SAN JOSE- It’s a time for cautious optimism. This is merely a good start, nothing more, nothing less. The San Jose Sharks have come out of the gate finding ways to win each game, but, there is no reason to get overly excited. This is simply a positive early trend.
The Sharks rode a three-goal second period on opening night, Sunday in Calgary, to earn a 4-1 win. They tallied six times in the first stanza two nights later in Edmonton to spoil the Oilers party, 6-3. Two nights ago, they pulled another rabbit out of the hat, scoring four times in the final ten minutes and fifteen seconds to steal one away from the Phoenix Coyotes 5-3.
Don’t make too much of this…yet. It is still too early.
Coach Todd McLellan reflected, “Still inconsistencies throughout the night, but a lot of teams are like that right now.”
The Sharks struggled in Calgary during a first period in which the Flames nearly ran away with the game. Once the Sharks tallied the six first-period goals in Edmonton, they were shut out the rest of the way. On Thursday night, it seemed that they woke up from a slumber just in time to streak to the finish and blast the Coyotes out of the building.
Joe Thornton explained after the tilt with Phoenix, “We got into penalty problems there. We definitely did not want to go down 3-1 but we battled back, we competed, and we ended up winning.”
Talk about grasping a win from the jaws of defeat. San Jose surrendered a 3-1 lead before finally turning it around. Patrick Marleau notched two goals including the game winner with 1:53 to play. Thornton scored an empty-net goal with :02 left but also had three assists in the winning effort. Logan Couture had a goal and an assist on the night.
What looked to be a loss against a stingy Coyotes’ squad that locks things down once a late lead is earned turned into another sprint to the finish in which San Jose victimized their third opponent over the course of the first three games.
Teams like the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings, both thought to contend heavily for the Stanley Cup, have come out slow. New York is a paltry 1-3 while Los Angeles has lost all three of its games.
The prognosticators have cast San Jose aside. Too old, they say. Their best days are in the rear view mirror, they claim.
Their assertions may turn out to be accurate, but someone forgot to tell Thornton, Marleau, and Company.
Marleau has been especially effective. He leads the league with six goals. He has been named first-star of the game for all three contests. His two-goal-per-game average is not necessarily a feat that was expected.
Thornton is on fire. He notched his first goal Thursday night but complements it with a league leading eight assists. Right behind him is the other Joe. Pavelski has seven assists.
Furthermore, San Jose has averaged a league leading five goals a game through the first three. Thornton and Pavelski are big reasons for this.
Yes, Antii Niemi has started strong. San Jose will most certainly need strong goaltending.
Logan Couture has looked impressive. He will need to continue his scoring prowess.
However, it is all way too early. It is just a good start, that is all. There are tough games on the horizon against Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles and others, that will reveal the true mettle of this team.
Today’s game is a 1 p.m. matinee in San Jose. Their opponent, the Colorado Avalanche is a very efficient team. It will be the next interesting test.
For now, however, it is only three wins in the first three games. There is simply too much hockey yet to be played.
Jim Adams lives in Nevada City and is a regular contributor to The Union and a broadcaster for TouchDown Productions. Contact him at email@example.com.