The San Jose Sharks defeated the New York Rangers by the final of 9-2 at the SAP Center in San Joseas once again the Sharks displayed their high-powered offense. You know it’s a good night when the crowd was chanting “We want 10!” with five minutes left to go in the game. It was that kind of night.
In a game dominated by the San Jose Sharks, it was actually the New York Rangers who struck first just 3:27 into the game on a 2-man advantage. The goal was scored by Brad Richards who fired a shot from the blue-line with forward Ryan Callahan in front providing a screen. Unfortunately for the Rangers, however, their lead would not last long.
Less than a minute later the Sharks scored their first of the game, and first short-handed goal of the season, when Marc Edouard-Vlasic took a shot from the point and beat Henrik Lundqvist. The goal was setup by Joe Pavelski who was relentless on the forecheck and created the turnover.
Then came the onslaught that was led by none other than rookie Tomas Hertl. By the time he scored his fourth and final goal he had the crowd giving him a standing ovation. For those that missed it, here is your early goal of the year candidate. This kid is pure skill. Is it too early to say Calder?
His first career hat trick in only his third NHL game overshadows a great night for another rookie, California native Matt Nieto. Nieto notched his first NHL assist on San Jose’s second goal of the night. He then proceeded to score his first career goal for the Sharks’ third tally of the night and got a second assist to get to three points.
Oh by the way, Joe Pavelski and Jason Demers each has three assist nights as well. In fact, all but four Sharks tallied at least a point.
Also lost in the plethora of goals was Rangers’ starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist getting chased after he allowed four goals in a period and a half. His replacement, Marty Biron, ended up faring worse and allowed five of his own.
To add insult to injury, New York’s top forward Rick Nash also left the game early due to an ‘undisclosed injury’. That injury could well be a concusssion when Brad Stuart elbowed Nash early in the first period along the boards. Stuart received a two minute penalty for the infraction, which ultimately led to the Ranger’s first goal of the game.
Throughout the game the Sharks dominated play all over the ice, and besides the rookies, I was impressed with their ability to remain defensively sound (for the most part) and keep their foot on the gas. Last season that would not have happened, and this team is clearly leaps and bounds ahead of last season’s squad. The Sharks also scored twice on the power play and once short-handed, so all facets of the game are working right now, including special teams.
Right now they look as scary as we have ever seen them, but be warned. We are only in game three, and the NHL season is a marathon, not a sprint. The Sharks learned that last year after they won seven games in a row to start the season. For now though, the Sharks organization and fans can enjoy this fast-paced, high-quality hockey that this team has been capable of for years now.