The San Jose Sharks enjoyed a week free of travel, hosting all three of their games at the Shark Tank. They won two matches and on the whole, played much better than they did the week before.
Despite receiving little in the way of offense from the likes of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski, the Sharks managed to edge out a 2-1 overtime win over the highly-talented Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday and a 3-2 win over the speedy Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
Tommy Wingels deserves most of the credit. The 25-year-old winger registered three points in three games this week, including two goals. Wingels potted the overtime game-winner against Chicago and sealed Friday’s win over the Blue Jackets with a goal late in the third period.
The Illinois native was the difference between victory and defeat in both contests. His play this week demonstrates the importance of scoring depth as he managed to step up his play just as the club’s top players were in severe offensive slumps. Thornton and Marleau only tallied one point each this week, while Pavelski went scoreless. A team needs goals in order to win, and Wingels provided them.
In 54 games this season, Wingels has a career-high 12 goals and 30 points. He’s been a key piece of San Jose’s top-six in the absence of injured forwards Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl while still providing the grit, tenacity and physicality expected of him when he’s in his usual bottom-six role.
The Sharks skate into the Olympic break ranked fourth in the Western Conference with a record of 37-16-6. They’ve won six of their last 10 games and trail the no. 1 ranked Anaheim Ducks by just five points. San Jose will resume play on Feb. 27 when they face the Philadelphia Flyers.