The beastly bearded Brent Burns is suddenly going through a scoring drought.
Already with 27 goals, which is remarkable for a defenseman in a league where in mid-March the loftiest individual goal totals have yet to eclipse 40, Burns is far and away the leader among blue liners in this category. Shea Weber is his closest competition in goals by a defenseman and he’s 11 back.
And yet, Burns hasn’t scored … in his last 11 games. (Gasp!)
His last goal: Feb. 18. He scored twice in that game, as part of a brief stretch that included five goals in three games.
But here’s the thing: While he hasn’t been scoring lately, the opportunities and shot totals haven’t really slowed down at all.
In this 11-game stretch, Burns has 43 shots on goal, including 14 in his last two games. As you might expect, especially because he’s still getting chances, no one in the Sharks organization seems overtly concerned.
“The messaging from us to him is not to worry about it,” Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer told the San Jose Mercury News. “Eight shots or 12 attempts or whatever he gets. He’s getting his looks. Those are going to go in. It’s one of those spells that he’s been in where the goalie has his number.
“Shots that would have gone in in the past maybe aren’t. Every goal scorer goes through that.”
So, to recap: Brent Burns is human after all.
He’ll look to bust this slump against the rival Anaheim Ducks tonight. San Jose has a six-point lead on Anaheim for top spot in the Pacific Division.