The San Jose Sharks snapped their four-game losing streak on Sunday afternoon with a thoroughly convincing 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils.
Highlighting that win was another dominant performance from Brent Burns as he continues to put together one of the finest seasons we have seen from a defenseman in years. Maybe ever.
Let’s talk about that season a little bit, because he should not only be the No. 1 front-runner for the Norris Trophy, he is also playing his way into MVP consideration and the race for the Art Ross Trophy.
With his two goals on Sunday Burns is now up to 24 on the season, which gives him an 11-goal lead over Shea Weber (13), who is currently the second-leading goal scorer among the NHL’s defensemen. That current total has him on a pace for 34 goals this season. Keep in mind that no defenseman has scored 34 goals in a season since Kevin Hatcher did it during the 1992-93 season.
The only other defenseman to score even 30 goals in a season since then is Mike Green (31 in 68 games during the 2009-10 season).
But the goal total is only the tip of the iceberg for Burns’ offensive dominance this season.
- With 59 total points he is not only 14 points ahead of Erik Karlsson, the No. 2 point producing defenseman in the league, he is only two points behind Connor McDavid in the overall scoring race. Bobby Orr is the only defenseman to have ever led the league in scoring in a single season
- After recording nine shots on goal on Sunday, he is up to 228 shots on goal for the season, giving him the league lead. He has 16 more shots at the moment than Alex Ovechkin, the player that has led the league in shots in 10 of the 11 seasons he has played in the league. Since the start of the 1967-68 season, when shots on goal were officially tracked, the only two defensemen to ever lead the league have been Orr and Ray Bourque. Bourque did it three times, most recently during the lockout shortened 1994-95 season.
- He is currently on pace for more than 30 goals and 80 points this season, something no defenseman has done since Paul Coffey in 1988-89. Along with Coffey, the only others to do it are Orr, Bourque, Denis Potvin and Doug Wilson.
After Sunday the Sharks hold a five-point lead over the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division.