The San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks were polar opposites coming into Thursday night’s clash: Dallas Eakins’ black and orange army had lost four straight games, whereas the boys in teal had won four straight. The Sharks’ red hot offense was a major factor coming into the game, having outshot two of the four teams they had last faced, and even when they were getting out-shot, it was by a small margin.
At the end of the night, it was another great night for the offense, as the Sharks have now won five straight games and have resuscitated what appeared to be a lost season two weeks ago.
It’s all Goodrow in the hood-row
Can we talk about Barclay Goodrow? I think we need to talk about Barclay Goodrow.
Last night may have been his best offensive game this year, despite not scoring any goals and just having one assist. With Goodrow on the ice at 5-on-5, the Sharks outshot the Ducks 25 to 10, and had 14 of those shots on target compared to the Ducks’ five. In addition, he finished fourth overall on the Sharks with expected goals for, generating 1.29 expected goals (xG), and once again suppressing the Ducks’ offense, who were only able to generate .54 expected goals with Goodrow on the ice.
Goodrow had a great game individually, as well. He put up four shots, all of which were on goal, finishing in a tie for first with Tomas Hertl and Brent Burns for most on the team.
Tomas Hertl, take our energy
The backbone of the Sharks’ offense this year has been one Tomas Hertl, but he left the game midway through the third period after Sam Steel ran into him in the Sharks’ defensive zone.
Steel runs into Hertl late in 3rd period, Hertl goes to locker room, still hasn't returned pic.twitter.com/wV1Caxxj0g— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) November 15, 2019
Logan Couture said Hertl was OK after the game, but Peter Deboer said he did not have an update on his condition. Hertl was unable to speak after the game, as he was receiving treatment.
Couture’s update on Hertl is reassuring, but it would be a major blow to the Sharks offense if Hertl were to miss time due to an injury. In all situations, Hertl is the Sharks’ best offensive player, leading the Sharks in total expected goals for with 28.65 xG. He’s also the third best on the team in terms of shot attempts, and the best volume shooting forward, recording 446 shots, 240 of which were on goal.
Martin Jones’ roller coaster season continues
At first glance, my eye test initially told me that Martin Jones did not have a great game between the pipes. I was pleased to find out that my initial thoughts were off the mark.
At 5-on-5, Jones was quality, stopping all 9 high-danger chances he faced. The two goals he did allow during 5-on-5 were medium- and low-danger chances, so while it wasn’t a perfect night for the Sharks’ netminder, it’s a good performance regardless. It’s always relieving to see a 1.000 percent below the high-danger save percentage column when it comes to Jones.
It’s happening, isn’t it?
The Sharks’ season looked absolutely hopeless after another disastrous Eastern Canadian (and Buffalo) road trip, with sentiment around the fanbase that the Sharks would miss the playoffs and miss out on a good draft pick (as I’m sure you know, their 2020 pick was traded to the Ottawa Senators for the services of one Erik Karlsson). The tide now seems to be turning.
With the exception of the Vegas Golden Knights and the New York Islanders, the rest of November looks to be an easy task for this Sharks squad. They next face a hapless Detroit Red Wings team that lost to the Los Angeles Kings last night after blowing a late 2-1 lead on Saturday night.
The Sharks were looking desperately for a turning point in their season, and there’s no reason to not believe they’ve found it right now.