Watch Sharks rookie Antti Suomela score first NHL goal vs. Hurricanes

Watch Sharks rookie Antti Suomela score first NHL goal vs. Hurricanes

Rookie center Antti Suomela made an impression on the Sharks in the preseason, but had yet to find the back of the net in regular-season play. That changed Friday evening when he notched his first NHL goal against the Carolina Hurricanes.

San Jose and Carolina exchanged chances through the first eight minutes of the first period, until Evander Kane passed the puck off to Suomela in the neutral zone. The 24-year-old Finn cradled the puck as he entered the zone and skated around Carolina defensemen Jaccob Slavin and Dougie Hamilton, so he was right in front of netminder Petr Mrazek. With Mrazek slightly off center, Suomela tucked the puck past him before tripping over his own skates. The marker put the Sharks on the board 1-0. 

Suomela led the top division in Finland in goal-scoring a season ago. With moves like that, it's easy to see why. 

Jonas Jerebko, Sharks show mutual admiration in Bay Area Unite moment

Jonas Jerebko, Sharks show mutual admiration in Bay Area Unite moment

Bay Area Unite, indeed …

The Sharks showed their support for the back-to-back NBA champion Warriors by wearing Dubs-themed warm-up jerseys before Saturday night’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.

Pretty sweet threads, if we do say so ourselves.

Warriors forward Jonas Jerebko, who was in attendance at SAP Center, likely agreed.

Jerebko was born and raised in Sweden, and he's a huge hockey fan. So, it wasn’t a surprise that he’d use the NBA All-Star break to catch a game at The Tank -- especially on Warriors Night.

In fact, Jerebko once practiced with the Detroit Red Wings, and he told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Kerith Burke in October that “my slap shot was really, really good.” Makes sense: Jerebko’s 6-foot-10 frame would provide a lot of leverage on the puck.

After San Jose's 3-2 win, Jerebko visited fellow Swedes Erik Karlsson and Marcus Sorensen in the Sharks’ locker room, and they exchanged jerseys.

Seeing the Warriors and the Sharks together has us dreaming of double championship parades in June. Or, perhaps, one big Bay Area Unite celebration?

Sharks weren't perfect but still happy to grind out win vs. Canucks

Sharks weren't perfect but still happy to grind out win vs. Canucks

SAN JOSE – Some fans and spectators likely expected that the Sharks were going to steamroll the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night. And why not?

Just look at their matchups thus far this season.  San Jose shut Vancouver out 4-0 in November, and walloped on the Canucks' rookie goaltender less than a week ago to win 7-2.

However, the Sharks had a much tougher task at hand when the Canucks – who are in the hunt to snag a wild-card spot in the Western Conference – put up quite a fight on Saturday. But not only were the Sharks prepared for the game to be a little tougher, they were happy with how they buckled down to grind out a 3-2 win

“Every night, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, you expect a pretty close game,” explained captain Joe Pavelski, who scored the Sharks’ game-winning goal. “A pretty hard-fought game. We knew they were going to come out with a little more energy. They’ve got some good skill over there.”

“They’re a scrappy team, they’re fighting for the playoff life and I thought they played that way," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer echoed. "I thought they played with a lot of energy and desperation. And that made it hard on us.”

That level of difficulty, though, is something DeBoer expects on a nightly basis down the stretch.

“We had to work for a win tonight and that’s how it should be,” he said.

Although Saturday might not have been the Sharks’ cleanest game, there was a noticeable fight in the way they played. Timo Meier, who scored San Jose’s first goal 3:45 into the game, added to that bite just two nights after the Sharks' loss to the Washington Capitals. 

“I think everybody battled, especially after the game we had against Washington,” the forward said. “It wasn’t an easy win for us tonight.”

That lack of ease was in part because of San Jose’s frequent trips to the penalty box. Although the penalty kill was a flawless 0-for-4, Vancouver had too many opportunities to swing the momentum back in its favor.

“We got caught in penalty trouble, so they got a little bit of momentum and they felt good playing with the puck,” Pavelski observed. “We were defending a lot in those situations.”

At the end of the night, though, the Sharks will happily take getting back in the win column. As the race for playoff positions in the West tightens up – and the jostle for first place between the Sharks and Calgary Flames becomes even more intense – this type of grind-it-out win will do.