The Sharks finally got a road win, ending their six-game losing streak on the road with a 3-1 win in Vancouver.
Nikolay Goldobin, who was traded to Vancouver in exchange for Jannik Hansen, did not play tonight, so his first game against the Sharks is still on hold. Some other young guys did see ice time in Vancouver, largely due to their failure to make playoffs. Meanwhile, San Jose has been forced to shake up their lines since Logan Couture took a puck to the face in Nashville. After being scratched against Calgary, Joel Ward and Joonas Donskoi returned to the lineup, while Micheal Haley and Timo Meier watched from the press box as a last minute change.
The game felt very evenly matched, which isn't ideal when only one of these teams is readying for playoffs. Vancouver led in shots, but not by much, with the Sharks only trailing by three. Both teams had a single power play opportunity and a successful penalty kill.
Two Sharks goals came in the first period from Tomas Hertl, scoring his 9th and 10th of the season after not scoring in his last 16 games. Finding a place for Boedker and Hansen has presented a bit of a struggle for San Jose, so it's nice to see them be effective with Hertl.
For the first time in awhile, it didn't feel like the Sharks were struggling offensively. Even during a scoreless second period, the offense was active and had a handful of good chances.
Joe Thornton suffered an injury to his left leg late in the first period and did not return to the game. Playing a man down, the Sharks were still able to hold the Canucks to a two goal deficit until the final four minutes of the game, when Sven Baertschi slipped one past Martin Jones. Patrick Marleau answered with an empty net goal, securing the win for San Jose.
Brenden Dillon blocked a nasty shot with his foot late in the third and limped back to the bench after the play. While he returned to the game, it could still be something to keep an eye on.
Is it enough to win against a non-playoff team? Eh. There are still plenty of issues, and the Thornton injury compounds on that, but they played well tonight. Something in tonight's lineup clicked and they'll need to pinpoint it and hang on for the last three games. If Thornton is out too long, it might not matter either way.