Martin Jones has been spectacular for the Sharks as he’s a big reason why team teal currently holds a 2-0 series advantage over the Predators.
When it comes to the goaltending headlines in this series, much of it has been directed towards Nashville Predators netminder Pekka Rinne, who to be fair, has been very good in the first two games of this series.
However, his counter part on the other end of the ice has simply been better, but he doesn’t get the kind of attention that Rinne garners.
And that’s just fine for Martin Jones and the San Jose Sharks who find themselves up two games-to-none thanks in large part to the play of Jones.
Heading into this postseason, one of the big questions, and for some reason it still lingers, was whether Jones would be able to shoulder the load for a Cup contender in his first year as a postseason starter.
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All Jones has done thus far is win six of his first seven starts between the pipes, with his lone loss coming in overtime. He’s posted a 2.13 GAA and a .923 save percentage throughout the postseason after outperforming his mentor in Jonathan Quick during the Sharks five-game series win in round one.
In the second round, Jones has taken his game to another level even though he’s faced an increased workload. Through the first two games of this series, Jones has faced 70 shots while posting a 2.00 GAA and a .943 save percentage.
While Rinne garners more of the attention from the national media and on the broadcasts, his numbers are worse than Jones’ with a 2.60 GAA and a .917 save percentage. Sure Rinne has made some highlight-reel saves, including absolutely robbing Joonas Donskoi at the beginning of the second period last night, but he’s still been on the losing end of both contests.
For the even-keeled Jones, he just continues to do what he does which is keep the puck out of the net and give his team a chance to win every night. Case in point, with the Sharks trailing 1-0 in Game 1, Jones made a huge stop on Colin Wilson who was in alone with 11.7 seconds remaining to keep it a one-goal game just before the second intermission.
If Jones doesn’t make that stop, it’s unlikely San Jose would’ve been able to mount the comeback that they did. However, Jones stoned Wilson and team teal went on to score five goals in the third period to take Game 1 in convincing fashion.
In Game 2, Jones was sharp again making a postseason career-high 37 saves in thwarting a desperate Predators team who outperformed the Sharks for much of the night.
His performance was a key reason why San Jose was able to come away with a Game 2 victory and, his head coach echoed those sentiments as Peter DeBoer said he was the best player for the Sharks all night.
While his critics will continue to wonder when Jones will falter, the Sharks netminder continues to handle his business. He exudes a level of confidence San Jose has rarely had between the pipes during previous postseasons, and has shown no signs of being affected by the playoff pressure.
Many around the NHL might not appreciate the level Jones is playing at because of the offensive firepower surrounding him, but make no mistake, the Sharks wouldn’t be in this position without the stellar performance Jones has put forth.