SAN JOSE – The Sharks reached six goals on Saturday night the way teams typically reach six goals – by getting contributions from players that don’t often put the puck in the net, in addition to a few fortunate bounces, in a 6-3 triumph over Detroit.
While they’re still having some issues defensively and in their own zone with two of their top six defensemen injured, and goalie Martin Jones is giving up some concerning rebounds lately, those matters were masked at least one night by the Sharks becoming the final team in the NHL this season to score more than four times in a single game.
This was the offensive explosion they’ve been waiting for.
“It’s been awhile since we scored that many,” said Joe Pavelski, who had two of them. “Seen a few articles on that. It’s [been] tough to get five this year.”
Patrick Marleau, who also found the net, said: "That's not going to happen every night, but when it does, it feels good."
While Marleau’s correct that it won’t happen every night, the fact that it hadn’t happened in any night was surprising, giving San Jose’s offensive prowess from a year ago. Perhaps they can build off of Saturday’s game, though, and even Thursday’s loss to Minnesota, when they put in four against one of the league’s stingier clubs.
“It’s nice to score, but I felt like we were scoring in the Wild game,” Brent Burns said.
Along with the two from Pavelski and one from Marleau, also getting on the board for San Jose was Mirco Mueller, who rocketed a slap shot from the point in the first period to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead they would hold the rest of the night. Mikkel Boedker, a healthy scratch on Thursday, had a Burns shot swipe his jersey before sailing past goalie Petr Mrazek in the third period, pushing the San Jose lead to 5-1.
Mueller’s goal was his first in more than two years, and a span of 43 games while he’s been up and down between the NHL and AHL. Boedker, meanwhile, hadn’t recorded a goal since Nov. 1, going 28 games without one and culminating in him being a healthy scratch on Thursday.
"[It was] nice, some of the guys who scored,” Pete DeBoer said. “Boedker getting one, and Pav getting hot tonight. Hopefully that leads to more of the same.”
Boedker said: “Got to keep going to the right areas, and good things happen. Tonight it went off my jersey there, and it's always good to get on the board."
The third line, of Marleau, Joel Ward and Chris Tierney was the Sharks’ best early on. They were on the ice for Mueller’s goal at 17:29 of the first period, as well as Marleau’s just a minute-and-a-half later, increasing the Sharks’ lead to 3-1 at the intermission.
Marleau, in particular, has been regularly finding the scoresheet lately. He has goals in three of his past five games, and has six goals and four assists in his last 13 games, overall.
“I think Patty Marleau's playing at a really high level right now,” DeBoer said. “I like that line. I think Tierns and Ward complement him and his speed, and how he's playing. Those guys have been real solid."
Marleau said: “We got in on the forecheck right away, turned some pucks over, had some good pressure and ended up with a couple goals. It was a good start for our line."
Marleau’s shifting from the top line to the third line before the Wild game has seemingly given the Sharks a more balanced offenive attack, as Timo Meier’s promotion to the Pavelski-Joe Thornton line has also had a positive effect. Meier even recorded his first NHL assist on Pavelski’s first goal of the night, digging the puck out from behind the net and pushing it to Burns on the point.
While the offense was nice, the Sharks would have taken a win in any fashion. They had lost three straight entering the night, falling out of first place in the division in the process. They also have three critical games next week against Edmonton, Calgary and St. Louis, and nine of their next 10 games before the All-Star break are against Western Conference opponents.
"Everyone else around us is winning games. We wanted to get this back on track,” DeBoer said.