A strong night from Joonas Donskoi put the Sharks on the brink of clinching a playoff berth after defeating the Arizona Coyotes 3-0 on Sunday. San Jose swept a home back-to-back and has now won four-straight at SAP Center for the first time this season.
Donskoi tallied assists on the Sharks' first two goals and continued to impress both on and off the puck. One of the best stories for the Sharks this season has been the rise of the Finnish rookie and Donskoi continues to write new pages by the game.
Meanwhile James Reimer made 25 saves to earn his second shutout for the Sharks. With San Jose he's allowed only one even-strength goal on 83 5v5 shots. Yeah, that goalie tandem is looking okay.
The win puts San Jose an authoritative 19 points ahead of Arizona with just 10 games to play. For those not so good at math, the Sharks will clinch a playoff berth by either securing one more point or an Arizona defeat. After missing the playoffs a season ago, it's great to see San Jose get this close to punching its ticket to the dance this year.
After surviving a 5-on-3 Arizona power play, the Sharks struck first. Joonas Donskoi used his strength to take the puck around the net and threw a pass up to Brenden Dillon at the Arizona blue line. Dillon fired a shot that took a deflection off Joel Ward and pinged into the back of the net off the post to put the Sharks up 1-0.
The Coyotes put on a push in the second period thanks in part to a decent looking power play early on. Arizona just about evened things up possession-wise before the Sharks got a few goes on the player-advantage, eventually cashing in with the second unit. It was Tomas Hertl's goal and Donskoi's second primary assist of the night.
By the time the third rolled around fatigue had set in for both squads and it showed. San Jose worked to kill off the game and eventually got Joe Thornton a point in 28-straight San Jose wins.
Sharks goals (assists): Joel Ward (Brenden Dillon, Joonas Donskoi), Tomas Hertl (Donskoi, Paul Martin), Joe Pavelski (Brent Burns, Joe Thornton)
Fear the Fin's 3 Stars
1) James Reimer
2) Joonas Donskoi
3) Dylan Demelo