San Jose Sharks show that early-season struggles are gone in win over Vegas

San Jose Sharks (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
San Jose Sharks (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The San Jose Sharks proved that their early-season struggles are officially a thing of the past in their thrilling 2-1 overtime victory over the Vegas Golden Knights.

The San Jose Sharks picked up a huge road victory over their arch-rivals, the Vegas Golden Knights, on Thursday night securing a 2-1 win on the heels of a clutch overtime goal from captain Logan Couture.

And in doing so, they’ve made it clear that their early-season issues are officially a thing of the past. The Sharks are back and primed to make another run at the postseason.

It’s been a rough season so far for the Sharks after the team got off to its worst start in recent memory. And that start was highlighted by two blowout losses to the Golden Knights in their first two games of the season.

The Sharks opened the season with a disappointing 4-1 loss on the road to Vegas`and followed that up with an even worse 5-1 defeat at home just two days later. And after two seasons worth of bad blood, it absolutely stung more that it came at the hands of Vegas.

The Sharks limped out of the starting gate to a 4-10-1 start playing uninspired hockey leaving many to question the moves made by general manager Doug Wilson in the offseason.

But San Jose managed to pick up a couple of much-needed victories against the lowly Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild to gain a little bit of momentum. That momentum would carry them to wins against the likes of Nashville and Edmonton to continue their winning streak.

With victories over the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings, the Sharks’ winning streak would reach six games before the team finally fell at the hands of the dominant Oilers who got their revenge.

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And facing a tough Golden Knights team on Thursday, the Sharks could have very well fallen into bad habits and put forth another dud of a performance erasing some of the progress that they had made.

Instead, the Sharks came out energized on the road and showed that they are a completely different team than the one that got manhandled earlier in the season.

They played much better 5-on-5 hockey, their defense was improved, and most of all, they were the beneficiaries of a standout game from goalie Aaron Dell. Dell was starting his first game since November 2nd but hardly showed any signs of rust.

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The 30-year-old made 37 saves on 38 opportunities including four in overtime to lead the Sharks to victory. This came at a crucial time for the veteran as the team had to have been considering alternatives at the backup goalie position given Dell’s struggles this season.

Now, that concern has been put aside.

Even playing without their second-leading scorer in Tomas Hertl who was sidelined with a lower-body injury, the Sharks played gritty, resilient hockey getting the best of their rivals.

Timo Meier scored the Sharks’ lone goal in regulation after inadvertently taking one off the board courtesy of a goalie interference call in the first period. Meier, much like the rest of the Sharks team, didn’t let their early struggles get the best of them.

And that right there might separate the Sharks from a few weeks ago with the current iteration of the team. The early-season Sharks would fall behind early and never recover.

But these Sharks, they don’t get rattled by early mistakes. They refuse to let early blunders dictate the outcome of their games and it has led to resilient victories like the one on Thursday night.

The Sharks are now back to 11-11-1 and sit tied with the Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks, just three points behind Vegas. As they continue to pile on wins, they continue to rise up the standings and put the early portion of the season behind them.

Next. San Jose Sharks win ugly and extend winning streak to six games. dark

The San Jose Sharks are officially back and each passing game puts their early-season woes further out of mind.