The San Jose Sharks find themselves firmly in control of their first round series against the Vancouver Canucks after an absolute trouncing in Game 3. Their second half surge has continued into the postseason as they lead the series by a 3-0 count.
While much of the attention has fallen on folks like Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau, the best player for the Sharks in the playoffs might just be Joe Pavelski. He’s flown under the radar as one of the best offensive players for the Sharks and has been a force in three games in the postseason.
Pavelski had a fine regular season, in terms of his performance. He disappeared a bit during that stretch where the Sharks couldn’t do anything right offensively, but other than that, he’s been incredibly consistent. He finished the regular season with 31 points, playing in all 48 games.
He had a strong finish to the regular season, just as this Sharks club did overall. He had points in four of the last five regular season games for the Sharks, including a stretch of three consecutive games with at least one goal. Eleven of his points on the year came with the Sharks on the man advantage.
In three games so far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Pavelski has six points, including two goals and four assists. His Game 3 performance, in which the Sharks knocked the Canucks all over the ice by a 5-2 score, included a three point night from Pavelski.
He’s been a threat with the man advantage, with three of his six points coming on the power play. When he’s been in the faceoff circle, he’s been very difficult for the Canucks to solve at the dot, winning his draws at a rate of 59 percent.
All of that trade talk about Pavelski last summer and prior to the deadline proved to be nonsense. Which doesn’t come as any sort of surprise. He’s been terrific and will be a very large factor in whatever the Sharks are able to achieve this postseason.