Sharks with two scintillating wins over the weekend, both of the comeback variety. While Saturday night’s affair against the Connor McDavids (Oilers for the uninitiated) was a slug fest with 10 goals between the two protagonists, the win against the Anahymens was particularly sweet. More on that later.
Saturday’s game against Edmonton had all the makings of a rout initially as the Sharks struck for three goals in the first and could have had more if not for Al Montoya’s timely saves. The second period was horrid for Aaron Dell and San Jose as the Oilers struck for three and then opened the third with a goal to take the lead.
Normally, the Sharks would not be able to retake the lead especially after giving up 4 unanswered. The Oil smelled blood and were coming hard and often. Yes I know that sounds vaguely sexual, but there was nothing sexual, just a gut check for San Jose. Viscerally speaking D Joakim Ryan was the gutsiest of the bunch, scoring the winning goal with about two minutes left and Captain America added a rather skillful empty netter, Sharks win 6-4.
Which brings us to Sunday night and the hated Ducks. Anahymen took an early lead and scored again in the first but it was disallowed because of an offsides, challenged perfectly by Coach Pete DeBoer. San Jose, having played less than 24 hours before was struggling to find their legs and their game but played a much better 2nd period, outshooting the Ducks at one point 18-2. They also held them without a shot for close to 15 minutes.
The third period saw the Anahymens score another goal and things were looking grim. What made this game different was San Jose’s composure in the face of a relentless smacking around by the Ducks. One hit after questionable hit after another, some late, some penalties, some downright f ed up. At 9:09, the Sharks broke through an a goal by Couture, drawing them within one goal at 2-1.
The highly skilled smacking and stickhandling continued down to the wire as the Sharks got chance after chance on John Gibson. Finally, at 19;07 on a hard slap pass by Couture to the front of the net, Timo Maier banged it in. The Pond went silent as the Sharks celebrated.
OT was scoreless and in the shootout, Logan Couture scored the winner on only the Sharks second shot. Martin Jones looked more solid than he has in two months and stopped both Ducks attempts.
What can we conclude from this display of bravado and grit? Young guys playing great in pressure situations and in the absence of key personnel. That was great to see for the fans, and Logan Couture wasn’t so bad either with a goal, an assist and the shootout winner. Hope springs eternal right?
Next up tonight, the Arizona Coyotes.