SAN JOSE – There aren’t too many players out there that can bounce back from having the flu and get on the score sheet. Sharks defenseman Brent Burns is one of the few that can.
“He was laid up all day yesterday and today, and showed up and played I don’t know how many minutes,” Sharks’ bench boss Peter DeBoer said Sunday after No. 88 set up a third-period marker in Team Teal’s 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. “He’s a hard guy to keep off the ice. We went in with the plan of limiting him a little bit but that’s hard to do. He wants to be out there.”
It was just another example of why Burns is at the forefront of the Norris Trophy conversation.
Burns logged 23:20 minutes in Sunday’s contest, second to only fellow defenseman Justin Braun. Halfway through the final period, he squared up and fired a laser shot straight at the net which Melker Karlsson tipped in for a goal.
For a guy who was battling a flu bug, Burns played like it was just another night at the office – and kept his iron man streak of 455 games going to boot.
With a team-leading 72 points, Burns also continues to outmatch other defensemen across the NHL with a 1.09 points-per-game clip. He’s tallied at least one point in all but eight games since the beginning of January, ranking tenth among all skaters in points since the start of the new year.
Keep in mind, Burns has continued on this pace all carrying a heavy load for an injured blue line. With four of the Sharks’ six regular defensemen being sidelined at different points since the start of the new year, Burns has had to eat up big minutes in half of the games this campaign. As fellow Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson continues to deal with a groin injury that keeps him out of the lineup, the rest of San Jose’s blue line has been tasked with filling that void. Burns, who was logging nearly 30 minutes a game in January when Braun, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Radim Simek were all injured, and he’s continued on a similar pace for nearly a two-month span.
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Plus, the season isn’t even done yet. The Sharks have 16 games to go in their regular season campaign and are playing 10 of those games on home ice – where Burns has tallied 29 points (six goals, 23 assists) in a 31-game span. A whopping 13 of those games will be against the Western Conference, which Burns has registered 39 points (seven goals, 32 assists) against. With numbers like that, it doesn’t look like anything can cool off No. 88’s Norris Trophy campaign.
As we learned last weekend, not even something like the flu can hold him back.