SAN JOSE – Sharks fans were undoubtedly happy when they woke up on Monday morning and saw that Joe Pavelski was named one of the NHL’s Stars of the Week.
He deserved it, too. The captain has lit up the scoresheet all throughout San Jose's season-long six-game homestand, tallying a multi-point effort in four consecutive games dating back to a three-point effort against the Calgary Flames last Sunday. He registered nine points over those four games after tallying just seven points up to that point on the early season.
This isn’t to say Pavelski wasn’t getting good looks in the earlier part of the 2019 campaign – quite the opposite, actually. The difference through this homestand is that those looks are finding the back of the net.
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer told the media after Monday’s practice that Pavelski’s point streak is no surprise given how he “stuck with it” despite not depositing as many goals right at the start of the season.
“I think like all scorers, just reminding himself that he was getting looks, he was getting chances, that they were going to eventually go in,” the coach explained.
And go in they have. While continuing to grind and get good chances – leading all Sharks skaters with a 21.3 shooting percentage, mind you -- Pavelski now has a team-leading 13 goals with four markers coming on the power play.
His second period goal against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday evening was indicative of the work he’s put into getting that goal streak going. With just a little over six minutes gone in the frame, Pavelski set up linemate Timo Meier for a shot right in front of the net. Meier’s shot bounced off netminder Chad Johnson’s skate and ended up on Pavelski’s stick. No. 8 was falling over, but stayed committed to the play as he flipped the puck into the back of the net.
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It was like many of the goals that have become staples in Pavelski’s repertoire. It perfectly encompassed how hard work leads to production.
“That’s the big thing with scoring,” DeBoer said. “As long as the foundation is there, you can’t overreact to the fact that maybe the puck isn’t going in for you that week or that month. Keep reminding yourself to stick with it, that you will come out the other end of it.”
The Sharks would certainly love it if their captain’s hot streak continues as the homestand wraps up. San Jose hosts two division rivals in the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks this week – two teams giving up more goals than almost everyone else in the league. Pavelski keeping that hot streak alive could help the Sharks not just win games, but create some space between them and their opponents in the Pacific Division.
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“We know that a lot of these teams are going to get their footing and be hanging around in the second half,” DeBoer said. “You want to give yourself as much cushion as possible.”