In a battle of likely Norris Trophy finalists, Brent Burns got the better of Drew Doughty in this series.
Heading into the first round series between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings, much of the talk centered around Drew Doughty for the Kings who will likely win the Norris Trophy for the top blue liner in the league. However, in this series, it was the Sharks Norris Trophy candidate in Brent Burns who clearly got the better of his counterpart.
Burns was a dominant force for San Jose throughout the entire series, and he was a big reason why team teal is moving on after dispatching their bitter rivals in five games. Burns recorded points in four of the five contests, and you could probably guess which game he didn’t.
He was all over the ice in Game 5 with a plus-two rating and three assists, including a slick little backhand pass over to Joonas Donskoi for the series-clinching goal early in the third period.
Burns led all skaters on the Sharks with just under 24 minutes of ice time per game, 19 shots on goal and tied for first in the league with eight points in round one (two goals and six assists).
After a so-so defensive performance in Game 1, Burns responded by being solid in his own zone and helping spring the San Jose attack with plenty of stretch passes out of the defensive end.
More from Editorials
- Korenar deserves a chance at the NHL level
- Three prospects the Sharks should consider drafting
- Red hot Couture provides a much needed boost
- Is it reasonable for the Sharks to fire Doug Wilson?
- NHL misses golden opportunity with Tahoe games
On the other end, Doughty had a rough series like many of the Kings top players. With the injury to Alec Martinez in the first game, L.A. was forced to lean on Doughty who averaged an astounding 30:49 of ice time per night.
However, San Jose did a great job of frustrating the star blue liner who had just one assist over the course of the five games and finished a team-worst minus-five for the series.
Perhaps no play epitomized the struggles of Doughty more than Donskoi’s game-winner when he was unable to knock the rookie forward off the puck, and then Donskoi was able to beat Doughty back to the front of the net to deposit his second of the night.
With some of the comments Doughty made in the past and even after Game 3, it had to be sweet revenge for the Sharks to score the game-winner at his expense.
It was a great all-around series for many San Jose players against L.A., but Burns was at the top of the list alongside captain Joe Pavelski.
Burns’ talents were on full display, and he clearly outplayed Doughty over the course of the entire series. Doughty may very well win the Norris Trophy this year, but Burns and his Sharks teammates are moving on looking for a piece of hardware of their own.