Quick Bites: Top line on fire against Flames

No pun intended; Evander Kane, Joe Pavelski,and Joonas Donskoi were the Sharks’ best line last night.

After coming off being swept on the road, the Sharks needed a bounce-back game against the Calgary Flames. The line of Joe Pavelski, Evander Kane and Joonas Donskoi came out to set the tone early with Kane’s sixth goal of the season.

From a backhand pass from Pavelski, Kane beat Mike Smith glove side to start the scoring less than a minute into the game.

This was a much better start than the past two games, where both saw the Sharks having to play from behind on the road. The Sharks were able to start the game with the lead, able to get the crowd into the game and were able to build on it later in the second.

The second time around, instead of Kane taking the pass from Pavelski, it was Kane passing it Donskoi, who fired off a quick one-timer to put the puck behind Smith.

Kane’s patience and Donskoi’s hand-eye lead to the great goal. The Sharks finished off the Flames with a Pavelski empty-netter, rewarding everyone on the top line with a goal after their many scoring chances throughout the game. All three players on the top line had a Corsi for percent over 60, leading the Sharks, who didn’t show their usual domination throughout the entire lineup last night.

Kane, who was in a bit of goal slump, was able to show much of his offensive abilities against the Flames, a team which he has played very well against in the past. He scored four goals on March 17 against the Flames last season to notch his first career hat trick, and coming into tonight’s game he had 14 points in 11 career games against the Flames, scoring nine goals over that time.

Kane had broken his goalless streak on Thursday against the Dallas Stars on a weak shot, that when in far side. However, this was a much more impressive game by Kane, helping out his linemates, such as the play to Donskoi to break his own goal-scoring slump.

With this game, the Sharks have added to their win streak against the Flames, improving it to six games dating back to April 8, 2017. The two standing points earned now has San Jose tied with Calgary with 21 points, taking away a what could be a crucial two points from Calgary, should they continue the season at this pace.

A little side appreciation note for a player who has been under a lot of heat recently: Martin Jones played one of his best games of the season, after starting the season with a less than impressive .893 save percentage, and even in his wins has been looking shaky. Over the past couple games, his play was improving; however, last night, Jones showed up as the goaltender that we have seen the past few seasons, making several huge saves.

Tonight he was a close to his first shutout of the season, but was a Erik Karlsson fall away from it. Karlsson lost an edge while carrying the puck in the neutral zone, leading to a turnover and a goal — an unfortunate play, but also an unlucky one.

Jones also came up big on a penalty shot by Sam Bennett mid-way through the third period. That goal could’ve been a major turning point, and by making the save, Jones kept the momentum with the Sharks, who finally found themselves back in the win column.