like a genius for once as he spent a #1 draft choice to steal Jones from the Kings in a bizarre draft day deal.
Jonas Donskoi, the Finnish Elite league player of the year last year has quietly come out of nowhere to give the Sharks a legitimate threat whenever he is on the ice. He is a human highlight reel, especially in the shootout where he scored again tonight on a sick five hole move that left G Al Montoya scratching his head.
Kudos for the defense who are playing a very disciplined brand of shutdown hockey (Brent Burns excepted) as they buy into the DeBoer defensive system of separating the puck from players entering the offensive zone and turning it back the other way for prime scoring chances. Paul Martin has been $$$ for San Jose as he continues to be the defensively responsible member of the Burn/ Martin pairing at a +4.
I will caution Sharks fans not to get too excited that their hot stinky chum breath is on the back of the LA Kings neck, because we have seen great regular season play from the franchise in the past. However, the tweaks to the roster, the new coach, new goalie and the balanced scoring combined with stingy defense are making the Sharks fun to watch again.