The more things change the more they stay the same. The Sharks beat the Blackhawks on Tuesday night behind a good power play and goals from Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton. Just like old times.
Okay, so maybe a strong defensive effort and a 33-save performance from Martin Jones had something to do with it, but there's something to be said for the importance of the Sharks most tenured superstars. San Jose's power play has been excellent this season (yes it has, don't argue with me) and the Sharks took advantage of the only opportunity they got against Chicago.
The point Marleau scored from isn't exactly his office, as the diagram below will illustrate. (Thanks to War-On-Ice.com)
He took the shot from the top left portion of the diagram, an area where he puts shots on net at a below-average rate throughout his career. Looking at where he scores goals from will well and truly hammer this home.
So okay, maybe things aren't quite as same ole same ole as I made them out to be...but still, a power-play goal from Marleau? That's pretty paint by numbers. Then there's Thornton, doing what he always does:
score goals hold on a damn moment.
Okay, so...okay. Jumbo's goals per 60 rate has gone up as of late (this is at all strengths) — so Thornton is scoring goals while Marleau has struggled to find the back of the net. Just the way we all saw this season playing out.
The highlight of last night's win, other than Blackhawks fans losing their minds over a disallowed goal, is the performance of Martin Jones. The first-year starter played stellar behind the San Jose defense, keeping the Sharks alive just long enough for Marleau to put the team ahead.
After a rough performance against the Predators, Tuesday night's win should give Jones an added boost of confidence, which we'll choose to believe has a real and meaningful impact on his future performance.
Most importantly, the Sharks survived a very difficult road trip by getting four out of eight possible points. That's more than good enough so long as San Jose takes care of business against the majority of its relatively weak schedule. That means taking it to the woefully mediocre Calgary Flames on Thursday; but we'll worry about that then. For now, appreciating a great performance by the Sharks, Thornton, Marleau and Jones is enough.
Just like old times. Sort of.