In the Sharks' 7–0 thrashing of the Maple Leafs on January 10, a quartet of young Sharks broke out of lengthy scoring slumps to help turn a lead into a laugher. Two of those players, Tomas Hertl and Joonas Donskoi, combined for two goals and three points in last night's win over the Wild, continuing a stretch in which they've combined for eight goals and 15 points as the Sharks have picked up 15 of 16 possible points in the standings.
After bursting onto the scene with 15 goals and 10 assists in 37 games in 2013–14, Hertl played a full 82 games in 2014–15 but tallied only 13 goals and 18 assists. Through 37 games this season, he boasted excellent possession numbers but only 4 goals and 11 assists, putting him on pace for the worst scoring totals of his young career.
Since moving back to the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, however, Hertl has more than doubled his goal output while continuing to post outstanding corsi percentages—more than 65 percent at even strength yesterday with barely over a quarter of his shifts starting in the offensive zone.
While he won't continue to score on 16 percent of his shots like he has in the last two weeks, his shooting percentage of 6.9 on the season is still a point lower than it was last season and suggests there's more regression on the way.
As for Donskoi, his goal and assist yesterday gave him points in four straight, and he's picked up goals in three of eight. His sky-high shooting percentage of 22 percent during that stretch won't last forever, but with hands like those he displayed here and here, he'll score his share of goals.
Combined with a 62.5 corsi percentage (57.14 at even strength) to build on a season 52.41 corsi percentage that's sixth-best among Sharks forwards, Donskoi's production against the Wild was, like Hertl's, the continuation of a trend that signals good things for the Sharks' forward depth.