Chris Tierney’s play has been on the rise throughout this postseason as he’s adding to the depth of this Sharks team.
It’s taken almost a full season, but Chris Tierney has finally earned the trust of head coach Peter DeBoer. Tierney is rewarding the faith of his head coach by playing some of his best hockey of the year for the San Jose Sharks.
That was certainly evident last night when Tierney scored the opening two goals for San Jose within a two-minute span to give team teal the start they needed. Unfortunately, the Sharks couldn’t hang on to that early advantage as they would fall by a 4-3 final in overtime as the Predators forced a Game 7 on Thursday night.
Despite the tough result, Tierney was one of the few bright spots for San Jose last night as he’s assumed a bigger role by centering the Sharks third line after DeBoer moved him there before Game 5.
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The move paid immediate dividends as it allowed Patrick Marleau to move up to the wing alongside Logan Couture and Joonas Donskoi and that line responded with five points in San Jose’s big Game 5 victory.
Then, Tierney was buzzing in the early going last night, first deflecting home a Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot from the point before slamming home a rebound off Pekka Rinne to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead. It’s the kind of contributions throughout the lineup you need when making a run through the playoffs, and Tierney appears to be accepting that particular challenge.
Now, the task ahead for Tierney is to bring that same effort and sustain it over the course of the entire 60 minutes in Game 7. Like many of his teammates, Tierney can be better in generating more offense as the Sharks were only able to muster nine shots on goal over the last two periods and into overtime.
That’s not going to get it done at any level and San Jose knows that.
What they also know is they have a reliable, two-way player whom they can count on to deliver when the stakes get higher. Tierney is a key member of the Sharks penalty kill that has done a great job in shutting down the Predators power play over the last three games as Nashville is 0-for-9 over that span.
Come Thursday night, team teal will need another big effort from Tierney who might find himself with a new linemate as Matt Nieto is questionable after not returning after the first period last night.
Regardless, with the way Tierney has stepped up, the Sharks should feel good about the way their third-line center has answered the bell after being given some additional responsibilities.