The Sharks have now won four of their last five games in convincing fashion thanks to their 5-2 Saturday night victory against Anaheim. In the four wins, the Sharks have scored 20 goals and allowed an average of less than two tallies per game.
“I think it was just a matter of time before we got our offense going and we switched back to the lines that worked for us last year,” Joe Thornton
said. “We’re going to the net and shaking off some rust we had early in the season. Don’t get used to it, we’re not going to score five every game. For right now it’s nice to see.”
The Sharks are now getting into more of a routine with their game days and off days and that helped put them on the right track.
“We’ve had a different focus every practice the last two weeks,” Dany Heatley said. “Last week we were trying to create more in the offensive zone and I think we did that. The last practice it was getting it out of our end and tonight we did a good job of that. We have to keep getting better at all aspects of our game.”
Practice can’t make a perfect hockey game, but it can sure make winning easier.
“When we came back from Europe, we really didn’t have any rhythm in our game,” Shark Head Coach Todd McLellan said. “Now we’re starting to find that, even in practice. They’ve settled in a little more. Routine is important for us and we’re starting to see the benefits of that. The game tonight, we did a lot of really good things the first two-thirds (of the game). There were a lot of positives we have to take out of the game and build on.”
“We feel pretty good about ourselves and now we can go out on our road trip,” Niclas Wallin said.
Wallin, who was acquired last February from Carolina, recorded his first goal as a Sharks player, by sliding down from the point and redirecting a shot out front.
“I’m not the guy who is going to put the puck in the net, tonight was a bonus,” Wallin said.
The real bonus was the right people were in attendance.
“It happens sometimes and it’s been a long time (March 15, 2009), but it’s all fun,” Wallin said. “My two boys here were pretty excited about it.”
Wallin’s goal may not even have been the best part of his game as he was doing everything else he is normally in the lineup for.
“I thought, again, with Dougy (Douglas Murray
) and Nicky (Niclas Wallin) in particular, the last two games have been probably their best throughout the year. They really simplified it, played to their strengths, defended well, were physical. Two very good players the last couple games.”
Murray was in big hitting mode and the aggressive Ducks were on the receiving end of it throughout the battle. They were so flustered at one point that Aaron Voros specifically targeted Murray for fight. The fans were cheering their Olympic blueliner like a 40 goal scorer at one point.
“He’s not unnoticed by his teammates,” Thornton said. “We lean on him a lot for big minutes and he plays so physical and guys don’t want to play against him. He is a big part of his team.”
Murray enjoys the physical play and Anaheim’s north-south style provides the opportunities to hit and bang, but he’s not planning on laying people out every night.
“I think it’s been important for me to get them when they come to me instead of trying to get them every night,” Murray said. “I felt like I picked my spots tonight. You always want to be physical, but at the right times.”
The Ducks were frustrated on the evening and at one point forced multiple altercations at once. Frazer McLaren was dressed for the Ducks brand of hockey and did his part as did Scott Nichol (twice), Douglas Murray
and Jamal Mayers.
“They tried to send a message,” Nichol said of the moment when both he and Mayers were tangling immediately after the faceoff. “It was right off the draw and that is what their energy guys are going to do, try and change the momentum a bit. We’ve been in that situation also and that’s just the way hockey is. They tried to mix it up a little bit, but we’ve got more than enough guys who are gamers and will come and stand up for each other.”
“This team is not going to get pushed around,” Murray said. “If they bring on that game, you’ve got to stand up for yourself and respond. You don’t always need to take them either. To break your hand when you’re up 5-0 may not be the smartest thing to do.”
Thornton tied a franchise record by tallying a point on each of the last eight Sharks goals (3+5=8) over the last two games. The record was previously set by Kelly Kisio from 12/3/1992 to 12/9/1992.
recorded his 100th career assist on Dany Heatley’s goal (5) in the 2nd period.
The Sharks recorded 22 shots in the 2nd period which is a season high for the 2010-11 season.
DUCKS HEAD COACH RANDY CARLYLE
“We didn’t really seem to get involved in the game. From our standpoint, you can’t come into this building and expect them not to be coming out and jumping at you. I mean we did play last night. This is the second half of a back-to-back. But we got ourselves out of position and got into lots of trouble.”
“I guess the frustrating part for us is we had two guys running the puck in one situation and then our D-man leaving the front of the net to let Heatley score on the tap-in. You know that kind of stuff is not the way we’ve been playing. So it’s a little frustrating from that point.”
“It was scrambling hockey, we were running around trying to do too many things. We were puck chasing. We didn’t have our positional play. I don’t know if we were over aggressive from the standpoint of defending. It was one of those games where we didn’t look like we had much structure to it.”
The Sharks Tuesday game in Minnesota will be at 5 p.m. and will be carried on Versus, 98.5 KFOX and www.sjsharks.com.