The San Jose Sharks completed possibly the best team game I’ve seen in a long time last night. They were edgy, nasty when they needed to be and they scored! The 5-0 win over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins was just as dominant on the ice as it was on the scoreboard.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room first and then we’ll get to the good stuff.
At 8:01 of the third period Sharks’ defenseman Jacob Middleton suffered what looked like a season ending injury. I’m going to post the video below, but it’s pretty tough to watch.
Middleton injury does not look good pic.twitter.com/5xD5iet0xr— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) March 1, 2020
Patric Hornqvist hits Middleton up high in front of the Sharks’ net. As Middleton goes down, you can see his left leg bend in a way that it should not. Middleton tried to stand following the hit, but couldn’t. While on all fours, he frantically pushed himself along the ice on with one leg toward the Sharks’ bench. When he got there, two teammates helped him up.
It happened so fast, the Sharks’ announcers initially thought he had just lost a skate blade. It was only on replay that they realized it was much, much worse than that.
Following the game, The Mercury News’ Curtis Pashelka reported we should find out today just how bad Middleton’s injury is.
No updates from Boughner, who said, "I haven't talked to the trainers. As you guys can see, it was a lower body. They're probably assessing him now. We'll probably know more (Sunday)."— Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) March 1, 2020
We haven’t heard anything yet.
There’s also no word yet on whether Hornqvist will receive supplemental discipline for the play. In game, he received two minutes for interference.
This was a team fueled win. From the stars to the role players, everyone on the team was carrying their weight. They bailed Martin Jones out when he needed it and he bailed them out when the skaters made a mistake. They hit. They forechecked. They got sticks into lanes. They played hockey the way they should have been playing from the start of the season.
I won’t bore you with all the scoring highlights, but the first one was a beauty.
Evander Kane skated into the zone alone, split the two Penguins on defense and then scored the first goal of the game with just over a minute remaining in the first period. It got the Sharks going.
In the second, Timo Meier and Joel Kellman added to the Sharks lead. The Penguins tried to push back and instead of bending the Sharks got rough.
Hornqvist took an extra little shot at Jones and Radim Simek took exception. Hornqvist received a slashing minor and Simek took a roughing minor.
In the third, the Sharks tacked on two more goals, this time from big guys Logan Couture and Joe Thornton.
Joe Thornton LITERALLY out here passing pucks into the back of the net.— Brodie Brazil (@BrodieNBCS) March 1, 2020
If you look at Thornton’s, you can see that he was once again trying to pass the puck, but the puck had other ideas. No assists for Jumbo last night, but he got a goal.
The bad (sort of)
Sadly, for the Sharks fans in attendance, it seemed more like a Pittsburgh home game than a San Jose one. The official attendance was 17,562, but if I were guessing at least a third of those in attendance were wearing Penguins’ jerseys.
In fact, I know of at least four Penguins fans in attendance.
That awkward moment when you go see your ex, who you still have feelings for, but you’re with your new bae who you are also very into... pic.twitter.com/w9KY5hJ8th— Christina Marleau (@c_marleau) March 1, 2020
Apparently, the Penguins sent the jerseys to the Marleau family following the trade. The Penguins’ Twitter account also picked up on the tweet and came up with a pretty killer response.
You'll always love your first. We get it.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 1, 2020
We promise to treat all the Marleaus right. https://t.co/QarXq8wzGd
And since we’re talking about the Penguins’ Twitter account, I’ll add this one too since I think it’s cute.
"#2 is my grandson and favorite player!" pic.twitter.com/3jaWXRSpql— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 1, 2020
According to The Athletic’s Josh Yohe, that’s Chad Ruhwedel’s 89-year-old grandmother. Ruhwedel has been in and out of the Penguins’ lineup since 2016, but his grandma lives in Sacramento and hasn’t been able to make it to a Penguins’ game until now. Finally, after all these years, she had the chance to see her grandson play. Ruhwedel, by the way, is originally from San Diego and brought the Stanley Cup home to San Diego in 2017.