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Quick Bites: Sharks handily beat Penguins, but lose Middleton

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5-0 Win might be most complete game of the season

Feb 29, 2020; San Jose, California, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro (38) defends against Pittsburgh Penguins center Teddy Blueger (53) during the second period at SAP Center at San Jose. Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

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.

The ugly

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.

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.

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.

The good

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.

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.

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.

And since we’re talking about the Penguins’ Twitter account, I’ll add this one too since I think it’s cute.

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.