San Jose is now on an official tear, winning six of their last seven and putting on one their most offensively dominant periods of the year. Team Teal led 2-0 after 20 minutes by posting 21 shots on net in the 3-1 victory. The 21 shots fell one short of the franchise record and Patrick Marleau tied the franchise mark with six first period shots.
If not for the amazing play of Peter Budaj, the gap would have been much wider.
“Budaj kept them in the game,” said Joe Thornton
. “It could have been 5-0 after the first period. We were skating well and obviously the power play was working. That was probably our best, or close to our best period (this year).”
The Sharks were especially dangerous while up a man, as they added three power-play goals to their league-leading total. With the 63 power-play goals after Monday’s game, San Jose is now clicking at 26.6% on the year.
Even more amazing, in the last seven games, the Sharks have posted a 52.7 percent (19/34) success rate on the power play.
“We came out hard and our Power Play was cooking tonight,” said Ron Wilson. “We have had some great nights on the Power Play, but tonight was phenomenal. We moved the puck really well.”
On all three power play goals, Thornton set up along the right faceoff dot before setting things in motion.
“You take what they give you,” said Thornton.
“We’re getting it in and getting it set up. It’s not just moving the puck, but getting people moving and getting the puck to the net. Having Joe really helps too,” quipped Marleau.
The 8-0 loss to Phoenix eight games ago is now just a distant memory, but something that will not be forgotten.
“That was what our team needed, it was a wake up call,” said Wilson.
Wilson still believes that his club can play even better than it has in the last seven games.
“We are a team that is maturing; as long as you keep improving good things will happen,” said Wilson.
HEADING TO THE BREAK
The Sharks have two home contests before the All-Star break and they are looking to keep their hot engines revving.
“There is no reason we can’t go into the break winning the next two and come back with a lot of confidence,” said Thornton.
NABOKOV RETURNS TO FORM
Much was made of the Sharks offense on Monday, as it posted 42 shots and multiple scoring chances, but Evgeni Nabokov faced 27 shots from the always dangerous Avalanche and allowed just on perfectly placed power play goal from Sakic.
“I’ll try and build on this,” said Nabokov. “Sometimes you hit bumps in the road, but it’s the way you respond. For some reason I didn’t have good starts (the last three).”
“In the second, Nabby made a huge save to prevent them from getting the momentum,” said Wilson.
Being named an All-Star starter must be agreeing with Jonathan Cheechoo as he has posted points in seven consecutive games. During the stretch, Cheechoo has posted five goals and five assists.
Team leaders normally show the way and that is exactly what happened Monday night as all four players from Monday night set to play in the upcoming All-Star game (Thornton, Cheechoo, Marleau and Sakic) scored in the contest.
STILL NO OT
The Sharks have set an NHL record by playing in 45 consecutive games without going to overtime. It is the longest single-season streak since the 5:00 OT period was instituted in 1983-84. The previous mark was 41 games by Toronto in 1996-97.
Fresh off helping the Warriors defeat the Los Angeles Clippers Monday afternoon, Golden State center Andris Biedrins took in the Sharks victory at HP Pavilion.
The Anchorage, Alaska newspaper has a reporter in San Jose since the Sharks boast two Alaska products on their roster in Matt Carle and Scott Parker.
AVALANCHE HEAD COACH, JOEL QUENNEVILLE:
On the Sharks scoring chances:
“They could have scored several others (goals), the score could have been real ugly.”
On the game in general:
“Their top guys were really good. We were awful and they were great.”
“I didn’t think we were ready to play tonight. We got better as the game went on. The last two periods we were a different hockey club. Technically we were doing everything off the cuff, no energy, but that’s as good as I’ve seen anybody play the first period too.”
On the Sharks:
“That first twenty minutes was pretty scary, they’ve got a lot of speed and some skill, and that top line can be a handful as the league saw last year. I think they are real dangerous right now.”
San Jose returns to actions Wednesday night at HP Pavilion in a 7:30 p.m. contest with Phoenix. Limited tickets are available at the HP Pavilion Box Office and at www.ticketmaster.com. The game will be available on FSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.