If a dominant performance was what you were craving on Monday evening, the Sharks had you covered.
San Jose ended their four-game road trip on a high note as they overwhelmed the young Vancouver Canucks 7-2 to sweep their tour of Western Canada and take over first place in the Pacific Division.
Here are three takeaways from Monday evening’s game:
The Kane-Hertl-Donskoi line continues to roll
Not much, other than the fact this line doesn’t stop steamrolling every opponent they go up against. Evander Kane scored another two goals on the evening while Tomas Hertl tallied a goal -- set up by a magnificent backhanded pass from Joonas Donskoi -- and an assist.
Kudos to that line for leading the charge when the Canucks tried to push back at the start of the second period. The Canucks' Elias Pettersson-led offense came out of the first intermission firing on all cylinders and threatening to make things interesting. That is, until Kane used Brenden Dillon as a screen to score his second goal on the night and increase the Sharks’ lead.
Joe Thornton further solidifies Hall of Fame resume
Seriously, the milestone counter may break, and nobody would complain. After tying Gordie Howe on the all-time assists list on Saturday while setting up Kevin Labanc to score a hat trick, Thornton set his young linemate up again in Vancouver to pass Mr. Hockey.
Additionally, the assist brought him into a tie for 15th place on the NHL’s all-time points list with Teemu Selanne. It’s truly incredible to watch him reach milestone after milestone during a season that started with him trying to come back from having knee surgery.
To top it off, Thornton’s pass to Labanc was an absolute beauty. He won the puck battle with Vancouver defenseman Chris Tanev before powering up the ice and waiting patiently to serve up Labanc.
Speaking of plays like that …
San Jose’s set-up work has been a thing of beauty lately
As the Sharks have collected more wins, they’ve also gotten more confident in how they set up their scoring chances. Whether it’s a forward like Thornton winning a battle or Brent Burns bringing a play up, a lot of San Jose’s scoring plays are being created at the opposite end of the ice. By making smart decisions back in their own zone, they’ve been able to put more and more quality scoring chances together.
The win said a lot about how the Sharks are playing as of late, given they went up against a speedy young team like the Canucks at the end of a long and intense road trip. San Jose can head home feeling good about how they played, having taken over first place in the division.
Just think about how much better they’ll be once they get Erik Karlsson back healthy.