While the Sharks looked good for a majority of the game on Thursday they were definitely given a scare by the surging Kings in the third period. Up 4-1 San Jose saw their lead dissipate quickly and hung on for dear life in the final three minutes of the game with Niemi standing on his head to earn the win. Here’s hoping the Sharks do not play with fire again if they find themselves in the same situation.
During the game, we saw a few great things from the Sharks that we have not seen in a while, so that is promising.
First and foremost, they actually scored some goals! Four to be exact. And like I said in the post-game (from what either Randy or Drew said during the broadcast) that was the first time since January 27th (21 games) that they Sharks scored that many goals.
Another great thing we saw last night was how awesome Brent Burns is at hockey, and specifically as a forward. In two games he has two goals and an assist, but that is just scratching the surface. He has wreaked havoc on opposing defensemen who cannot handle his rare combination of speed, strength and wanton disregard for his own safety. It was a beautiful thing to watch and hopefully his play inspires the other guys to play just as well. It would be especially nice to see if he lit a bit of a fire under Ryane Clowe considering Burns is playing the power forward position much better than he is right now.
Also, just to throw in a statistic of how well the Sharks were with him on the ice consider this; they had five scoring chances for and one against when he was on the ice and were outchance 14-7 when he was not on the ice.
In other great news Martin Havlat has been skating with the team over the last few practices and is getting closer and closer to coming back. There is a chance he comes back for tonight’s game but at this point that is only speculation. Still great news to hear he is getting back to full health. It will be nice to have the whole team back together and maybe finally start to gel as a team.
Although the Sharks still struggled both at the beginning and end of the game, they looked better than they have in quite a while so that is a start. They still have a long way to go, but another win tonight against their bitter divison rivals and the reigning Stanley Cup Champions would be a great confidence booster for the rest of the season. Tonight’s game should be another great one between the teams and expect more chipiness. I would not be surprised if a fight or two broke out as well, preferably between the two captains.