Hertl, Meier make immediate impact in return, propel Sharks

Hertl celebrates

The Sharks put together one of their best all-around performances of the 2021 NHL season Friday night in a 6-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.

The Sharks (10-11-3; 23 points) got goals from six different players and goalie Devan Dubnyk made 34 saves in his 33rd career shutout.

But the Sharks got a real spark from Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier, both of whom returned from time in the NHL's COVID-19 protocols. Hertl missed the last six games, while Meier was out for the last two games.

Hertl got the scoring started with a goal at 7:57 in the first period, his seventh marker of the season.

Meier's fifth goal of the season gave the Sharks a 4-0 lead over the Ducks (8-14-6; 22 points) in the third period.

Sharks coach Bob Boughner was impressed by how well Hertl and Meier played considering the time they had missed.

"I thought [Hertl] played extremely well for being off that long," Boughner told reporters after the game on a video conference call. "I wasn't expecting his legs to hold up like they did. I wasn't expecting him to play as well as he did, so that was nice. Timo got better as the game went along too. It's a big difference, especially offensively, when we've got those big bodies playing. And it sort of slots everybody where they belong. We looked like a good hockey team tonight."


Even 27-year-old center Fredrik Handemark, whose only other NHL game came on Jan. 18, scored his first career goal in the win.

As Boughner noted after the win, the Sharks don't have much time to celebrate since they play the Ducks again on Saturday night.

With a healthy roster and a red-hot goalie, the Sharks might be able to stretch their winning streak to three games Saturday, which would do wonders for their confidence.