Two first period goals from 19-year-old rookie Tomas Hertl (that's Toe-mah-sh) proved to be as big a cushion as the Sharks would need as they cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes Saturday night.
It only took 46 seconds of his second NHL game for Hertl to score his first goal as he snuck a shot under Coyotes' netminder Mike Smith's pads to give the Sharks an early advantage.
Seven minutes later Hertl snagged his second goal, and first power play goal, as he provided a deflection on a Matt Irwin shot to put the Sharks up 2-0.
Patrick Marleau would all but put the game to bed on the second powerplay opportunity of the night. Marleau cleaned up a puck in front of the net, as he so often does, and buried it to get the Sharks to three goals just over halfway through the first period.
The Coyotes got their only goal on an Oliver Ekman-Larsson shot that Antti Niemi would probably like back. A booming shot from the right side of the ice ate Niemi up and slipped past the Finnish netminder, getting the Yotes back in the hockey game at 16:27 of the second period.
With an empty net in the third period the Sharks did everything to give Hertl a chance at a hat trick, but it was not to be; Logan Couture scored his first goal of the season, sealing the 4-1 scoreline.
After the breathtaking first period, the Sharks went to sleep a bit the rest of the game. Part of that is thanks to the Coyotes poor play; the Sharks didn't exactly have to put the boot on the throat as the Coyotes only mustered 18 shots despite trailing virtually the entire game.
- Tomas Hertl is the new god of San Jose Sharks hockey. I accept our new Czech overlord and his boyish good looks and charms.
- Seriously though, I'd be hard pressed to think of anyone who appears to be enjoying himself in the NHL as much as Tomas Hertl. It would be very easy to get all kinds of hyperbolic about his country's most hyped prospect since Jaromir Jagr.
- The Coyotes did not look like the same team that manhandled the New York Rangers on Thursday. Phoenix is going to be better this year than they showed tonight.
- The Sharks took 51 shots -- that's the ninth time in their history and the eighth time since Todd McLellan took over the club that they have broken the 50-shot threshold.
- Mike Smith kept this game from getting very ugly early on and he kept the Coyotes in it for most of the game. He also took a hilarious delay of game penalty in the third period, so, take that, I guess.
- Powerplay goals were scored! Two of them! The Sharks went 2-4 on the man-advantage and are now a balmy 2-12 in powerplay opportunities this year. Much like in the first game, the powerplay seemed to get worse as the night went on.
- Dan Boyle appeared to have a much better night than in the season opener, which is a good sign for the Sharks defense going forward.
- Two games and only two goals conceded? Not a bad start to the 2013 campaign.
- One more Hertl fact: He is the youngest Shark to have a two-goal game since Patrick Marleau in 1999. Yep.