After his goal on Saturday night, Joe Pavelski now leads the NHL with 10 game-winning goals this season.
The San Jose Sharks continue to motor along behind the exploits of their first-year captain, Joe Pavelski. The 31-year-old forward remains the heart and soul of this hockey club as he steps up at just the right moments when his best is needed.
For the third consecutive season, Pavelski leads the team in goals (32) and points (66, which is tied with Joe Thornton). He’s seventh in the NHL in goals ahead of the likes of Steven Stamkos and Sidney Crosby, some pretty good company to be in.
Where he’s made the biggest impact for this team is his clutch gene as after recording five game-winning goals (GWG) a season ago, Pavelski has doubled that total to lead the league with 10 this year.
In fact, Pavelski has recorded the GWG in two of the last three victories for San Jose, tapping in the game-winner in overtime to down the Calgary Flames while back-handing home the go-ahead goal against the Washington Capitals on Saturday night.
Also, as Elias Sports points out, Pavelski has a sense for the moment as he’s been able to produce when his Sharks teammates have needed it most.
Per @EliasSports, Pavelski’s 5 go-ahead goals in the 3rd period this season are 2nd-most in the NHL (Corey Perry 6)
— Darin Stephens (@SharksStats) March 13, 2016
It’s been nice to see Pavelski assume the leadership role and run with it this season as he’s helped San Jose out of an inconsistent first half of the season. Now, the Sharks are playing their best stretch of hockey in two years as they are poised to challenge the top teams in the Pacific.
As usual with team teal, nothing will really matter until the playoffs begin as fans have become accustomed to disappointment in San Jose. However, this is a different team and will be interesting to see if Pavelski and Peter DeBoer can break down the ceiling that has restricted this franchise.
Now it certainly won’t be an easy first-round matchup with either the Kings or Ducks looming; however, the Sharks seem well-equipped to take on that challenge with the depth they possess. Pavelski is the leader of that depth, and his production will be one of the keys for San Jose to be able to sustain a run this spring.
It’s been another fantastic year for Pavelski as he just keeps on producing despite people thinking he might fall off. His leadership has helped steady the ship after a tumultuous 2014-15 season and captain clutch appears ready to roll with the postseason looming.