The Sharks were looking to rebound from a disappointing loss earlier in the week, and they did just that on Thursday evening. San Jose rallied behind Tomas Hertl’s two-goal effort and held on through some late-game fisticuffs to shut out the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0.
Here are three takeaways from Thursday’s game:
San Jose’s special teams deserved a star on the evening
Both the power play and penalty kill played a huge role in San Jose’s victory, helping to keep the momentum in their favor for the duration of the game. The Sharks started off the game getting a ton of offensive zone time and they doubled down on keeping it that way, thanks to Hertl’s two power-play markers in the first frame.
The penalty kill seemed to get more impressive as the game went on. While Evander Kane’s short-handed goal was a highlight, Martin Jones deserves a lot of credit for standing tall when the Sharks were shorthanded. His stop on Sidney Crosby at the end of the second period helped to keep Pittsburgh frustrated and off the board.
Burns and Simek were on top of their game
The duo was absolutely nails against Pittsburgh. They did a standout job breaking up plays in the Sharks’ defensive zone to help stop the Penguins from creating any momentum and capitalizing. Burns having a three-point night with a late power-play goal and two assists didn’t hurt either.
In doing good work in San Jose territory, Burns also helped set up Kane’s breakaway on the penalty kill that resulted in a short-handed goal. His mix of both offensive and defensive play on Thursday was a perfect example of why he’s in the Norris Trophy discussion.
Thornton has wheels
Jumbo Joe didn’t tally another hat trick, but boy did he put on a show by preventing a goal for the opposition. He easily had the most memorable play of the night, speeding up to prevent Evgeni Malkin from having an opportunity to score on a breakaway coming out of the penalty box.
A lot of attention is given to the milestones Thornton has been reaching, and rightfully so, but plays like that are equally impressive. Considering Thornton missed a few games at the start of the season with knee issues, being able to keep pace with a faster, younger skater like Malkin is a sight to see.