On Saturday night, Joe Pavelski scored his 20th goal of the season. Which is a milestone he has reached six times now, with San Jose. It's an accomplishment that puts Pavelski alongside the names Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Owen Nolan... guys who someday should have their numbers hanging in the rafters.
This season, what's equally impressive to how many Joe has scored... is how he is scoring them. Of the 20, six have come on quick releases such as one timers. Another six have come on redirects or tips.
Joe recently gave me his perspective on that breakdown.
"The goalies are so good that it's got to be a bang-bang play. If it isn't a tip or the first shot, it's usually the second one laying there where you have an empty net."
He continued, and got more specific.
"There's lots of times you're looking goalies straight in the eyes and he's making the save, for the most part. Something has to go wrong, so anytime you can change that direction, hit that one-timer quick, there's a few more holes there," said Pavelski.
When the cameras went away, I asked Joe the burning question in my mind.
"Are you telling me... that when say, Vlasic fires a point shot, and you're standing out front of the crease... that you actually have enough confidence and control to redirect that puck to specific corner of the net... or maybe even aim five-hole?...," I said.
Joe's response: "You'd like to think so."
Head Coach Todd McLellan likes where Joe is scoring from, this season.
"For me it's how he works into position. He's got a nose to go to the net. Not behind it. Not in the corner fading away. He's got great hand-eye coordination, and when he's not tipping, deflecting or finding rebounds... he's finding available ice to release the puck," said McLellan.
The stat that is most impressive lies in the calendar year of 2014. Where no NHL player scored more regular season goals than Joe Pavelski. He had 44. Think about it... Kane, Ovechkin, Kessel, Stamkos, Malkin... they didn't score as many as "Little Joe."
"It's an art, it's worked on," said McLellan.
"The way he approaches the game, how he practices, the extras he does before and after. He puts himself in situations he knows he'll be in during games, and works on it. And all of a sudden he's rewarded."
Watch Sharks Pregame Live tonight at 4:30 on Comcast SportsNet California!