The Sharks opened the year with a solid effort against the Canucks, the same team they swept out of the opening round of last year’s playoffs. They out-shot Vancouver 35-22 and had seven takeaways to the Canucks’ zero.
In Saturday’s 4-1 win over Phoenix, even more things went well. The power play, which went a ghastly 0-for-8 against Vancouver (despite having extended time with a two-man advantage), rebounded to go 2-for-4 against the Coyotes. What’s more, San Jose had an even bigger disparity in shots — 51-23 — meaning the club has now out-shot opponents by 41 this season.
McLellan again reiterated he was happy with the style of play, but felt there was room for the Sharks to play even better.
“When we look at how we want to play, yes [we’re happy],” he said. “We want to be fast, we want to be hard, we want to be aggressive.
“Pretty supportive group right now, amongst each other, and that always happens when you’re winning.”
Part of this tempered enthusiasm could be due to last season. The Sharks opened the lockout-shortened campaign with a perfect 7-0-0 start, only to go 0-4-3 over their next seven.
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger