The San Jose Sharks won again last night. They’re 12-2-3 in their last 17. Among the teams they beaten during that stretch: Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago, and Tampa Bay.
Perhaps it’s time the hockey world started paying attention to these guys. Because it’s been crickets, mostly.
“It’s a veteran group, and right now, there’s a real good confidence level,” coach Pete DeBoer told reporters after last night’s 4-2 victory in Tampa. “We’re feeling like we can win every game that we’re playing.”
This is no smoke-and-mirrors trick either. The Sharks have been among the NHL’s top puck-possession teams in the new year. Combine that with the solid goaltending of Martin Jones and you get a team that, in a relatively short span, has gone from outside the playoff picture to threatening the Kings for first place in the Pacific Division.
Undoubtedly, the return of Logan Couture has helped, since the Sharks can now boast Joe Thornton as a first-line center, Patrick Marleau as a second-line center, and Couture as a third-line center. Not many teams have that kind of depth down the middle. And that’s without mentioning All-Star sniper Joe Pavelski, whose 26 goals are the seventh-most in the league.
Supporting the forward group is a quality top-four defense of Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Justin Braun, and Paul Martin. There’s also been speculation GM Doug Wilson may bolster the back end before the trade deadline.
The Sharks’ next game is tomorrow in Sunrise. After that they play Friday in Carolina, before finishing their road trip Monday and Wednesday in St. Louis (on NBCSN) and Colorado (on NBCSN), respectively.
“All four lines have been producing throughout this stretch, and that’s how deep our team is,” Thornton said. “It shows every night any line can step up and be the game-changer and win games for us. It’s been fun to be a part of.”