SAN JOSE – The Sharks started a long and important homestand with their most convincing win to date, 4-0 over New Jersey on Monday. Three takeaways from the game…
1 – Captain’s line come through
Sharks coach Pete DeBoer has been shuffling his lines much more frequently than this time last year, when the team was also struggling to find its consistency. That’s partly due to injuries, but it’s primarily because the offense just hasn’t gotten going.
The latest version of the top line was particularly effective. Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau – the current captain, and two former captains – played together for the first time this season for an entire game, and all were strong.
In just 19 games, Thornton and Pavelski have started with five different wingers. Perhaps Marleau can stick there for a little while.
“Usually if you win a couple games in a row things stick, so hopefully we can get on a groove and Patty stays with us, for sure,” Thornton said.
Pavelski said: “When guys show up to work the way they did, skate, protect the puck, put it in good spots the way we did tonight – it leads to a pretty clean game.”
2 – Jones, defense strong
Martin Jones wasn’t tested a whole lot, but managed to record his second shutout of the season and 15th of his career with 26 saves. He has started all seven of the Sharks’ games at home, with a 5-2 record, 1.58 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.
“We did a good job in front of the net,” Jones said. “Obviously some power play stuff [they] had some chances, but I thought we were really good in front of the net. I saw a lot of pucks. I wasn't asked to do too much tonight."
DeBoer said: “He was solid. There were some sneaky good chances by them and I think he makes some of the saves look easy that are tougher than they look.”
The Sharks continue to lead the league in fewest shots allowing per game, at just 25.7. They’ve allowed more than 30 shots just twice all season.
3 – O’Regan makes his debut
Sharks rookie Danny O’Regan made his NHL debut as fourth line center, finishing with one shot on goal and going 7-for-13 in the faceoff circle.
"I thought he did a good job,” DeBoer said. “Great in the faceoff circle, which is something that we've struggled with. For his first game I thought he jumped right in and did a good job."
Just like they did with Kevin Labanc, the Sharks made O’Regan take a few laps all by himself at the beginning of warmups.
“I think when Jumbo tells them to go do it, they're not going to say no,” Couture joked.