Editor’s Note: We raised another $10 for Next Door Solutions last night because the Sharks got two points.
San Jose got a much needed win in impressive fashion on Tuesday night, taking down the Capitals 3-0 to open a six-game road trip. Washington took over the possession game in the third period as the Capitals put on a strong push and the Sharks gave up ground, but a great second period proved to be the difference.
That, and Martin Jones played a phenomenal game. His first shutout of the season couldn’t have come at a better time as the netminder entered the contest with just a .900 save percentage. Perhaps this game stands for the rebounding of the percentages that have been so out of whack for the Sharks this season.
Okay, it’s just one game and that’s not how any of this works, but it’s a nice little narrative dot. The Sharks came into Washington D.C. 6-6 in large part because the bounces weren’t going their way. Their PDO (which combines 5v5 shooting and save percentages) was the worst in the league, suggesting a rebound may come in a big way.
Let’s hope this is the start of it. San Jose posted a PDO of 1.111 on Tuesday as Jones stopped every shot he saw and the Sharks converted on two of their 18 even strength shots. Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brent Burns each had goals, the latter of whom continues to dominate the defender scoring leaderboard.
Yes, San Jose scored only two even strength goals and continued to run dry on the power play but the Sharks’ penalty kill stretched a long scoreless streak by shutting down Washington’s power play. Against a very good Capitals team with a very good goaltender in Holtby, that’s a win.
The road trip doesn’t get any easier from here as the Sharks head to Florida to take on the Panthers and Lightning. While the Sharks saw their luck dramatically improve against the Capitals, don’t expect this to be some sort of a floodgate — that’s not really how this works.
Still, San Jose needed a feel-good win and this provides that. Kevin Labanc played well in his debut, the Sharks’ looked excellent and crisp defensively and Jones showed he’s still got what he showed us all last season. That’s all very good news after losing three games in a row.
The Sharks now sit in a tie for second place with 14 points in the Pacific Division with, of course, the Ducks and Kings. Edmonton sits atop the division after losing to Pittsburgh but only by five points and the Oilers have played an extra game. It’s still early days — there’s lots of season to go.