SAN JOSE – In one of the more exciting finishes of the season the Sharks managed to squeak past the Islanders on Friday afternoon, 3-2. Three takeaways from the game…
1 – Fighting through some lethargy
The Sharks didn’t play a perfect game. Far from it. But considering they had spent the holiday at home followed by an afternoon start, and were facing a non-rival between meetings with the Blackhawks and Ducks, this one had “trap game” written all over it.
The last place Islanders, perhaps fighting for their coach’s job, came out with the early energy and quickly took a 1-0 lead. Patrick Marleau indicated that might have been a good wakeup call for the Sharks to get going.
“Sometimes when the other team comes at you like that, you're in the game,” he said. “You know things better start turning the other way, or it's going to be a long night."
Joe Pavelski said: “We had a day off yesterday. It was nice. You don’t get many family days. … It’s just good to see the guys really show up and work through it. Whether your legs feel good or not, everyone knew we had a game today.”
2 – Dell instilling confidence
The Sharks’ front office is likely exhaling a bit with the way Aaron Dell, who had never played in the NHL before earning the backup role in camp, has performed in limited action. He’s allowed two or fewer goals in each of them, beating the Islanders twice and deserving better in a 1-0 loss in Carolina about two weeks ago.
Dell was asked if he feels he’s now established himself as an NHL goalie, or he’s still trying to prove himself.
“I think it’s concentrating on proving myself,” said the 27-year-old. “Trying to be as best as I can. They want to win every game, so when I get that chance I need to come in and be as good as I can.”
Pete DeBoer sees resemblances between Dell and starter Martin Jones.
"[Dell] does have a great demeanor for a backup goalie. He works hard. He's composed. There's no panic. I think our team feeds off of that. I know we do with Jonsey, and Deller has a similar type personality."
3 – Tierney, Marleau picking it up
Two players picking up their offensive games of late are Chris Tierney and Patrick Marleau. Tierney has one point in each of his last three games, nicely setting up Joe Pavelski for a goal against the Islanders, while Marleau has a goal in two of his last three games since going up to the top line.
Regarding his assist, Tierney said: “I was going to shoot first but then I kind of saw him. When you get a 40-goal scorer coming down the wing you’re probably not going to shoot if it’s me too many times. Pretty easy decision to pass to him.”