The long wait for Sharks fans is finally over. The home opener is tonight at HP Pavilion at 7:30pm against the Phoenix Coyotes. Not only do fans finally get to see the Boys in Teal for the first time since last April, but also they’ll be welcoming a team that comes home with a 2-0 record after impressive wins in Calgary and Edmonton.
There are so many positive takeaways from the road trip.
- The stunning and franchise record 6 goal first period against Edmonton.
- Patrick Marleau’s 4 goals as he became the first Shark to record multiple goal games in the first two contests of the season.
- Joe Thornton’s 5 assists
- Logan Couture’s 2 goal 2 assist start and his “stare down” of Taylor Hall and the Oilers other “Young Guns”
- Antti Niemi’s brilliance in the first period of the first game in Calgary when he gave the Sharks a chance to win
And those were just the headlines. Matt Irwin made his NHL debut in Calgary while his proud parents watched from the stands and he didn’t disappoint. Irwin, getting his opportunity due to the injuries to Brent Burns and Jason Demers, played big minutes on the blue line and was not on the ice for any goals against in the first two games. Brad Stuart looked solid in his return to the team that originally drafted him.
Adam Burish looks to be a good fit on the fourth line and James Sheppard played in his first NHL game in over 2 years.
There’s still work to be done on the penalty kill but even that aspect of the Sharks game showed signs of improvement when they killed the last 3 penalties in the third period in Edmonton.
It’s still early in this shortened season but the Sharks were determined to get off to a good start. They did that by sweeping Alberta and now they get the chance to build on that with a 6 game home stand.
It’s time for the home opener. The downtown area will be awash in teal, restaurants and watering holes will thankfully be bustling again. The buzz will be back. Finally.
It’s a good day.
I’m Randy Hahn for sjsharks.com