The San Jose Sharks defeated the Phoenix Coyotes by a final score of 4-1 tonight, and the win was a big one for various reasons. Here are a few parting thoughts. Nothing CORSI based or anything. Just knee-jerk reactions. We’d love to hear your knee-jerk reactions to the game down in the comments, on Twitter or the Facebook.
I guess we should get Tomas Hertl out of the way first.
The kid has been phenomenal and has done what few rookies tend to do around the NHL: He’s cashing in on his chance at being a big-time player with his early chances. Nathan MacKinnon is playing well for the Colorado Avalanche, but is spending his time on the third line. Boone Jenner has already been demoted from No. 1 center to the fourth line for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Aleksander Barkov‘s team got trashed by a 7-0 score tonight.
Hertl? All he’s done is play tenacious two-way hockey while posting two goals and an assist in two games. There are 80 contests left and it’s a long season, but there’s no reason not to celebrate with the teenage toast of the town right now.
What stood out to me tonight (more than Hertl and Mike Smith‘s goaltending) was how much fun the Sharks seemed to be having. You don’t see that when you look at the stat sheet, but the team seemed to be having a ball right from the opening faceoff. Scoring quick goals can put a smile on anyone’s face, sure. But there’s a looseness here that we maybe haven’t seen from San Jose in a while.
This could be the difference between 2013-14 and the last several seasons. If the Sharks continue to have fun while controlling the highs and lows, they should be in for an outstanding campaign.
And they posted a power-play goal. That 0-8 run against the Vancouver Canucks was worth worrying a bit over, but they blew the doors off of the Coyotes with the extra man tonight. Once again, the penalty kill came awfully close to scoring. Either Patrick Marleau or Joe Pavelski will have a shortie by game five.
Mark my words.