The power play may have been the main focus of the Sharks’ Thursday night victory over the Sabres, but Team Teal wasn’t the only team with multiple chances on the man advantage.
Buffalo spent their fair share of time on the power play, particularly in the latter portion of the first frame when the teams were trading off penalties. But even when Jack Eichel and the Sabres’ top power play unit was gaining momentum, the Sharks’ penalty kill robbed them of capitalizing on their opportunities.
Martin Jones had a front row seat to view how the penalty kill performed.
“We knew when to pressure the puck, and knew when to sit back and get in lanes and block shots,” the starting goaltender said after the game.
Jones himself made some of his best saves of the evening, most notably when the Sharks came off the kill in the last two minutes of the first frame when a save on Jason Pominville resulted in Jones laying on his back to stop a flurry of Buffalo’s shots finding the back of the net.
“He was solid and bailed guys out when (Buffalo) had opportunities,” Joe Pavelski complimented Jones after the game.
This rendition of the Sharks' penalty kill has high standards set for itself. The Sharks' kill ranked second overall in the league last season at 84.4 percent -- far superior to its toughest opponents like the Vegas Golden Knights or the LA Kings. That same caliber of kill made an appearance on Thursday evening.
And although the Sharks likely want to spend less time in the penalty box than they have over the last two games, knowing the penalty kill is firing on all cylinders has to give them confidence, especially going up against its next opponent.
The Sharks play against the Islanders, who have four power play goals in six games played. While that may not look so intimidating on paper, New York’s power play already found a way through the Sharks penalty kill during San Jose’s visit last. Halting New York’s power play can give the Sharks’ kill a boost before it heads on the road next week – where they’ve given up a power play goal in three out of five games.
The Sharks rematch with the Islanders takes place Saturday at 7:30 p.m.