Playing on the tail end of a back-to-back can be a doozy. And boy, did the Sharks get off to a rough start on Saturday night against the Arizona Coyotes at Enterprise Center.
But San Jose rebounded and made things interesting in their post-Thanksgiving meeting with the Desert Dogs. The Sharks rallied in the second stanza and held on late to emerge victorious 4-2.
Here are three takeaways from Saturday's game.
What the heck happened in that first period?
It isn’t clear what the problem was, but San Jose's puck management in front of Martin Jones was dismal, especially when it came to turning the puck over in their own end. It's no wonder they went into a 2-0 hole in the first 2:12 of the first frame. Fortunately for the Sharks, they were able to right the ship as soon as the puck drop in the second period and were able to tie things up 2-2.
This was also another example of how the Sharks have gotten better at rebounding and correcting their mistakes. Their ability to recover and get off to a stronger start in the second period was pivotal in them taking the lead before the halfway point of the stanza.
Depth scoring continues
After nearly two months of not getting much production from their bottom six, the Sharks had a second straight game where they got some depth scoring. They got production from their young players to boot, with Dylan Gambrell tying things up -- and looked strong in his return to the lineup on top of it -- and Timo Meier continuing his recent boost in play by notching San Jose's go-ahead goal.
And although Noah Gregor didn't find the back of the net on Saturday night, his game has visibly gone up a notch since he scored his first NHL goal against the Kings on Friday. If he continues to play with that kind of confidence, more goals will surely follow -- and the Sharks will have another weapon in their bottom six.
Martin Jones on the back-to-back
No. 31 entered Saturday’s game with a 9-2-3 record when playing both ends of a back-to-back, and given how the game started it looked like he might get another notch in the loss column. But Jones continued his strong play from Friday into Saturday’s game, locking down after Arizona jumped out to a very fast 2-0 lead.
Jones’ performance was especially important in the third period when San Jose took three straight penalties and had their one-goal lead threatened. Even with a tired PK unit in front of him, Jones kept his composure and helped keep the Sharks’ hopes alive.
Although, to be fair, Jones should probably buy the goal post dinner after it saved the tying goal with 6:12 left in the game.