SAN JOSE -- At the tail end of the Sharks' preseason, Marcus Sorensen was a standout. After splitting time with the big club and its AHL affiliate over the last two seasons, he finally looked ready to contribute on the NHL level every night.
Then after he went through a dry spell -- as players often do -- the floodgates opened Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild, as the Swede had a career game with three points in the Sharks' 4-3 win.
Sorensen’s teammates never had any doubt in his game.
“He’s been unbelievable for us,” defenseman Brent Burns said. “He’s great to be around. He’s got a great energy.”
The 26-year-old forward, who had been spending the bulk of his playing time on the Sharks' fourth line, hadn’t found the back of the net since Oct. 11 against the New York Rangers. In fact, he didn’t register another point until Oct. 30, also against New York.
That isn’t to say Sorensen failed to create opportunities, especially on the penalty kill, where he scored that short-handed goal on Oct. 11. Sorensen is one of the reasons San Jose’s penalty kill is ranked third in the entire league, not allowing the opposition to score on the man advantage a whopping 22 consecutive times.
“Even if he’s not scoring,” Burns continued, “he plays a fast game, a hard game. He’s one of our most tenacious guys.”
That tenacity has translated into a physical game as well. Sorensen has registered 14 hits, and he had one dust-up with Anaheim’s Joseph Blandisi on Oct. 28.
Linemate Barclay Goodrow pinpointed Sorensen’s mix of strength and speed as what made him so successful Tuesday night.
“Marcus uses speed on the forecheck,” Goodrow said. “I thought we turned over a lot of pucks in the offensive zone, which led to offensive zone time and scoring chances.”
Needless to say, this level of play from Sorensen -- and the rest of San Jose’s bottom six, for that matter -- could boost the Sharks on their upcoming road trip. San Jose is setting up to play a back-to-back against two very physical teams in the Dallas Stars and the St. Louis Blues.
St. Louis, in particular, has the fourth-most goals scored leaguewide on the season and the third-best power play -- something Sorensen and the Sharks’ penalty kill unit surely will have to face.
Sorensen’s “tenacity,” as his teammates called it, could go a long way to helping the Sharks have a successful roadie.