San Jose Sharks’ Offense Continues To Look Like Best In NHL
The San Jose Sharks got their 10th win of the 2013-14 season on Sunday, and they did so in the same way they’ve been winning most of their games – solid goaltending and a flurry of scoring. The only difference on Sunday was that it wasn’t star players getting pucks past Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson, but two players getting their first goals of the season and three other players continuing on with promising starts. The Sharks have a depth every other team in the league should envy, because if Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture aren’t beating you, Tomas Hertl, Tommy Wingels and Andrew Desjardins can be just as dangerous.
Desjardins and James Sheppard got their first goals of the season on Sunday, while Hertl netted his eighth. After a hot start to the season, the young Czech forward had only managed two assists in the last six games. Wingels’ third goal of the season came late in the first period (and shorthanded) and would prove to hold up as the game-winner. He had a career-high five goals last season and looks to be ready to improve even more this season. Joe Pavelski got his fourth goal of the season and now has 13 points in 12 games. All four of the “big four” forwards (Pavelski, Couture, Thornton, Marleau) are clicking at a point-per-game pace so far, but this Sharks team is far deeper and four more dangerous than that.
Antti Niemi got a rare night off, but Alex Stalock stopped 38 of 40 shots faced in his season debut. Niemi leads the league with nine wins, is tied for the league lead with two shutouts and has a top-five goals-against average. There’s little question that Niemi will start the bulk of games, but it’s nice for the Sharks to know they have a reliable backup if needed. The Sharks aren’t lacking in star power and that has helped them to a hot start, but on Sunday they served notice that they’re a deep, talented team that can beat any opponent on any given day.