Morning Chum: Sharks special teams excel in win
San Jose did a lot right in their 5-1 win over the Kings, but the special teams play stands out.
Last night's game was pretty fun — and not just because the Sharks pulverized the Kings on the road. San Jose outplayed Los Angeles in just about every facet of the game, whether it be shot attempts, face offs or turnovers.
While all those were highlights of Wednesday's win, the special teams play stood out as particularly impressive. Killing six penalties combined with going 2-for-8 on the power play against a generally-pretty-good Kings' kill is great on its own, but San Jose looked damn smooth while doing it.
Let's start by looking at the first Sharks power play goal.
Joe Pavelski wins the draw, Patrick Marleau slides the puck over to Brent Burns and Joe Thornton slides over to screen Jonathan Quick. As Burns is releasing the shot, Pavelski creeps towards the shooting lane with his stick down, ready to create a deflection. He gets a piece of Burns' stinging shot and the Sharks take a 2-1 lead.
The second power play goal comes in a bit of a different situation. Matt Tennyson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic pass the puck to one another at the blue line, Vlasic slides it down to Tommy Wingels and the winger throws the puck back to Vlasic. Tomas Hertl has been in front of Jonathan Quick the entire time and is ready to get a deflection on the puck after Vlasic blasts it at the net.
Now let's take a look at the penalty kill.
Hopefully the Sharks won't find themselves down two men often this season, but the set up here is very good. Brenden Dillon and Justin Braun are on either side of Martin Jones, prepared to slide into the shooting lanes and close off the three Kings down below the dots. Matt Tennyson is up top to apply pressure to the Kings at the blue line.
The result of this is a successful kill, albeit at a point where the game was all but out of reach for Los Angeles. I'm not ready to pop the champagne and build a Peter DeBoer statue outside of SAP Center, but it was a very, very good night in special teams for the Sharks.
Some other things to note...
- Great to see Joonas Donskoi get his first NHL goal. He had an outstanding camp and has a great opportunity to come into his own on a very talented line. The Joenass Brothers line was a huge success both in terms of possession and winding up on the score sheet.
- The Paul Martin-Brent Burns pairing performed spectacularly. Burns had a +17 corsi at even strength while Martin post a +15. That came in tough minutes, as 38 percent of Burns' zone starts came in the offensive end while Martin was 50-50.
- The Other Martin, Mr. Jones, played very well in his regular season debut. I'm not here to break down his posture and mobility, but he legitimately had no shot to get to the lone Kings goal and I'm always here for a goalie saving 19 of 20 shots. Great start to the season for him.
- Logan Couture took a very bad hit from Dustin Brown, so it'll be interesting to see if the league has anything to say about it. My guess is no, but...well, I've been wrong literally hundreds of times before.