San Jose has opened up a commanding 3-0 series lead, looking every bit the dominant force they did late in the season when they rung up an eight-game win streak. Monday night, the Sharks put an exclamation point on this dominance with an explosion of eight goals to the Ducks lonely one. Racking up eight goals is a franchise playoff record, and currently is the highest goals scored in a playoff game this postseason.
Scoring that many goals can cause everyone to lose track of exactly what happened and how it went down. There were a lot of good plays and very encouraging signs wrapped around the high goal output and it points to a larger sign that the Sharks’ offense is quite good. So, let’s dive in to each goal and see exactly how it happened.
Goal 1: First Period 3:44 – Logan Couture from Mikkel Boedker
This one is an absolute dandy. Boedker gets the puck in the neutral zone and gains the blue line. Our beloved Hoet Boed elects not to dump it deep or stop up and instead decides to go full power forward. He deftly uses his left arm to guard from the defending Hampus Lindholm and turns net bound, moving around the hapless Lindholm. This is the exact type of play the organization and fans want more of from Boedker. He has shown glimpses and flashes over two seasons, but if he can consistently drive play with the puck like this, no one would be thinking twice about having him on the ice. From here he makes a great pass and Couture strikes on the open net. You can’t draw them up better than that.
Underrated Moment: Lindholm getting shrugged off by Boedker and falling to the ice in the corner.
Goal 2: Second Period 1:15 – Joonas Donskoi from Evander Kane
Watching this goal in real time was a bit confusing. It starts in a standard fashion with the Ducks defender falling and Donskoi turning up ice to create a 2-on-1 situation. When Joonas slides the puck over to the streaking Kane, it seems like it is now Kane vs. Gibson but Kane curiously slides the puck back to Donskoi. The Ducks defender tries to slide and take out the pass, which is the worst defensive maneuver, and misses, allowing Donskoi to tap into the empty net. It wasn’t immediately clear what happened, and it seemed that the extra pass back was overkill, but it worked out and put the Sharks up 2-1.
Underrated Moment: Donskoi being completely unfazed by crashing into the boards on all fours and immediately springing back up in excitement.
Goal 3: Second Period 3:41 – Marcus Sorensen from Joonas Donskoi
It appears that San Jose has keyed in on a specific game plan against Gibson. This is the second straight goal and one of many over the series where the Sharks have gone left to right and scored glove side. I don’t know if this is a complete coincidence, but the evidence is mounting that San Jose has found a flaw and are exploiting it.
This is just a classic breakout from San Jose in their own end. The winger, Donskoi, does his job to perfection as he turns the puck up ice quickly and creates separation from the Ducks forwards. Sorensen keeps pace on the off wing to create the mismatch on the lone Ducks defender. Another key aspect is Dillon jumping into the play creating even more of a mismatch and opening up the options. Wisely, Dillon hangs back a few strides and what this does is create a triangle of offenders but also his body is now in the way of the back checking Ducks. This allows a nice feed to Sorensen, after the defender again goes down stupidly, and he goes forehand-backhand-twine.
Underrated Moment: Sorensen and Donskoi embrace in a spinning hug but their momentum carries them up the boards and Donskoi starts pointing at Sharks.
Goal 4: Second Period 13:43 – Eric Fehr from Marcus Sorensen and Melker Karlsson
I was wrong. Eric Fehr was a meaningful and important pickup by Wilson at the deadline. He has been a stabilizing presence on the fourth line and has created dangerous opportunities. He shakes Andrew Cogliano with a hesitation spin, cuts in front, and scores. It is an incredible individual effort that blows this game wide open. Fehr the Fin.
Underrated Moment: Marcus Sorensen jumping on Fehr to celebrate.
Goal 5: Second Period 16:49 – Tomas Hertl from Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture on the power play
Can’t ask for a better goal on the power play than this. The puck travels from right wing-D-man-other point man-low man-front of the net-back of the net. When you draw up a power play, the goal is to move the defenders around and get them to open up shooting and passing lanes. By zipping the puck around the horn, you get the Ducks moving from left to right. By the time the puck gets to the goal line, all of the defenders are now out of position to defend, as they are still pushed forward, leaving a soft spot in front. If you watch Hertl, he slides perfectly following the puck and as Pavelski gets it down low he floats right into the ideal passing and shooting lane. Not all power plays are going to be like this, but this is about as close as you can get to perfection.
Underrated Moment: Hertl drops down to one knee to fire the biscuit top shelf, which makes it look even better than it is.
Goal 6: Third Period 10:04 – Joe Pavelski from Timo Meier and Joonas Donskoi on the power play
At this point the Sharks aren’t even celebrating the goals anymore. This is just a broken play turned right. What it does speak to though, is San Jose playing positional hockey. If Meier and Pavelski don’t both go to the middle of the ice, this goal never happens. Meier cuts in hard from behind the defenders giving Donskoi a target. Pavelski too, has floated into the middle allowing him to collect the blocked shot and whip one past Miller. When the goals aren’t coming this easily, the Sharks will have to continue to go to the tough areas to create chances, and they have shown a willingness to do it.
Underrated Moment: Ryan Miller realizing he didn’t get his pads together in time and just rolling over in a sad pile.
Goal 7: Third Period 17:16 – Evander Kane from Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Logan Couture on the power play
Again, the Sharks are in the right spot at the right time. Kane has set up shop in front and gets a goal courtesy of Lady Luck. The puck hits Miller and banks off Kane and in. When it rains it pours, I guess. At this point, the Ducks have fully given up, so it is hard to draw conclusions from a team just trying to get to the final horn. You can hope though that the position and good power play work carries over to the next game and beyond.
Underrated Moment: Brandon Montour giving Kane exactly one punch in the back after the goal has been scored but then immediately giving up and accepting what happened.
Goal 8: Third Period 19:36 – Timo Meier from Chris Tierney and Kevin Labanc on the power play
Let the Kid’s Table Line eat.
Underrated Moment: #TimoTime
There were lots of good things to be found in the Sharks performance, and a lot of things that will be easily transferable to the rest of the playoff games going forward. If the Sharks have come together to turn into a big, teal wrecking ball on offence, we may see more offensive explosions like this one.