Top 5 takeaways from Sharks' 3-0 start to season
Strong out the gate
The Sharks couldn’t have drawn up a better start to their season. Attempting to rebound from last year’s dysfunction, there’s a whole lot to be optimistic about after one week...
5) Kings look bad; really bad
It’s obviously way too early to write off the Kings (they won it all in 2012 and 2014), but there’s no denying that they have some major issues to work out now that they’re 0-3 and have been outscored 12-2. Los Angeles saw some key veterans depart in guys like Jarret Stoll and Justin Williams, while pending free agent Anze Kopitar has still not signed a new contract. If the Kings do fall out of the race, it would make the Sharks’ quest to get back to the postseason that much easier.
4) Improved penalty kill
One of the main areas of focus for Peter DeBoer was fixing the Sharks’ 25th ranked penalty kill from last season. So far, so good, as the Sharks have killed off all 11 opposition advantages. Paul Martin, a key penalty killer for just about his entire career, has come as advertised. He leads the Sharks in 3:14 per game shorthanded.
3) Brent Burns has been outstanding
After the first period of Tuesday’s game in Washington, one scout remarked to me that Brent Burns “looks like a different player from last year.” It’s true. The Sharks were wise to pair Burns immediately with Paul Martin, and Burns has been outstanding on both ends of the ice. His breaking up of a three-on-one rush by swiping the puck away from the Caps' Evgeny Kuznetsov in the first period on Tuesday was a thing of beauty, and a good example of the type of play that just didn’t happen last season from Burns on that end of the ice.
2) Scoring from everywhere
The Sharks already have at least one point from 15 of the 18 skaters that have suited up, including nine different players that have scored a goal. Against the Capitals on Tuesday, it was even-strength goals in the second period by Mike Brown and Tomas Hertl that allowed San Jose to cruise to a 5-0 win. Forward depth looks like a real strong point for this team after several poor seasons in that area, and keep in mind last year’s top rookie Melker Karlsson hasn’t even played yet.
1) Martin Jones looks like the real deal
No NHL goalie has been better through the first week of the season than Martin Jones, who leads the league in goals-against average (0.33) and save percentage (.987). Since allowing a goal on the first shot he ever faced in a Sharks sweater, Jones has made 77 straight saves, and is just 44 seconds away from setting a new franchise shutout streak. Alex Stalock holds the current mark of 178:11.