Huskins scored twice in a three-game stretch and completed the trip with a two-assist night, including setting up Patrick Marleau
’s breakaway overtime winner against Nashville.
“We always knew he had it in him,” Marleau said with a smile. “He’s bringing the tool box out and showing us all his skills. We look forward to having guys like him step up and keep producing.”
Huskins simplifies his offensive charge down to a matter of luck.
“Just a good string of bounces in consecutive games,” Huskins said. “I’ll take it as long as we’re winning, that’s the main thing. I’m just trying to concentrate on defense first. That’s our team philosophy.”
Lucky or not, he was glad to score for the first time in more than 70 regular season games.
“It had been a while. I was beginning to wonder if that one was going to come,” Huskins said. “It was a lucky shot through traffic and it kind of got to the ball rolling a little bit.”
Huskins doesn’t get a lot of attention compared to his teammates because of his defense-first approach, but he’s a very popular teammate and his comrades enjoy seeing his success on the other side of the ice.
“It’s great. You love to see guys that normally don’t score get the puck in the net,” Dan Boyle
said. “He’s on a little bit of a hot streak right now. I love it.”
“He was excited and the whole bench was excited. It’s probably the most you’ve seen the bench jump this entire year,” Jason Demers
said. “He’s been solid for us all year so it’s good to finally see him putting it in and getting that break.”
|San Jose Sharks' Scott Nichol (21) celebrates with teammates Kent Huskins (40) and Jamie McGinn, right, after scoring a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks in Chicago, Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) |
Huskins may be popular, but he’s one of the quieter guys in the room and the offensive rush hasn’t changed him in the last week.
“I still haven’t heard him in three years and I sit beside him,” Boyle said of the man next to him in the Sharks locker room.
Demers is Huskins roommate on the road and said the personality opens up a bit when no one else is around.
“I room with him, so I wouldn’t say he’s quiet,” Demers said. “I’m more biased. He doesn’t talk as much as me, but he can talk. In the room he’s a quiet guy, but if you get him going, he can be talkative.”
Demers noted there wasn’t a lot of grief sent Huskins way for having not scored until the trip.
“A little bit, but nothing too bad,” Demers said. “Now we can’t say much because he’s tied with me and Pickles (Marc-Edouard Vlasic
) for goals. He’s a great guy and a really solid teammate for us.”
So is Boyle worried about losing his power play spot?
“The way things are going, you never know,” Boyle said with a smile. “He’s on fire.”
“If he keeps scoring, I might have to give it up to him,” Demers said of his power play time.
In the end, Huskins is in San Jose for his defensive prowess and that portion of his game has been there most of the year. The 31-year-old knows his task.
“I found my niche playing steady and consistent and playing sound positionally,” Huskins said. “A lot of times, if I’ve done my job well, you don’t really notice me that much.”
|San Jose Sharks defenseman Kent Huskins (40) controls the puck in front of Dallas Stars left wing James Neal (18) in the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) |
And he’s perfectly fine with that, but at the same time, Huskins won’t pass up a chance to contribute offensive.
“It’s good (flying under the radar), but it’s nice to chip in offensively too and help out in that respect,” Huskins said. A DAY OFF
With their day away from the rink, the Sharks players enjoyed time with their families on Wednesday.
“Getting to see the kids and my wife,” Marleau said of his day off excitement. “You see how much they changed over two weeks.”
As any business traveler can note, two weeks on the road is tough, even though the travel and accommodations are first class.
“The biggest thing is being at home again,” Joe Pavelski
said. “It’s exciting to get back and see the family and see the changes. It’s not the same through Skype.”
Marleau said playing hockey with the kids on the off day was a highlight, but it may not be as easy going as one might think.
“You’d be surprised, the stick can get up pretty high,” Marleau said with a smile. “It’s a lot of fun just being with them and hearing them laugh and giggle.”DRIVER EIGHT, TAKE A BREAK
Washington is a dangerous club even without Alex Ovechkin, but with No. 8 in the lineup, there’s offensive element few clubs possess.
“We’ve got to be on our toes,” Marleau said. “Our defensive game is going to be tested tonight and it will be a good challenge for us.”OLD FRIENDS
Former Sharks Scott Hannan and Matt Bradley will be in the lineup for Washington tonight.NEXT GAME
The Sharks play hosts to Washington at 7:30 Thursday night and tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The game will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.