SAN JOSE – With 12 of their last 18 games of the season being played at SAP Center, the Sharks were eager to start their four-game homestand with a notch in the win column on Friday. They did just that, holding on for a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.
Here are three takeaways from the win:
Jumbo and the Swedes
But the newly assembled trio of Joe Thornton and Swedish wingers Gustav Nyquist and Marcus Sorensen stood out. For a skater who is only playing his second game with the Sharks, Nyquist already looked very comfortable on their third line.
Sorensen certainly didn’t waste any time getting back to work after being sidelined a couple of games with a facial injury, scoring twice. He now has 13 goals on the season, nine of which have either tied a game or given the Sharks a lead, according to statistician Darin Stephens.
#SJSharks Marcus Sorensen with his 12th goal of the season. 9 of his goals have tied a game or given the Sharks a lead. 19 of his 21 points this season have been primary (12 goals, 7 first assists). #COLvsSJS— Darin Stephens (@SharksStats) March 2, 2019
Defending Nathan MacKinnon
San Jose’s blue line deserves a lot of credit for slowing down the super speedy Colorado forward, who looked like he could score a goal every time he got the puck. Marc-Edouard Vlasic did good work breaking up Mackinnon chance in the first period that could have tied the game 1-1. In the second stanza, Radim Simek stopped him on a rush.
This is how San Jose’s defense wants to look night in and night out going down the stretch. If the Sharks are going to catch up to the Calgary Flames in the standings and have a deep playoff run, being able to keep players like MacKinnon from taking over the pace of a game is huge.
Holding on late in the game
You have to give the Avalanche a lot of credit – it was clear why they’re in the hunt battling for a playoff position. They have solid goaltending, and an offense that continues to grind even when they’re down late in a contest.
San Jose took advantage of a nice third-period opportunity on the power play when Joe Pavelski deposited a goal to increase the Sharks lead to 4-2.
Colorado notched another goal almost immediately afterward. San Jose really had to hold its ground with less than five minutes left to play to keep the Avs from tying things up.
Sharks’ coach Peter DeBoer has talked all season about his team playing with enough “desperation.” They will need a little dose of that every night going forward even if they have a lead – much like the final four minutes of Friday’s contest.