Saturday night was all right for Joe Pavelski.
The Sharks winger was a key figure in a much-needed 3-0 win over Dallas on Saturday, scoring two goals to put himself at 31 on the season, a career high. Pavelski also moved atop the league leaderboard by scoring his first goal just 58 seconds into the game — it was his fifth this season scored inside the first two minutes of a game, the most in the NHL.
As you’d expect, the Sharks were full of praise for Pavelski…albeit rather unusual praise. Check out Joe Thornton telling CSN Bay Area how Pavelski’s a “dirty player” (in a good way!):
The “I meant it in a good way!” praise continued when San Jose head coach Todd McLellan took the podium.
“[Pavelski’s] a little bit like Gumby,” McLellan told NHL.com. “He slithers into spots. His sense of timing is really good. We talk about going to the net, but arriving at the net at the right time is probably a little more important than always going to the net. [He] has that knack. He has a great hockey sense. He genuinely wants to improve his game. He looks for ways to do it, he studies it. And then playing with his linemates (Thornton and Logan Couture) certainly helps.”
The one nickname San Jose might want to consider for Pavelski is “Mr. Clutch.” In a year where scoring is down across the board — San Jose has 206 goals this year compared to last year’s 243 — Pavelski’s emerged as the team’s goalscoring leader, and has scored seven times in San Jose’s last nine games.